The Tech Tuesday Newsletter 10/25/11

BlackBoard opens up

There has been a growing movement toward open-education in the last couple of years. Harvard and MIT both offer free open courses online. One of things that has possibly been holding this movement back a bit was, well, Blackboard. It is used by more than half of the colleges in the country, and until now, there was no way of opening up courses using this system. Now, I am certainly not the world’s biggest proponent of Blackboard, but last week, they decided they would add the option of allowing instructors to make their materials free and open online. This at least is a step in the right direction, and will more than likely have a non-trivial effect in the world of Learning Management Systems.

BYOB (or D or T):

Another emerging trend right now is the “Bring Your Own Device (or Technology)” movement going on in K12 schools. The idea is that students these days are carrying around, in their pockets, computers (cell phones) which are more powerful than what NASA used in 1969 to put a man on the moon. This being said, we as educators should probably use these devices to improve teaching and learning. Sounds resonable, and many districts are already in the process of doing this, but many districts ban the use of these devices as well. This article discusses some of the issues surrounding policies for BYOD initiatives. If you are curious about how teachers are using these devices, here are some lesson ideas.


Google has a lot of cool things going on. Just last week, they announced updates to their presentations tool with real-time collaboration, new themes, etc. This really could take a bite out of the monopoly that PowerPoint has on our meeting entertainment. I also got around to testing out their hangouts tool inside of Google+. It worked great. Actually much better than skype (for me, here at work) for video conferencing. You can also video conference with up to 10 people. Could be a cool way to have office hours. I know Austin Malloy is currently testing out using Google+ for his class, and as I have been following that class, it looks like it is a cool way to facilitate discussions 24/7.

Quick Linguist Story of the Week

Chomsky doesn’t like twitter, and so I don’t like Chomsky anymore. Just kidding, but the “manufacturing consent” professor views texting and social media as shallow. Is he right, or is this just another old guy who thinks rap isn’t music and graffiti isn’t art?

Quick Tech Stories of the Week

I guess I should stop declining FaceBook friend requests from kids I knew in Middle school

Quick Local Story of the Week

October is Va Wine Month. Here is why you should drink Va Wines this month. BTW, my vote for best VA wine is Octagon from Barboursville

It is also restaurant week in Richmond this week.

Quick pics  of the Week

Happy Halloween


About Monty Jones

Currently the Director of Technology for the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology department at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. Prior to my work at Virginia Commonwealth University, I served as a graduate research fellow at the University of Virginia’s Center for Technology and Teacher Education.
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