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Pride and Motivation March 3, 2012

Posted by Michael McVey in General Comment, Online Tools.
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When I read articles expounding on how technology is increasing student motivation and pride in work, I always try to imagine what the same student reaction to excellence was like without technology. It doesn’t always pan out as expected. Last week, I found a booklet of poems by a wonderful student of mine created in 1985. I know she took great pride in it and took care to use what technology she had available at the time – xerox copies, hand-drawn illustrations, and a lot of work.

Students today can take as much pride in their work and possibly get their work into many more hands – or perhaps eyeballs. At the same time, would a beloved teacher still carry the electronic version with him 25 years later? Would the student have withered under the critiques of scores of anonymous readers and turned away from a literary career?

There are times when I have to remind people that not everything technological is good and that we need to remember the benefits to using it and peel past the hype.

My student’s reaction today, after a quarter of a century, was to send it to the shredder. She is now a newly-minted Ph.D. in English Literature and her work was not brilliant in retrospect – but, to me, it was a sign of brilliance, a promise of exceptional scholarship to come, and a memento  of a scholar’s earliest efforts.

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