Jason Ohler’s ‘4Four Big Ideas for the Future: Understanding Our Innovative Selves’

Jim ShimabukuroBy Jim Shimabukuro

Jason Ohler, who wrote “Whither Writing Instruction in the 21st Century?” for ETC five years ago, released a new book last month, 4Four Big Ideas for the Future: Understanding Our Innovative Selves.

Jason developed a disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis from which he never expected to recover. It slowly and literally took his breath away. At the 11th hour, he received a double lung transplant.

“Rather miraculous,” he says. “A year later I have a new site, newsletter and book and feel great, back working full tilt, as inspired as ever.”

4Four Ohler2

For more information, link to his Amazon site and his personal website.

When he was huddled around an oxygen machine 24/7, he thought a lot. This book reflects what is important to him about life, learning and technology. Read some of the reviews for his book.

From the Amazon ad: “Dr. Jason Ohler has been telling stories about the future that are rooted in the realities of the past during the entire thirty five years he has been involved in the world of high technology and innovative education. He is a professor emeritus, distinguished president’s professor of educational technology and virtual learning who has won numerous awards for his work. He is author of many books, articles and online resources, and is a speaker, humorist, teacher, media psychologist, cyber researcher and grandpa. He is also a lifelong digital humanist who is well known for the passion, insight and humor that he brings to his presentations, projects and publications.”


Stuck in Macadamia Nut Hell

Cami Lyn Nagata 80By Cami Lyn Nagata
Student at Kapi’olani Community College
University of Hawai’i

I wondered why I was the only one that wanted to go to the farm with grandpa. All of my older cousins came up with reasons why they couldn’t go with us. Even Mom didn’t want to come. I should have caught the hint when I had the chance, but I was only eight, too young to realize that going to the macadamia nut farm was not going to be carefree fun. I didn’t know it then, but I was about to learn that hard work pays off.

The road was bumpy. I bounced in the seat, the belt digging into my neck each time. The smell of the sweat stained seats stung my nose as the wind whipped around the cabin of the truck. The engine moaned as we slowly climbed the twisting dirt road. Grandpa drove, eyes focused on the road, a mischievous smirk planted on his face. I could see the trees. We were getting close.

We pulled off the road and stopped at the metal gate. Grandpa put the truck in park, then quickly climbed out and unlocked the gate. With a strong push, the gate swung open to let us through. He got back in, and we drove up the path, passing a number of trees.  Continue reading

The Science of Deflategate

picture of Harry KellerBy Harry Keller
Editor, Science Education

The New England Patriots have muddled up the Super Bowl in a grand fashion. It might as well be an MIT prank but on a national scale. We haven’t see the like since Caltech (MIT’s famous rival in the prank world) jimmied the Rose Bowl’s card stunts half a century ago. (Personal note: I was a member of the Caltech group of twelve that did that. Also see this LA Times article.)

Denials are not going to change any fan’s mind. If you’re a Patriot fan, you probably don’t think it’s important. If you’re not, then you will believe any evil of the New England dynasty.

Before delving into the science, I should note that reporters have said that the ball deflation was discovered during halftime and rectified. As the final score was 45-7, and the second half score was 28-0, even if every Patriot point in the first, seemingly flawed half were rescinded, the score would still be 28-7 in favor of the Patriots. We are not discussing, therefore, who should play in the Super Bowl. We are instead discussing how balls would have become low in pressure.

As any high school physics teacher will tell you, PV=nRT, the ideal gas law. Okay, that’s gibberish to many, but it’s really very simple. So simple in fact that you can do the calculations yourself with calculator or even readily with paper and pencil. Let’s deconstruct this equation.  Continue reading

From ‘Yes Ma’am’ to ‘F*** You’

Tracey kashiwa 80By Tracey Kashiwa
Student at Kapi’olani Community College
University of Hawai’i

Justin Bieber Eggs His Neighbor’s House.” “Kendall Jenner…Calls [Her Mother] a…Whore.” “Miley Cyrus Twerks on Married Man.” In American society today, the media is filled with incidents of youths disrespecting their elders. In fact, even the idea that children should respect their elders seems nonexistent (“Respect for Others”). I’m only thirty-two, but even I wonder what happened to respecting our elders.

When I was a child, I looked to my parents and grandparents for advice and to learn about the past. I viewed them as wise old owls who had a wealth of knowledge and experience that I could tap into. Disrespecting my parents was never an option, and if I didn’t show respect, they would ground me for weeks or, even worse, break out the back scratcher. What has changed from my generation to this? Has the internet ruined our need to look to elders as knowledge keepers? Has social media eliminated our need for social pleasantries? Has the frown on spanking created an uncrossable barrier for parents and discipline?

To better understand youth, I interviewed my twenty-year-old housemate, John, a young man plagued by the need to disregard others. John is the kind of person who, if you asked how his day went, walks past you without eye contact or acknowledgement of your existence. He acts as though he is royalty and can’t be bothered by the peasants around him, and he always has music blaring through headphones to drown us out. I doubt he would behave so arrogantly if he knew how much he resembles a chicken pecking the ground for food when he bobs his head to the beat. Like I said, he is the epitome of a disrespectful youth.  Continue reading

‘The Theory of Everything’ – A Hollywood Take on Science

picture of Harry KellerBy Harry Keller
Editor, Science Education

The new movie, The Theory of Everything, is about the life of Stephen Hawking from his graduation from Oxford to his becoming famous and then separating from his devoted wife of over a quarter century. Please, everyone, go to this movie. Why? Because it’s a good story, well acted and directed, and because you will be supporting the concept of telling the stories of scientists in movies. We must have more of this.

Stephen has a special resonance with me for strictly non-scientific reasons. We were born in the same year. We both entered prestigious colleges at the same age, 17, and went on to prestigious graduate schools for our doctorates. We were both married in the same year, he to Jane and I to Jayne. Of course, there are innumerable differences to balance these few coincidences. I majored in chemistry, he in physics. I have enjoyed rather good health overall. He is outrageously famous, while I labor in obscurity. And so it goes.

The Theory of EverythingBefore getting to the science, I’ll praise Eddie Redmayne for his uncanny portrayal of Stephen Hawking. From the early stumbling to the later crablike fingers and the difficulty in forming words, he nails Hawking in a manner that I never would have believed. Especially moving are the scenes in which he has the twinkle and slight smile showing Hawking’s personal joy at special moments and his puckish sense of humor.

This is a wonderful love story in which personal connection overcomes insurmountable odds. Jane (Wilde) Hawking’s (played by Felicity Jones) indomitable spirit lifts Stephen Hawking to the threshold of his greatness. We see this spirit and unwillingness to give up displayed several times in the movie. The very fact that Jane has three children, the last when Stephen is unable to move from his wheelchair speaks volumes about her. Ms. Jones brings a real sense of what the actual Mrs. Hawking must have felt to many of the scenes in the movie.  Continue reading

Smackademia – the Best of Both Worlds!

By Jessica Knott
Associate Editor
Editor, Twitter

[Note: ETCJ editors and writers live full lives, and from time to time, we’ll be publishing some of their extracurricular pursuits. See John Adsit’s “The Great Technology Controversy Follows Me into the Caves,” the first in this series. -Editor]

A few weeks ago, Jim asked me why I never wrote about roller derby. My answer to him was that I’d honestly never thought about it. What’s to say? Every day, I wake up, roll over and groan. Sometimes instead of getting out of bed, I roll out of it and onto the floor, somehow miraculously proceeding to my feet from there. Something on my body always hurts. I am 35 years old, but my laugh lines are thankfully all in the right place. I weigh 180 pounds, but I’m happy with my body and what I can do with it.

Addie Mortem (Jess Knott), blocker for the Lansing Derby Vixens. Photo by Jena McShane of McShane Photography.

Addie Mortem (Jess Knott), blocker for the Lansing Derby Vixens. Photo by Jena McShane of McShane Photography.

Last year, I ran a half marathon with very little training due to a bruised kidney. But I did it. (Wait, you bruised your what?) I spend two hours, three days a week smelling seriously terrible (excuse me?), and the rest of them studying hypermedia and online learning. I teach faculty development workshops and laugh so much I should have an abdominal six-pack (a what?). I am a smackademic (smackaHUH?).

I am Addie Mortem, a blocker for the Lansing Derby Vixens roller derby league of Lansing, Michigan. I am also Jessica Knott, instructional designer at Michigan State University and PhD student in MSU’s nationally-ranked PhD program in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education. Hence, I am a “smackademic,” as coined in a Chronicle of Higher Education article circa 2010 (http://chronicle.com/article/Smackademics-Join-the-Ranks/123670/). And I am not alone in my league as I am joined by criminal justice PhD student in criminal justice Ludacrush, PhD student in English Rue McSlamahan, PhD in music theory PhDemon, PhD in forestry House of Bruise, PhD student in educational administration Krizzy Azzbee, and Juris Doctor Little Hitaly.   Continue reading