Impact of One-size-fits-all Web Design

I don’t particularly miss the splash landing pages, rotating animated logos, and “click here” web design of the 1990s. But one of the great things about it was that people experimented, sometimes doing crazy things. Rob LoCascio, who in 1995 “came up with the technology for those chat windows that pop up on websites,” notes that the language we used back then and the interfaces we worked with all assumed…

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This is fine. Really.

Thanks(?) to social media, it’s very easy for us to learn, in a personal context, all about bad things happening far away from us. And the impressions left by people grieving and pointing fingers at each other leaves a toll. And when we do not know, or when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts. –T.S. Eliot, “The Perfect Critic” (1921) Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker…

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Interface changes make it a little harder to work with Google’s image search

When I’m looking for a picture I’m going to use in an academic project, I typically search Creative Commons; however, Google’s image search is quite useful. The interface is changing to make it easier to view a picture in context (and a little harder to download an image without visiting the source page). The the underlying tools (opening an image in a new window, downloading the image, and searching by…

One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings

Every Friday since Columbine, one schoolteacher has asked her students to to submit a list. Who would they like to sit next to next week? Who has been an exceptional classroom citizen this week? Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little…

Don’t use that “18 school shootings since Jan 1” claim. It’s Inaccurate.

Don’t use that “18 school shootings since Jan 1” meme. It’s misleading. I’ve lost track of how many times this image has popped up on my social media feeds. The 18 “school shootings” marked on that map include an instance in which a third-grader accidentally pulled the trigger of a police officer’s holstered gun (nobody was hurt), and an instance in which a man committed suicide in the parking lot…

An Hour of Monastic Silence in Media Studies Class (plus an awesome drum solo)

I announced that my 300-level Media and Culture class would spend an hour in monastic silence, collaborating on a Google Doc. I expected the students would understand I was helping them get into the mood to appreciate the 14th century setting of The Name of the Rose. What I didn’t expect was an awesome drum solo. I had already encouraged my students to approach The Name of the Rose the…