Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Technology in education and beyond

Most freshmen are now settled in. Classes are well underway. Students are on the network and their virtual networks are established or re-established. These are really special times. With relative ease you can stay connected to old friends and family, and the same time explore new networks and social groups. This has never been so easy. You can be hours away from home and yet just as connected as you were in your home town. This has to be a great comfort to students and parents.

These are interesting times on college campuses. Students are arriving with a great deal of personal technology. They are seeing classroom technology in their classes which is equal to or grater than they saw in high school. University have adopted course management systems to supplement their courses and are quite comfortable using or other collaborative web sites to tap into social media to make a point. Most faculty have really started to dig into academic resources on the web and are even creating their own digital content. Classes are being recording on iTunes ( University or captured on tools like Tegrity ( There is less concern among faculty about recording class content and a more direct concern on student success outcomes. The academic landscape is changing. It is becoming more open and less tied to a classroom or class time. Virtual learning is new and less threatening than it was a few years ago. I think that this is just the start. Students will see an increase in the availability of digital resources. They will see digital collaboration become commonplace. Sharing the learning experience globally will and is becoming the norm. These tools and skills are already in the business arena and quikly being adopted.

Students need to start looking for chances to expand their frame of reference. Challenge yourself to take advantage of all that is out there to research a topic; to challenge your perspective on the world; and to push yourself to your creative limits. Faculty, library staff and others on campus are there to help you dig through the good and the not so good.

In the next several years you will see the creation or digital content become a major emphasis in learning and also a major need for employers. The "hard skills" related to being able to create, create, and deliver a digital message will be make you attractive to potential employers. This is a unique time when the young can advance quickly by being able to apply digital skills that are not a part of the skills set of the older generation. Graduates have the chance to advance quickly and take advantage of a new set of communication skills. Advantage, the millennial graduates.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Getting settled in with technology on campus

Most colleges have opened at this point. Classes have started and although its a busy time with lots of change going, students need focus on a few tech related things.

Physical security first. If you have not purchased a laptop lock down cable, do so. These cables are easy to install and can be purchased online, in local retail stores, or in the campus bookstore. Laptops are often stolen when they are sitting in a dorm room and the owner goes to class or to take a shower. Set a password on the laptop so no one can get to your files if it is stolen. When you go home for the weekend, take the laptop. With your cell phone, consider setting a password or whatever locking feature your phone provides. Although this can be a bit inconvenient, a stolen or lost cell phone can lead to some pretty large phone bills. When not in use, lock things like your iPod or gaming system in a drawer. Dorm rooms are often left with the door open "just for a minute" and this can lead to a theft.

Virus protection and spam filters. At our campus we provide virus protection software for free, just visit the Helpdesk site for more information . You should scan your computer for spam and malware at least once a week. These programs can really slow down your computers performance. Free tools like Adaware and SpyBot Search and Destroy, can be found on the web.

Look for wireless - most laptops are wireless ready and most campus provide free "hot spot" access. Look for a map of the "hot spots" at the campus Helpdesk or Telecommunications sites. In a short time almost every space on campus will be wireless, so get the protocol for getting connected and jump on. Note that wireless networks are generally slower that wired connections and can be effected by the number users in a location. This will effect things like streaming video and audio.

Get registered for the campus alert system. Most campuses have emergency response systems which will notify you via email or text message in the event of a campus emergency. Look in the lower right hand corner of the campus home page to sign up, .

Last, find the phone number for the Helpdesk and their email address on the web. Keep these on a "sticky note" or note board in your room. This can provide quick support. Also, when you see email bulletins for down times or other network alerts take notice.