Category Archives: Editorial

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Is This Still a Thing? Looking Back at Unroll.me

unfurling fern

ProfHacker has been writing posts for a long time now, and in addition to all the evergreen posts about writing and syllabus design and so forth, we’ve also covered a lot of tech. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an occasional series called “Is This Still a Thing?,” in which I look back at an app, service, or gadget we’ve reviewed, and briefly update readers on its status.

For one reason or another, I’ve dithered in getting this off the ground, but recent revelations about Unroll.me have s…

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Weekend Reading: Late April Edition

It’s hard to believe that April is almost over. I know that some campuses still have weeks to go until the academic term is over, but on my campus we start final exams next week (!). Without further ado, here are 5 interesting reads to get you through your weekend:

  • "America’s Great Divergence," by Alana Semuels in The Atlantic: "Half a century ago, economic opportunity and upward mobility were available to many white Americans, regardless of where they lived and what kind of education they ha…

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Fridges and the (Home) Economics of Ed Tech

Billboard advertising gas refrigerators

A maxim even more famous than “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” is “Never make analogies about technology adoption where scholars of refrigeration can find them.” And yet, in “Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or a Washing Machine?,” Julia Freeland Fisher makes just this mistake, when she draws on what she takes to be the comparative adoption rates of these two appliances to argue for more disruptive innovation in educational technology. (Sigh.)

The internet being …

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Weekend Reading: Goodbye March Edition

I’ve been exchanging emails with a lot of fellow academics this week and we’ve commiserated over the difficulty of March. Whether you were on spring break or not, there’s something about this month and its placement in the already-fast spring semester that I always find dizzying. Here’s a few links to reading while catching one’s breath this weekend:

  • The University of Guelph Library is making fun use of one of my favorite tools, Twine, for a short interactive experience “Manage Your Research:…

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Weekend Reading: A Positive Rage Edition

Craig Finn performing at Brooklyn Bowl with The Hold Steady

Gadget nerds looking to distract themselves from Washington will know that Apple released a tepid batch of hardware updates this week: a red phone, some watch bands, and a low-end iPad. Nothing for the iMac, which hasn’t been updated since October 2015, let alone the Mac Mini, which hasn’t gotten any attention since October 2014.

The hottest take in the wake of Tuesday’s release is that the new low-cost iPad signals that Apple might be ready to take the education market seriously again. Pffft.

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Weekend Reading: Pink Is a Strong Color

It’s Friday! Let’s get to those links that give you some reading material for your weekend!

  • How To Tell Fake News From Real News In ‘Post-Truth’ Era,” by Steve Inskeep: “It’s all right for Americans to be skeptical of what they read and hear. How could I say otherwise? I’m a journalist. It’s my job to question what I hear. While I shouldn’t cynically dismiss everything people tell me, I should ask for evidence and avoid buying into bogus narratives. What we all need, as citizens, is to devel…

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Weekend Reading: No Sleep on Sunday Edition

Sleepy Puppy

It’s the return of daylight savings time this weekend, of course, which brings both extra sun and extra fatigue. Fortunately, Maryellen Weimer’s got us sorted with some good advice about “Waking up to Tired Teaching”, which may be useful for the week to come. If your institution’s on spring break next week, of course, then I hope it’s some combination of restful and productive–or crazy and wild, if that is your thing!

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Weekend Reading: Password Reset Edition

Authenticity required: Password?

There’s been a lot in the news again this week, but it’s important not to miss another major internet security breach. This one, called Cloudbleed, is not *terribly* likely to compromise anyone’s individual data, but the usual advice to get out there and start changing passwords (ideally using a password manager!) definitely applies.

Cloudbleed is a little wild, because it’s one of those situations where a bug in one company’s code has potentially ended up with data strewn over many, many site…

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Weekend Reading: Freedom From Edition

bridge

Here’s hoping that, this Presidents’ Day weekend, folks are able to get a holiday from the current administration, in order to get a little freer headspace, or maybe even just some work done or some sleep.

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Weekend Reading: Weathering the Storm of Progress

Knocked over traffic cone

I guess there’s not going to be any settling down, is there? Here, as is often the case, are some interesting articles to kick off your weekend:

  • Looks like Audrey Watters gave a barn-burner at the University of Richmond this week, on “Ed-Tech in a Time of Trump”: “A Time of Trump” could be “A Time of Neoliberalism” or “A Time of Libertarianism” or “A Time of Algorithmic Discrimination” or “A Time of Economic Precarity.” All of this is – from President Trump to the so-called “new economy” – h…