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NYU ITP May 5, 2010

Posted by Nick in education, technology.
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Ah, only a few short weeks from graduating from Georgetown I have finally decided what to do next year. I decided to turn down both of my job offers and go back to school. Crazy? I don’t think so, not when the school is as awesome as the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU (ITP). This program is a combination of everything new media and technology, I will do some physical computing, hopefully a lot of programming, and learn about all types of new technologies. This is not only awesome and exciting, but ITP is also very well regarded in the NYC startup scene where I hope to be working in the future. ITP graduates include founders of a number of businesses, including Dennis Crowley the founder of Foursquare. I’m looking forward to the move to ITP and looking forward to what I will learn there.

On a side note, I haven’t posted here in awhile and will be shutting this blog down to start a new one with more frequent posts that are more in-depth. I also plan on spending more time on each post ensuring that the writing is much better. I will post a link here when I get it started.

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A Thesis and What the Fuck Am I Going To Do With My Life? February 24, 2010

Posted by Nick in education.
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I’m a senior at Georgetown and one of my majors is sociology, of course this is one of the few majors at Georgetown that requires all students to write a senior thesis. This thesis is due at the end of April and I haven’t started, fuck. My thesis is about whether or not the internet, specifically web 2.0 tools, are capable of building a strong oppositional civil society in non-democratic countries. Using China and Iran as case studies I will examine how the internet is used by traditional forms of civil society like NGOs to mobilize people and how social media has been used to build grass roots movements. Of course I will also be looking at how the governments of these countries use the internet as a form of social control in an attempt to atomize any oppositional civil society as well. Hopefully, I can figure some of this shit out and get it down on paper before its too late…

Really, this entire thesis is indicative of a bigger problem for me. Do I continue on to graduate school in sociology next, I’ve already heard from some PhD programs and I am waiting on several more, or do I leave school to pursue a career in internet or social media? I see no reason that I can’t write about technology and work for (eventually run) a company, but grad school and full-time employment are two different paths for sure. I don’t have much time left to decide, but until I do I’ll just keep pursuing both paths so I hopefully have numerous options.

More will come about the details of my thesis as well. Until then wish me luck figuring out my life.

Professors on the Hotseat November 5, 2009

Posted by Nick in education, social media.
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Hotseat is an awesome “new” way to integrate social media into the classroom and boost class participation and engagement at the same time.

Hotseat is a new app in development that uses Twitter, Facebook, text message, and a web interface to allow students to comment or ask questions on what is happening in class in real time. Two classes with a total of 600 students are currently testing the application at Purdue University about 75% have used Hotseat to ask questions, critique the professor, or vote on topics to be covered.

The real question is: Is it useful? One professor testing it says it does exactly what it is designed to, increases participation. Really, with the popularity of social media on the university campus, I think it is certainly a useful tool and an interesting way to engage students.

Check out the article at Mashable as well.

Why not a universal application for grad schools? November 2, 2009

Posted by Nick in education.
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teststress1

As a current senior at Georgetown, one of my main goals for the year is to figure out what I’ll be doing next year, after I graduate. At the top of my list is to enter a Sociology graduate program as a PhD candidate.

Almost everything for graduate school applications is now done online, technology is making things easier. But I have to ask myself, why can’t it be more like law school where you add all of your information in on one website and then it is sent to all of the schools you want to apply to. Practically every school asks for the same things; basic information, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and transcripts. All of this information could easily be aggregated by one site and then sent out to every school a person might like to apply to.

Maybe its just me, but it seems that if every school wants all the same things, it would make it easier for all parties involved to consolidate the process. If necessary, schools could still use supplemental applications if they really needed to, but on the whole the process could be greatly simplified.

Wireless in the Classroom October 6, 2009

Posted by Nick in education, technology.
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wifi

Sitting in a classroom makes you understand the double edged sword that is wireless Internet in a university classroom. First, I have to say I think wireless should be in every classroom and I’ll explain why.

The downside to having wireless in the classroom is the distraction it can pose for students. Students bring laptops to the classroom and waste time surfing the web instead of listening to their professors. I hear professors bemoan this problem all the time, but as a student and future professor (hopefully), I don’t think this is a big deal. Unless the class is extremely small, I believe college students can decide for themselves whether or not they want to pay attention in class or waste their valuable tuition money.

The benefits on the other hand, are just being realized and are constantly expanding. For example, I just left a journalism class where each studenthad to access the Internet to discuss blog they likeand why it is success. As online media becomes to future of journalism, things like this become increasingly important. Wireless in the classroom also allows professors to pull up interactive media themselves to enhance classroom presentations. It also allows for thing like online video and sound recording so that professors can capture their lectures and post them for students to view later.

Simply put, wireless in the classroom should be a part of every major university. The positives associated with wireless far outweigh the negatives.

Your kindle is safe, suck it Amazon October 3, 2009

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kindlefinger

A recent court case makes all kindle users a little bit safer by guaranteeing that Amazon can’t steal their books in the middle of the night.  A kid who lost all of his school notes along with his copy of 1984 in the remote delete just won a suit against amazon with one other co-plaintiff for $150,000 dollars.  Pretty sweet for that kid, I’d take a fail for 75 grand it sounds like a good deal to me.  But rest assured, amazon won’t go sneaking into your bedroom and taking what belongs to you anymore.