Is it silly to plan for the ultimate failure of technology?

I was recently in a room of like-minded academic professionals at a conference. It was so great to have such equivalent enthusiasm for teaching and learning surrounding me! We were discussing the next edition of an accounting textbook that we commonly use, and after a great morning of getting to know one another, I asked a question that I think about often.

I teach an online accounting (bookkeeping) course. 95% of their assignments are all on the internet. As a Gen Xer, my view may be somewhat old-fashioned, but I can’t help but wonder if we are relying up on technology too much.

My question really was “Is there a technology out there to have my students submit manual work or can we think about developing something? I’m thinking of a worst-case scenario – what if a huge solar storm destroys all our satellites and power grids and we find ourselves without electricity for a while. What happens if all we know is computerized accounting? Does the world just shut down?”

Now, I was serious. My philosophy of learning here is similar to the task of learning how to do long division by hand before being able to use a calculator in math class. If we rely too much upon computerized accounting systems, will we become incapable of reproducing a manual system in the case of need?

The response I received:

“Yes, the world will shut down”, accompanied by a roomful of condescending laughter.

I was humiliated but held my head high. Simply, I was astonished that I was the only one who felt this to be important and my “what if” scenario was ridiculous.

By all means, I support, know, and teach computerized methods, but I feel that we need to understand what is really happening when you tell the system what to do.

Where do you stand on this idea? Do we need to still teach basic manual theories even though technology offers us amazing electronic solutions? Am I being silly by wanting to plan for a potential failure of technology?

I’d love to hear from everyone out there. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I look forward to hearing your opinion!

~ Laura Bantz

Zucchini Heaven!

I’m quite the amateur home gardener with about four years of attempted organic summer foods. Each fruit and vegetable has its own care label, yet the vast majority of my experience forgets this concept after planting the seeds.  Each year, the general gardening concepts become more and more clear to me, such as not watering everyday once established to encourage root growth or ensuring to thin the plants once they sprout, especially the spreaders such as my lovely cucumber and zucchini plants. About them…they are doing just lovely, even in this horrible drought we are experiencing in the Chicagoland area. It was unclear to me prior to this season that they could thrive in such conditions. What a thrill when I found that first monster of a zucchini!  I had to google how to harvest it – I had no clue what to do! I feel that I have grown as a gardener and have a leadership lesson to share: Some things and people have wonderful hidden talents and abilities that seem to emerge when least expected or in the toughest times. Sometimes,  it may be simply a lack of knowledge by others or perhaps a misuse of talent. We are all a work in progress. I learned from my zucchini and it served its true purpose in my delicious loaf of zucchini bread. True learning at its best is reciprocal.

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So, what is the song in your head?

My first blog was inspired by a conversation with a friend about what walking through the doors each day does to her mood and psyche. It really got me thinking about how important that inner voice really is, which, sometimes, may have us reconsidering our entire existence.

So, this post goes out to you – what is your internal song? Does it change when you walk into work? What do you think your internal song says about your overall happiness in life and at work?

I ask, I must tell!

My life song was assigned by my girlfriend a couple years ago: Independent featuring Lil’ Boosie and Lil’ Phat. Click the link and see the video! I’m not sure I’d call myself a “broad” but do think the idea as a whole is about right 🙂

My work song is certainly Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue. Getting the teaching job here is truly a homecoming for me, as it is where I started as a student and truly feel that I have come full circle now on the other side of the classroom. 

I’d love to hear your internal songs! Jam on!