Spark 169 - January 22 & 25, 2012

On this episode of Spark: Accelerated Innovation, Education, and Employment. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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The Literary History of Word Processing

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The switch from writing on typewriters to using word processors made editing more efficient. But how did the technology change the creative process? Nora speaks to Matthew Kirschenbaum about his upcoming book Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing. We also hear from author Susan Swan, about her own experience of moving from the typewriter to the word processor. But we start with early word processing memories of the broader Spark community. (Runs 14:26)

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Digital Trap Streets

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Can't find that street that shows up on your car's GPS? It could be an honest mistake, or it could be the digital equivalent of an old cartography trick - intentional fake streets, towns, and parks that mapmakers intentionally put in to protect their work. Called 'trap streets' or 'copyright easter eggs' the practice has taken a whole new direction in the digital age, with some strange possible outcomes and Spark contributor Edward Birnbaum tells us all about it. (Runs 5:37)

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Interactivity In The Lecture Hall

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Is it time to give the traditional university or college lecture a radical reboot? Nora speaks with Gerry McCartney about Purdue University's Hotseat technology that lets students ask questions and make comments online in the middle of lectures. Welcome interactivity or unwelcome distraction? (Runs 5:43)

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Mobile Tech in the Classroom

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Many schools are experimenting with new digital tools in the classroom, from cellphones, to apps, to tablets. Rhonda McEwen, a University of Toronto academic who researches the impact of new media, has been researching the benefits of using iPads with non-verbal, autistic students. (Runs 8:53)

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Race Against The Machine

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Throughout history, technological change has caused job loss, but there have always been new jobs that have opened up. In his new book Race Against The Machine, MIT researcher Andrew McAfee argues that digital technology is advancing so quickly, it's outstripping our ability to adapt economically. (Runs 10:40)


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