The King Is Dead? Long Live the King? The Rise and Possible Fall of the Personal Computer, and What It Means to Academia

Will the personal computer soon become obsolete? Image courtesy of a Creative Commons license via Flickr user Niv Singer.

For at least a couple of years now there’s been quite a buzz about the impending death of the personal computer (for the purposes of this article, the PC, and not to be confused with the more tightly defined Microsoft-based PC). Much of this discussion has been based on the dismal sales trends for PCs […]

Me and My Google: Why I Can’t Walk Away from This Unhealthy Relationship


Okay, so first off, let me just say I love Google. In fact, part of my anger at Google stems from the fact that Google does so many awesome things. It tells me all the things I want to hear, it brings me flowers or chocolates (well, at least it shows me where I can […]

Is Technology Indistinguishable from Magic? The Dangers of Clarke’s Third Law


In his 1962 book Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke proposed his third and final “law” of  prediction — he felt he had to propose no more laws because “as three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop […]

Reflections on W&M’s myNotebook Program Ten Years Later

Geology 110 students using their laptop computers and LectureTools during class. I’m arm-waving at the front of the class. So who is on Facebook and who is checking their email? Photo by Pablo Yanez.

William & Mary announced its myNotebook initiative nearly ten years ago. Our effort was by no means revolutionary (as Wake Forest University’s ThinkPad Project began a decade earlier in 1996), rather it was meant to capitalize on the boom of mobile computing that was already changing how students interacted with technology on a day to […]

Why I Want My Kid to Study at William & Mary and Why I’m Eager for the New COLL Curriculum


  Okay, so that’s a strange, non-tech title for an article on an academic technology website, but the College’s new COLL curriculum has been much on my mind lately as I and my colleagues in Academic Information Systems work to come up with creative solutions to help our faculty members implement many of their plans […]

A Rented Resource — Keeping You on the Hook and in Their Books


As this past weekend ended, so did my personal subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud for Students and Educators. I remember how elated I was for a great deal for my year long subscription agreement; getting the full slew of apps and tools that the company offered for a limited time price of $19.99/month. I have […]

Using Computers for Teaching, 1967 to 2013

This is an image from the Life magazine article "The Computer as a Tutor." The original caption reads, "The sight of a small pupil ornamented like a pilot is rare, but may be common someday."

Teaching and learning with computers has been going on since at least the 1960s, and Stanford professors Pat Suppes and Dick Atkinson used computers in a California elementary school classroom to help students learn at their own pace. Their experiment, as outlined in a 1967 Life magazine article, shows that much of how we think about technology in education has stayed the same.

Cloudy With a Chance of Risks: Adobe Takes a Plunge

Image Source

On May 6th, Adobe announced at a major trade conference that it would no longer continue to develop the Adobe Creative Suite of software (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, Dreamweaver, InDesign, etc.). Adobe’s future versions of these applications will be developed and offered ONLY through a membership (subscription) basis under the Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC), although end-users can for an undefined amount of time continue to purchase “traditional” copies of its CS6 products. While this change in policy was not completely unexpected, the suddenness and finality of the implementation plan, as well as the rapid and overwhelmingly negative reception (often caustic) by end-users seems to have caught many by surprise.

Automating Reading and Writing: Computerized Essay Grading


The past few weeks have seen a lot of discussion over computerized essay-grading. Some people admire its labor-saving potential (because who really likes grading a huge pile of student essays?) while the louder crowd argues that, among other things, a computer can’t read. I see this discussion as part of a broader trend that stretches back into the early days of the modern computer.

Music Resources Available on the Web

Revitalize Public Domain Music project from the Free Music Archive.

In my last post, I gave an introduction to streaming music resources available through the W&M campus libraries. Today, I’m going to give an introduction to some resources you can use beyond the library. If the collections that we have available through our streaming services or in the library aren’t meeting your course needs, these Web resources might be just what you need!