Aug 18 2009

Artsy Techies, Green Browsing & Tech Progress


Artsy Techies

Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., credits its technology focus as one of the main reasons for the school's success. Ringling's philosophy is to integrate a business curriculum with a studio art education so students are prepared for the real world. The school boasts that its graduates have worked on all of the top-10 grossing animated films of all time.

Powering the education of these art, design and animation students is a computer-to-student ratio of more than 2:1. The school has more than 800 high-end workstations for its 1,300 students. Ringling also has a one-to-one computing program that provides each student with a notebook computer.

Green Browsing

A research fellow at Harvard University reports that an average of 20 milligrams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per second are released into the atmosphere when a user browses the web.

“Most people assume because they can't see the plumes of smoke that there is no environmental impact from web browsing, but that is simply not the case,” says Alexander Wissner-Gross, environmental fellow at Harvard, who adds that the amount of CO2 released from web browsing is 50% higher than an average human exhaling.

Wissner-Gross is founder of CO2Stats (, which offers tools for determining and reducing a website's environmental impact.

The site takes into account the time spent on a specific website, its location, the type of devices used to view the site and file download sizes, and calculates a graph that displays the kind of energy consumed to power the website. For example, sites in France tend to use nuclear power while websites in West Virginia use a higher percentage of coal.

Another feature of CO2Stats offers tools for optimizing a website so it uses less energy and manages bandwidth more efficiently. For example: IT managers can use tools within CO2Stats to determine which JavaScripts need to be compressed. CO2Stats also purchases renewable energy certificates at the end of each month, which subsidize wind and solar electricity generation in amounts that neutralize the carbon footprint of the website.

Tech Progress

The Software & Information Industry Association reports that all educational levels have made progress using technology to facilitate communication, connectivity and collaboration. However, SIIA says colleges show more progress than the K–12 sector in using technology to deepen learning and motivate students (69%); nurture creativity (66%); help schools meet the needs of all students (65%); and enable students to learn from any place at any time (73%).

Source: Software & Information Industry Association

Online Boon

Boston research group Eduventures reports that the $7.2 billion in federal stimulus funds targeted to expand broadband access into underserved and rural areas may help expand online education programs at colleges and universities.

Eduventures finds that residents of less populated areas are 59% more interested in online-only study than their urban counterparts. In addition, less populated areas tend to have fewer postsecondary institutions, making online delivery one of the only options available.

Source: Eduventures

<p>Tim Morris/Getty Images</p>