Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Category: Thoughts

Bittersweet, Like an Apple Removed from My Heart

So guess what? This is it. It’s a bittersweet moment as I sit here typing out my final blog post. I had so many goals and aspirations to achieve this semester and reached some while never thinking twice about some others. Then there are the goals that I achieved without intending to. You may be wondering what some of those goals are, but I’ve decided to not tell you. If you’re reading this, then let me tell you that you have been blessed with a magnificent brain that can come up with ideas that I could never dream of—don’t let me hold you back.


There is one thing that I learned this semester that I really think you should keep in mind. It’s all about people.

All of this. School, technology, families, the postal service, all of our communities, everything. Don’t take people for granted, but in turn, don’t take yourself for granted either. You’ve fought half the battle by just taking the moment to read this. It proves that you not only want to, but can do it. If you’re having this read to you, guess what, you still can.


After school special aside, this has been a great semester. It’s one of the first courses where I felt like whatever I put in I got in return. I definitely appreciated that it was taught and attended by university administrators–not to have an outlet to vent, but it was encouraging to see that the people behind so many emails care about improving the school and are motivated to do it with students in mind.

As you should know by now if you’ve been keeping up with this blog and course, we had iPads all semester. Needless to say that all my plots to keep mine have been thwarted by that nifty ID number on the back. Oh well. I must say that I don’t know if this semester could have been possible without them. They established a baseline technology that we could implement in whichever ways we saw fit to be successful in school. I frequently caught myself panicking if I left my iPad at home (moreso than if I left my phone). It has been everything this semester–never leaving my side. It took some getting used to, but wasn’t unbearable, and since it was new, it forced me to begin thinking out of the box in general. In essence, it was disruptive. Knowing that I would be giving the iPad back, I can speak honestly and say that I failed and didn’t push it as far as I could. As a broke college kid, I refused to spend money on it. If I had brought my own, or purchased it in the beginning, I think my selection of apps and utilities would have been much more in depth (would have had an external keyboard too). Do I think iPads should be implemented in education? Definitely. Will something new need to be added eventually? Definitely. Is that okay and natural? Definitely.


I bid you adieu, and may the dreams of a back button forever rest with you, my dear Future People.

Technically Yours,


Closing Remarks Chris W.

This class has been a great experience. Coming into this class I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I enrolled in the class because I heard we’d get to use an iPad for a semester. While the iPad was nice, I’d say the best thing about this class were the excellent discussion we had in class and how fluid the syllabus was. This class has really opened my eyes to the subtle complexities of community development and really helped me define who I am as a person. The guest we had in class pushed me to do what I want in life (which is to work in the gaming industry). The last section, Design, helped me take a new approach to the creative process that I will definitely use later on in life.

This class has shown me a few apps that I really enjoyed using. In no particular order SwiftKey, Adaptxt, Evernote, and POP.

Adaptxt: If you want swept functionality on your iOS device I would definitely recommend this app. The user interface is clean and is very responsive.
SwiftKey: This is another third party keyboard that has the swipe functionality. From my experience sometimes the keyboard wouldn’t appear and you’d have to tap on the lobe icon more than once. Otherwise it is a great app to use.

Evernote: This app is a powerhouse! From presentations to website layouts Evernote can do it all!

POP: In the design section of the course both teams used this to make the layout of our apps which were our a part of our Final Synthesis.

Lastly, the iPad was really useful this entire semester. Slowly substituted paper with the iPad and it became an integral part of my day to day. This device is useful beyond belief and after this semester is over I will seriously consider buying one for myself.

Cheers to a great semester!

Small Pieces

One of the great paragraphs from Chapter 2 of Small Pieces Loosely Joined

But on the Web we experience something we can never experience in the real world: places without space. Instead of needing a containing space to enable movement, the Web has hyperlinks. Links are at the heart of the Web and the Web’s spatiality. The fact that the linked pages come from many people turns the Web into a place larger than we are. It is a public place, a place we can enter, wander, and get lost, but cannot own.” Since place and space have been inseparable in all of our experience in the real world until now, when we experience the Web’s place-ness, we assume that it must also have the usual attributes of spatiality, including the accidental nature of geography. That makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that what holds the Web together isn’t a carpet of rock but the world’s collective passion.

Weekly iPad Reflection Chris W.

About two weeks  ago Apple came to visit our humble class. Here is a short summary of what I learned.



If you are anything like me you grew up using Microsoft Word and its cousins Excel and PowerPoint. While Keynote cannot replace word or Excel, it does a whole lot more for you than PowerPoint ever could. Adding links to your presentation and accessing links is both easy and smooth.  Creating a dynamic and professional presentation is all at your finger tips. You can even use Keynote to design a UI for apps or make a mock Web page. You can do what you want but if there is ever an option between Keynote and PowerPoint, I’m picking Keynote.



Quip is an app our visitors asked us to use. I did not fall in love with it, but other people seemed to like. Quip made it easier for us to follow along with the lesson plan Apple had for us. Perhaps I need more experience with it to truly appreciate what the app can do.



GarageBand  on the iPad is very easy to use. I can see myself spending countless hours making a song for a video using the drum pad interface. I also never realized how easy it was to include a song made on GarageBand in a movie or trailer made in iMovie. In my future YouTube videos I’ll be sure to check out GarageBand before searching the Web for royalty free music.


There were other great apps Apple showed us but these are the free that stood out to me. If you have an iOS device give Keynote a try, make a song in GarageBand, make use of Quip. There are so many tutorials online!

Weekly Create Chris W

I’ve learned a whole lot about Apple’s native apps. I suggest you check them out. For more on my reaction to Apple’s visit to CDT 450 two weeks ago, check out my weekly iPad Reflection here.

What We Want From Faculty

A pop up WordPress site from students at UVA in the wake of the Martese Johnson incident. That’s a terrible word, incident, to describe what happened to this young man. Even in the absence of an appropriate word I felt it was an important site to share for lots of reasons. Through the lens of both community and identity I feel there is much to discuss. What in these words can you relate with?

 In class on 3/19/2015, our class discussion touched on the lack of support students feel from faculty in the aftermath of the brutalization of Martese Johnson and at other times of crisis here at UVA, especially when those crises center around race. We took the last ten minutes of class and wrote out what we wanted to tell our faculty. These comments are excerpted from those 27 students’ in-class responses. Who are we? We are women and men. We are Asian, black, Latino, white and multiracial. We are from a variety of cultural, national, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender and sexual identities and backgrounds.

Definition of Identity – Team Right Shark

The set of characteristics that physically and mentally distinguish one person from another.


iPad Reflection – Chris Williams


Earlier on in the semester I mentioned how the iPad native keyboard needed some kind of swipe function. After doing some research I found SwiftKey. SwiftKey is a nice keyboard. It functions how it’s supposed to. It connects with your facebook to learn the words you use and learns from there. There have been times where I needed to delete words and reswipe them. Some things this app could improve on is the insisting autocorreit.

Overall. 8/10

If you want a swipe I keyboard on your iOS device SwiftKey could be the app for you.

Synthesis – Community – Team Right Shark

iPad Reflection Week 3 Chris

I’ve been substituting the iPad where ever I can for all my classes. At first it was a bit difficult because there are some things that pen and paper do better than the iPad.

The majority of my classes this semester focus a lot on group work so using the iPad in conjunction with Google Docs has been extremely helpful.  Editing documents on Google Drive is as easy as 1-2-3 but when it comes to entering data for my psychology lab class, tasks can be a bit difficult. For this data entry assignment my group members had to input responses from surveys into a Google Sheet using the app Sheets. Sheets is a great app but I do not understand why Google split up its applications. The group members in our group with laptops finished input all their data 4 minutes before the rest of us using tablets.  Something. That might fix this minor annoyance would be arrow keys when using Sheets or any excel- esque app.

Overall the iPad has been a great addition to my backpack.

iPad Reflexion – Week 3 – Shady

When I first received the iPad, I told my self, “no way I’m going to be able to use this for writing without a real keyboard”.  After two weeks of in-class writing, I am very impressed at how well the native iPad keyboard works.  The auto-correct makes it a breeze.  I can type without even looking at the on-screen keyboard, with making little to no mistakes.   At this point, I feel I’m better off without a physical keyboard, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a try to see how it might improve the typing experience.  Perhaps good to have when writing long papers.

One thing that I still find hard to do is to move the cursor to the desired position.  Even with the magnifier it can be a challenge.

I really enjoy going to class with just the iPad, no bags, books, notebooks, pens.  I’m able to open all the content for the class, read, browse, and blog.



Week 2 Chris

This week’s reading was on Wenger’s study of Communities of Practice. Based on what I read I saw Communities of Practice as a shared space where members of this shared space participate in the exchange of knowledge and creation of new ideas based on individual problems. A Community of Practice is made of 3 parts mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire.

Mutual engagement is an obvious requirement. If the members of the community do not sign that unwritten contract to interact with one another a community cannot be built. I would describe joint enterprise as the synergy  of the members. I read shared repertoire as the culture of the community.

I watched this video to help me understand Community of Practice more and one thing I found really interesting was Wenger did not define wikis, blogs, or forums as Communities of Practice just merely tools. When I just started wrapping my head around Communities of Practice, I instantly thought of wikis, blogs, and forums.

I am a part of a group at my university called Computer User Digital Development Learning Environment or CUDDLE. During our CUDDLE sessions students of many different educational backgrounds come to collaborate on ideas and help each other out on personal projects. Based on the definition I understood from the reading, CUDDLE can be called a Community of Practice.
Some questions I have after reading up on Community of Practice are:

  1. At what point does a Community of Practice become more beneficial than traditional classes?
  2. Would MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) be considered a Community if Practice?
  3. Are there different types of Communities of Practice?

iPad Reflection Week 1 – Chris

To be completely honest when the iPad first came out, I thought it was a wasted piece of tech. After using one for a week I cannot imagine working without it. I’m not 100%  knowledgeable of what the iPad can do so as of now I use it as a second screen while I work on a game I’m making.

At this point I’m considering not buying a notebook and using the iPad for all my notes, so at the moment I’m looking for an app I can use to write with my finger (maybe I code one myself).


I’m not that into apps so the only ones I’ve downloaded have been YouTube, Gmail, Spotify, and Yammer (for this class).

Typing on the iPad is a little awkward in both landscape and portrait mode.  I know there are apps that improve on the native keyboard, but I feel Apple could do a better job.


I’m looking forward to see what I can do with this machine.

Week 1 – Chris

Meet Me:
My name is Chris Williams and I was born and raised on Long Island. I am a senior at Stony Brook University studying Psychology with a minor in Digital Arts. About  two years ago I stumbled upon this thing called computer science and fell in love with it. Currently I am teaching myself a number of different programming languages to pursue a career in game programming. I am taking this class because the course website alluded to a class whose organization sparked an interest in me. I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with technology if it belongs to me. I’m not one to experiment with expensive tech if I have to pay a huge price for it. As of now I am active on Facebook and Instagram. I post on those two platforms frequently. I have Vine and YouTube but I only consume media from there. Technology play a big role in my life and I cannot imagine life without it.

Disrupting the Classroom:

My favorite topic in psychology has to be collaborative learning (I worked in a lab collaborative learning lab at Stony Brook for a year) and the web has certainly opened up collaboration across the globe to those who which to participate. The trend in education that I see is less focused on the individual and pushes for more group work. Seeing this excites me, but I’m still a bit hesitant in what this trend will produce in terms of individual production.

Although embracing technology in the classroom has been improving as of late, as a student I still feel a little resistance when it comes to using new technologies in the classroom. The fact that many educators feel the need to restrict the use of cell phones and laptops in classroom to this day still surprises me. With a little creativity the devices those educators see as distractions could be worked into the course to provide a fresh learning environment.

Disruption+Inovation = ?: 

The number of remixes, parodies, and homages seemed to have increased with the introduction of platforms like YouTube. Media consumers want to actively participate in the media consumption experience. Want proof? From television to film everything is attached to social media to further fan interaction. Web 2.0’s ease of use has given people an outlet to be a part of a community, establish an identity, and made a platform for people to share their creations.

Yik Yak at Colgate:

During our first class we listened to the podcast linked above. The ideas presented in the podcast aren;t thing I am unfamiliar with. With anonymity granted with the Internet people are given the liberty to post whatever they want and many a times the worst things people can say are said. This was the case at Colgate. What I found interesting about this scenario is the response made by the faculty. Essentially they broke what Yik Yak was designed for (anonymity) by signing their names to their posts. By inserting identity into the community of Yik Yak the toxicity was brought down, which I feel could be a good psychological study if it hasn’t been done already.

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