This article about current use of wearable tech to try to better understand how student physiology and mental states affect their learning is a little scary, but pretty interesting.   I’d get an Empatica wristband

Empatica's "Embrace" Watch doesn't just monitor activity and sleep, but also physiological stress and arousal

Empatica’s “Embrace” Watch doesn’t just monitor activity and sleep, but also physiological stress and arousal

to help me understand just how I feel about the whole idea, but they retail for $1700…!

You’ve likely heard about Remind from one of our Techscouts, Mona Parekh, at ICHE or Collaborative Learning Days (if not, check out this quick video for an overview). One of the criticisms I’ve heard about Remind is, well, not about Remind actually, but about Talon and how we use it.

Most instructors publish announcements on Talon, and some don’t want to have to publish twice just to get the extra benefit of reaching students through their beloved cell phones. If there was a way to display your Remind announcements on Talon, that would solve both problems, right? Talon widgets can help us here.

When it comes to my workflow, I’m a big fan of a principle in software development known as DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself). If I find myself doing the same thing over and over, I look for ways to automate at least part of it. In this article, you’ll learn how you can publish all of your class announcements through Remind, and let the Remind widget show those announcements on Talon. This combines the best of both platforms. This allows us to reach students quickly through their phones, and have a backup archive of announcements in case a student loses their phone, or gets a new one without re-joining the class in Remind.

It is not an obvious process to set this up, but the video below shows a step-by-step walk-through of what to do. No coding is required; just strategic copy and pasting. I hope this can help you get a little more joy out of Remind. Let us know if you have any questions!

I apparently bought in to one of the crowd-source funding items on IndieGogo (probably some bluetooth thingy to help me find my keys.  Have you seen my keys?) and so now get their “this product is HOT” updates.  This morning’s included one called Rocketbook Wave.  It’s pretty simple, really, although I’m sure the background technology is very complex:  it’s a notebook and pen.  One takes notes in the notebook as one would if one were handwriting one’s notes instead of typing them into a laptop or other device.  The pages and ink are optimized for image capture by your cellphone, Wave capture

and the image capture is automatically loaded into Rocketbook’s cloud storage system.

At first, this seems like a cumbersome process, and much less useful than, say, LiveScribe’s pen, which “records” what is written and allows playback of the same.  However, while recent studies confirm that handwritten material is better retained, one of the real drawbacks is living with all the paper that accumulates.  With this notebook, after you capture the images of the writing, you then microwave it to “erase” it, and start over.  (Sounds rather hygienic, too… I expect most of our devices and especially keyboards would benefit from a similar cleansing).

The concept is clearly popular, as the inventors have reached 3,562% of their funding goal at this writing.  I don’t think I’ll jump on the bandwagon quite yet but if you do, I hope you’ll let us know what you think!  The product is currently expected to ship in August of this year.