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And so it begins: the unmarked assignments counter

This little icon will control my life for the next four months. It’s an iPad app that’s connected to Canvas, Seton Hill’s learning management system. Every time a student submits a new assignment, that number ticks up. Every time I submit a grade, the number goes down. Some assignments are really easy to grade — I scan a paragraph and tick off items on a rubric. Other assignments — like…

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The Days of Microsoft Internet Explorer Are Numbered—But Its Sorry Legacy Will Live On

Starting today, Microsoft will no longer support most versions of Internet Explorer, one of the most contentious pieces of software in history. … By insisting on following its own path with IE rather than follow generally accepted standards, Microsoft dictated web design by years. That probably drove many aspiring web developers [to] careers that didn’t require trying to figure out why the margins between images looked different from one browser to…

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Kids Turn Bratz into Star Wars Rey Dolls

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking there may be hope for the future.    There has been something of an outcry over the toy merchandising associated with Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the apparent dearth of Rey dolls in play sets (Rey being the lead female character in the film). Parts and Crafts, a family makerspace and community workshop based in Somerville, MA, decided to take matters into their own…

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Rest assured, there will soon be enough Rey toys to monetize the imaginations of the little girls who grew out of princess worship

The problems of female characters being under-represented in geek merchandise is real. But when it’s a secondary character like Gamora or Black Widow, at least toy companies have an excuse. When the girl is not just the star of the movie, but of the whole franchise, that’s another story. That character, of course, is Rey, the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the latest problem has to…

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What Khan Academy’s Fun, Free Learning Empire Has to Do with Dystopian Social Control

Over the Christmas break, I’ve been churning through Khan Academy math drills, so that I can be a more effective homeschool parent. It’s actually kind of fun watching my score go up, and earning badges. In the way that birds who are trained to peck buttons for food think it’s fun to peck their little beaks bloody. As a grad student ploughing through Kant and Derrida, I found it an intellectual relief to run a computer program through…

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How Bad Design Wrecked Steve Harvey’s “Universe”

The consequences weren’t as serious as the infamous Palm Beach County Butterfly Ballot; however, Eric Thomas has taken it upon himself to redesign the illogical “Miss Universe” results card. First, I’ve updated the brand to match. Just because this is simple and utilitarian doesn’t mean it can’t match the rest of the show. After that, I tackled the hierarchy. Now our “2015 Miss Universe” is now way more obvious. I’ve even…