The Grass Is Greener…


Question… Do We All Need Tech-Support?
September 28, 2010, 12:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring any Bells? Have you ever been stuck in the scrolls while the world is moving on to books? Do you remember the first time you had to work a computer? How about the first time you tried to text, or upload your photo’s, and then upload them to an email, and then send them on an email from your phone! Or get that song by Glee on your iPod that just won’t go on?! Did everything ever seem just a little too absurd for you, too out-there (too much work)? Did you ever want to give up, and just settle with the fact that you were going to just do things the old-fashioned way, because that’s the easy way?

Maybe not. But what have you been sceptical about this past year, techno-wise? Can you think of something? How do you feel about bringing in laptops in the classroom, and trashing those medieval pencil sharpeners for good? No more pencils. Out the libraries will go, right behind blockbuster.

Don’t we need a change? Should Mr. Winkle be comfortable sitting in our classrooms? Are students still sitting in desks, listening to a teacher talk at them, and taking notes off a chalkboard, because it is good? Is it system that is near perfection? Or maybe we have just been caught in our laziness. Hm, maybe the future will look back on these times as the “Dark Ages” for school’s. Perhaps we are all going to need a little Tech-support in these middle ages.

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Tech Task #2 — lose the schools
September 20, 2010, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Would the elimination of schools be a positive modification? If I could just go on personal experience, my heart tells me I ought to defend the school system. My high school life was safe, interactive, and fun. My school building was where I felt most comfortable. Although, not many people can say they went to a school of under 200 kids. I don’t have much experience to be able to address the average school system, since I attended a private school, but nevertheless, I will defend the existence of the classroom.  

I believe if education is aiming reach students who have all varieties of learning capabilities, the online classroom would over looking kinesthetic learners. Looking on a screen for hours at a time would drive many students “up the wall”, and make learning even more difficult. Although school would be not as difficult to get to, it would be much, much easier to ignore, and so I say, not as easy to attend. And, even when you do sign on for class in the morning, concentration would be more difficult, absolutely. Without the presence of other learners and a teacher that you are present with, there is a loss of urgency and relevancy. No one to discipline, no one to provide emphasis by walking closer or father to you, only a screen. Which, no matter who or what is behind it, cannot deliver the same effect a teacher can.  

It would also conflicts with certain classes, such as PE, drama, woodworking, and art. Tangibility is essential for these. The most obvious answer to me would be a separate school for touch-mandatory classes. I don’t believe this is practical either, because it creates a divide between classes and topics.

Education should be bridging and making connections over many areas, relating science and math to real life, physics to our cars, not to mention the social aspect as well. By eliminating the physical presence of students, all physical connections that could be made to the class are ruled out as well. If someone wanted to play a game with their classmates to demonstrate democracy, it would have to be moved online, which often defeats the impact and purpose of many interactive games. If everything can be seen as intertwined, everything can be seen as important. Not only would the elimination of schools destroy the possibility of intertwining physicality of other classes, but it would separate mind and body as well. A physical expression or activity to what is being learned helps students remember, and make better connections, new connections, about the reality of what they are learning.

As for the social aspect, it is true that bullying and cliques could be toned down, possibly eliminated, but if there is any sort of community, there will be conflict to be dealt with. Perhaps it is just the teachers who will not have to deal with those issues as much. What also concerns me as a future educator is that I could not connect to my students. When you see someone in person, you can sense their feelings towards an issue, you can give encouragement to someone because you can tell that they are sad, not tired. Through a screen, intuition and reading the students attitudes would be gone, along with many opportunities to influence their lives. So many students will slip under the radar, without ever getting the notice they need.    

As educators, we need to be encouraging connections of all kinds, and educating in all types of ways. Moving the high school experience online just removes too many important elements that are needed to keep school interesting and enjoyable. I’m afraid continuing to move the learning experience online will stifle the future of learning. It will be cheaper. It will be convenient. But it won’t be effective.



YouTube Anthropology response
September 19, 2010, 2:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,
YouTube

Image via Wikipedia

 

ORIGINAL LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU

Anthropology, way to represent! You could dedicate an entire blog to the topics discussed in this video. How do we define what meaningful relationships are? What is true community? How much reality do we need to function as a society, or individually? So many questions.

I have always found my most meaningful relationships to be ones where I could be myself, express myself, and be honest and open with someone, person-to-person. Internet-based relationships were easy, because I could essentially be whoever I wanted at the time, say what I wanted, but before I pressed “upload” or “send”, I could evaluate if that was what I wanted to portray as me. In my mind, internet was always a mask. Perhaps that is why I have shied away from computer communities and communication.

On the other hand, there are obviously many people who function well, or even need, online relationships. Only then can they truly open up and be themselves. For instance, bnessel1973, who gives Youtube, and the community of Youtube, credit for being the reason he got through the death of his baby son. But, was it really the relationship or community that he needed, or was it just an outlet for him to express himself? Did he even need it to be real? Was YouTube just his avenue of choice for his expressive healing?

It would be interesting to conduct a study on how much reality people really need. Through YouTube, are we realizing more and more that what we need isn’t reality? For me, I know these results could be devastating. My whole life I’ve thought that real friendships need. Individualism and independence are being sought after and treated as valuable traits, but our human values and needs for community and relationships (and authenticity, he says) are what we need. Possibly, the internet is now answering this social cry for help, through the web. It seems to be working.

Could online, web-based relationships really end up being all we need? Is this something that me, and my generation, are going to need to adjust to; cyber-communities? Will we be sitting in our rocking chairs, talking to our grandchildren (perhaps?) via skype, saying, “I remember the days when kids spoke to their friends face-to-face”, And then they will sigh and say, “Oh, Nana..” Or will it be something much greater?

As resistant as I feel I am, there is something beautiful about hundreds of people holding their hands to their camera’s, writing messages of hope to the world. Perhaps internet friendship is something I can, and should, get used to.



Tech Task #1
September 13, 2010, 5:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“Ellaina Brown: the blonde Canadian girl from that province with the “chew” in it (don’t even attempt the pronunciation)”. That was the description given to me by my classmates in England this past year. For six months, I was at Capernwray Bible School located in the Lake District of England, where I might have learned more about myself than the enticing culture around me. After a year of University, I realized that I didn’t know who I was entirely. This trip would help teach me about me, through meeting all kinds of people inside a small community of 180 students, with many opportunities surrounding me. Sports claimed the back seat, but music, art, and working with youth I found to be the parts of my life that really built who I was, and had to hold on to.

I would like to say that adventurous excursions, away from all that is familiar, encapsulates my personality, but I have never been known to live on the edge, or play with fire. I’ve lived in this same city my entire life, went to the same school from pre’s to graduation, and I am still in the house I was brought home to from the hospital. So I suppose England was a bit of a risk.

There, I discovered that my family; Father, Mother, Brother (and cat, I suppose), are a really important part of my life. And although adventure is wonderful, and I love a bit of independence, I will always be a prairie-girl. I love my big skies, and small cities, where it isn’t preposterous to smile and strike up conversation with almost anyone.

As far as technology is concerned, the computer and me are fairly good acquaintances. Maybe even buddies. Although, I just received my first Ipod EVER this week (a shuffle), and you won’t find me on Skype or MSN, so I have fallen a bit behind these past few years. Hours have whizzed by with a screen in front of me, but not because of twitter, or from watching TV series, or cruising YouTube, but through the art of editing movies. “Import, Cut, paste, music, effects, transitions”… for me, it’s thrilling, and my only real expertise concerning computers. I’ve dabbled in Photoshop as well, but I believe a personal trainer is needed to really get a handle on that program. But as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t always this way.

Truthfully, I’ve loved technology since I received my first e-card on our family’s windows 98. In those days, I had the latest music downloading program, I googled websites that told me how to use html code to create my own websites,  and yes, I even had a Whyville account. But when I participated in a social networking fast in 2005 (around a month-long), I lost my desire to be on the cutting edge of tech-knowledge. I believe I’ve saved much of what could have been wasted time, but I have been missing out on the benefits of technology. People have been busy creating and developing great tools and programs that I obviously need to get on top of. I know this class will help get me back on my feet in terms of the issues, the trends, the how-to’s , and what-to-do’s of computer’s and the like. And with a professor who knows what it’s like to be thrown into the role of “techy guy”, I think us “n00b’s” are really going to get some good help.   

As for technology in the classroom, the idea is so new to me I’m ready to get submerged! Coming from a small school, technology really didn’t have a presence. It’s place was in the home. I’m so ready to learn how to better amalgamate this into teaching and learning, and especially into art. For students who went to a school like I did, where Film class was not even an option, I would like to see the art of film integrated into the visual arts program (becoming an Art teacher is my destination). Social networking seems to me like it would be a distraction. And YouTube is an alright tool for the teacher to possibly show a video, but as far as being on the banned list of websites, I agree.  

Although the class is intimidating, I can’t deny my anticipation. I am very much looking forward to spending time rediscovering my love for the art of technology; its daunting power and inspiring edge. I expect to be challenged, and to develop strong opinions and convictions for how it is effecting youth, and how I, as a part of a group of future educators, can channel it’s force to profit us, rather than separate us from the younger generation. I need to get down and dirty in this stuff! I want to be a tech-savvy art teacher. Step one, ECMP 355. Here we go!