Learning Via Oz-mosis

| Learning | May 17, 2017

(My friend is in grad school to get his Master’s. In this class, they are discussing a famous poem which contains the line “So let us melt, and make no noise.”)

Student: “What sort of thing DOES make noise while it melts!?”

Friend: “The Wicked Witch of the West!”

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Lacks The Computing Power To Understand

| Learning | March 21, 2017

(I am a graduate level student. I am a full-grown adult and so is everyone else in my class. I do not have a laptop or tablet, so I switch between taking notes on my latest model of [Smartphone] and paper and pencil. I often look up theorists or writers and bookmark them for later. My friend, in the same class, has an ancient laptop that is at least 7 or 8 years old but works fairly well. She also goes between a notebook and computer. My professor calls me in for a one-on-one meeting.)

Professor: “I find it very distracting and upsetting that you are on your phone so much during class. It’s a very small group and very noticeable.”

Me: “Oh! No, I have a smartphone, and I’m using it to look things up and make notes, sometimes order books or papers.”

Professor: “It’s very unprofessional to be texting.”

Me: “You do realize my smartphone is more advanced than [Other Student]’s computer, right?”

Professor: “She is not texting on her computer.”

Me: “Well, I’m not texting either, but you can send texts and messages from the computer to people’s phones. The only inherent difference between the two of us is that my system is smaller and more advanced with a touchscreen.”

Professor: “If you want to bring in a laptop, that’s fine, but I expect your phone to stay in your pocket during class.”

Me: “If you prefer us not to have electronics that’s fine, but you can’t single out my phone without including everyone else’s laptops and tablets.”

Professor: “Phones are not computers! This is very different!”

(I never did convince him that smartphones are computers, but he eventually stopped complaining about my phone after I made an effort to show him what I was doing on it.)

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Fractionally More Dumb, Part 2

| Learning | July 31, 2015

(We are students working on a Master’s degree in early childhood education. This is a math class, and the professor is going over different strategies we can use for teaching fractions.)

Professor: “So when you finish using an area model, you see that you’ve colored in 3/6 of the parts.”

Student: “But that method is saying 3/6 is equal to 1/2.”

Professor: “Yes… because it is.”

Student: “No, 3/6 is 3/6. Not 1/2.”

Professor: “[Student], in 1/2, the one is half of two. 3/6 is equivalent because three is half of six.



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Wi-Fi High And Dry

| Learning | June 10, 2015

(The setting is a physics class exclusively about the propagation of electromagnetic (specifically, radio) waves.)

Professor: “So far we’ve discussed the properties of EM waves quite a bit, but we haven’t actually generated any.”

Student: “Oh, no, sir. I’ve been running my wi-fi the whole time.”

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An Electric Sense Of Humor

| Learning | May 18, 2015

(I am at a recruitment dinner for the PhD program, consisting of me (a current student), another current student, five prospective students, and two professors. Professor #1 is a new appointee, and is friendly but somewhat nervous, because Professor #2 is a type-A Nobel Laureate and one of the most respected in the field. Professor #2 is telling stories for about 15 minutes until there’s finally a lull in conversation.)

Professor #1: “…So, [Professor #2], what’s changed the most about [School] since you’ve been here?”

Me: *chiming in* “Besides electricity.”

Professor #1: *eyes pop open*

Professor #2: *laughs* “Have you guys met [My Name]? He used to be a student here!”

(Thankfully, and unbeknownst to Professor #1, I had TA’d for Professor #2 and had a rapport of sorts with him.)

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