I’d love to use more games in my classes but haven’t found any that have anything to do with our lesson material.  One company is trying to change that.  Legends of Learning has created several games that are available to play for free and hundreds more for which your “first $300 are free,” and support state and national education standards (for K-12, but that’s great for a college review, in my book!)  I’m encouraged to hear about the development of games to support education and see some interesting titles, especially in the “Life Sciences” category, although I’m not very clear how far my 3000 credits will go.  How about you — are you using games in the classroom?

An article in the Chronicle for Higher Education Review discusses the Janus-faced nature of social media.  On the one hand, students “curate” their accounts, maintaining a pristine appearance to the world since they know the information will be used by anybody who can get to it to influence decisions about their future.  On the other hand, students “let off steam” in anonymous forums and accounts with “temporary” posts like Snapchat and Instagram.  Is the dichotomy contributing to student stress and anxiety?  Should educational institutions do more to help students understand, analyze and navigate these treacherous waters?


The Electronic Frontier Federation is “dedicating to defending your rights in the digital world.”  A recent report they have compiled analyzes student privacy (K-12) — or lack thereof — in light of school-provided technology and school-required accounts with various ed-tech vendors.  In the 3-part report, they talk about the laisseInternet Privacyz-faire approach many schools take with regard to student relationships with the outside vendors, they discus the relevant laws and also make recommendations for change.

In light of recent legislation that allows ISPs to sell subscriber data, this becomes an even more interesting question.  A Wisconsin congressman, James Sensenbrenner, recently opined that this shouldn’t be a problem because “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.”  However, if I require my students to sign up with an online provider to view or participate in an educational module they make available, or to use a tool that they supply, they don’t really have a choice… and are probably also quite unaware of the potential consequences.

What do you think?  How can we better protect student’s privacy as we’re required to do by FERPA?  How can we better educate students about their own rights and responsibilities in this matter?

This Edsurge article talks about how Professional Development at California University, Channel Islands, is being ‘untethered.’  My first thought as a faculty member was, oh, you mean you want to make it easier for me to do this on my own time, rather than when I am “at work,” but that was ungenerous; after all, my main complaint about our own Professional Development offerings is that they are held at times when I am in class and thus unable to attend.

“Untethering” apparently refers to changing face-to-face meetings to virtual and, whenever possible, asynchronous ones.  As someone who loves email over phone calls simply because it means the two participants don’t have to be available at the same moment, something that seems to happen all too infrequently during the school day, I appreciate that.  However, I also feel like, many days, I barely see my colleagues, let alone exchange words with them; an excuse to be face-to-face with them is usually welcome.

CSU Channel islands asks these four questions to determine whether untethering might be right for you:

  1. We struggle with low faculty engagement.
  2. We are seeking a way to build digital literacy among faculty.
  3. Our faculty want more just-in-time resources.
  4. We employ remote faculty who currently are unable to attend our faculty development opportunities.

Those things certainly seem to apply at Kirkwood Community College; do they at your school?  What do you think?


A list of trending tools from our friends at EdTech, including some oldies but goodies and some newbies, at least to me.   I’d not heard of Breakout.edu, described as an immersive games platform where “players work collaboratively to solve a series of critical thinking puzzles in order to open a locked box.”   I wonder about applications for healthcare and criminal justice, in particular.  Anybody using Breakout.edu?  

One of the limitations of Virtual Reality headsets thus far has been accounting for movement in the virtual space.  You could “look around” a virtual construction, but trying to move through it was kind of like walking through a Hollywood set — objects were “flat” and had no backside to them.  A new VR headset from Occipital has debuted with 3D scanner capability (and, reportedly, other manufacturers are in hot pursuit).  Presently only really of use to developers, this article from Fast Co. describes some pretty compelling potential, however.

This fascinating EdSurge article includes this statement:  “An unanticipated benefit Billings also noticed is an increase in technology competence. “Students who are exposed to tech in a developmental English course are now reporting higher confidence with technology as they move through higher-level courses,” she says.”  

We tend to think of our post-secondary students as “digital natives.”  Perhaps we should be considering their level of technology acumen as they enter, ensuring that everybody has at least a minimal level of competence with computers and the internet… what do you think?

Colleges around the country have been setting up a new kind of research center—with the goal of continually improving how their institutions teach and work with students…. [Recently], a select group of these leaders gathered at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for a day-and-a-half-long convening.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?!  Read the whole account here.

I particularly love this idea:  “One group proposed a free online repository of educational innovations, modeled after GitHub, the popular online space where computer programmers share their code.”

Looking forward to what happens next!

5 Things Community College Administrators Wish EdTech Companies Would Do.   The list seems to be mostly about helping the institutions understand what they need and whether the proposed solutions are the best ones, or will even work at all.  That may sound “needy,” but, if you think about it… heck, yeah!  If you’re going to buy technology for home, you often seek out a lot of reviews, opinions, and you often can return something if it just doesn’t work.   The community college has far fewer opportunities to compare and contrast, far fewer entities that are “just like it,” and is often months down the road with something before they determine it just isn’t the right tool.  If EdTech companies want to sell more, they need to get in and understand better.