December 8, 2011, 11:00 am
It’s the end of the fall semester and the beginning of December…That means it’s time for ProfHacker’s annual—and EPIC—holiday gift guide!
EPIC enough for ALL CAPS. And more than a few exclamation points!!!
There’s sure to be something here for your loved ones, friends and neighbors, and just possibly yourself. We’ve got fun stuff, we’ve got work stuff. Gadgets, books, foodie favorites. And if you don’t see a gift idea here, take a look at our 2010 and even 2009 holiday gift guides. (more…)
October 26, 2011, 8:00 am
So much is possible with a pen and paper at hand. Ideas don’t get lost, time doesn’t get wasted, and information is easily shared. If I have pen and paper, I can list, sketch, mindmap, or write, wherever I may be. I can easily move from one mode to another without changing tools.
Yet I also love the clean display, backup, and easy duplication that digital tools offer, and much of what I write by hand eventually gets transferred to a digital format for safekeeping or later reference. One of the keys to working productively is figuring out which tools appeal to you and work well for you under specific circumstances. So even though I have a smartphone which I can use to jot down book titles, errand lists, or other miscellaneous information, there are many occasions on which I prefer to use pen and paper.
In some situations, writing with pen and paper is more discreet, particularly …
October 20, 2011, 3:00 pm
The problem of scholarship in our age is one of abundance, not scarcity. Leaving aside everything that comes through the internet, the stream of books, journals, and other publications is overwhelming. We’ve covered some tools that help organize the flood: Brian has written about Read It Later, an excellent service for saving web articles that I also use. Almost two years ago I wrote about “Keeping Up with Journals,” and since journal publishers are scarcely the most innovative of institutions, what I suggested there probably still holds. But this still leaves us (or me, at any rate) with the problem of how to keep a list of books that I ought to read. I’ve tried three ways of managing a reading list, none of them wholly satisfactory.
The way that I thought held the most promise was with Zotero. I would add publications that I should read to Zotero as I would any other potentially us…
September 29, 2011, 3:00 pm
A little over a month ago, we had a death in the family. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, although it didn’t happen quite on the schedule that we had anticipated. To get my wife home, I needed to book a cross-country flight, and I needed it to leave within 18 hours. As I steeled myself to look at the ticket prices between Atlanta and a small regional airport, I had a stray thought tickle my mind. When investigating flight change policies in the past year, I had noticed that the fees that are normally assessed in such situations can be waived in the case of a family death. I wondered if there might be such a thing as discounted fares for those who had lost a family member.
The answer, it turns out, is yes. Most of the major airlines offer what are collectively known as “bereavement fares.” (Continental calls them “compassion fares.”) While most of us purchase airline tickets online these…
August 2, 2011, 3:00 pm
For the first time in about twelve years, I have a period coming up in which I will have no access to communication devices – no internet, no cell phone, nothing. But being connected is a significant element of my professional and personal life. I like to think that the people with whom I interact trust that they can get in touch with me and get a response in a timely manner. Being a trustworthy and timely responder is important to me.
So I’m thinking about how to prepare for this in a way that respects those who might need to communicate with me during that time. I’d like to know what ProfHacker readers do, and maybe some of our readers would too. So let us know in the comments how you manage communication blackout.
[Image Creative Commons licensed / Flickr user aussiegall]
June 23, 2011, 3:00 pm
Hopefully you’ve heard by now, but clickers are a great tool to use in the classroom to facilitate student learning through peer instruction (PI). Much has been written about them, and if you are new to clickers and PI I encourage you to take a look at what others have said about them, especially the pedagogy they support. Two must-have starting resources are Eric Mazur’s Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual and Derek Bruff’s Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments.
What I like about Bruff’s book is that he uses the more general term of “classroom response systems”(CRS) instead of clickers. As Nathanial Lasry said in his article, “Clickers or Flashcards: Is There Really a Difference?” (Phys. Teach. 46, 242 (2008) ), “the pedagogy is not the technology by itself.” Clickers are great for implementing the pedagogy, but sometimes the expense or…
May 26, 2011, 8:00 am
Last summer, Erin wrote about how and why she converted one of the walls in her home into a giant chalkboard. I have always wanted to have a large, metal bulletin board in my office. When people asked me why I wanted one, I never could give an answer. I just wanted a big space where I could play and organize. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very right-brained, which means I like to have things out in the open rather than in files or drawers (whether physical or digital). I already have a lot of shelves in my home office, but I wanted a flat space where I could post whatever I wanted and remove it and start over on a whim. I finally found a four-foot by four-foot board online and installed it over spring break. I admit, I would have gone bigger, but the shipping costs grew exponentially once you go over four feet. But I hung it as soon as it arrived and kept it…
May 25, 2011, 8:27 am
Via the Official Google Blog comes news of this year’s “Random Hacks of Kindness,” locally-hosted events that will take place the weekend of June 4-5. As described by Google, the event is driven by the idea that “technology can and should be used for good. RHoK brings together subject matter experts, volunteer software developers and designers to create open source and technology agnostic software solutions that address challenges facing humanity.”
Now in its third year, the project has–among other things–created a few tools designed to be useful in crisis situations: I’m OK!, CHASM, and Person Finder. (A complete list of projects can be found on the RHoK wiki.)
Essentially, the program asks contributors to define a problem (such as those on this list) that might be addressed by the volunteer hackers who attend the local events (such as those on this list), from São Paulo to…
April 29, 2011, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Anastasia Salter, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Baltimore in the school of Information Arts and Technologies. Her academic work focuses on storytelling in new media; she also writes the Future Fragments column for Cin City. Her previous post on ProfHacker was "How to 'Gamify' Your Class Website." You can follow her on Twitter at @MsAnastasia.--@jbj]
Does your department’s office have any dead space? Something that was well-intentioned but never really of much use to anyone? We have an awkward space in our department that we call our lobby. Less generous people have said that it looks like something out of the basement of the CIA. Steel gray sofas, bright blue walls, wooden tables, and a pile of magazines–all arranged under unflattering fluorescent lights. Most of the time, it goes unoccupied, a sad waste of space in an office that could …