More like a cow than a rhino … and that’s ok

I was reading (and listening to) Vicky Davis’ post “Are you a bobblehead or a bumblebee?” and got to thinking about my years as a college volleyball coach. I worked hard to motivate my athletes to push through the hard times at practice and matches – I wanted them to be the best athletes and teammates they could be. One of my colleagues, the track coach, had a sign on her office door, “Cow or Rhino?” I thought that was a great motivator to remind our athletes to be aggressive rather than passive – a word picture that has stayed with me all these years.

Now, as a college professor, my motivational objectives are different, especially with the focus on the read/write web. I want my students (mostly K-12 teachers) to use the new tools to connect themselves and their students globally. I recently thought back to the cow vs. rhino metaphor and did some research to see if I could use it to motivate them to bigger and better things. I found some fun and interesting facts about cows and rhinos.

Cows – from the World Animal Foundation Adopt a Cow site cow

Cows are social ~ they can recognize more than 100 individuals ~ will closely bond to some herd members, while carefully avoiding others ~ maintain lifelong relationships with their peers ~ they “moo” to each to stay connected even when they can’t see each other ~ they will communicate through different body positions and facial expressions when they can see each other

Cattle will learn from each other’s mistakes ~ if one is shocked by an electric fence, others will become alarmed and avoid the source ~ if a herd is confined by an electric fence, only 30% will ever be shocked

Cattle have almost panoramic vision, which allows them to watch for predators or humans. They can see in color, except for red.

They have an amazing sense of smell, and can detect scents more than six miles away.

My favorite: Cattle enjoy swimming and running in the moonlight; when the moon is full they will remain active for longer periods between their two sleep sessions.

Anything sounds familiar? 🙂

Rhinos – from the Wild Ones and Wikipedia rhino

Rhinos are solitary in nature, usually living alone or in small groups of mother and offspring

Rhinos have small, widely positioned eyes that result in very poor eyesight. They have good hearing and sense of smell.

Two formidable horns are used for defense and intimidation ~ especially by males who fight over territory.

Their aggressive disposition discourages predators ~ nearsightedness seems to urge them to charge first and investigate later.

My least favorite: Rhinos mark their territories with urine and dung piles that can be three feet high!

As the title says, I’d rather be a cow than a rhino … and when it comes to social networking I think that’s a good thing. Cow characteristics can be seen every day in the postings and interactions of bloggers and wikiers around the world. Keep mooing!


4 thoughts on “More like a cow than a rhino … and that’s ok

  1. i heard that the rhino is natures fire fughters due to there strong sense of smell. i heard that they run up to camp fires, put them out, and run off. what do you know about this?

  2. Not a thing – interesting though. That provides some more information for determining differences between the two for distance education and embracing the 21st century tools.

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