Put the Laptops Away

This post was last updated on August 9th, 2016 at 07:26 pm

Part of what makes me pay attention to an article like this is that it’s written by someone whom I respect. Clay Shirky talks about something fairly radical for a person who is generally seen as an advocate for social media and technology.  He admits a complete change in mindset on the use of laptops of his class.

I have been teaching classes about the internet since 1998, and I’ve generally had a laissez-faire attitude towards technology use in the classroom. This was partly because the subject of my classes made technology use feel organic, and when device use went well, it was great. Then there was the competitive aspect — it’s my job to be more interesting than the possible distractions, so a ban felt like cheating. And finally, there’s not wanting to infantilize my students, who are adults, even if young ones — time management is their job, not mine.

I’ve been guilty of using the same arguments to challenge those who didn’t want to use devices in class. I would still use the same argument for many people but this thoughtful realization speaks to doing … Read the rest

Device Chat in ECMP455

This post was last updated on March 7th, 2012 at 04:43 pm

The courses I teach at the University of Regina are officially ECMP 355 and 455. I'm not entirely sure but I think that stands for Educational Computing. But I could be wrong. The truth is both Alec Couros and I have been able to create the course into pretty much whatever we like. By in large the courses have focused on transformational usages of technology in learning, focusing heavily on connected learning. I'd really like to change the name of the course to SFIK. Smart Folks I Know. 

Pretty much every class over the past 9-10 times I've taught these courses I bring in someone I know doing interesting work or with a compelling idea. I have only two requirements for my guests. You have to be smart and you have to be able to stay connected and interact with my students for as long as they need. 

This term my lineup has included:

Karl Fisch

Gary Stager

Bud Hunt

Rodd Lucier

Michael Wacker

Liz Kolb 

John Spencer

If I do nothing but connect my students with these people in a meaningful way, I'll be satisfied. (BTW, you can listen Read the rest

Maybe 1 to 1 isn’t such a great idea

This post was last updated on August 30th, 2011 at 10:55 pm


cross posted at Tech Learning



The push to one to one computing is continuing to be at the center of many districts technology budgets. Recognizing that we need to get devices in the hands of our students seems to be a priority in the minds of many in moving forward with what is often called a 21st century education.


There’s certainly a debate as to what that 21st education ought to look like but I’m beginning tto wonder of late if one to one computing is something we really need to be pursuing. Certainly looking at using student devices is an interesting and important conversation. In fact, Darren Kuropatwa recently wrote a great post on how he would manage a BYOD environment.  

But perhaps we don’t need every student to have a device? I’ve been arguing for a while that schools need to think much more closely at the wonderful gift they currently have of having students actually attend school in person. As online education grows so does the potential for students to opt out of face to face attendance. What

Read the rest

Why the iPad is Different

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:15 pm


Cross posted at TechLearning
EconBiz AppI’m not usually one to write about a tool or software but an interesting shift is occurring in the district where I work. The  iPad is generating more discussion about the role of technology in learning than any tool or event to date. In trying to understand the reason for this, I’m of the belief that the design and tactile experience of the iPad are the primary differences in this device that is enabling these conversations.

The buzz is more than simply an interest in a cool tool but an inquisitive and curious attitude built around new possibilities. I’m not sure what it is but the simplicity of the apps seems to get people considering what apps might exist and what apps need to be created.  The other thing about these devices is that they are all about customization. Most desktops and laptops do not encourage people to do much beyond using the software outside of the default installation. The average user doesn’t seek to tweak and tinker. The iPad is all about tinkering.

While many would argue against it as purely

Read the rest