Inside the Beltway — and Back

I don’t know. Maybe it is just me this morning, but it seems like it is taking forever to get anywhere on the Internet. Although I guess I shouldn’t complain about how slow it is to get the various pages to load or to move from site to site. Last week I spent four days attending a conference Inside the Beltway — and I wasn’t able to get any reliable Internet access at all. That strikes me as strange in a city like DC where people appear to thrive on information — and sharing information. Go figure.

And I’m like most people these days — tethered to a computer, BlackBerry, iPhone, whatever for news and information. (See a recently released study by the Pew Research Center, “The New News Landscape: Rise of the Internet.” The hotel I stayed at doesn’t even drop a copy of the dead-tree edition of a newspaper in the hallway in front of your door anymore. And for the three days while attending a conference that looked at a host of education and business issues, I didn’t see one person reading a newspaper. Not one. But almost everyone sat through every session answering e-mails and texting. Hey, just like while driving. Woot.

Not sure what any of this means other than how we receive and process information sure has changed during the last decade or so. And certainly the dynamics of face-to-face communication have changed. Now you have an audience that is multitasking — and as a speaker you have to compete with Twitter, text messages and so on. I’m part of the generation that I don’t believe is very good at that. And this is one of the many challenges now facing teachers who stand in a classroom with students who view multitasking as second nature. Think about that the next time you opine on how easy it is to teach — or to motivate a classroom of students.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back in the heartland.

Now, all I need to do is figure out a way to get my foot to stop hurting so I can get back on the concrete in the early a.m.

Something tells me that I’m going to have more trouble with that than trying to listen to a speaker while answering text messages.


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