Welcome to this humble blog space of Cindy Jennings – proof positive that you can, in fact, teach old dogs new tricks. I am Director of Learning Technologies in the Division of Information Technology at the University of South Carolina Upstate. As such, I write here mainly to share instructional technology ideas with my local campus/community colleagues. If you find your way here and want to join in our converstaion, you are very welcome.
My work life in higher education began 32 (wow) years ago (when I was a mere child!) when I accepted a position teaching nursing as a brand new graduate school grad. I stayed at my first institution long enough to earn tenure and be promoted for the first time, then relocated to the beautiful foothills of the Appalachians – where I have been with my family ever since. I had the great good fortune to come to my current institution where I have continued to teach, and have had wonderful opportunities to branch-out into MANY other things from support for continuing my education, to helping to build a whole new major/degree program. I have participated in faculty governance and have seen the institution from the “other side” as an administrator. I must admit that I feel most passionate about my life in its latest incarnation….a time when I can be pretty much entirely immersed in work with technology.
A Little More, as a list:
In keeping with various list memes circulating around (anywhere from 7 to 25) here are a few more “things” about me:
1. I’m a PC – for which I do not apologize. Nor will I criticise you if you are not. I’m a PC because of exposure, not necessarily choice. But to paraphrase the wisdom of the film “Babe”, it’s “the way things are”.
2. I subscribe to the “bloom-where-pIanted” “‘ism” handed down to me from my grandmother. As a feature of that frame, I am not about bashing the “mega-corporate technology establishment”, trying to figure out who came first, defending or condemning any hardware or software. I try to learn to use what I have to its maximum – and help others to do the same. I have no time or inclination to do anything else. I grow weary of those who can’t stop bashing…If I have learned anything profound about technology for teaching and learning it is this: Tools are only about as good as their users. If they fall flat, look in the mirror first.
This sums it up: “Do what you can with what you have where you are” Theodore Roosevelt
3. I know a lot about some technologies used for teaching and learning…and a whole lot of really great fellow educational technologists know a whole lot more than me. I am not nor will I ever claim to be an “expert”, “guru”, or any other such term…I AM a constant learner.
4. I don’t think you can learn about or use technology without just doing it. I am more likey to tinker first, then read the directions or look up ‘help’…not always efficient, but usually fun. I try to help people get over their fears about trying.
5. I am a little sensitive about the more technical aspects of my work where I feel I have much more to learn. I wish I knew more…and I’m trying….but I can’t fix the innards of your computer for you. For that you’ll have to call the help desk. So…I am a really great driver, but not a mechanic.
6. I think we do our students a disservice when we are not at least conversant with the real world in which they will live and work….ie: what digital literacy proficiencies they might be expected to have upon graduation.
7. I think show is better than tell.
8. I think we know more that you and I.
9. I think patience and kindness cost nothing but mean everything.
10. I don’t think you can teach students to be good digital citizens if you aren’t one yourself.
Lastly, the opinions I express here are entirely my own and should not be construed as representative of my employer or anyone else other than me.