Educational Technology

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Using Google+ hangout to connect around the world

October 14th, 2011 · No Comments

We here in Instructional Technology have recently come across the fantastic world of Google+ and how it can be used for education.  It started with a request to have some video conferencing available for one of our professors.  We had a number of options we could go with, but each seemed overly cumbersome without any added benefit.  Ultimately, we decided to go with the hangout feature of Google+.  Best decision we could have made.  It was incredibly easy to connect with the person of the other end (first time in Seattle, second time with someone in Scotland).  Everyone could hear and see well and the class really enjoyed the experience.  Many students remarked that, for them, this was the best style of guest lecturing they had every seen.

We were also able to use this to help a professor teach her classes from a distance as she needed to be away.  Again, this was a great experience and the students were able to avoid missing two classes and the valuable information that was given.

I am sure there are going to be even more opportunities in the days ahead to use this technology and we are excited for all the ways it can have a positive impact on the learning process.

→ No CommentsTags: Classroom · Ed Tech · Emerging Technologies

iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, Sprint, and Thunderbolt!

October 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

Ok, so the first three are far more likely than the last, but having purchased a macbook pro this past summer with its super awesome thunderbolt port, I am just dying to have stuff to plug into this thing.  So, I had the idea that maybe, just maybe, Apple could put a thunderbolt port on the new iPhone (whatever number/ letter they assign to it).  I have some cool ideas for what they could do with this port:

First thing, there would absolutely have to be a thunderbolt to 30 pin adapter.  This should come with the phone (won’t happen as Apple loves to make you buy accessories every chance they get).  This way, anything you have previously purchased for your iPhone would still be usable.  Because thunderbolt can work with a variety of connectors, this shouldn’t be that hard.

Secondly, this could lead the way for a “Bionic iPhone”.  The Droid Bionic is a cool concept, and with a dual core processor and a thunderbolt port, this phone could totally handle being the computing power for your lapdock.  I think you should be able to slide the phone into the lapdock though, not rest it on the back of the machine.  Much safer to put it inside (with vents of course).

Thirdly, you could use the already existing thunderbolt to HDMI adapter to send streaming HD videos from your iPhone  to the tv.  Great if you are on the road and want to watch your favorite streaming service on a larger screen.

Those are just a few ideas for a Thunderbolt-equipped iPhone.  If you have more thoughts, leave them in the comments.

→ No CommentsTags: Emerging Technologies · Hardware & Software

Before Y2K…

September 9th, 2011 · No Comments

At the start, let me say that this was new information for me when I read it today.  I was around for Y2K and I remember the panic it caused for some people.  I had friends whose parents went out and stocked up on food and supplies.  If you are too young to remember, that’s ok.  Some people took it very seriously, others just didn’t understand what the big deal was.

Well today is September 9th.  And this is an important day in tech history for a similar reason as Y2K.  In an article in the Wired website, the scare of 9/9/99 is recounted.  Apparently this extension might be put on the end of file as an indication to stop running whatever program they were running.  The fear was that programs might read this date and stop running programs prematurely, thus causing some potential significant problems.  However, much like Y2K, everything kept plugging along like it was supposed too.

So, the question becomes, what is the next date in the tech world that is going to cause all sorts of wide spread panic and the need to stock the shelves.  Have we learned the lessons from Y2K and 9/9/99, or will we always be fearful that some day, the calendar change will destroy the world’s infrastructure.  We will all just have to wait and see.

→ No CommentsTags: Tech In History

It’s a bird, It’s a plane, It’s…an iPad?

September 6th, 2011 · No Comments

Before you get too excited, this is not an article about flying iPads or a new app that gives your iPad a turbo-rocket booster so you can fly around campus using your iPad (though that would be really awesome).  Instead, this is a mention of the way technology is replacing printed documents everyday in places that we may not even think of.  Recently, United and Continental Airlines replaced their flight manuals with iPads.  The old manual could weigh about 35 pounds and flipping through all the pages meant it would take longer to find the information you needed.  Now that the manual is incorporated into the iPad, it is lighter and easier to use.  Below is a link to the article, which also talks about other airlines and industries replacing paper with iPads.


Now, about that rocket booster….

→ No CommentsTags: Emerging Technologies · Hardware & Software

iPad Update!

August 31st, 2011 · No Comments

So last year, we had a post about the iPad coming to Washington College.  Since then, a lot has happened.  We have completed our first successful iPad Pilot Program for the Spring ’11 semester and we are looking forward to our Fall ’11 Program kicking off tomorrow!  Not only do we have the 1st generation iPads, but we also have a shiny new batch of 2nd generation iPads.

We have five classes participating this semester and we are excited to get feedback from all of those classes on what they think of the iPad and its usefulness in (and out) of the classroom.  We have some handy-dandy surveys for participants to complete that can be accessed using the link below and from our main page.

If you don’t have the opportunity to be part of the program this fall, don’t worry.  We are already working on the Spring ’12 semester program.

iPad Survey

→ No CommentsTags: Announcement · Classroom · Ed Tech · Hardware & Software

Macx DVD Ripper Pro 3.0.0 – Free download(Win/Mac)

January 12th, 2011 · No Comments

It’s a bargain – but you only have until January 18, 2011 to take advantage of it. Six Revisions and MacXDVD Software have teamed up to offer a free download of Macx DVD Ripper Pro 3.0.0, which usually retails for $34.99. Go to the giveaway page to download either a Windows or Mac OS X version. And no, we’re not encouraging you to use this in violation of copyright law, but it is a very legitimate tool to use in converting your own original content from dvd format to mp4, h264 and other formats.

→ No CommentsTags: Ed Tech · Hardware & Software

Fun With Volume Keys

September 22nd, 2010 · No Comments

Did you know that you don’t have to hear the squawking noise Mac OS X makes every time you adjust your volume up or down?  Simply hold Shift while adjusting sound to do it silently.  Could come in handy for those times when you don’t want to disrupt a movie or audio clip in class but need a little more (or less) oomph.

Also useful: holding Option+Shift while adjusting the volume will take it up or down in 1/4 step increments for much finer control.

One final note: holding down just Option while pressing the volume keys will cull up the Sound panel of the System Preferences.  Handy for switching audio sources, etc.

(Thanks, THU)

→ No CommentsTags: Hardware & Software

Chesapeake Semester: Media Days in Beck

September 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Yesterday saw the Chesapeake Semester students stop by Beck Instructional Lab for several expert-led sessions on multimedia production dubbed “Media Days.” Lessons included audio recording with WRNR host Michael Buckley, interviewing techniques with Betsy Kulman, photography tips with MPC manager Brian Palmer, video production with Instructional Technologists Nancy Cross and Nick Smerker and a wrap up session on putting it all together with blogs.  Students also met the iPads that they will be taking with them into the field starting next week.  Program Coordinator, Mike Hardesty thought these sessions got the students off on the right foot – and we all look forward to seeing their projects progress this Fall!

→ No CommentsTags: Announcement · Classroom · Hardware & Software · Training

HTML5 is Alive in The Wilderness Downtown

August 31st, 2010 · No Comments

I’d normally say “Watch” for something of this sort, but Arcade Fire went entirely HTML5 extravaganza on us with their new project in support The Suburbs.  Appropriately, my own experience of this Google Maps-enabled mix of audio, video, text and on the fly graphics wouldn’t work with the childhood address I provided it so I used a friend’s suburban home instead.  I think it came out for the better because trees bursting through the ground and birds swooping down from the skies are pretty much par for the course back in the wilds of my home.

Anyway, if you have five minutes to be amazed by the possibilities of HTML5, “The Wilderness Downtown” is more than worth your time.

→ No CommentsTags: 3D Visualization · Art · Emerging Technologies · Future Media · State of the Net

Know The Students

August 24th, 2010 · No Comments

The New York Times has published a rather lengthy article on the concept of a new developmental stage known as “emerging adulthood.” The hallmarks of this proposed addition to birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood is a constant sense of limitless potential, a meandering attitude towards committing to a particular path towards that potential and a disinterest in setting to work on the “normal” milestones of becoming an adult in our society.

Sound familiar?  Take a look at your classmates/students.

“If emerging adulthood is so important, why is it even possible to skip it?”

Now, not all twenty-somethings have been placed into the same boat.  Not everyone has helicopter parents or access to parental financial backing – or abuses it, if they do.  Not everyone is completely adrift upon graduation.  But the reality is that there is a new way of becoming an adult taking shape even if it’s not necessarily a hard and fast life-stage.

So, when classes start again next week, be sure to take into account the fact that today’s students are not all here as adults.  But some of them might just emerge that way by the time their ride through Washington College is through.

→ No CommentsTags: Classroom · Essays · State of the Net