Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Turning Our Personal Devices into Social Devices

Our smartphones allow us to connect with the rest of the world from anywhere. Ironically, however, they also tend to disconnect us from the world immediately around us. But rather than fight the creep of technology into our social spaces, there is the opportunity to reframe our personal devices as social devices.

As we start using our phones to interact with the people who are near us, there are a number of unique aspects of our interaction that mobile applications can capitalize on. Co-located collaborators can see each other, talk with each other, and share surrounding context. This is why it is easier to have a conversation with someone while driving if the other person is in the car with you and not on the phone. A person in the passenger seat can pause when the road requires your attention. A person on the phone can’t see when your attention gets diverted or the road conditions change.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Formula for Academic Papers: Introduction

The Introduction to a paper is a place for you to tell the story of the research that is presented. That story is not what you did to complete the research, but rather why the work is interesting. And while the research you are writing about in a paper might be part of a larger story (e.g., your thesis), the paper’s story is also not necessarily that larger story. Instead, it is the story that frames just the current work and its contributions as clearly as possible. The goal is to capture the reader’s attention, provide context for the included research, and set expectations for what is to come.

A simple, reliable Introduction outline is: