Friday, December 28, 2007
If you know of other surveys of use and pedagogy in other disciplines let us know as well. Thanks.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Last spring when I spoke on the problem based learning at the DyKnow Users Conference at DePauw university I participated in an interview with two other economists, Michelle Valinski and Mary Dixon, and this video is the result. Click here to see the video. You have to watch for a while to see me.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Last Friday I downloaded Bluebeam Revu which is a PDF creator, has a PDF print driver, and has great annotating and markup tools. I think this could kill off Adobe Acrobat Pro from my computer and has seriously pushed to the back my previous purchase of PDF Annotator. I really like how it works and the pen tools are quite good. At first I disliked the highlighter until I discovered you can toggle it between highlighting the text and just marking up with a highlighter. This software is designed for me and the way I work. It installs a toolbar in Microsoft Office, but I can not yet figure how to get it to be the default viewer in Internet Explorer. It atomatically installs in the "SEND TO" option of the right click options in explorer. You can right click on a word document, or any document, and choose to open in PDF ala Bluebeam Revu. I do not use AutoCAD, but it you do there is a premium version to support that program.
For now I think this will replace both Acrobat and PDF Annotator, but until I am sure, I will keep both of those on here as well. So far the only thing I really do not like is their ico file. Perhaps I am just way too used to seeing the Adobe Acrobat icon in my directory listings, but I suspect it has to do with my love of red and not that shade of blue. Try it and let me know what you think. Download here.
James Kendrick is posting on how his HP 2710p is doing on the road. Previously he made a video while showing you the computer and the ultra slim battery and the ultra slim expansion base with DVD burner. Today he is giving more details about his use which is remarkably similar to my experience. I can attest that on my trip this month to Savannah the HP was quite the traveller. I packed the HP2710p, an extended battery, the HP2710p 6-cell Ultra-slim battery, and the Ultra-slim Expansion Base. I had the power cable and the connector cable for my Palm Treo which was my EV-DO modem for the five days. I never ran out of battery the entire time I was traveling. I had the tablet on at each airport and during the flights. I stowed the Ultra-slim Expansion Base on one side of the divider in my carryon bag and the tablet with the Ultra-slim Battery attached in the other side which I came to realize was unnecessary. When I got to my seat, the small Tablet with battery easily fit in the seat back in front of me and my bag up above my head. Nothing beats a Tablet PC for use on the plane in those cramped spaces unless it is a smaller format and light Tablet PC such as the HP 2710p. At one point I saw the battery indicator show 11.5 hours with the extended battery attached.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
And you might be an economist if ...
Found on GMU econ societies blog.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Whether you are a Milton Freedman fan or not you will also benefit from the two interviews at EconTalk.org as well. You can listen as Milton Freedman talks to Russ Roberts about his life and the "radical ideas he put forward almost 50 years ago in Capitalism and Freedom.
These two technologies of streaming video and MP3 podcasts and the easy way we can introduce these to our students give advantages to our students that I could have only wished I had when reading Milton and others during my schooling. The things Milton said 50 years ago are still incredibly relevant.
A school that certainly lives this legacy is George Mason and Arnold Kling writes in TCEDaily.com about being a Masonomist (is that a George Mason-economist?). Read his "So You Want to be a Masonomist" here. He says in part "Years from now, perhaps people will be saying that something big got started recently at the George Mason University department of economics. Maybe if you become a Masonomist now, you will be getting in early on a trend that will soon catch on much more widely. " I think they are indeed on to something.
Formerly, we announced that the MWC would be held on November 15-16, 2007. Currently, plans are being examined to hold this in the 2008 time frame. It will have all of the features you are used to in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 conferences including being the number one conference in economics when it comes to a focus on instructional technology. One thought is to possibly hold this in conjunction with our annual Grunberg Memorial Lecture which has featured Nobel Laureates as 14 of its 16 speakers. When the dates are again announced we will release a call for papers as well.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I was pleased to see Gary Clayton of Northern Kentucky University there and to get a chance to meet him. Gary has a great book called Everyday Economic Statistics which I use in my required undergraduate Computer Skills for Economic Analysis class. He also has a very supportive website at EconSources.com. If you do not know about it it is worth checking out.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
That is use technology well or lose your students....
Some time ago I posted that students wanted professors to use technology, but only if they used it well. Here comes a new follow up report to the one cited back then. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Student and Information Technology, 2007 by Gail Salaway and Judith Borreson Caruso is posted to the educause website in Sept. 2007. The report is a longitudinal followup of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 studies and reports significant findings. 98% of students have a computer with 74% owning a laptop (up from 53% in 2005). I am sadden that they do not ask, or report how many are buying and owning Tablet PCs. Not a single question about whether the professor uses digital ink or if they do. Come on ECAR ask next year PLEASE! Anyone know these numbers? Anyone know how many professors use Tablet PCs in the classrooms?
Do students bring laptops to class? Weekly for 25%, while 53% never bring the laptop to class. OF course without the pen, why do you need a laptop in class? Could most of the 25% be Tablet PCs? Could half?
58.2% of the students thing their instructors do use technology well.
13.6% of the students think their instructors do not use technology well.
60.9% of students agree that IT improves their learning in courses.
40.4% of students agree that they are more engaged in courses requiring the use of IT (20.8% disagree)
Based on the findings ECAR thinks these observations merit further consideration:
- Instructor Skill with IT greatly impacts student perception of the value of IT in their courses.
- The curriculum matters when it comes to student use and skill with technology.
- IT in courses is about convience. (Students are frustrated when online resources are slow, unavailable or not user-friendly.)
- Students prefer a moderate amount of technology in courses.
- Students are increasingly mobile.
- Students expect IT to be worthwhile.
So next year ECAR ... ask about Tablet PCs and digital ink software like DyKnow and classroom presenter.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Seventh Annual
Economics Teaching Workshop
Saturday October 13, 2007
SunSpree Resort, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
If the slides do not show below try this link
If you are new to OneNote or would like more, click on help while in One Note and click on the Microsoft OneNote tour menu item.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
See his post at for the download link. Thanks Jim and thanks Jane Prey for providing the link to Jim. To quote Jim:
"Many thanks to Jane Prey (Microsoft and guest co-editor of the issue) for sharing this link! Jane also pointed out that the issue contains five papers about Tablets:
1. Magic Paper: Sketch-Understanding Research – how does one think about a surface that is natural and easy to draw on, yet understands what you draw?
2. Ink, Improvisation, and Interactive Engagement: Learning with Tablets – thoughts on the integration of technology features and instructional models developed by educators.
3. Handwriting Recognition: Tablet PC Text Input – how do you accomplish recognition over a wide range of writing styles and poorly formed cursive script? Use a time-delay neural network working with a lexicon.
4. Classroom Presenter: Enhancing Interactive Education with Digital Ink – this system supports the sharing of digital ink on electronic slides to promote active learning and collaboration in the classroom.
5. Facilitating Pedagogical Practices through a Large-Scale Tablet PC Deployment – tablet use by all students and faculty in and out of the classroom has shown positive initial results."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
these sleek new computers. I can't wait to have something under 4 lbs after lugging around the Gateway M285E. I am ready for a format that is not wide screen as well. You can see specs on this at Gotta Be Mobile.
I anticipate a lot of our faculty have chosen the Tablet PC (over a regular laptop or mac book) since I have 90 faculty scheduled for 3 sessions of a workshop sponsored by our Institute for Teaching and Learning that I have called "Why Your Next Laptop Needs a Pen." The third session was added due to the demand and filled in less than a day.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In each of these two years a selection of papers are collected by Jane Prey, Robert Reed and Dave Berque and published in a rich little monograph. Last year it was blue and this year red. These two books are loaded with examples of scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching with Tablet PCs. One does not have to read many papers to see how either student learning is enhanced or instructors are made more efficient, or both.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I would enjoy hearing your feedback directly to firstname.lastname@example.org since we will try this experiment again in the Fall 2007 term. And a public word of thanks to Laura Small, Dave Burque, Frank Gilbert and others who made the conference such a fun time. And yes Jim we are going to apply in your next round!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Before this I would read a students email and print it to MS Journal, mark it up and then save to pdf (using the full version of Adobe Acrobat) and finally send back to the students. PDFAnnotator saved me quite a few steps.
What it lacks is the ability to read in different formats or to have a print to PDFAnnotator feature. I may still need Acrobat for that. I was able to use the MS snipping tool to cut from a non pdf document and easily paste into the PDFAnnotator screen.
This is a 80% solution. It needs a print to feature or ability to read other file formats. Until then I won't scrap Journal and Acrobat, but I won't likely use them as much.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
He also further sold me on PDF Annotator and I liked how he said they preferred it to Adobe Professional.
Also we heard from the audience of the adaptive book project.
All so far so good.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The preliminary Conference Program with session descriptions for the 2007 Annual Conference is now available online at www.ncee.net/conference/agenda/. Check it out for some cool sounding sessions.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I first met Chris Clark with Barry Keating from Notre Dame at Purdue's ITL conference and learned and salivated over their Notre Dame Tablet PC Initiative. I was impressed then as now. A Good read. Very dated, but still relevant as cited recently over at the tablet PC education blog.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
In my posts on 1:1 Computing in Econometrics I discovered that by using DyKnow Vision and Monitor, the projector went off the second day and was rarely used there after since the delivery was to everyone's screen. (Just like my favorite phrase in "24" when Jack or someone says just send it to my screen.) My guess, before reviewing the data is the successful problem based learning experience is in part due to the synergies created by the use of the Tablet PC and DyKnow Vision.
The classrooms need to accomodate collaboration and Gratez goes through the requirements including wall and furniture arrangement as well as class size. He discusses the use of DyKnow, clickers, Synchroneyes, virtual campuses such as Second Life and more.
I found the list of usability criteria he quotes quite interesting and aplicable to a variety of learning spaces and devices. Indeed this also applies to my Tablet PC experiment as well.
- "Learnability refers to the speed and ease with which a novice user can achieve proficiency with the system.
- Efficiency refers to the degree to which the system supports the performance of an experienced user in the shortest amount of time and with the fewest steps.
- Memorability refers to the degree to which a user, particularly an intermittent or casual user, can remember how to accomplish a task using the system, the steps of which were learned previously.
- Errors refer to the number of mistakes and missteps made by users.
- Satisfaction refers to the users' overall emotional experience when using the system. (this list is from Jakob Neilson, Usability Engineering (San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman, 1993)."
"Careful, objective usability analyses of common digital environments should be conducted and problems should be addressed using similar decision-making processes and with the same sense of urgency that campuses apply when addressing poor conditions in brick-and-mortar classrooms."
Brown presents a table comparing the Web 1.0 to the Web 2.0 and then offers this insightful comment following the table:
"If one studies this table long enough, a gestalt emerges: the Web 1.0 looks uncannily like the teaching paradigm, whereas the Web 2.0 resembles the learning paradigm."
If Web 2.0 seems to match up with the constructivist learning theory then it would help to have the CMS we choose to integrate and add on the Web 2.0 aspects while leaving the older teaching paradigm intact.
- Don't assume
- Keep is simple
- Quality counts
- Make it relevant
- Don't limit the imagination
- Encourage exploration
A good read ... now go and podcast :)
Monday, May 14, 2007
Why wouldn't more people want all their books on their hard drive and be able to read and refer at will?
My previous and only prior post talked of one scheme. Now The Wired Campus of the chronicle.com reports comments by Bill Gates on the subject. "A Bright Future for E-Books?" reports that Gates believes all reading will go completely online. I tend to agree.
For my Tablet PC to completely be useful it is the screen and the weight that is all important. I need to be able to view in any light, at any angle and have a weight not heavier or more bulky than the book itself. The Sony device is GREAT, but it needs a pen and the ability to be my computer or to sync seamlessly with my computer.
From Sonys page: What is E Ink® Technology?The Sony® Reader’s display uses E Ink® - a significant improvement over CRT and LCD technology. Instead of rows of glowing cells, E Ink® microcapsules actually appear as either black or white depending on a positive or negative charge determined by the content. The result is a reading experience that’s similar to paper - high contrast, high resolution, viewable in direct sunlight and at a nearly 180-degree angle, and requiring no power to maintain the image. In other words, it's a screen that, like you, is well read.
Just today Case Western is the subject of using second life in The Wired Campus section of the chronicle.
SJSU's video is also on YouTube and is embedded here. You might want to review the other related videos listed on the YouTube page.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
In a separate post here are some examples of how Elluminate is used for virtual classrooms.
Product website elluminate.com.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Describe how the use of the Tablet PC has assisted your learning of econometrics.
I received many different statements in four broad categories: (1) about the lecture, (2) about reviewing notes, (3) about mobile computing, and (4) a couple of general comments. I have quoted them closely, but changed the writing to be of one style to help you read through this list.
- I don't need to write too much during the class so that I can concentrate more on listening
- It is much easier to make notes, but the pen is really hard to use (and that is the only negative comment)
- The tablet PC assisted me in studying econometrics a lot. Especially in class, it helps me concentrate more. It helps me pay attention in class better.
- The Tablet PC has made learning more interactive especially during lecture.
- The Tablet PC is very useful in that I could use DyKnow to reproduce notes and did learn better from seeing my hand written notes with the lecture notes.
- Having all the notes accessible on DyKnow Vision was the most useful aspect. I made many references to DyKnow notes.
- Note taking is enhanced through the ability to correct and move data easily.
- Having an electronic copy of all my notes as well as a portable computer increased my efficiency, desire to work, and number of locations where I am both physically and technologically capable of working and studying. This is especially true for SAS (our statistical software).
- Mobile technology is a great advantage in and out of the classroom.
- Having SAS on this computer saved much time avoiding trips back and forth to school.
- Having the screen directly in front of me made the material much more accessible.
- I can work at anytime. The Tablet PC reminds me to put more effort on econometrics because whenever I turn it on my assignments were shown instantly reminding me how much I had to finish.
- I can communicate with the teacher more effectively.
- The statistics (from the polls) in class let me know what others in class are thinking about the specific questions.
- The Tablet PC is very interactive and I fell in love with it.
There you have it .. in their own words.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
At the heart of this experiment was two parallel experiences. The first was the introduction of problem based learning in a big way (second year for PBL). The second was the use of Tablet PCs and DyKnow Vision (first year for that). Both succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and in future entries I will begin to detail how it exceeded my expectations.
Let me go on record as having always opposed laptops in the classroom (including when I was CIO of this university). I thought curriculum had to be bent badly to allow their use and find it ridiculous to see students shove their laptop aside just to take notes on paper. I teach quantitatively demanding courses and other than the running of statistical programs and writing papers (both better accomplished outside of class rather than within) the laptop is useless. I am a huge fan of instructor used computers in the classroom and I have used a laptop everyday in every course since 1995 or so. I did so to display my lecture notes and presentations to the students, adding a digital tablet and later the SMART Sympodia, and later yet again I used the Tablet PC so I could digitally whiteboard. But I found no need for students to have laptops in class. I teach econometrics in a computer classroom and when needed had students on the desktops in the room for purposes of some joint learning. Using SMART Synchroneyes I could take control and display student screens as we jointly worked on programming problems.
In this 1:1 computing and econometrics experience, the success comes from the combination of the Tablet PC and DyKnow Vision. Students have the lecture notes or presentations displayed on their Tablet PCs and they can annotate them and take private notes by typing or with digital ink.
I will have much more to say on this, but for now let me call your attention to the graph at the top of this message. It is the last in-class anonymous poll that I asked my students. This poll followed a discussion of the usefulness of the Tablet PCs to each of the students, and their written responses to an open ended question. With little attempt to define carefully the responses A to E (with A the highest), the students were asked how the Tablet PC assisted them in learning econometrics, that is, how important was it to them to have a Tablet PC to learn economics. An answer of C or the middle response represents a student that reports a take it or leave it response, an answer that says regardless of how much I like the Tablet PC, I could have learned as well without it. Answers A and B report more learning of econometrics with a Tablet PC (and DyKnow) and no one chose the worsening of learning answers of D and E. While hardly scientific, the honest answers of the students show a very positive experience.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
On Monday in class I used a mostly blank DyKnow notebook and an open Adobe pdf file of my lecture notes. Using the screen grab of Adobe Professional 8 I copied as image page after page of equations as I displayed them in DyKnow Vision to all the students. I then talked about them and expanded on the notes with the pen. Students seemed to follow the presentation and for the first day I think the technology was pressed a bit into the background. Still one student kept losing connection (a wireless issue?) and I did not notice many students taking many digital notes on the screen. I will have to follow up and make sure that they are not only taking notes, but saving the notebooks and going back and referring to them as needed.
I was able to use the minute paper (inside DyKnow) at the end to check whether they felt like they were on track and after reading and commenting I returned all the student submitted panels. I think they truly followed the presentation based on their comments. What was remarkable is all 8 students wrote about only the econometrics and not a word about the technology. Have they assimilated DyKnow this fast? Or at least until the next issue. They seemed to remain engaged, following the presentation on the screen and asking plenty of questions about the econometrics.
We also spent time on their PBL projects. There are two teams of 4 who are challenged to analyze the student labor market using the 1997 wave of the NLSY. I remarked that I read and returned proposals and wanted the proposals redone by Wednesday. More on this later.
The major problem identified in their proposals was not articulating the problem well. Peter Kennedy is right, "problem articulation" is the first step, get that wrong and everything that follows is invalid (my word not his). This entire semester I have been trying to teach Graduate Econometrics contrasting the classical estimation and inference with Kennedy's three main principles for Applied Econometrics: (1) problem articulation, (2) data cleaning and (3) model specification. It is the 11th week and they still do not have a better handle on articulation, however I know this is working in part because of a single student comment on a minute paper: "I want to know more pitfalls of analysis because we can learn methods of estimation on our own." This student feels confident they can learn the methods by reading the books and computer manuals, but analysis (in particular) Kennedy's three methods, that is another story.
If you have an interest in Applied Econometrics and haven't read Peter Kennedy's 21st fifth chapter of his Guide to Econometrics, then you are in for a treat. Peter, in that chapter has changed the way I teach graduates econometrics. Tablet PCs and 1:1 computing using DyKnow Vision is simply opening a new and possibly better way to create these Applied Econometricians for the job market.
Students in this class will have a number of writing assignments, both individual and coauthored by the end of the term. Their Job Market paper which all are currently working on is to be the subject of a department wide poster session (the brain child of Dr. Renna) which will include many major employers visiting that day to check out their future analysts. Pressure is on...
Monday, April 02, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The feature we tried this day was the submission feature. I had a panel that asked for their comments, each student wrote their comments and then submitted that panel to me. I was able to see all of their responses on my computer and quickly scroll though. I 'marked' them up later in my office and with one click sent each student back his panel as marked. Fabulous feature!
For some reason one student lost wireless connectivity and this created a bit of hassle towards the end of the class, but the most amazing thing of the day was the students wouldn't leave. One was getting up and I said at least 'he; was leaving and he said if h didn't have another class he wouldn't. So whether it is the Tablet, DyKnow or the task at hand, the word for today is engagement.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Once everyone was logged in and I began talking about their PBL (problem based learning) assignment, I casually unplugged from the projector and no one noticed that the screen in the front of the screen went blue. This is because DyKnow Vision makes projection unnecessary as every student was focused on their screen.
Their first assignment: I asked the students over spring break to run a SAS multiple regression with all the matrices turned on and to then mark up the computer output using their digital pen to show the mathematical representations in matrix notation for every number they find in the output. Earlier in the course, they ran a SAS two-variable regression and marked up the printed output with ordinary ink pen. I asked them to reflect on the two methods. Of course they indicated that this way was much more fun, new, and exciting. Each student used MS Journal. They could take the output from SAS and 'print' it to Journal and then use the pen and mark it up. Students remarked that the writing was very much like normal and it was so much easier to change if they made a mistake. I spent a couple minutes showing how they can select their handwriting and resize it and move it as an alternative to erasing and rewriting.
We used the polling feature to great advantage. DyKnow Vision allows for the anonymous polling (exactly like clickers) within the software. I pick a polling screen, decide what the possible answers are (A-E, T/F, Yes/No, etc.) and press request answers. In seconds all the students have answered and I can display the results.
So I asked. "Compare the two assignments and ignore as best you can the newness and excitement of the Tablet PC as a toy and concentrate on the learning for you in the two assignments. Rate the use of the Tablet PC for your learning in these two assignments on a scale A-E where C is exactly the same in terms of learning, D and E show progressively worse learning using the Tablet PC and B and A are reflect progressively better learning learning using the tablet PC." The results are in, the class voted and of the eight students, the votes were A-1, B-6 and C-1.
We voted again, this time on selecting groups for the PBL. I wanted to know if they would want to keep their last group together (2 groups of 4) and asked them to vote. This time three said no and 1 was a no vote. Because it was so easy and anonymous to vote I asked again whether their strength of preference to change the group was very high, that is vote yes if you REALLY want or need the groups to be changed. This time the votes showed 8 NO votes. Within a minute I know that while 3 of the 8 wanted to change groups, no one had a strong preference and all in a way to allow total anonymity of the students.
Wed, we will talk more about the PBL and perhaps a minute paper. I closed reminding the students that their part of the experiment is to separate the fun of having fast new Tablets in class from their effect on learning econometrics using Tablets as on tool.
Monday, March 19, 2007
From this point forward the students will be able to use their Tablets in class as I use DyKnow Vision to complete the lectures and lead the discussion this term. they will be able to use DyKnow Vision to record their notes privately on the lectures as on my screen. No more haste to copy down all of the equations and keep up. They will be able to concentrate more on the meaning or so goes the hope. DyKnow Vision also has a polling feature just like the popular clickers, but can also "poll" in the subjective. You can ask all students to fill out a minute paper request and sweep up all the pages in one easy to browse and comment on file. Clickers are proving their worth and minute papers are well known for theirs. Add to this the ability for students to annotate anything on their screens and this has to help learning. If it doesn't bring efficiencies or enhanced learning it shouldn't be used.
I want to know three things from this trial. (1) Does access to digital pen technology and supportive software enhance the students perception of learning. (2) Does this enhancement depend on the digital ink, or might laptops do just as well, and (3) should we continue offering Tablet PCs to students in class. In the last case, is it sufficient to have a cart of Tablet PCs to borrow during class or do the students have to have ownership of their Tablets?
I for one have always fought a computer requirement for our students (we get subvented by the State of Ohio for selling credit hours, not computers) but I am slowly being converted from my view. Just as Tablet PCs are flourishing in some vertical industries, perhaps they also will in certain disciplines. Can the graph-drawing, equation-writing, problem solving economists be left out of this picture? While there is always money and interest in STEM and STEMM, should not economics be considered as quantitatively demanding as them?
One example: In my email this morning is an advertisement from Gateway about their 1:1 services. As my friend and coauthor Dan Talley knows well, the classroom is a different place when all the students have their own computers. And as we wrote in our AEA paper-presentation, of such things are the full exploitation of mobile learning networks (PowerPoint presentation here).
Friday, February 23, 2007
So my question is could this be a student entry tablet for use independently as well as in class, with products like DyKnow Vision, Classroom Presenter, Ubiquitious Presenter, MS Windows Journal, One Note and more? Does anyone know? Have you tried it? Let me know.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I have wondered about this ever since learning about learning style preferences in a seminar with Neil Fleming about his VARK quiz to reveal learning style preferences of Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinestetic. I have used VARK as a pre-assessment in my online courses to help the students at a distance learn techniques of learning that might help them.
Someday maybe I will correlate all those VARK scores with student performance, maybe someone else will and will comment here.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Go here for the link.
Friday, February 09, 2007
(updated February 11, 2007)
Click on the image to the right and read about Digital Game-Based Learning, and read on...
One game is Second Life is a virtual reality game that all can access and partake in. My wife and I have explored only the surface as we gain an avatar and customize it and begin to walk around this environment. Our University is discussing how we can bring gaming to the classroom for education and there are some examples out there. One of these is in the Athens News (1/29/2007) - "Virtual-reality software creates parallel campus, enhances education" and talks about a class held by Paul Shovlin inside Second Life. Read it it is pretty interesting with even a duplicate Ohio University inside Second Life. While Paul's class is in writing and other course are planned, a few notable persons in the lead are economists.
The number three most downloaded paper in the Social Science Research Library is "Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier" by Economist Edward Castronova, Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Telecommunications with 37,653 copies being downloaded ranking him as 15th among all authors. Clearly there is something here. He has 13 papers on virtual worlds and synthetic economies on his author page. No one is quite in the lead on discussions of the economies of virtual economies like he is. He even has his own wikipepia article. His blog TERRA NOVA is about virtual worlds and their implications. It has been in existance since September 2003. I highly recommend that you look around his Synthetic Worlds Institute at Indiana University (where he is director) and especially note their current project ARDEN: The World of William Shakespeare.
Jeff Sarbaum teaches a course in introductory economics in a on-line virtual world at UNC Greesboro. While he does not use second life he does use a virtual world. See "Aliens Teach University Economics Class" (by Nell Boyce, NPR) for some pictures and a description. Here is an article from the Duke Instructional Technology Showcase on Sarbaum's game: "Serious Games: Digital Game-Based Learning in Higher Education." An article in Campus Technology also reviews the game.
This is disappointing since the link above is to the Microsoft Tablet PC Team Blog that shows the Windows Vista secrets for Tablet PCs. I hope they get it all worked out soon.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
"A major finding of the 2005 ECAR study is that students with the highest IT skill levels acquired many of them as a result of course (or program) requirements (p.19)." Our responsibility as faculty is to use technology well and to integrate it into the curriculum if it is important for the students to learn it for their future performance. (Our ITL Research group here has surveyed our students, might be interesting to compare results.)
R. B. Kvavik and J. B. Caruso, Study of Students and Information Technology: Convenience, Connection, Control, and Learning (Boulder, Colo.: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, Research Study, Vol. 6, 2005)