Whiteshirt Update

We had a faculty meeting today. I have to say, things are not looking good. It looks like a majority of the faculty want to move forward with the datablocker 5000 and possibly more of the WhiteShirt products. I still have time to put together an argument (they gave me until after #educomm) but the outlook is grim.

I still can’t believe faculty are so adverse to the use of technology in the classroom. I guess the idea of life-long learning only applies to students and not instructors. Last week Kenny had the nerve to post a blog about faculty getting in the way of IT innovation on campus. While he made some strong arguments that I agree with, I still don’t believe that IT should be the one and only group making decisions in how education evolves. Faculty should be a key stakeholder on any global IT decision. That is what my campus is trying to do but there are a handful of influential faculty trying to hold us back.

The Twitter community grabbed a hold of Kenny’s post last week and really blew it up. We were having a great discussion when all of a sudden I received an email from Kenny reiterating the points he made in his post. He said, “You may be able to find supporters across the web but they aren’t the ones making decisions on your campus.” I don’t know how anyone could or would ever want to purchase products from a person like that.


Crowdsourcing Evidence of Effectiveness

My institution is considering purchasing products from White Shirt Learning, specifically the DataBlocker 5000, potentially others as well. I have fervently protested any purchase from this company and have finally been given an opportunity to plead my case. I strongly believe that technology can be used effectively in the classroom. Students in my class and across the world are helping to change the classroom environment. Obviously as with any change, people are uncomfortable with what is happening. To date, my faculty have discarded all the evidence I have shown them. Rather than resurrecting work I had already done that had already been discarded, I have decided to look to the crowd.

I need your help in demonstrating what can and should be done with technology in the classroom. I would love to have video evidence of work being done that I can share with my colleagues (It is very difficult to reject video evidence). I am looking for any examples you have from action footage to testimonials. If the chorus of disapproval on yesterday’s Twitter #geekpoll was any indication of what is happening at other institutions I would hope I can gather enough resources to make a difference. I appreciate all of your help and support and look forward to your videos!

I Think I Got Hacked

I was going to write a blog post about the pilot but my blog was all messed up. It was really strange and I don’t know what it means. If you figure it out drop me an email at erica@academ-x.com

White Shirt Learning: Hindering Student Success

This post is the exact reason I started my blog. My blog is more than just a space for a cute little logo. It is a stand for what I, and many innovative instructors stand for. Too many times faculty resort to the comforts of traditional teaching styles when there are a multitude of  new opportunities right in front of them.

Kenny makes a point on his blog that these changes don’t happen over night and that it takes time to “acclimate” to such a big change. While I agree that change doesn’t happen overnight, I find it impossible to understand how faculty can acclimate to change when the resources causing the change are completely blocked. Adapting to a new situation or environment, THAT is what acclimating is. Denying/blocking its very existence is naive and unacceptable.

Dear Kenny and the other folks at White Shirt Learning: I am embracing the necessary adjustments like many of my colleagues at institutions of learning across the world. By embracing technology, I have been able to meet the challenges at my institution while increasing classroom participation and student performance. It is technology manufacturers like White Shirt Learning that are trying to stifle creativity and innovation in the classroom. You are a crutch for poor instructors to lean on. You are not blocking technology in the classroom, you are hindering the success of our students.

Laptops in the Classroom


I came across this article when I was researching what other educators where doing about technology in the classroom. I think it provides a very balanced view of laptops in the classroom. There are 23 current articles linked from this page. Most of them are very insightful. I did make special note of the poll results showing that 66% of people think laptops in the classroom are beneficial.

The New iPhone

I am considering buying an iPhone when they come out in June. I watched the launch of iPhone OS4 and think the new features are going to be really cool. Sounds more like the phone I am looking for. Of course, I don’t know if I will be able to use it in the classroom. Maybe I should just get an iPad. Surely Apple will have some proprietary communication channel that will let me bypass the Data Blocker 5000.

Faculty Need to Harness Student Technology

Our institution enrollment exploded over the last year. I faced the challenge head on and engaged the students and their use of technology. My experience was incredible. Unfortunately not everyone at my institution had the same experience.

Last week we spent a day demoing the Data Blocker 5000. It is a device that blocks all cell phone and wireless signals in a 5000 foot radius (large enough to cover our classrooms). While this approach may deter the students who are disengaged using Facebook during lecture, it also destroys the energy and engagement I saw in my class. Faculty shouldn’t fear what students are doing on laptops, they should guide them to appropriately using the power at their fingertips. Instructors are captains. They drive the ship but need student’s energy to keep the ship moving. We need to embrace the opportunities that technology presents us with.