Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I love it when inspiration strikes.

Driving to work. Watching TV. Singing in the shower.

One never quite knows when a spark of innovation will leap across the gap, and… wait a minute… aha!

Travis Peeples, our Media Production Director at Hendrix College, was working an event this week with several of our student workers. It was a three camera event, in one of our larger venues. Ordinarily, they would use a wired headset system to communicate; but the event that day precluded that possibility, as our mixer had used all of its allocated slots, and stretching our cables in this venue was not practical or workable.

All of this left Travis wishing for additional funds to buy a nice wireless headset system for our media center, when he glanced over at one of our techs, listening to music on his iPhone.

This was Travis’s Eureka moment.

We already had wireless headsets at our disposal, in the form of smart phones that all of our students had in their pockets.

Quickly, Travis set up a conferenced meeting, using BlueJeans (bluejeans.com), and had all of our camera people and techs connect to the meeting.

Instant wireless headsets.

Now, we certainly weren’t the first people in the world to imagine using our smartphones as a group communication platform. But the point is, we don’t always imagine that these devices can be re-imagined in usages other than simply texting each other or snapchatting away the hours.

Ubiquitous technology affords us the opportunity to reconsider solutions that we have formerly relegated to single purpose devices and platforms, such as hardware clickers for classroom response systems (question: why would you ever buy a $40 clicker for each student in a class, only good for clicking answers to a proprietary receiver, when each student has a powerful multipurpose computer in their pocket – their phone – that is infinitely better suited to the purpose? Not to mention, free?)

I was extremely proud that in a moment of need, Travis synthesized the facts on the ground to come up with a workable, innovative, and sustainable solution, from the materials at hand. In higher education, we’re not exactly known to crack open the checkbook at a moment’s notice – so being able to “make do” is not only desirable, it is often essential.

If Necessity is the Mother of Invention, Imagination and Resourcefulness are certainly extremely close relatives.

Having colleagues as inventive, imaginative, and resourceful as our media center professionals at Hendrix (Bobby Engeler-Young, Sunny Haynes, and Travis Peeples) is one of the reasons why Hendrix College continues to be a national leader in engaged liberal arts education.

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Associated Colleges of the South CIO Hangout – Episode 2

A panel of technologists and CIOs from the Associated Colleges of the South, discussing Technology, Tools, and Tactics.

In our second Hangout, we’ll discuss the roles played by CIOs at Liberal Arts schools, and how Technology intersects with the Liberal Arts Ethos. Fred Miller, Chief Information Officer at Furman University, joins us.

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The 50 Most Social CIOs in Higher Education

The 50 Most Social CIOs in Higher Education

Very honored to be mentioned and considered.

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Tech Connects Us – Blended Learning and Videoconferencing Deployments in Higher Education

Tech Connects Us – Blended Learning and Videoconferencing Deployments in Higher Education

AV Technology editor Margot Douaihy hosts “Tech Connects Us,” a podcast exploring the ways technology can enhance real-time collaboration, creative problem solving, social engagement, civic responsibility, and mission-critical communication.

Margot talks with Hendrix College’s CIO David Hinson about the challenges and benefits of blended-learning and videoconferencing deployments in higher education.

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Associated Colleges of the South CIO Google+ Hangout

A panel of technologists (Bob Johnson – CIO Rhodes College, Vicki Sells – CIO Sewanee / University of the South, Pat Schoknecht – CIO Rollins College, and David J. Hinson, CIO Hendrix College) from the Associated Colleges of the South, discussing Technology, Tools, and Tactics.

In our first Hangout, we discussed the relationship between Technology and the Liberal Arts, Blended Learning, and how MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) fit into the residential liberal arts experience.

Twitter in the Classroom at Hendrix College

Twitter in the Classroom at Hendrix College

Hendrix’s own Dr. Robert Williamson Jr. spoke with Dr. Amanda Hagood of the ACS about how he uses Twitter in the classroom. Participants from across the country joined in and asked questions ranging from how social media ties into course objective to supporting students who may not have a computer or mobile device.

You can also view the discussion here and see additional questions referenced.