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Games as Common Texts for Universities

If you could recommend a game as a community-building activity for your school, what would you recommend? I thought about some of the arty Jason Rohrer games, but maybe those would be more appropriate for a “How can games lead to deep thoughts” pre-discussion, something I might use to get buy-in from the non-gaming community (including those who wouldn’t have the patience to play through a full-length game). I also…

2

Free cloze test generator

There were a lot of spammy hits out there, so here you go, semantic web: I just found a free cloze test generator that I rather like. It doesn’t seem to be able to save an interactive test, or score the test automatically, but it’s still a time-saver. I’ll be using as part of a close reading exercise in a literature survey course, and I might use it as part of…

2

Challenging the lecture-homework paradigm

While discussion has always been a big part of my pedagogy, I very much enjoyed this item from an engineering professor about what happened when he pushed the lecture out of class time, and spent what used to be a lecture period as a lab. In my American Lit class, I’m not planning to record full lectures for students to watch passively for homework, but I will record short introductions…

Best Buy asks 'God Squad' to cease and desist

Clever writing in this story about a priest who rides around in a “God Squad” car. Father Strand, who is currently ministering at the Holy Family Catholic Community in Fond Du Lac, Wis., was perhaps slightly surprised when Best Buy sent him a cease-and-desist letter, which told him that the company believes he is infringing on its trademark. True, the God Squad logo does mimic its Geek Squad counterpart rather…

The Promise and Peril of 'Smart' Keyboards

For 136 years, then, typing in English has meant making certain neurological associations. Words exist in our minds and on our tongues, but they also live in our hands and fingers. Anyone who types envisions and feels words in space, and for English speakers who use technology, this space is defined by the qwerty keyboard. Who knows what qwerty has done to the language — even to modes of thought…

Why Does College Cost So Much?

Our technology story rests on three strong pillars. First, like many personal services, including much of health care, the law and banking, higher education remains essentially an artisanal industry. These are industries in which technological progress has not reduced the number of labor hours needed to “produce” the service. By contrast, labor productivity in basic manufacturing has soared, and this is why the cost of a year of college has…