Category Archives: inspirations

I am Joe’s Goals…

If you haven’t cleaned out the garage for some time, in the back corner, underneath the yogurt maker, the budgie cage, the fondue set, and those lovely dayglo orange lampshades (no, wait, there’s a fortune to be made in retro decor) there’s a pile of slightly musty Reader’s Digest magazines. The third one down (no, the OTHER third one) contains an article entitled “I am Joe’s Heart”, or “I am Joe’s Lung”, or “I am Joe’s Gonad”. I should mention that I believe DeWitt and Lila Wallace are perhaps the first bloggers – they took content from other sources and repurposed it for their own publication, and they incorporated feedback – jokes and comment from readers. I always used to try to nail the ‘Word Power’ section. Usually got near to it. But I digress.

It should come as no surprise that some enterprising person should repurpose ‘I am Joe’s bits’ into Joe’s Goals. I’m liking the simple and effective interface, and the generally useful journal. Compact, speedy, versatile – it just works. And as seeing as I’m more likely to have net access with a spare moment than a pen and a diary, that’s a good thing. I also like the positive reinforcement of the chart. Here’s what other people are using Joe’s Goals for – the most popular goals from the last 7 days:

Get Inspired with Joe’s Goals
Thousands of people use Joe’s Goals every day to track their consistency in accomplishing their every day goals. This page is meant to inspire you to get started tracking and meeting your goals. See what others are doing and get ideas to help you live your life more effectively.

When you click on the links you can see how well the rest of the vitamin takers/nail nibbler/flossers are doing. Kind of compelling in an almost too much information kind of way, but you keep clicking anyway – I mean, who knew?

the impact of technology

I was talking to my Mum and she mentioned how she was very impressed with our (Marica and my) graduation back in May. I was intrigued – granted Mum hasn’t been to any of my previous graduations due to the conspicuous lack of previous graduations, however I was interested to hear her thoughts. Mum’s 89, by the way.

She said she was how struck by the way we learned and managed our study. “Everything’s on computer – which is really good, because you only have to put it down once and then you’ve got it. In our day all we had to write on was a slate and then we had to rub it off because there was no more room. We had to remember everything, because there was no way we could store it.”

I’d never thought about it before, but I realised how much would’ve been remembered by rote learning, chanted times tables, sung alphabets – I heard on the radio (while driving up to see Mum) a comment about how the Wellington branch of the Royal Society was running a competition for a snappy new way (a mnemonic) of remembering the planets, seeing as Pluto had been downgraded. Kim Hill also read someone’s elaborate mnemonic story which contained the various time periods in the development of Earth. I can only remember the ‘Silurian Epoch’ and that because I was a Rick Wakeman fan as a teen. Alarmingly, that dates me even more than saying how old my mother is.

I’d never thought about rote learning as being a technique for replacing a big hard drive. It occured to me that another string to the rote learning bow is in story telling. There’s been discussion here in NZ about the teaching of religion in primary schools, and without wanting to kick off any scabs there, much of our cultural metaphor is based on the bible stories, like it or lump it. The Noah and the Flood, Samson and Delilah, the prodigal son, Jonah and the whale – the list of stories goes on – whether you choose to include the spiritual content or not. It would be impossible to include a review of western culture without including some reference to work inspired by the stories contained in the bible. It’s also impossible to interpret the works without the vocabulary. I thought of it as general knowledge. Marica calls it (more accurately, in my opinion) global literacy. Every culture has a global literacy – I suspect this is why even after living in a different culture for a very long time, it’s possible to to be tripped on a small stub – a story meme, theme, or subtle nuance you couldn’t access unless you’d learned it at your mother’s or father’s knee.

In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations product details at Amazon Jerry Mander writes (amongst other things) about the impact of electronic media on residents of the snow bound northern Canada regions, and how the loss of the traditional stories (and more importantly the story telling in itself) also meant the loss of the transmission of the survival techniques – the lesson contained in the stories that got told over and over. I think this is one of the essential weaknesses of digital storytelling, even though it’s a lot of fun to make, it’s still a filtered method of storytelling – it’s push technology as well.

I like portable tools I can use immediately, when batteries are not only not included, they’re not needed. Rote learning suddenly seemed like an exciting and new approach when the storage facilities are limited. Singing. Chanting. Mnemonics. Rhymes. Storytelling. Who knew? Good on you, Mum, I’m still learning from you.