Looking Forward to Educause 2011

I will be attending the Educause 2011 Annual Conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center next month (Oct. 18-21). I have been attending the Educause annual conference since 2006. It is always great to hear the ways other universities are using instructional technology, especially when they present assessment data to go along with their solutions.

My team will be giving a presentation at this year’s conference on our experience developing and supporting the official mobile application for The George Washington University. We launched the iOS version of GW Mobile in January 2011, and released an Android version in April 2011. To date, the app has been downloaded over 10,000 times across the two mobile platforms.

I am also excited to hear Seth Godin speak at one of the conference’s general sessions. I expect him to have some interesting things to say to the higher education community.


White House Social Media Gaffe

Social media can be pretty damaging to your communication message when you make these kinds of errors. The White House social media team seems to have made a serious mistake today when uploading a photo on the official Whitehouse Facebook feed.

The White House website posted a photo of President Obama with a family from Ohio. The caption reads, “President Barack Obama helps spell out “Ohio” with the Weithman family, Rachel, 9, Josh, 11, and mom Rhonda, in their home in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18, 2010.”


The Facebook feed posted a photo of President Obama and Governor Arnold Swartzenager with a very different caption. It reads, “President Barack Obama helps sell out “Ohio” with the Weithman family, Rachel, 9, Josh, 11, and mom Rhonda, in their home in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18, 2010.”


I wonder if someone is getting fired today.

Dell Latitude XT

I am currently evaluating the Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC for my university. I have been using it for about one week, and I am really pleased with its performance. It came from Dell with the Microsoft’s Windows Vista Business operating system installed, which includes Microsoft’s new Tablet PC Support features. Click here to read about all of the tablet features in Vista–Tablet PC Support is included in the following versions of MS Vista – Home Premium, Business, Ultimate.

I spent about three hours with the “Personalize handwriting recognition” function when I first received the machine.  This function has you write out 50 sentences, the English alphabet, numbers, and frequently used symbols. You can go back to this function at any time and select to either “Teach the recognizer your handwriting style” or “Target specific recognition errors.” You can also select whether to opt in to automatic learning for personalization. This allows the recognizer to gather information about the words that you use and how you write them and store that information on your local computer.

I am very impressed with the handwriting recognition technology. I purposefully write at the same speed as I normally would when I provide handwriting samples to the computer.  This way I do not write the samples neater than I would in a normal situation.

Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 is great for taking handwritten notes on the tablet during meetings. You can choose to leave the notes in your own handwriting, or you can have OneNote convert your handwriting to text. OneNote doesn’t convert every word correctly for me yet, but the simple editing and formatting that I must complete is a lot easier than typing up a whole meeting’s worth of handwritten notes. (Most of the time, I never go back and type up my handwritten meeting notes.)

Finally, I have found that reading web articles is really comfortable in “portrait” mode on the tablet.  You can use either the pen or your finger to scroll down the page, or select the next article that you would like to read. The XT is very thin and it weighs around 3.5 lbs.