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Why I am using HP LIFE in my Community College Classroom

Posted By Barbara Millard, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Give it up Mom, they aren’t going to read the book.” 

My desire to be an HP LIFE Ambassador stems mainly from frustrations related to students’ refusal to read the material from a traditional textbook. Several years ago, when my now 24 year old was still in college, he made a comment to me stating "Give it up Mom, they aren’t going to read the book.”  I had been scheming up all kinds of ways to get them to read the textbook….and it clearly wasn’t working. This generation is uninterested in reading and bored by worksheets. I needed something to liven up my business plan class and engage students in the materials…in a way that speaks to this generation….which usually means it needs to be technology based. Yes, I’ve created some engaging exercises on my own and many work well. However, with a full workload, that leaves little time to create exercises that entertain and engage this generation. In addition, even though I teach at a community college that has a great deal of resources, I don’t have the resources to create technology based exercises that match the quality of those in HP LIFE.  That is what students today want and especially for classes that are online, that is what students need. 

Student thinks HP LIFE modules are "are fun to do rather than a boring worksheet”

Enter HP LIFE. The units in HP LIFE are just what I was looking for to add new life to my teaching. They speak to the students in a manner in which they listen and respond. This past week, I asked one class to write down their response to the HP LIFE units in general. Here are a few comments: "I like them because of the hands on learning; "they are more engaging than an article or textbook chapter”; "they are fun to do rather than a boring worksheet” and my favorite…”they make you think”.

No longer jealous of the tech based resources "core” faculty they have available to them

As I visit with professors in other disciplines, I’ve sometimes been rather jealous of the tech based resources they have available to them. Peers who teach in areas that offer book publishers and other educational resource providers a larger market, tend to have tech based resources that span all areas of their discipline.  While most of us teaching in the area of Entrepreneurship believe that it should be a core subject for all college students, in reality, it isn’t and therefore, the market is small when compared to subjects like Biology and English. Consequently, we don’t have a lot of quality, innovative tech based teaching tools to use in our classrooms or online.

HP LIFE is filling that void and filling it well

For me, HP LIFE is filling that void and filling it well. Would I still like to have them read the textbook and highlight all over it like I did back in the 70’s? Sure….but, it isn’t the 70’s. I’m not ready to fully take my son’s advice and "Give it up” but I’m thrilled to have alternative resources for my students. I still have hope that these resources might inspire them to dig deeper into the subject whether it be by reading in more depth in the textbook or digging deeper through the Next Steps section in HP LIFE….and I’m finding that some students are doing just that.

Barbara Millard Barbara is an Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship Program at Johnson County Community College where she teaches FastTrac Business Plan, Opportunity Analysis, and Family Business. She also operates BCM Training and Development which provides curriculum development and training in the area of entrepreneurship.


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Otis J. White says...
Posted Saturday, September 28, 2013
Connecting students with the wider world of entrepreneurship is an important pedagogical goal for all of us in the classroom. The HP Life connection helps accomplish that goal through its connection to Global Citizen ( This high quality, international organization connects people and leaders through a significant set of channels from social media to blogs and personal stories from around the world. The concert in Central Park today, dedicated to awareness of women's issues around the world, is a great example of how the power of people can make a difference in how we think and act as citizens of our planet. What we know from the research is that every one makes a difference and each personal success raises all boats ... whether they are in the US, Malaysia, China or anywhere else. It is the personal success of individuals that moves a modern economy forward. Governments that help remove the barriers to that success wind up with a stronger nation.

Entrepreneurship is the vehicle which offers escape from poverty to hundreds of millions of people across the globe. As HP Life teachers we contribute to that movement by helping our students see the larger picture of success they can achieve if only they give it a try. Our students are seeing the bigger picture ... and acting locally on many issues. That is a win for all of us ... OJW
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