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.