Weekend Reading: Travel Edition


Two quick follow-ups to posts this week: First, apropos of Julie’s Gowalla post, word of a Gowalla/NASA team-up. Second, someone has already launched plans for Slow Hunch, an open-source web app based on Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From.

On to the links!

  • A new study suggests that doodling may help you focus: Why does doodling aid memory? Andrade offers several theories, but the most persuasive is that when you doodle, you don’t daydream. Daydreaming may seem absentminded and pointless, but it actually demands a lot of the brain’s processing power.
  • Via Natalie on Twitter, an excellent argument for putting “best-by” dates in your e-mails: We often don’t tell people when we need to have something from them because it seems pushy. Saying “I need this by Wednesday” requires a lot of confidence and trust that the person on the other end isn’t hearing that they’re being told when they’ve got to do something. It’s also hard to give someone a deadline when they don’t work for you or when you don’t want to step into their creative space.
  • At Cac.aphony, Talia Argondezzi offers a rich exploration of how the divide between full-time and contingent faculty thwarts faculty development initiatives, and some pragmatic advice on overcoming this: The barriers that prevent contingent faculty from becoming truly involved in the university community and investing time in pedagogical development certainly represent one of the many intangible disadvantages of the two-tiered faculty labor system.
  • At Wired, Rhett Allain explains “the physics of Angry Birds,” the ubiquitous game: How do you get the data from the bird? I will use my favorite Tracker Video analysis. The nice thing about Tracker (other than being free and running Windows, Mac, and Linux) is that it has a nice feature to handle both panning and zooming videos – calibration point pairs. The basic idea is to mark two features in the video and follow these throughout the clip. By marking the location of these two objects in each frame, Tracker will scale, pan and rotate the data as needed.
  • Peter Newbury explains why active or peer learning approaches need to be designed in from the start, rather than retrofitted into a lesson plan: Dancy & Henderson discovered that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 722 faculty who completed their survey were familiar with PI and 29% actually used it in their classes. But on further probing, it turned out only 27% of that 29% (we’re down to about 8% now) had students discussing ideas and solving problems multiple times per class. . . . The technology is there but it’s not being implemented in a way that promotes learning.

There’s a whole slew of videos related to Educause’s sessions on social media, led by Tanja Joosten and Shannon Ritter. I like this one, assembled by faculty in the Maricopa Community College system:

Bonus link: What do storm troopers think about Darth Vader?

Have a great weekend!

Image by Flickr user Nicki Varkevisser / Creative Commons licensed

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