Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Dog Ate My Cloud?

Week 2 of the blog and I still have no idea what shape this project will take. I mean...I have some ideas but I've put off the "heavy lifting" of reading the textbook, I still am wrapping my brain around the ISTE and NETS-T nd NETS-S applications. I feel that, in the good ole' analog paradigm, I'm falling behind. And yet, my mind does not stop thinking about our changing world and the opportunities that these changes will present to those of us willing to endure the pains of this transformation.

I wrote my entry last week whilst enjoying the satisfying baked goods and coffee at the Panera Bread in downtown Evanston, IL. In communication with Dr. Lubelfeld, I remarked on the simple wonder of this. I did that, last week, out of choice. We have wireless Internet at home, but the otherwise most welcome company of my wife and my 5 year old daughter and my 6 month old son would create too much distraction for me. Tonight, however, even had I decided to stay at home, I would not have had that choice, and would need to have headed out elsewhere out of necessity, as our cable system is shot, and our provider cannot make a call--where one adult is home--until Tuesday.

And so it followed that as I was biking down the 6 or so miles toward Lincoln Park--I took the opportunity to include some modest exercise in an otherwise sedentary day--I thought quite a bit about the concept of homework, against the backdrop of a web-based world. In the Analog World (say, in 1994), a 39 year old Masters Degree student would do his homework at home. As with today, he might go to the local coffee shop, as the non-stop coffee and general atmosphere that coffee shops provide have long made them conducive to studying, even before the Internet became wireless. Other than this, though, this student wouldn't have too many options besides perhaps the library, which also would serve the purpose of providing reference. No matter what, however, he always kept his homework with him. Physically. On his person. Even if he was, relative to his time, technically savvy by having his homework on the good ole' 3 1/2" floppy disk or--really showing off now--a LAPTOP COMPUTER--the homework was still his physical property about which he would need to be vigilant in its protection.

So I made the realization, over the course of this analysis, that almost all of my homework is web-based. It's "out there". It's on the cloud. Homework is no longer something which we can "lose", right?

Well, sure enough, as I settle in to the Panera Bread on Diversey, I get settled in to check in to my classroom and begin to open my textbook and review our e-classroom session last Tuesday (I recall, from this session, how Dr. Lubelfeld keep metnioning "The Cloud" and wanted to revisit our entire conversation as a class and continue pondering it) only to find....that my school's website is down!

I'm not sure if this qualifies as irony or just as an example of me getting my comeuppance from the Gods of the Analog World but, in any event, it's forced me to make the realization that perfection is still an abstraction. Nonetheless, the thought for today is clouds. Even when they're gray and stormy.

Sign of the times...when you google "cloud", Cloud Computing appears as the first hit as the second hit is a definition of the literal cloud in our physical sky.

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