Weekend reading (April 11)

April 11, 2014, 9:30 am


Spring, rising from the ashes. Or the mulch.

It was a busy week here at Casting Out Nines, with this post generating more comments than any other one I’ve ever had – and quite a lot of heat as well in the comment section. Let’s take a break from all that with some interesting stuff from around the interwebs:

I’ve been a big fan of the programming language Scratch – designed for kids to use – for a long time, and Mark Guzdial reports on the new ScratchJr project that aims to bring coding to kids of even younger ages. I’d be thrilled to have this publicly available by summertime so I can foist it upon my 10- and 8-year olds.

Lifehacker describes how being humble, kind, and calm will make your life easier. This is always good advice, especially for people in academia and doubly so this time of the year.

On that same note, Profhacker has this article on work-life balance but with a slightly different take than the usual ones aimed at academic types. Jason Jones, the author, describes why expecting balance as an academic can lead to madness but learning how to manage other people’s expectations of your time can put you in a position to work toward balance with reasonable expectations of success.

Speaking of work, this summer and fall I’ll be traveling to give workshops on flipped learning and other items. This article “Professional Development Doesn’t Have to Suck” gave me a lot of ideas for how to make workshops engaging and successful. I don’t think I’ll be bringing all the fancy food anytime soon, but the point is taken.

Also at work, I am just wrapping up teaching a cryptography class for the first time since 2006 and it’s been a blast. This Reddit thread is handy for anybody who wants to get started in cryptography via self-study. I don’t think I would start off with Schneier, though – too encyclopedic. I’m a fan of the Stinson textbook and especially Trappe and Washington, which has been my go-to reference for a long time.

Another thing I am a fan of is my Blue Yeti microphone, which I use for all my screencasting. It was just voted the Most Popular Desktop Microphone by Lifehacker users.

I also like my iPad quite a lot, and this article (again from Lifehacker) gives a bunch of apps and accessories for turning the iPad into a (partial, at least) laptop replacement. I may have to go get the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, because my keyboarding skills using the on-screen keyboard are somewhere down around “Recovering from a brain injury” level.

Coming next week, as grading and project assessments and final exams permit, I’ll be posting here to address some of the objections and skepticisms raised this week about flipped learning. And I have two more posts about the flipped calculus class from the fall semester to show you.


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