The Luddite concedes
In a recent faculty senate meeting at my north country university a sharp young student presented a plan that would require faculty to do all their grading online, thus obviating the need to use today’s greatest environmental threat, paper. For a number of fairly obvious reasons, some of us protested this plan. I pointed out that paper is a sustainable resource that is a lot more environmentally friendly than computers, which are full of nasty, toxic materials and take a lot of energy to run. After a shocked silence, I was reassured in terribly patronizing tones that while they (the sustainability police) understood that I was “afraid of change”, I would get used to it if only I would be open minded. Sigh.
Well, it’s true that I’m no techno wizard. I have a cell phone but almost never use it. I can text, but don’t like to and I have no desire to learn to tweet, instagram, snapchat or perform any of those other trendy activities (at least I’ve heard of them). I am not really anti-technology. Just this week, thanks to my dear husband’s computer savvy and a cool little device he bought for Christmas, we watched son #3’s end of year concert live from Vermont on our TV. The quality wasn’t great, but we still got to see him perform in all three music ensembles (jazz, guitar, and ‘funk fusion’). Not only that, but the husband took photos throughout by hitting “screen capture” on his computer. How cool is that? Here are a couple choice pics taken while Tim played solo and the camera was on him:
and even a close-up!
I’m so proud! 🙂
So, yes, technology can and does do wonderful things. And no, I’m not afraid of change, although I still prefer to grade papers that I can hold in my hand and write all over with a red pen. Not only can I do a better job that way, but there’s something cathartic about scrawling red squiggly lines through egregiously bad prose.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses from Tennyson, despite the fact that he is now just as unfashionable as hardcopy. I hope it brings to mind quieter times, beautiful gardens, and pens applied to paper thoughtfully and deliberately.
There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes.
It kind of makes me want to take a nap, which would not be a bad idea were it not 10:30 in the morning. Maybe later…
Have a great weekend!