5 More Education + Technology Links

  1. “Personalized learning is here,” touts this Forbes list of 5 School Technologies to Watch. Cloud-based collaborative environments, game-based learning, and mobile technology are just a few things market innovators see becoming part of mainstream education. 
  2. Should your toddler start learning cybersecurity now? Sounds crazy, but the Department of Homeland Security wants to implement cybersecurity education from as early as kindergarten through graduate school in order to foster a “digitally literate workforce.”
  3. Need online storage space for pictures, papers, and more? From now through December 10th, Dropbox is giving 3GB of free space to anyone with a .edu email address. Consider it a reward for far too many all-nighters!
  4. Do your professors allow laptops in class? For many, bans on laptops in the classroom mean inefficient or incomplete notes, hundreds of dollars in textbook fees, and less comprehension. Across the world, teachers and students are struggling to find a compromise.
  5. If you’re an IU student, you have one of the best college perks ever: IUware. Indiana University has promotional deals with a multitude of companies that enable them to offer their students loads of free software. EndNote and Microsoft Office are nice resources, but the real deal comes in the form of Adobe Creative Suite 6, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge, and Dreamweaver among other programs, and Adobe Lightroom 4. These would otherwise cost $2599 and $159, respectively. You get them for free.
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Getting Started: 5 Links on College + Technology

If you’re in college, and reading this, you already know the effects of technology on current generations. Here are a few links to paint the picture even more clearly:

  1. Did you know that 70% of college students take notes electronically, and 73% of students said they can’t study without technology? Check out this infographic rundown of the college technology scene on Mashable!
  2. Another infographic on Bit Rebels gives some interesting insight into the gadget phenomenon.
  3. “From smoke signals to tweets,” this article on Edudemic highlights changes, applications, and problems within the realm of classroom communication.
  4. Considering taking an online course or two? Here are 5 tips from successful online students on how to rack up credits without setting foot in a classroom.
  5. For those tech junkies looking forward to the rise of Cybernet, here’s a futuristic article predicting how 6 emerging technological innovations will change the face of education as we know it!

College Life in the Technological Age

At 12 years old, I was a huge nerd. I spent my library time copying pages from astronomy books, pretending to be Indiana Jones in my back yard, and avidly collecting and reading Popular Science magazines. One day in particular, I remember sitting on my porch swing reading an article that claimed that the Internet, which was relatively new at the time, would be the central hub of future activity. Email was already fairly mainstream, Flight Simulator was all the rage in video games, and the possibilities of this monumental paradigm shift seemed endless. Specifically, the article predicted that in the future, high school and college classes would be conducted on computers, with assignments sent out and submitted via the web. Needless to say, nerdy preteen Erin squealed with glee, cut out the article, and pinned it to the bulletin board above her bed. Today, if I found that article, it would be online, and I’d hit the Facebook “share” button or reblog it on Tumblr. According to Moore’s law, the power of computing doubles every two years, and we see evidence of this when we acknowledge how rapidly and thoroughly the world has changed in the wake of the internet’s invention.

Now, I’m a nerdy 20-something finishing college, and blogging, tweeting, and submitting homework online have all been regular parts of my educational experience for 5 years. In my work as an English major, I use massive online databases to find scholarly sources to incorporate into academic papers. I use Wikipedia for quick-yet-thorough rundowns on any given topic. Rather than spend upwards of $200 on textbooks, I can almost always find textbooks and novels for free in PDF form, or find necessary portions available through Amazon previews. And when I’m sitting in class, I don’t huddle over a spiral notebook scribbling down relevant information- I type a Word file at 80WPM, making my notes searchable, editable, organized, and efficient.

Technology plays a huge role in the life of the college student, for better or for worse. Since we’re all college students, and we’re all surrounded by iPhones and computers and GPS systems, I want to take a look at the issues that arise in a world still adjusting to technology’s waves.

Curating on the Web: Mission Impossible?

  

Pinterest. Tumblr. Reddit. In the past several years, the websites that have climbed the charts overnight are not those meant for original content. Rather, they are places where people can cull, from the billions and billions of pages on the vast interwebmachine, quality content that appeals to their interests. From recipes to “hipster pictures” to news stories to makeup tutorials, the success of these sites lies in their ability to allow users to efficiently practice a method called “content curation.”

IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers discusses this method in an audio interview (jump to 3:40). Amongst other things, he talks about how the task of delivering quality content to a viewer is about “filtering out the noise,” or discarding irrelevant, boring, or otherwise undesirable material and promoting what is compelling, effective, informative, and relevant.

According to marketing master Rohit Bhargava, this task needs to become a professional position:

“A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online. The most important component of this job is the word “continually.” In the real time world of the Internet, this is critical… The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors.”

More and more in recent years, this responsibility has shifted from news outlets and bloggers, to internet users en masse. People are turning not to Google, but to user-based curation websites like Reddit, Twitter, and Pinterest for their timely and relevant material. But will we, the curators of the web, be any match for the ever-increasing influx of information on the internet in the future? One of my fellow classmates, Lee Cohen, has blogged about this problem, citing quantum computing as a potentially suitable replacement for human curation methods.

In my eyes, the ability of content consumers to collectively determine what is proliferated and prioritized in their respective areas of interest is one of the most pivotal tools recently implemented in web development. Even in my own search for apt articles for this class, I’ve relied not simply on Google alerts for particular search terms, but on Reddit’s Feminism subreddit and other similar sites. These allow me to see material that not only pops up because of its keywords via search engine, but things that other women with similar interests have found important and promoted. It adds an element of human intuition and connection that search engine algorithms lack.

NYU Journalism professor and media guru Jay Rosen tweeted this morsel of advice earlier this year: “The classic formula for success as a blogger: turn a passion into a niche, then dominate that niche. Add personality. Stir.” This, I think, is pivotal. As the power of computing and programming grows, algorithmic methods of organization will form the backbone of cyberspace infrastructure. Still, it will be increasingly vital that every user become a “Content Curator.” Even acts as simple as upvoting, reblogging, pinning, or sharing are tiny infusions of passion and personality that will craft the face of the internet, and culture as we know it.

Has your iPhone been compromised?

To get the ball rolling in a nice, lighthearted fashion (rather than diving headfirst into politics and feminism), here’s something important that is likely relevant to many of my readers: according to Antisec, a hacking group, they obtained over 12 million Apple Universal Device IDs from an FBI laptop. The information dump “reportedly also contains names, addresses, cellphone numbers, and other information about the device owners.” Of these, 1 million UDIDs have been leaked to the public as evidence. Read more and find out of your device has been compromised over at Lifehacker!