ASR Installment 4: Mastery Matters

Welcome to the fourth installment of the 2011 All-School Read!  Once again, the ASR will catch its breath turning inwards to sample some of our own thoughts and reactions to the ways in which technology touches our lives. 

MX contributions to the ASR have picked up in frequency, even as we make our way through the dog days of summer.  A good thing.  Enough student content has surfaced to repackage in the form of a feature: Selection #2 below.  As the ASR moves from the virtual world of summer work to the real world of live discussion in September, we look forward to finding ways to broaden and strengthen the conversation.  Please do not hesitate to contribute, whether in response to a particular selection/prompt or in response to a more general impulse to advance the dialogue.

The 3 main (as in, required) features of this week’s installment involve a teacher reaction, student reactions, and the introduction of a new feature that we will use over the last 5 installments of the ASR: Character 140. 

How this Works

Read the 3 selections below.  The first two selections involve references to previous installments and readings, so you might want to use the powers of hyperlink to fill in some of the references.  If the logic of web navigation is working as it should, comprehension, motivation, and exploration should be enhanced through your browsing. 

One note on reactions: moving forward, we are going to assume that anything you submit through the Reactions page has your approval for publication in future installments.  Contribution will equal consent, which seems like fair and standard practice in the digital environment.  

The Further Reading page will provide the usual connections to intriguing online pathways on related subjects, including this week remnants from the Jordan Williams files. 

Tune in on August 8th for the next installment of the ASR.  It will be #5 of 8 total installments.

SELECTION #1 Home is where the wi-fi is

Backstory: Dan Scheibe is the Assistant Head of School, the Director of the Chapel Program (where the ASR “lives” both on the website and in real life), and the anxious digital spirit behind this year’s online ASR experience.  As we are now at the midpoint of that experience, he took some time to set down thoughts about the values of that original “virtual reality”: boarding school.  One will find here the suspected quaint (but heartfelt) defense of actual communities in distinction to virtual ones. 


"I understand the ongoing questions of this year’s ASR from the perspective of a biological parent, a dorm parent, and a delegate of a generation trying to educate a younger generation already experienced and educated in its own digital world."

"One can become very good at community, but it does take time to find one’s place, to appreciate it, and to contribute to it—there is no instant gratification.  But the art of it brings a sense of responsibility and empowerment that is truly epic."

Read  Home Is Where The Wifi Is

SELECTION #2 student masters

Student responses to the ASR have been numerous (outnumbering faculty/staff responses 10 to 1, incidentally).  As it turns out, skepticism about the unqualified virtues of technology is not confined to older generations.  Also, and by the way, digital enthusiasm is not confined to younger generations.   A series of selections from student responses is featured here, meant to represent the range and quality of responses to date.  Of course, there is a hidden agenda that viewing these responses will inspire yet more submissions among students, faculty, and staff.


"we trade in compassion and sensitivity for efficiency and productivity, and the end result is a loss of humanity"

"If we want to create change, that should be done directly. Rather than designing a game to resolve world conflicts, we should take action immediately."

"I know that personally I would still rather be able to be outside with a summer reading book in my hand than inside reading installments online."

Read  Student Masters

SELECTION #3 character 140

Character 140 will be an ongoing effort to solicit and collect short, thoughtful responses (think 140 characters or less) to honest, serious questions (questions pertaining to the "Character" of people and things). 

Each question will be sent out through both website and email to the Middlesex community.  Answers should strive to be no more than 140 characters in length.   For a fuller description of Character 140 or to view submissions thus far, go to the Character 140 responses page.

This week's question comes in two parts.  You may answer one or both or neither! Contribute your answer simply by clicking on the questions below.  Or just wait for the email, if you prefer.  Either way, we would love to hear from you, but keep it short and smart!

What have you gotten really good at through your computer?

What have you gotten really good at through your community (however you choose to define it)?

Read  Character 140

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