Disruptive Technologies

Scott McDonald and I are getting set to once again teach our CI597 Disruptive Technologies in Teaching and Learning course again. I love the reaction people give us when they ask us the title of the course. I think so many people walk around with a really negative view of how technology can be used to support learning — way too many folks think we are just shoving technology at students. I don’t think that could be any further from the truth in our course. Our goal is always to help students work to understand the affordances of technologies within the context of designing learning environments. We will once again press our students to explore notions of community, identity, and design as we ask them to participate in lots of mini experiments along the way.

We want them to see not the specific technologies but what can be accomplished along the path of teaching and learning with technology — we want them to recognize how many of the new environments we are all participating in online can create and support a much richer learning experience. We want them to sit up and take some risks and explore. I’ll be sharing more thoughts about where we are and what we are doing as the spring semester gets rolling.

I Live in a Van Down by Duke University

It would be nice. A middle-class family might think it would be nice to have an in-ground swimming pool. A millionaire might think it would be nice to have a yacht. The billionaire, a private jet. Someone, somewhere might think it would be nice to have food to feed her family tonight. Someone, somewhere might think it would be nice to live in a van in order to afford to go to a wonderful school. I could begin satisfying my desires and buying comforts, but I’ve learned to appreciate what little I have instead of longing for what I do not.

via www.salon.com

I saw this posted by my friend and colleague Brad Kozlek and found it a wonderful read. Its a great story of how one student decided education was worth more than an iPod, heat, and the debt it takes to get it.

Twilight of the American Newspaper

Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink. The San Francisco Chronicle is owned by the Hearst Corporation, once the Chronicle’s archrival. The Hearst Corporation has its headquarters in New York City. According to Hearst, the Chronicle has been losing a million dollars a week. In San Francisco there have been buyouts and firings of truck drivers, printers, reporters, artists, editors, critics. With a certain élan, the San Francisco Chronicle has taken to publishing letters from readers who remark the diminishing pleasure or usefulness of the San Francisco Chronicle.

via harpers.org

Excellent. Sad. True.

Dragon’s Lair for the iPhone

The classic laserdisc video game Dragon’s Lair has made its way to the App Store this evening. Originally released to the arcade in 1983, this full motion animated game was a massive departure from the other games of the era.

via toucharcade.com

This is a game I can get behind. I remember when this got installed in the arcade at Kerr Union at Bloomsburg University when I was about 9 or 10. That was during a time when half of the downstairs of the Union was a giant arcade with billiard tables and games everywhere. Not only is the game play ridiculous by today’s standards, but just the thought of a University investing money into a gaming center is surprising … oh wait, never mind.

Age and Innovation – Inside Higher Ed

The challenge that I see is to align incentives (promotion and tenure) so that junior faculty can be incented to be as innovative in advancing their teaching (and partnering with learning technologists) as our senior tenured faculty. For now, I'll settle for convincing my Dad that his colleagues in the "over 50 crowd" are amongst our most innovative faculty when it comes to learning technology.

via www.insidehighered.com

I couldn't agree more and I think this is often a misrepresented point in the use of technology among faculty. More and more of the faculty we partner with are not brand new faculty — as a matter of fact, we often shy away from working with them. Not because they are not innovative, it is because we want them to focus on their scholarship and teaching so they can get tenure.

I really don't think it is age as much as it is interest in rethinking practice and staying current with certain trends. I do have plenty of young (newly hired) faculty who want to hang out and try interesting things, but it seems more and more that our more seasoned faculty want to play in the innovative teaching with technology space.

I like seeing pieces like this that work to dispel the rhetoric related to age v innovation. This is an important topic and can push us all the rethink how we target partnerships across campus.

As an aside, all of our TLT Faculty Fellows (except our research Librarian) have been tenured faculty with a decade or more of service to higher education.

The Stars Look Down — Jeffrey Zeldman

Sometimes, on the web, communities end because money runs out. Not the case here. Sometimes they end because one company buys another, and that is almost never good for anyone except a couple guys who get rich. Again, not the case here. No money changed hands or ever would have. This was an exchange far below the radar of the venture capitalists who flatten the earth in their endless quest for the gold that leaks from bubbles before they pop.

via www.zeldman.com

Interesting take on the Favrd closing from Zeldman … I really enjoyed seeing the site’s creator join the conversation stream. Through the related news I discovered Tweeteorites. There are some interesting identity questions wrapped up in this whole conversation that should be explored.