FC: A Whirlwind of a Project
1: I once made the mistake of complaining to my mother about how hard it is to write a paper on a computer. Instead of arguing with me, she pulled out her old army-green typewriter and told me to start writing. Pulling the arm open, forcing the paper in, clamping it down, yanking it into the proper position and forcing the keys to cooperate was enough of a process and it didn't even get through the first line.
2: My mother wanted me to understand how writing has advanced with new technologies. Yet, it was not until my third year of college as an English Major that her point became even more obvious.
3: "Oh, and you should probably choose someone in the group to act as the editor for the paper so that it doesn't read like something written by five different people." Suddenly everyone in my group was looking at me. | I was taking an "Atmospheric Hazards" geography class, and i was out of my element. At the beginning of class one day our Professor announces that we are going to do a group project. He tells us that we need to write a fifteen-page group paper and make a power point. | Geog 3130
4: Not counting myself, I was unanimously voted into office as the official editor of the paper. We now had to pick a topic, and John was already campaigning for something called the "Super Tornado Outbreak". No one else had any ideas, so we went with his plan. | After class, by the time I got back to my room I already had a series of emails from my group-mates.
5: John: Hey guys! so, I think we should divide the proj. up into:" the national event, one state effected by the event, a single tornado within the event, how national policy changed due to the event and how state policy changed" Steve- Cool, shotgun the state event one. We should do Kentucky. PS. I can put the ppt together too. Send me the slides you want and I can make it one big thing. John- Sounds good. The paper is due this friday so we should have everything sent to Mary by, like, 7pm on Thurs. that work? Steve- Totally!!!!! Sam- Yup, I got national event. Awesome we've got an English major. You can make us sound pretty!!! Jess- Cool, I can do whatever's left. Thanks Mary!
6: Awesome. Despite the unpromising start, I began by Googling the Super Outbreak. I discovered that it was a huge supercell thunderstorm that created a recorded 148 tornadoes in two days. These tornadoes touched down in fifteen different states and cause a lot of damage.
7: Over the net week, I did most of my research old school, at the library. I checked out books and read a lot of science facts. But on the Thursday before the project was due, I got an unsettling email.
8: John's | Computer | Had Crashed | *&^%*
9: And with that, the freaking out began. He was going to spend the rest of the day at a computer center and we were going to keep trudging through the project without him.
10: Luckily, I had finished my paper the day before, so now I just had to wait for the other group members to send me their work. | At 7pm, I started sending out emails every five minutes asking for the papers. We were running out of time.
11: I started getting both papers and apologies by 8pm. Most of my group members had been trying to lengthen their papers, yet somehow each and every one of them managed to barely write over two pages. | I was having to do a lot of spelling corrections, sentence restructuring and word changing. the majority of my work was making small changes to most of the sentences in order to make ti coherent.
12: By two in the morning, I was almost done with the paper. John had magically gotten his work retyped and sent it to me and I had compiled all of the essays but one. Jess had just sent me an email promising that I would have his paper within ten minutes. I sat there drinking down tea to try to stay awake, clicking the refresh button on my email, when it suddenly hit me.
13: Even though it was two in the morning, and even though we had been working on it for a week, This project would have been impossible before computers. In order to write our own sections, we used separate programs in separate buildings. If we had each been using a typewriter, we would have had to meet up, go over each page, edit them on pieces of paper, then type it all out again and pray we didn't make a mistake.
14: Maybe it was the sleep-deprivation talking, but this paper actually not that bad. Granted, my group members weren't easy to work with, but if it hadn't been for email and .docs we would have had even more trouble. If these people had been hard to work with now, what would it be like if we had to actually meet in order to get this done. We were able to act as though we had gotten together without actually getting together.
15: By 2:30 am, Jess sent me his portion of the paper along with a very long apology. By 3:00, the paper was done and I was falling down in bed. Even though it had been a hard process, I learned the importance of using technology in order to collaborate and share work. Like my mother's typewriter, this project taught me that the value of technology was not in a price tag, but in how it can better the life of the user.