Digital Matters

Tech and this class

Long, long ago I thought phones would destroy the classroom.

This type of thinking had two major problems.

(1) it leads to a cultural disconnect between me, your professor, and you my (mostly younger) students coming of age in the smartphone era;

and (2) it assumes you have ready access to alternate traditional media: printing, money to buy text books, or already own a personal computer or large tablet.

My goal now is turn the phone that is already in your pocket into a tool that helps you succeed in my class.  And, let you save your resources for other courses.

I know printing is expensive and time consuming (even with your 300 page allowance from the college).

I certainly don’t want to ask you to buy a dozen books to read just once.

Computers both at home and on campus tend to be shared resources.

But… most of you have a smart phone in your pocket.

So, I will be attempting to supply most readings in a digital format that is readable and navigable on your phone, namely EPubs.  I also encourage you to listen simultaneously as you reading as much as possible and help me build my library of recordings (extra credit given).

[‘Hang on. I prefer paper!’  ‘Don’t worry, PDFs for printing are also supplied.’]

Read on the bus, during a down time at your job, while you’re rocking a fussy baby to sleep, waiting for that friend who is always late, in the bathroom, I don’t care!  Just read. 

Every time you find yourself on your phone killing time, I want you to think to yourself, ‘oh hey, I could do a little more reading for Prof. Yarrow’s class!’

While you read, take notes and highlight.  This means you need a good EPUB reader. Kindle, Google Play and iBooks will all work fine.  However consider also:

Marvin (iOS only)

BlueFire (Android, iOS)

Marvin has the advantage of in app epub import support and you’ll need BlueFire anyway to borrow electronic books from the college library.

Use whatever program you like best as long as you can highlight and take notes.

You’ll also want to install WordPress (Android, iOS).  This will let you do your blog posts and extra credit right from your phone!

I hesitate to recommend the very buggy BlackBoard apps (Android, iOS), but they will allow you to check your grades on the go.  I use BlackBoard for functionality not available in WordPress, namely confidential details of your performance.

Other apps of use will YouTube for streaming and downloading audio and Instagram for Prof. Simon’s class.