Education, Teaching

100 Best 2.0 Classroom Tools

More tools to discover, courtesy of this post.  I’m highlighting below the tools that I think would be relevant to graduate education:
















I’m looking forward to exploring the tools I’ve not used before.  I’d be interested in hearing of your experiences with any of these tools for educational use, as well as other social media tools not listed above.


Professors and Social Media

Thanks to my friend Stuart Boon, for publishing this post, where he indicates that “At a recent study by Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson that shows about 91% of college faculty use social media as part of their job. This is in sharp contrast to other industries where just 47% of employees use social media as part of their work.” The infographic below, from, summarizes the findings of the study.

I would certainly count myself in that 91%, as well as the 70% of professors who use social media in their teaching.  I tried using a private blog for one of my classes last term, but this did not work well, since it’s difficult for non-administrators (i.e., the students), to add posts; they can only respond to a post that I’ve added, and these responses must be moderated first by me before being posted.  I tried this approach because I was concerned about using a public blog as part of the students’ participation mark, since my concern was with protecting their privacy.  On the other hand, opening the blog to the public might encourage interaction with other members of our profession, which can add greatly to the students’ experience.  We do have a blog feature in our online learning system, but it’s not the most user-friendly.   I think I’ll try the public blog feature in the Winter term for one of my courses and see how it works.  I don’t think that students were as concerned about privacy as I was, so perhaps I’m being overly conscientious.

I am still not comfortable using Facebook as a teaching tool; I still don’t befriend students in my personal Facebook account.  Has anyone tried creating a class-based Facebook account for teaching purposes?


Yet another collection of horror films

I’ve added yet another collection of classic horror films to my collection. This set features 50 classic horror movies, a number of which I own separately or as part of other collections, but at a Christmas price of $15, I couldn’t resist. It bothers me a bit that they put the face of Lon Chaney, as the Phantom of the Opera, on the front cover, as this takes away from the spectacular denouement of his face in the film, but then again, it’s probably easy to assume that whoever buys this collection is familiar with the film.

As I discussed this collection with my friends on Facebook, I was faced with a number of “does it include X film?”  Clearly there is an abundance of choice when it comes to choosing classic B horror films.   Mind you, a number of these films are actually of A quality.  My favourite film in the collection is the 1922 Nosferatu, a film I first saw when I was seven.  I still remember the terror I experienced while watching this film (yes, I loved silent films as a child) and the fact that I couldn’t sleep for the next week.  I’ve watched practically every Dracula or vampire-based film made since then, yet none has had the enduring impact of Nosferatu.  This film inspired in me the love of German Expressionist films,  of which I have yet to see The Student of Prague (1913), which I haven’t found on DVD.

I’d welcome your suggestions of classic horror films (B are especially welcomed) from the silent era to the 1950s.


Death of Don Sharp

I was saddened to hear of the death of Don Sharp, who directed many films for the Hammer Studios.  I’ve always been partial to the Hammer films; yes, they are cheesy and formulaic in many ways, but they are also a great deal of fun to watch.  The Hammer films never had any pretense to them, which I find so tiring amongst many films that are released.  Hammer films were produced cheaply and quickly, yet still managed to have a certain style and panache to them. The Frankenstein and Dracula series are my favourite, since I’ve always been partial to cinematic renditions of these two characters.  There is that inimitable Hammer visual style that you can so easily recognize in most of their films, and they always managed to stay just this side of campy without going overboard.

I have a mission to see the earlier Hammer films dating to 1934, when the studio was launched; these earlier films are rarely shown on television, unfortunately, but that makes watching them, when I find them, especially sweet.

If you’re interested in the Hammer films, visit their official website; it’s well worth it.