Colleges hanging up landline phones in dorms

The era of the landline phone has ended on many college campuses.
The era of the landline phone has ended on many college campuses.

Tired of watching dust gather on dorm phones, several colleges in Indiana and elsewhere are pulling the plug on landlines, making their classes of 2014 the first to be totally cellular.

Without landlines, some colleges will save tens of thousands of dollars in hardware and hook-up fees paid to phone companies. Butler University, for example, could save up to $60,000 a year; Indiana State about $35,000.

But the reason for the change is not money: It’s the reality of a new high-tech generation.…Read More

Has Microsoft brought the future of computers to campus?

Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface.
Students can scan interactive maps on Microsoft Surface (photo courtesy of Microsoft).

A developer of educational software since the 1960s, Brown University Computer Science Professor Andries van Dam has seen education technology trends come and go, but he’s recently zeroed in on Microsoft’s interactive desktop computer as a model for the future computer.

van Dam, a co-founder of Brown’s Computer Science Department, specializes in what he calls post-WIMP computer interfaces, meaning machines that don’t use the traditional windows, icons, menus, and pointers that have come to define the modern computer.

After working on Microsoft’s Surface, a table-sized computer that recognizes hand gestures and objects and allows multiple people to use the product simultaneously, van Dam said the multimodal interface will prove valuable to higher-education researchers examining how their institutions—and the general population—can move away from the antiquated point-and-click computing experience.…Read More