Adam S. Brooks

technologist / geek . entrepreneur . marketer . presenter / speaker . developer . consultant . innovator . educator . community advocate . author .

Frankenstein in the University

In our day-to-day encounters with new media, online education, and vendor software products, we may sometimes be tempted to believe that encroaching technology is controlling the way people teach and learn. Is there a monster in our midst, determining our actions? An excerpted article from the writing and blogging of Luke Fernandez offers some perspective.

"Yet in our daily encounters with technology, in settings where we don’t interact with monster robots but with the more quotidian machines of life and work, there often runs a thread of anxiety about how much control we actually have over our machines. Recent developments in university life are especially suggestive that human inventions are controlling the way people teach and learn — especially when it comes to media technologies, distance learning, and software that has been purchased from vendors." [read more]

Remember, technology is a tool. Certainly, we have powerful tools at our discretion but it is our discretion and governance over the tools that we’ve been empowered with which makes e-learning so effective. Adam Brooks

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Social Networking for Educators: Can it be integrated and what value does it add?

There has been a lot of recent debate on the benefits of social networking tools and software in education. While there are good points on either side of the debate, there remains the essential difference in theoretical positioning. Most conventional educational environments are "Objectivist" in nature and highly structured in terms of students progress and choice. Social networking essentially requires a less controlled, user-generated environment, which challenges conventional views of the effective "management" of teaching and learning. Therefore, can social networking both as an instructional concept and user skill be integrated into the conventional approaches to teaching and learning? Do the skills developed within a social networking environment have value in the more conventional environments of learning?  [read more]

This is a good, well thought-out, article on the uses of and the debates surrounding social networking in education. AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Moodle version 1.9.1 has been released

Moodle has released Moodle 1.9.1, the first maintenance update to the popular open-source learning management system since the 1.9 launch in March. The new version includes a number of minor fixes, as well as performance improvements and some new functionality. [read more]

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Geek is Chic! The ascent of the too cool nerds.

"Cool is a feeling for information." When someone has that dexterity, you know it. There is now a cool geek fashion style, which can be found on shopping sites all over the Web (think Japanese sneakers and text-laden T-shirts). The news that being a geek is cool has apparently not permeated either junior high schools or the Republican Party. George Bush plays an interesting role in the tale of nerd ascent. With his professed disdain for intellectual things, he’s energized and alienated the entire geek cohort, and with it most college-educated Americans under 30. Newly militant, geeks are more active than they might otherwise be. [more] 

Geek is chic, baby! Along these lines, check out THE Geek Fest annual event. AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,

We must teach our children how to make better financial decisions!

We’ve gone from being a nation with a slight overspending problem to a country steeped in more debt than in the entire history of lending and borrowing. Homes, jobs and futures are on the line. The situation is dire. You don’t have to be a parent to know that this country has a giant spending problem — and that we must teach the next generation to do better. But how?  [read more]

We all want the best for our kids. We want them to do and be better than we are. Well, let’s all start by being parents that make wise financial decisions for our families. Once we make those decisions, convey the logic of our decisions and financial positioning to our family, children included. No, they don’t need to know everything but it helps them to understand the logic of managing finance with lifestyle. Certainly, I don’t want to seem judgmental as we, my family and I, have our ongoing challenges with instilling awareness. The biggest right now is continually explaining the difference between "wants" and "needs." As in, statements to the tune of "I need that" are often not the truth. We want things. Kids don’t get that message easily and certainly not willingly but neither do we adults. So, what do you want more, wise children or more things? AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Research finds that video games can make players more creative

Video games that energize players and induce a positive mood could also enhance creativity, according to media researchers. However, the study also finds that players who were not highly energized and had a negative mood, registered the highest creativity. "You need defocused attention for being creative," said S. Shyam Sundar, professor of film, video and media studies at Penn State. "When you have low arousal and are negative, you tend to focus on detail and become more analytical." [read more] 

So, if the games can stimulate creativity, what other, for better or worse, emotions and states of being can we create? Reprogramming minds can be fun! J/K AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Transforming public buses into mobile sensing platforms

Public buses could be transformed into mobile sensing platforms, sending out information for traffic management, road safety and even hazard  alerts thanks to the work of European researchers. [read more]

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Phoenix Mars Lander : NASA lands “Phoenix” on planet Mars and begins exploring the arctic plain.

The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith at the University of Arizona, Tucson, with project management at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions are provided by the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. [READ MORE]

We are the "space invaders" AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,

Gas Price Reality Check @ $4 per gallon, gas is still really cheap!

The next time you have to take out a loan just to fill up your tank, remember this: Four-dollar-per-gallon gasoline is cheap. But by almost any measure, gasoline is still cheap. In fact, it has probably been far too cheap for far too long. The recent price increases are only beginning to reflect its real value. When measured on an inflation-adjusted basis, the current price of gasoline is only slightly higher than it was in 1922. [more]

Filed under: Uncategorized,

A message from God? New Zealand pilots run out of fuel and land plane near 20-foot “Jesus is Lord” sign.

It seemed like an almost literal answer to their prayers. When two New Zealand pilots ran out of fuel in a microlight airplane they offered prayers and were able to make an emergency landing in a field – coming to rest right next to a sign reading, "Jesus is Lord." After Wilson glided the powerless craft to a landing on the grassy strip, the pair noticed they were beside a 20-foot-tall sign that read, "Jesus is Lord – The Bible." [read more]

No comment needed here. AB

Filed under: Uncategorized,