Category Archives: Gadgets


New Model of ‘Smart Campus’? Carnegie Mellon to Embed Sensors Across Landscape

Imagine a world where you’re driving to campus, and before you get there, your car tells you to park in one lot because it already knows another is full. That could soon be the reality at Carnegie Mellon University, where researchers have teamed up with Google to place wireless sensors around the campus to connect everyday items with the web.

The idea is to make life more convenient, and to provide useful data about the campus, said Anind K. Dey, the project’s lead investigator and an associate …


Another Use for Yik Yak on Campus? Cheating on Exams


With new technologies come new ways to cheat. Yik Yak, the anonymous, location-based app that has been a hotbed of cyberbullying on college campuses, is also the newest tool for students seeking to cheat on exams.

J. Scott Christianson, an assistant teaching professor in the department of management at the University of Missouri at Columbia, has been monitoring Yik Yak recently to see what students are talking about.

When he was on the app, he saw several yaks about an exam. It looked as if a s…


Wearable Teaching? College to Experiment With Apple Watch as Learning Tool

Even before the Apple Watch was released, professors and pundits began speculating on whether it and other wearable devices might play a role in college classrooms. On Monday researchers at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus announced that they would be among the first to test the device’s usefulness in the classroom.

The experiment will begin this summer, with eight Apple Watches the university purchased for the project. Penn State plans to expand the research to more students in the f…


What Might an Apple Watch for Higher Education Look Like?

An Apple Watch that’s tailored to meet the needs of academics could be the next big thing in higher education. Someday.

The technology giant held an event this week to show off its new device, and that prompted Sylvain Deville, a research scientist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, to reimagine the Apple Watch as a scholar-friendly device. He called his creation Apple Watch Academia, and shared it on Twitter with the fake promotion “Science. In real time.”


Free iPads, With a Catch: They’ll Squeal if You Cut Class

Lynn University, a small institution in Boca Raton, Fla., started giving away iPads to all its new students about a year and a half ago. Now there is a catch: If those students cut class, their iPads might tattle on them.

The university is planning to try out a new app, called Class120, to “ping” its students’ iPads during class periods. If GPS or the campus wi-fi network indicates that someone’s device is not present, the app will send the student an automated reminder, and may notify his or he…


App Gives Students an Incentive to Keep Their Phones Locked in Class

screen568x568Resisting the urge to pull out your phone in class is quite difficult for many students, apparently. There are texts to answer, emails to read, snapchats to send, and rude comments to post on Yik Yak. But two students at California State University at Chico have created something they hope will persuade students to keep their phones tucked firmly in their pockets: An app that rewards them with coupons for local businesses when they exhibit self-control and leave their phones untouched during cla…


Surprising Gadgets, Not Just Books, Are Ready for Checkout at College Libraries

Justin Ellis’s official title at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s library is instructional-technology associate, but he thinks of himself as the gadget guy. He manages a program at the library that lets students and professors check out a growing catalog of computers, cameras, and other electronics—a selection more akin to a Best Buy store than a lending library. A colleague, Ameet Doshi, compares him to the character Q in the James Bond series because he not only has the latest device bu…


New App Measures Students’ Moods and Mental Health

A computer-science professor at Dartmouth College is building a smartphone application that can detect users’ levels of happiness, stress, and loneliness, he says, with the hope of helping students monitor their mental health.

The app, called StudentLife, draws on sensor data from smartphones to “infer human behaviors,” says the professor, Andrew Campbell. It was inspired partly by the mental-health struggles that Mr. Campbell’s brother experienced while in college. The professor also wants to…


Optimism About MOOCs Fades in Campus IT Offices

MOOC fever is cooling, at least among campus information-technology administrators, according to the 2014 edition of the Campus Computing Survey, an annual report on technology in higher education.

While a little more than half of last year’s respondents thought MOOCs “offer a viable model for the effective delivery of online instruction,” just 38 percent of this year’s participants agreed with that statement. And only 19 percent of respondents in 2014 said MOOCs could generate new reven…


Will the Next Classroom Disruption Be in 3-D? Facebook’s Virtual-Reality Company Thinks So

Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Oculus VR. (Getty Images)

College Park, Md. — Brendan Iribe dropped out of the University of Maryland here, but before he did he amassed 227 parking tickets. And he managed to meet two business partners who would help him build the virtual-reality company Oculus VR, which Facebook bought this year for about $2-billion.

One of those parking tickets remains unpaid, but the university is likely to forgive it after Friday, when he gave $31-million to erect a compute…