Laptops Make Math More Stimulating

Laptops Make Math Stimulating

One of the drivers for the myNotebook initiative has been to help be sure that we’re ready to respond to a generation of students who will be entering William and Mary with much different experiences with computers than those of the past. One of the most interesting parts of the article was the amazingly blasé description of the fact that these computers where being used in the high school’s “robotics lab.”

One of those projects is now taking off in the school’s robotics lab, where Papert helped students create computer programs to create virtual “towns” and “villages,” along with student-built robotic trains.

I guess every high school has a robotics lab now. My google search for “high school robotics team” generated over 10,000 hits. (“High school rodeo team”, which was pretty big when I was in graduate school in Texas, only got about 1,200 links.) I”ve missed the whole high school robotics revolution!

Security Awareness Test at West Point

Fostering E-Mail Security Awareness: The West Point Carronade

Over the last several months, the logisitics committee for the myNotebook initiative has been involved in a spirited debate about the effectiveness of group training exercises in helping to build safe computing practices. An article in the spring Educause Quarterly describes an experiment in which a bogus email was sent to cadets who had completed a four hour mandatory training program on computer best practices. Eighty percent clicked on the email link embedded in mail with the subject line: Problem with your grade report.

The article concludes:

While imperfect at best, the West Point Carronade exercise proved that the traditional classroom instruction model is necessary but not sufficient when it comes to learning. Students have to touch, feel, and experience the content in order to learn. The goal of any security awareness exercise should be to make security an attitude within the organization, campus, or university. Periodic launching of these types of awareness exercises will help minimize network downtime and maximize network performance as students become more judicious about handling e-mails.

As a result of the experiment outlined in this study, administration at West Point proposed a set of additional emails to collect social security numbers, other personal data, and downloaded music. The purpose of each exercise was to give immediate feedback on the dangerous behavior. I wonder if an institution like William and Mary could get away with organizing such naturalistic teaching methods–perhaps as part of the DIL?

Marketing the Liberal Arts

University Business: Editor’s Note

University Business reported the results of a survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) as part of a project to help bridge the “disconnect among the business community, IHE’s, students, and parents over the meaning–and value–of a liberal arts education.” Wheaton College (Mass.) President Ronald Crutcher noted in his discussion of the report:

“We conducted a survey that asked high school juniors and seniors what they thought a liberal arts education means. I wish I was making this up, but they said that they though it meant ‘a liberal way of thinking’ …meaning you’re a leftist, or something other than a Republican.”

Something about that scares me, particularly when coupled with the recent Knight Foundation report that found that “over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went ‘too far’ in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly.

Maybe we could call ourselves “freedom arts” colleges…

Back to Blogging

I lost my momentum and enthusiasm for blogging after losing my domain in the great Bloghosts fiasco, but recently I have been inspired to post about some of the things that are going on in my professional life. Like Gardner Campbell, another Bloghosts refugee, I’ve registered a new .net domain and have set up this WordPress blog to start grabbing some thoughts and sharing them.

We may move this to MT at some time in the future, but this will do for the time being…