Just Interesting

Glenn Beck’s New Online Program and Network

by Marty Crossland on June 11, 2011

I was at least somewhat saddened when I heard that Glenn Beck is ending the spectacular run of his program on Fox News Channel. It is one of the few regularly scheduled programs that I record with my DVR and watch every episode.

Mr. Beck is launching a new program on September 12 in a whole new format, on the Internet. My kind of stuff!

He and his team have produced a stage-setting initial program that I found fascinating. I am excited to see how they will perform thorough research, produce it with integrity and excellence, and deliver it with absolute cutting-edge distribution technologies. It will be great to watch, and even more important, to participate in. That’s because the focus is going to be helping us understand what we can DO to reclaim America’s exceptionalism and become forces for good within our culture, rather than being just entertained or merely inspired.

I invite you to join me. Here is the initial episode:


What a creative brain looks like

by Marty Crossland on February 4, 2011

Here is a fascinating talk given by Dr. Charles Limb, a neurosurgeon who also happens to be a jazz musician. He has a particular research interest in how the brain works when it is being creative. He uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to create a picture of the brain of talented musicians as they create improvisational jazz music.

Watch this and enjoy!

From the TED website:
About this talk

Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation — so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds.

About Charles Limb

Charles Limb is a doctor and a musician who researches the way musical creativity works in the brain. Full bio and more links


Freedom Isn’t Free

by Marty Crossland on May 31, 2010

Freedom isn’t free. But I fear that an increasing number of citizens of our nation are losing the essence of this truism. Today, Memorial Day, has caused me to reflect on this. As I am writing this I am watching a rebroadcast of HBO’s “Band of Brothers” docu-drama about servicemen in World War II.

My own father served honorably in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. In the past several months I have been taking every opportunity I can find to personally express my gratitude and appreciation to veterans and to soldiers currently in service to our nation. Here are some examples. A few days ago I had breakfast with a friend in Tulsa, and there was a Vietnam veteran having breakfast alone (I could tell by the cap he was wearing). As I departed the restaurant,  I went by his table, offered him a handshake and thanked him for his service. He seemed surprised, but he obviously thought well of it. As I was passing through a major airport a few weeks ago, several uniformed soldiers were hanging around waiting for their flight, and I passed among them shaking hands and expressing my appreciation to each one. They didn’t seem to mind at all. One said, “No problem.” Another said, “It’s an honor to serve, sir.” I also take advantage of similar opportunities to say thanks to law enforcement officers and firefighters, whenever I can do so without interfering with their duties. I don’t make a big deal out of it. I simply look them in the eyes and offer a short, sincere “thank you” for what they do. To date, not a single one has seemed bothered by this — on the contrary, all have received the sentiments well, albeit with some showing apparent surprise.

I invite everyone who reads this to join me in these personal expressions of thanks and appreciation. It will help both you and the recipient of your gratitude to have a better day.

This video is a good reminder of the sacrifices we are thanking them for.


The Push

by Marty Crossland on May 11, 2010

The video below really has nothing to do with “teaching with technology.” However, as an educator and as a parent I was quite captivated by its message.

As we seek to educate, motivate, and inspire our students, we may need to remind ourselves from time to time that an important gift we have to offer those under our care and instruction is,

a push.



Mental Enhancement Drug Use Increasing on College Campuses

by Marty Crossland on April 26, 2010

I was somewhat caught off guard with this CBS News 60 Minutes segment from their April 25, 2010 program. It describes how an estimated relatively large proportion of college students are misusing prescription drugs to enhance their mental abilities for exams, term papers, etc. The more common drugs are Adderall and Ritalin, which are commonly prescribed for attention disorders. They estimated that over a third of college students today have used them at least once, and the percentage climbs to over half of all students. This may be something we as professors and administrators need to be more aware of and concerned about.

Watch CBS News Videos Online


Did you know?

April 12, 2010 Just Interesting

This video project is now in Version 3. A host of sometimes surprising facts about how technology is shaping world economy, politics, education, you name it!

Read the full article →

Millennials are more educated, but less employed

February 24, 2010 Effective Learning

Studies about millennials (young people born between 1980 and 1995 or 2000, depending on whose definition you use) are revealing that many of them now have a high level of education. But rather than take their knowledge and skills into the workplace, many are choosing to put their time and talents into altruistic endeavors, and […]

Read the full article →

A whole new way of thinking

January 20, 2010 Digital Culture

Author and speaker Daniel Pink has completed some very provocative work on trends in business and the economy. He is a hugely entertaining speaker, especially when he shares that he was a woefully unsuccessful student in law school. Dan shares three macro-level drivers of 21st century careers: Abundance Asia Automation This talk was delivered around […]

Read the full article →

Speaking metaphorically

December 23, 2009 Teaching With Technology

Author James Geary presented an interesting talk at TED, pointing out that we typically use about four to six metaphors a minute whenever we’re in an engaging conversation. He has done some formal study of the use of metaphors throughout history. As you watch this presentation, note also his use of some fairly new presentation […]

Read the full article →

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field Study — Inspiring and Fascinating!

October 1, 2009 Scientific Truth

This video from NASA is not exactly about teaching technology. I am nonetheless fascinated and totally awe-inspired by it and I think you will be, too. This is about one of the most important pieces of technology ever built by mankind, the Hubble Space Telescope. And this video can certainly be used in the classroom […]

Read the full article →

The surprising science of motivation

September 30, 2009 Effective Learning

Business analyst Daniel Pink recently gave this talk at the TED conference at Oxford University. In it he challenges us to rethink what we believe about motivation, rewards, and what makes people tick. Try to apply what he says to the classroom and beyond, to try and understand what motivates our students to excel and […]

Read the full article →

GIS and geographic inquiry

March 17, 2009 Teaching With Technology

I my “previous life” I was a geoscientist. I worked in the petroleum industry as an exploration geophysicist, after earning a BS degree in Geology. Later in my career I became quite involved in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology as decision support systems for assisting petroleum exploration professionals in making good decisions about possible […]

Read the full article →

Is college necessary in a knowledge-drenched world?

September 17, 2008 Teaching With Technology

Wow! How’s that for a thought-provoking title? This is the title of an article every higher-education faculty member and administrator should read. It very well summarizes a driver of the paradigm shift that’s happening in the world related to education: “So much information, so little knowledge about what to do with it.” The author is […]

Read the full article →

The future of plagiarism

May 15, 2008 Teaching With Technology

I just read an entertaining, but almost disheartening article that is a tongue-in-cheek eavesdrop on the conversation of two young professors twenty years in the future. They discuss the availability of automated plagiarism software that can research, copy or buy material, and then automatically edit the published works to the extent that the plagiarism can’t […]

Read the full article →

Sobering video on what students think

October 27, 2007 Effective Learning

Dr. Andy Lang at ORU just sent me a link to this video on YouTube. At Kansas State University a group of 200 students in a cultural anthropology course surveyed themselves about their experiences in college so far. Wow! As a more senior faculty member in higher education, even as one who views himself as […]

Read the full article →