I’m in the middle of a four-day training session in Blackboard, the educational technology that most educators I know hate. I use it to teach online and hybrid (half online) courses, and I like teaching online, but the software we use is … not perfect. We are moving to a new version of Blackboard that’s very different from the old one, and some of what I’m learning is useful, but much is not. A lot of today’s session focused on creating and grading tests, and I don’t give tests in my online classes (relying on papers and other projects instead). So much for that. Now that I’ve been a teacher for a while, I’ve gotten much more impatient when I have to be a student, but particularly so when it comes to learning technology. I want to learn it on my own time in my own way, and I don’t want to listen to someone lecturing about it. I got through the day by complaining on Twitter, checking the stock market, and reading blogs. When technology instruction is boring, technology itself was there to save me!
But on to some good news. I’m extremely happy for a very good fiction writer friend of mine, Elizabeth Gentry, who just won the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writers Residency Prize! It’s at Lake Forest College outside Chicago, and I’m looking forward to visiting her there in February or March when she’s in residency. I’ve been reading Elizabeth’s novel manuscripts for a while now, and they are very, very good, exactly the kinds of novels I like to read. One of the best things about this prize is that, pending completion and editorial approval, her winning manuscript will get published by &NOW Books, which is part of Lake Forest College Press. That’s very exciting; I can’t wait to see her book in print. So, yay!
One final thought. As I was reading Wendy McClure’s The Wilder Life, I kept talking about how fun it would be to reread the Little House on the Prairie series, but I don’t own the the books anymore. I’m not sure what happened to the ones I read as a kid. So, since it was our anniversary last weekend, Hobgoblin surprised me with the complete set! Now I’m all set to read them whenever I get the urge, which may be soon.