Tech Tuesday: Windows 8.1, Part 5 – Lingo

Each Tuesday, pleasureinlearning brings you Tech Tuesday.  Come back each week for more ways to become efficient and effective in your use of technology. 


This is the fifth part of a series on Windows 8.1.  You’ve got to make the transition sometime!  Learning Windows 8.1 might as well be pleasurable.

If we’re going to go further with Windows 8.1, we’re going to need a lingua franca.  Let’s go over some vocabulary.

Charms Bar – The bar that pops out from the right side of the screen when you put your mouse in either of the two right corners or swipe in from the edge of the screen.

Start Screen – That mess that looks like a clown vomited some colorful business cards is the Start Screen.  You see it if you click on the (button in the) bottom left corner of the screen.  If you have a touch device, this may be the screen you see upon logging in.  Don’t forget that it’s arrangeable.  Some right clicking and some dragging and some long pressing (touching and holding) will go a long way toward start screen zen.

Store – The way of the future when it comes to downloading/buying apps (applications).  Find it on the Start Screen. A digital store is a good protection against viruses and other malware because the programs are checked over before they are allowed in the sture.

Microsoft Account – It mostly doesn’t apply at work, but when you log in to a Windows 8.1 computer, you don’t have to make an account.  You just use your Microsoft Account.  This means many of your settings and apps will travel with you.

Metro UI (User Interface) – All the new and crazy look and feel of Windows 8 and its apps. This term has actually been deprecated by Microsoft, but it is still in common use.

Snap – This is not a new feature to Windows 8, but it gains a lot more utility.  Any app (including the desktop!) can be snapped to one side or the other of the screen.  Try it.  Make sure you can see your actual desktop and that it isn’t blocked by some other application.  Grab the very top of your desktop and drag it to one side or the other.

Comment and tell us what other vocabulary has you mystified.

P.S. The rumors are flying across the interweb regarding a release date of September 2014 for Windows 9.  Time to get cozy with the new look and feel of Windows.  It’s here to stay.


Everything Has to Breathe

Originally posted on pleasureinlearning:

B picLabor Day honors the “social and economic achievements of American workers.[i]” Yay, it’s a three day weekend, time to refresh. Everything must breathe, and the extra day is a longer breath of rest—nice to enjoy in September as summer winds down.

How odd that Labor Day is a day of no labor but assumes labor already accomplished. I remember the words of an old friend, Mr. Frank Lacy, who talked to me once while I was unemployed and a bit idle for his liking. He said, “It’s good to work hard. When you lie down at night, you feel good about yourself and sleep better.”


He didn’t mean the puffed up pride kind of work, but the work that comes from duty and expending one’s self for a good cause. One of those good causes is being able to pay the bills while serving others in some capacity.

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Classhacks: Syllabus Surprise

PapersIn the August 26 edition of the online magazine Slate, education columnist Rebecca Schuman decries the current bloating of syllabi in college courses. Her article, “Syllabus Tyrannus: The decline and fall of the American university is written in 25-page course syllabi” details how these gargantuan documents came to be, and opines that the really important material can still be covered “in a page or two.” No wonder instructors have resorted to syllabus quizzes in an effort to coax students to read the darn things.

Schuman has come up with a nifty little trick to encourage her students to read the whole thing. Here’s how she describes it:

“My own method is to simply assign my syllabus as the course’s first reading, with the warning: “I will know if you haven’t read it.” Half of my students think I’m bluffing, so they don’t read all the way to the end, where I’ve put both sincere congratulations and a directive to email me with a question, for credit. Imagine their horror when their first grade in my course is an F for an assignment they didn’t even know existed. (Since my syllabus explains that I accept late assignments, though, the F is fleeting.)”sorpresa

What do you think? Is it worth a try? You can read the entire article, which may have you pounding your desk and shouting “Amen to that!” by clicking here.

Veach’s Toys and Biscuit Love

karenIn February of this year, NBC’s Today show aired an episode of its “Main Street Makeover” series featuring two small businesses in imminent danger of closure.

The first was a family-owned toy store, Veach’s Toy Station in Richmond, Indiana, and Biscuit Love, a food truck in Nashville. Both companies were evaluated and coached by marketing expert Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About What We Buy. Lindstrom made suggestions for major changes at both shops, and last weekend Today returned to see how things are going. Happily, things are going pretty well, although the owners acknowledge that some of the changes have been difficult.

At Veach’s, Lindstrom disliked the “don’t touch” displays of toys that didn’t invite interaction and didn’t help customers understand how to play with the toys. He advised the owners to use their space to feature inviting play stations that encouraged customers to interact with the merchandise. He stressed that each display should “tell a story.” He also offered strategies to encourage customers to linger, noting that longer stays result in more purchases. The owners admit that change has been stressful. They reluctantly discontinued their electric train merchandise, a long-standing family tradition, because it occupied a lot of space without generating much revenue.Veachs-2013-logo-color-no-background2

At the Biscuit Love truck, Lindstrom reminded the owners that they were selling a unique experience, not just biscuits. He urged them to transport “that experience that they were having in their minds into the product and into the service.” That strategy has paid off so well that the owners are planning to open a restaurant in Nashville later this year.

I know what you’re thinking. What does selling toys or biscuits have to do with teaching at a community college? More than you might think. We should understand that we teachers enter our “shops” every day and literally hawk knowledge. Our businesses, er, classrooms can either be inviting places where our student-customers linger and enjoy the experience of handling and buying knowledge, or they can decide to go elsewhere, either literally or by checking out mentally.

Buyology1Here are a few tips that Lindstrom offers. How many of these marketing ideas could be used in your classroom knowledge shop?

  • Create engaging surroundings where customers can touch, taste, see, and feel their surroundings.
  • “The best ideas are free…even crazy. Don’t be afraid to think big.”
  • “Would you want to shop in your store?…No one wants to come back if they wanted to leave in the first place.”
  • “Ask for help. Every community has untapped resources.”

Buyology is a great read. If you’re a bit tired of educational jargon, dip into this little gem of a book to learn how you can spiff up your knowledge shop. Maybe your student customers will want to buy more of what you’re selling.

Tech Tuesday: Windows 8.1, Part 4 – Frequently Used Applications

Each Tuesday, pleasureinlearning brings you Tech Tuesday.  Come back each week for more ways to become efficient and effective in your use of technology. 


This is the fourth part of a series on Windows 8.1.  You’ve got to make the transition sometime!  Learning Windows 8.1 might as well be pleasurable.

Last week you got a jump start on finding the applications you want to use.  When you find an application you want to use, you should definitely put it where you can find it again easily.  I like to pin my applications to the taskbar (the bar at the bottom of the desktop) or the start screen (that new funky replacement for the start menu).

Follow the directions from last week to search for your application. Then, before you click on it, RIGHT click and choose Pin to Taskbar or Pin to Start.

By the way, have you tried rearranging your start screen yet?  Just pick things up and drag them around.  Right click on them for other options such as removal.

Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something

BrianNow there’s an old cliché. You get the idea – being frozen with indecision. Often the need is to get going and get a move on: get off the sofa, get that job started, or open that book. Writing is like that as long as it’s not something confidential that gets published to all like one of those “Helen, will you marry me” contrails in the sky.

Yes—harm can be done with ill-advised actions, such as the novice going into the guts of a machine without proper knowledge. And since I had my last biology course in the tenth grade, nothing with scalpels is indicated for helping those with internal problems. Once an avenue of pursuit is declared safe, however, go at it without fear.what_I_be_project_rosenfield_i_am_not_my_indecision

The fear of being wrong holds people back. As a student, who wants to call out answers to a question if it might be wrong or be swished aside as not quite on target or not even pertinent? After a while, no one will volunteer to risk answering the instructor’s question.

The awkwardness is there for the teacher as well. It’s not easy to ask questions that don’t have an obvious or clear cut answer. How do you connect in an affirming way with students whose replies don’t match up with hoped for insights?

I remind myself, “This student gave something and risked something – sought to connect.” That is very valuable, often as valuable, or more so, than the instructor’s intended answer to the question. Therapists will tell you that it’s scary when a client doesn’t talk at all. Everything is shut up in the client’s mind, and nothing is coming out on a safe landscape for discussion. Talking may not be the answer, but without it, no one will get to the answer.

studenthandClass isn’t therapy proper, and there’s no intent here to imply that students need to vent their personal lives or that teachers and other students need to hear them. Every class, though, does have its need for interaction – where even the teacher is seen as a risk taker and one willing to think out loud with others. Conclusions are great, and how we arrive at them is equally great.