Liberal Education: A New Game for Your Smartphone–My Latest from AAC&U’s LEAP Blog

January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

Originally posted October 19, 2016 on AAC&U’s LEAP Blog,

Faculty members face a conundrum—how can they engage students who are absorbed in their smartphones? According to our most recent Freshman Technology Survey at St. Edward’s University, 99 percent of incoming freshmen will be bringing a smartphone to campus, and according to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of  American adults report owning a smartphone. So, what are our students doing on these ubiquitous devices? Texting friends, checking in on social media, and, since July, playing Pokémon Go, which this summer peaked around 25 million daily active users according to GameSpot. Even if you haven’t played it, I suspect students on your campus are. The game tracks physical activity like walking and turns it into movement through the game. Players earn points by finding and capturing Pokémon, pick up needed supplies at PokéStops, which are virtual locations mapped onto physical geography, and automatically track achievements in their Pokédex. The game’s huge popularity stems from the existing Pokémon culture, which emerged in the mid-1990s, meaning that many of today’s college students can’t remember a time when there weren’t Pokémon. « Read the rest of this entry »


My Latest at AAC&U’s Nation: Technology and Liberal Education: Yes and…

February 25, 2013 § 2 Comments

Originally posted February 25, 2013 at AAC&U’s Nation,

The theme of this year’s [AAC&U] annual meeting, “Innovations, Efficiencies, and Disruptions—To What Ends?,” includes rapid technological advancement in the list of challenges facing higher education today. This advancement offers alternative delivery methods that promise to lower costs but also require substantial investment in infrastructure. It promises to enhance learning both in and out of the classroom. At the same time, new digital methodologies are changing the face of the disciplines and reshaping academic practice.   Our students face a world in which knowledge is created and shared by both amateurs and professionals, in multiple media, across digital networks, spanning domains and communities. Living, working, and civically engaging in this context is materially different than it was fifty years ago. In particular, the change in agency in this participatory culturechallenges existing professional expertise by democratizing the creation of knowledge.  At the same time, the openness and dissemination enabled by digital networks threatens the traditional model of higher education—content experts passing knowledge in a controlled setting down to their students—by having one expert sharing expertise with everyone’s students. Combined with alternative methods of credentialing, such as badges, competencies, or prior learning assessments, these developments put pressure on one of the core elements of the higher education business model. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest at AAC&U’s Nation: HEDs Up Sessions—Why We Fight

January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Originally posted January 29, 2013 at AAC&U’s Nation,

Friday morning at the 2013 AAC&U Annual Meeting, I attended a series of HEDs Up presentations, a format inspired by TED talks. I’ve found these to be a refreshing break from most conference papers—even those at AAC&U, which are often more interactive than other conferences—because they are designed to be engaging and entertaining.  The brief time limit—just ten minutes—means that speakers must focus on one core message. This format offers the chance to communicate your beliefs about issues that really matter to you, your core ideas, your big questions. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest at AAC&U’s Nation: Learning from the AAC&U Network

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Originally posted February 8, 2012 at AAC&U’s Nation,

I’m seeing networks everywhere these days. There’s the obvious one—the Internet—but, there is also a growing trend in of studying networks, and not just social networks like Facebook , but also in literature, like the network of relationships between characters in Hamlet.  AAC&U has its Network for Academic RenewalNITLE works with a network of small liberal arts colleges, and our students are facing a world of webs and networks, as I described in a blog post last year. « Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest at AAC&U’s Nation: Yes, but How Do You Teach Collaboration?

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Originally published February 1, 2012 at AAC&U’s Nation,

Wednesday night Ken O’Donnell opened the AAC&U 2012 Annual Meeting by telling us that the road connecting civic and commercial activity is “collected work toward a common purpose.” He backed that up in part by citing the no. 1 answer on the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of what employers are seeking: “ability to work in a team structure.” I’ve been promoting collaborative projects (usually between different institutions) for almost ten years now, and I routinely work in a distributed team with colleagues at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. But, after hearing O’Donnell speak, I wondered, how do we teach that skill to students? « Read the rest of this entry »

My Latest at AAC&U’s Nation: Four Strategies for Liberal Education in a Networked World

February 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Originally published February 2, 2011 at AAC&U’s Nation,

Can we preserve and transform liberal education for a networked world?  The opening forum of the 2011 AAC&U Annual Meeting raised this question, and I saw affirmative answers and strategies throughout the conference. « Read the rest of this entry »

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