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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

iCranky

There’s a lot of talk in higher education circles about where technology fits in education these days, with the continuing expansion of online courses and degree programs and continually evolving tools, from mp3 players to social networking sites.

In an Inside Higher Ed column entitled, iCranky, Laurence Musgrove,an associate professor of English and foreign languages at Saint Xavier University, is another voice in favor of judicious use of technology in education.

What our students need is not more of what they come in the door with. They don’t need more of the same in the same way they got it before. They need to be confronted with people who talk about ideas that matter. They need to become people who can confront and talk to other people about ideas that matter. They need to sit in a room of people and learn about humanity.

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Inside Higher Ed has a story on Ithaka’s new report, University Publishing in a Digital Age.

The report and its authors are suggesting that university presses focus less on the book form and consider a major collaborative effort to assume many of the technological and marketing functions that most presses cannot afford, and that universities be more strategic about the relationship of presses to broader institutional goals.

Read the full report.

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James Lang, in a Chronicle of Higher Education column, “A Brain and a Book,” takes up Marc Prenksy’s “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.”

Lang presents the premise on which Prensky’s conclusions are based:

The title pretty much says it all: Our students are digital natives who have grown up in the land of technology and know no other way of operating in the world. Those of us who are a generation or two ahead of them are digital immigrants, who grew up in a different kind of world and now have to bumble our way around with our guidebooks. However comfortable we may eventually become with technology, we will remain immigrants, never as connected to the land as the natives.

And having been challenged by Prensky, thoughtfully progresses to his own conclusion:

Let’s welcome the pedagogical innovations of Prensky and his collaborators, but let’s give equal respect to George Justice and his class of students holding books and pens. Our students can learn equally well from both kinds of classrooms, and which one is used should depend upon the subject, the teacher, and the students. . . .

So let’s make use of the technologies that seem appropriate and effective, but let’s not neglect to remind students that, for their own good and that of the planet, sometimes they need to find a pocket of nature or an unplugged classroom somewhere, and sit there with nothing but a brain and a book.

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From the May 4 New York Times (online):

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. — The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did). . . .

So the Liverpool Central School District, just outside Syracuse, has decided to phase out laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of other schools around the country that adopted one-to-one computing programs and are now abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.

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PC World has posted the results of their recent search engine shoot-out.

Have you heard of AlltheWeb? It’s the #1 search engine according to PC World, giving the best results in their test.

How about AltaVista? It came in at #2.

Where’s Google? In the PC World ranking, just ahead of Yahoo! Search at #3.

Time to leave the Google nest?

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Teaching Naked

In Teaching Naked: Why Removing Technology from your Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, José Bowen argues that technology can be employed most effectively outside the classroom, freeing class time for substantive discussions among students and faculty that increase learning.

Flashy powerpoints with video and synchronous e-conferences are impressive, but the best reason to adopt technology in your courses is to increase and improve your naked, untechnological face-to-face interaction with students. Technology is often accused of pushing people further apart (the interaction is really with a computer screen and not another human being, they say) but a few minutes of questions at the end of an hour covering material from behind a podium is hardly an interactive experience either. However, simple, new technologies can greatly increase your students’ engagement outside of the classroom and thus prepare them for real discussions (even in the very largest classes) by providing content and assessment before class time. The goal, in other words, is to use technology to free yourself from the need to “cover” the content in the classroom, and instead use class time to demonstrate the continued value of direct student to faculty interaction and discussion.

From Tomorrow’s Professor Blog.

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