Ed-Tech Scars

by Jim Groom

We were barely out
of middle school
when Stuart showed me the scar—

From Gary Jackson’s “The Family Solid”


The Grad Center’s Convocation and New Student Orientation took place yesterday, and if Twitter is any indicator it was a good crowd. It starts with joy and excited anticipation, the scars come later.

Yesterday also saw a good post from The Grants and Grants Research blog about actual deadlines:

Whenever a researcher approaches me for help with a grant proposal, my first question is always, “when is the deadline?” In truth, the researcher’s idea of the deadline is very seldom the actual deadline. For most researchers, the final deadline is 2 minutes prior to the absolute cut-off time issued by the funding agency.

Blogging truth. But that fact has not stopped Matthew K. Gold from working to secure a NEH Digital Humanities Grant that will develop “an open platform for humanities education.” Congratulations are in order.


Speaking of the digital, the Grad Center’s Teaching and Learning Center has a great guide for newbies on integrating education technology into the curriculum.


When I think of ed-tech, I can’t help but think of blogging. And, as it happens, the Commons has a brand new blogger on, of all things, ed-tech—or to be specific tech and bilingualism. Please welcome Sara Vogel to her new Commons diggs. Research says the more encouragement you provide fledgling bloggers, the more likely they are to take over the world [citation needed].


And even more on ed-tech, the Transformative Games blog takes a look at French billionaire Xavier Niel‘s free coding school:

Can 42 US, a free coding school run by a French billionaire, actually work?

And while on the topic of futurist apocalyptic horror stories, the Political Science department at the Grad Center is hosting a series this Fall about the elections titled “Unprecedented Politics.” Here’s the teaser…

The 2016 election is proving to be an historic one, pitting the first woman nominee from a major party against an outsider candidate who defies his own party. Beyond conventional and convention politics, tensions run high over the deaths of black men by the police, LGBTQ people, particularly Latin@s, are reeling from a massacre at a southern nightclub, and the chasm of economic, social, and political inequality deepens.


Speaking of this unprecedented election, the John Jay Research site has a great new article by Dan Stageman reflecting on the recent news that the federal Bureau of Prison’s will end its fourteen contracts with private/for-profit prison providers, “citing as cause its own August 2016 investigation into the safety and security of these contract facilities.” He links this to Immigration-related prisoner, which remain a “uniquely profitable segment of the private corrections industry.” A timely and informative post, read more here.


And in wrapping up this week’s run through the Commons I want to leave you with an “open educational resource” I found on Artem Altman’s blog, which was a link to this YouTube video uploaded by the School of Life:

Speaking of videos on YouTube, the HBLL blog’s summer teaching series continues. This week it is focused on Open Educational Resources. There are various degrees of specificity when it comes to what’s an OER, but I’d be interested to know what online, free resources folks out there integrate into their courses.


This week’s run through the Commons suggests one of two things: I am inevitably drawn to the the topic of ed-tech despite my best interest to be partial, OR ed-tech is inescapable in this day and age when talking about teaching and learning in higher ed. I tend to think it’s the latter, but maybe I have an ed-tech problem…