Watch professor smash laptop in front of class


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/12/watch-professor-smash-laptop-i.html


#2

Gosh, what a thrill.


#3

“When I had their attention, I called out our charge – to break from stereotypes, view the world through a lens of compassion, to be inclusive in all your actions, to make artifacts and experiences that are poetic and provocative, to use and develop your skills and passions to create change and to improve the lives and well being across communities, neighborhoods, society, and the world, and most of all to be the authentic you.”

Is that really what they’re going to take from this? Or does it just further the students’ distrust of reality, so that everything they experience is believed to be fake and not worthy of any redeeming action?

That car crash I just witnessed? Staged, and therefore I don’t need to stop and help the “victims.”

This person having a seizure on a crowded city sidewalk? Performance art. “Bravo, sir,” I say to myself as I continue to my destination.


#4

He could try teaching. It’s much easier.


#5

all great, but next time distribute safety glasses to the first row.


#6

So, he smashed a fake laptop to try and teach his students about dropping their expectations? Seems like theatrical bullshit to me. Then again, I’m an old fart, so GET OFF MY LAWN!


#7

And maybe have a Class D fire extinguisher on hand, too. Lithium is no laughing matter.


#8

I feel like the instructor is a little confused about what expectations are. In this case, the expectation that he is “challenging” – “professors need laptops and therefore don’t break them” – seems like it is a weak expectation at best (we know that people do smash very expensive electronic items), and is even undermined by aspects of him (relatively affluent white men are more likely than average to smash electronic items, just look on youtube).

At best, this is a surprising, but understandable occurrence.

To my mind, in order to challenge expectations, he should have staged something which was actually impossible normally (For example, eating the laptop – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWB-kuyxe3M). Or, he could have changed the way that the laptop was destroyed (rather than use a white dude, maybe it could come to life and kill itself, or re-arrange itself into a shoe).

Anyway, @PatrickD is totally on the right track.


#9

I was once on a double date with this couple in Waterloo, Ontario. The dude was the head of some software organization that’ll remain nameless…since this is Canada, I’ll call it “Igloo Software”.

He seemed like a nice enough guy. A nerd, obviously. He told me that as a manager it was a good investment of resources for him to periodically smash his laptop against the wall when meeting with his subordinates. It got them motivated for a reasonable price I guess.

I always thought, “I’m glad I don’t work there. In fact, I’d better tell others about this kind of behaviour too.”


#10

First World Problems


#11

Excellent way to wake up a class!

The best college professors I had were the ones that students had to keep an eye on, because they might be up to something.


#12

In listening to the speech and reading the text, I’m overall positive on this teacher’s strategy, although it was tempered with some of the cynicism expressed by @michaeljtobias and @jtoddleffar. Because his strategy was stated to be about discarding expectations about the class and themselves as students, his admitted theater of the laptop smash punctuating the lecture was a means to illustrate that end, so I don’t think that is incompatible with it being faked. I’ll side with this strategy being healthy and productive for an obligation as rote as an academic classroom. perhaps my admitted stereotype of an engineering class and its students is also in play, here.

But the theater of it does still send a mixed message, and I’m also a bit wary of the type of teacher who makes a deliberate play to be a “down with the kids” Dead Poets Society-type teacher. Maybe I shouldn’t be cynical of that. Even if deliberate, I reckon that’s more valid than the all-too-familiar type of teacher whose lectures are exact re-capitulations of the text’s assigned reading from the previous night. But the trap of a grown person coming off as desperate for the approval of teenagers is palpable.

Overall I give him a B.


#13

I remember a professor who likes to do pranks like that. That year I hid in the chemistry fume hood behind the blackboard (slowly suffocating from the experimental chemicals all around me). When he finally rolled that blackboard up, I sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. He was the first person I ever saw use the eye wash station as he screamed in pain from the baking powder in the eyes.

That pranks are fun attitude seemed to be the start of a wave of leaving 55 gallon cans of water leaned against peoples dorm rooms so they got flooded when they opened the doors.

I look back and cringe at my poor judgement in being so unconcerned for others health or property. And I was the good kid who never got in trouble. Giving teenage minds a dose of the thrill of felony property damage is a dangerous thing.


#14

It’s like a 14 year old trying to be deep.


#15

Survival Research Laboratories does excellent work but this is just some edgelord bullshit.


#16

LOL, that was funny.


#17

I actually had a situation like this. In my critical thinking class back at community college, which is a required course for just about everyone, a significant portion of the people were the “why am I even here and why are you trying to actually teach us” variety. One day the teacher, probably the favorite I’ve ever had, go really worked up and offered the student a deal: walk out of the class right now, don’t say anything, don’t tell anyone, and I’ll give you a C and you never have to see me again. If you’re comfortable making me lie to the administration I’ll do it for you, and it’s on you, me, and the rest of the class to just ever tell anybody.

THAT was subverting expectations.When have you ever had a professor who, a third through the semester, just goes “if you really don’t think it’s worth it to be here, leave and you’ll get a passing grade.”? He apologized for it next class but said that he’d genuinely meant it but it was inappropriate to offer it. People took the class more seriously after that.

There was also the discrete math teacher who liked to troll the class. First day of class we had clicker quizzes (multiple choice quizzes that a whole class of 100+ people can take efficiently.) He kept the chemistry slides up for the first question rather than the actual question so that everyone had to guess. He’d do other stuff like skip to the next question before the time was up, pull up the class stats when a lot of people got the question wrong to watch as people poured into the most popular answer. He also turned on a bunsen burner and left it unlit for a whole class period until the gas was annoying enough that we all had to leave early. That guy’s another one of my favorite teachers ever…


#18

Please, contain your excitement! There may be persons of a delicate disposition reading.


#19

Can we get him counseling instead?


#20

My friend’s dad was one such a professor. Apparently, he liked to bust into the room during finals and yell, “NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!” and then disappear.