Technology for Academics

Finding new technology so you don't have to

About Me

I have a minor addiction to new technology.  But not just any technology.  I’m looking for technology (ideally, free) that either makes my job easier or makes it easier for my students to learn.

Yes, I have students. I started teaching college students in Kansas as a grad student back in 1989, and I’m still teaching college students, but now in the beautiful Pacific Northwest at Highline Community College. If you’ve ever flown into Seattle, you’ve likely flown over my campus.

The tools I’ll be talking about aren’t always ones I’ve tried with my classes.  I don’t believe in using new technology just for the sake of using new technology.  It has to serve a pedagogical purpose.  But just because a tool doesn’t work for what I’m trying to accomplish doesn’t mean it’s not useful for someone else.  For example, psychology is my area, so I don’t have much need for math tools that can handle calculus, but when I come across such tools, I’ll be sure to fill you in.

Some of the technologies I discuss are well-established tools.  Others are hot off the press; so hot, that they may still be in beta testing.  Although, keep in mind that Google Docs and Gmail both spent years in beta testing.   ‘Beta testing’ has more meaning in some circles than others.

Your comments are most welcome!  If you’ve tried some of the technologies mentioned in this blog, let me know how they worked for you.  If you’re trying to solve a particular pedagogical issue and are having trouble finding the right tool, let me know.  If you come across a new tool that you think should get an airing here, let me know.

For more information, visit my Google Profile page, or if you want the nitty-gritty details you can download my CV.

15 thoughts on “About Me

  1. “a minor addiction”??? I think you’re in denial, but I am happy to enable your disease. Keep up the awesome work. A lot of us depend on your discoveries and appreciate you sharing what you find. 🙂

    1. Well, I’m not losing sleep and my appetite is healthy. 🙂

      The problem with writing is that you’re really not sure if anyone is reading. And if they are reading, you’re not sure if they’re getting anything useful out of it. I very much appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

  2. Hey Sue,

    Splashtop is pretty cool. I saw a presentation sem-recently where the presenter was using splashtop and also recording his lecture computer with Tegrity. Neat.

    SD

    1. Interestingly it works great for me at home and on most wifi networks, say, at conferences. I’ve been having a heck of time at school. It’s not Splashtop’s problem. Instead, my Xoom is having a hard time maintaining a connection to wifi. My college gave me a static IP, but that hasn’t solved it. The Xoom is due for the “jelly bean” update sometime this month, so I’m hoping that will help the connectivity issue.

      One of the reasons I want to use it is because of Tegrity. Fortunately I have a tablet PC, so I can easily write on PPT slides, but I’d like to extract myself from the whiteboard altogether with Splashtop.

      Thanks for writing!
      Sue

  3. Informative website and great/cool Tech resources! It’s so helpful to have your descriptions and guides for understanding and learning how to use such cool stuff. Really excited to incorporate them into my work. Keep up the great job! Thanks so much!

  4. This is more of a question about a techy gadget than a comment. Have you tried and what are your thoughts on Dragon speech software. I do however enjoy your blog and the way you present this techy stuff even an elderly student such as myself can learn from it. (i.e. never give my lap top to a prostitute for collateral without locking it up first) now to find this lock thing.

    1. Hi Kendall, I have Dragon installed and find that it does a terrific job at voice recognition. I first used it a few years ago and find the newest version works great out of the box; it doesn’t require a lot of training. I don’t use it all the time, because I find dictating and typing to affect how I think and write differently. It’s difficult to explain. It’s definitely worth trying it out, though. In getting started be prepared to still use your mouse. Writing is much faster with Dragon, but editing can be quite a chore; for editing I use a mouse. Don’t be surprised if you see a future blog post on Dragon. =)

      As for laptop collateral/prostitute, I’m happy to have provided this bit of safety information to my readers. I imagine it wouldn’t have occurred to most people. =)

      Thanks for commenting. I love to hear from people!

  5. Just found your blog and wanted to thank you for taking the time to share what you know. I was wondering if you’d consider doing a blog post about your use of Trello for interaction with students, tracking student work, etc. I have been using Trello for about a year to manage my own work, but am trying to evaluate how I might use it with my students. Thanks.

    1. Becca, thanks for the comment! I haven’t used Trello with my students, and I probably wouldn’t for individual projects, but if I had my students working on group projects, I can definitely see a different board for each project — both to help them manage the project and to help me keep an eye on them managing their project. I’ll put this in the queue for a blog post. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Hi Sue,
    I am about to become the department chair of a 12 person department. The previous chair used an elaborate post it note and tag board method to schedule classes; I would love to transition to an electronic scheduling planner, but don’t know where to find such software. Any ideas? We have the added excitement of two campuses with a 20 minute difference in start times, which makes scheduling quite challenging. I am hoping technology can help me out!
    Thanks,
    Pam Bacon

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