web and technology
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has awarded Bryn Mawr College a grant of up to $300,000 to evolve STEM teaching over the next three years to make BMC computer and information science programs more culturally accessible and substantive!
Liz McCormack, chair and professor of the Physics Department at Bryn Mawr College, leads this initiative, assisted by Doug Blank and Mark Matlin. The college will use this funding to develop online computing or programming instructional modules that the physics department can insert throughout curricula. These additions will supply students with exposure to new and innovative computing and information science skills.
These leaders hope this initiative will act as a model for other departments at Bryn Mawr as well as for other schools, especially those interested in increasing computer and information science exposure across the curriculum, in part, to reach a more diverse range of students than those that traditionally enter those fields.
MediaThread, a project created by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning through the Digital Bridges Initiative is a service that allows you to blend your thoughts with multimedia sources and share them with others. MediaThread supports video, images, metadata, and many content websites listed below. Most compatible with Firefox, MediaThread is currently being used by Columbia, MIT, Wellesley, Dartmouth, The American University in Cairo, and many other institutions of higher education.
Who can do what with MediaThread? Through MediaThread...
One thing I have learned from the NGLC blended learning and from working with various edu-tech tools and developers, is that the market is very much in flux. Inspired in part by the success of blended learning and the buzz around MOOCs, many companies are working on many different innovative tools and courseware packages, often in response to real needs identified by teachers and students. This is great news, but for the immediate future it means that most of us at some point will need to teach and learn with a tool that is still "in beta" and lacks the robust customer support or functionality of older, more established software.
I've written before about how difficult, yet ultimately rewarding, it can be to get used to working in a "live beta" mode, in which you publish or publicly try something you know to be half-baked, in order to get feedback on how it works in a real-world setting. A recent EdSurge article also offers some concrete logistical tips for instructors who find themselves in this position, due to the newness of the software tools they are trying to use -- such as workarounds for tools that lack "single sign-on" functionality.
I used to have a tee-shirt with the slogan “Night Owl Mystery Book Shop” on it. When the tee shirt got to small for me, I decorated my binder with it. I am now using that binder for this class, so the words “night owl” have been in the back of my mind lately. I chose my name to be “nightowl” because it reminds me of the school mascot and idealizes the time I will spend here in the libraries late at night. It is also nostalgic for my love of Harry Potter, which then reminds me of how much Bryn Mawr looks like Hogwarts.
My profile picture is of Cat Stevens with cats. The picture satisfies some sort of primal desire in me that wishes to see things organized by categories. I am going to listen to his music whenever I am feeling a bit down this semester.
During class, someone said that in Minecraft "like in SIMs, you are a person and you are creating a world" while trying to sum up the satisfying appeal to the game. I completely felt this as well while playing. There was something satisfying to being able to control my environment and decide my own course. This is a freedom I don't always have in everyday life because of time constraints, responsibilities, and money. These constraints don't exist in this game.
This comment also reminded me of a project my placement teacher did last year in his geometry class. The assignment was similar to a geometry assignment I've seen many times: design your dream house. The twist was that the class was to use google sketch-up, a google software used to make 3D models (when I worked in a blackbox theater, the set designer did his designs on this). Using sketch-up, the students would make a virtual 3D model of their (roofless) house, and then decorate it.
Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
In class, our group discussed Clark’s cyborg readings and how that played into our feelings towards the class. There was a general consensus amongst the people in our group that the Clark reading was more confusing rather than informative. The main reason I think this is, is the writing style that Clark adopts. In his writing, Clark tends to try to prove concepts by examples rather than solidifying his claims and arguments by using original research. Thus, Clark’s text seems more like a thoughtful muse, rather than a piece of writing meant to prove a certain fact.
I'm still struggling with figuring out what should education provide for humans, considering the new role of technology. I keep hearing the opinion that with computers around to help us, we can bypass the basics of math/science, depending on the computers for that knowledge, and skip right to the quantum mechanics and other higher-level ideas that we haven't taught computers how to do yet. My hesitation is that I am not convinced that higher-level ideas can be accessed without an understanding of how the basics work, especially when we want to put our current ideas to the test. I have trouble imagining a creative scientific process that relies on information feeding from computers. Also, I think it would be really difficult to solve a higher-level problem without having first grappled with the lower-level ideas first. Just because a machine can produce relevant information instantaneously doesn't automatically give this information meaning. What are ways a teacher can facilitate a deeper understanding/meaning to a concept, not burdening the student with calculations that computers can do, but still bearing in mind that any program created to help foster this understanding is a human creation and can still be (and should be) called into question.