Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Response #3

1. What are the three most important criticisms Don Tapscott makes of the Times article?

The most important critisisms Don makes are that when the Times article pulls statistics saying that children are becoming more distracted, there is an equal amount of evidence that proves the opposite is in fact true. Futhermore there is no definitive evidence out there to begin with that would prove that true.

Secondly, He critisizes the article for only considering technology as the sole factor for why kids are not succeeding in class and says that issues like culture and income play a key role in determining success. He goes on to say that the reason is more likely due to the fact that todays youth are more accoustomed to interacting with their eductation rather than listen to it and that is why less and less people are paying attention in class.

Finally, he says that contrary to the Times article, multi-tasking is a useful skill especially in the jobs of tomorow where more jobs require technology to use. The youth of today is better at filtering out noise, switching tasks and getting more accomplished faster. He also claims that they are not failing at everything by multi-tasking.

2. Do you agree with Mr Tapscott when he says we need to change “the relationship between student and teacher in the learning process”? Why or why not?

I personally agree that technology should start to change the relationship between student and teacher. The Internet is a plethora of knowledge, but teachers need to become like guides to direct them to relevant information about the courses. To insist on using the methods of when there was no other method of teaching is not making the most of the resources available to us. New technology is the next step in our teaching evolution, akin to the jump from teaching children about farming techniques to teaching the basics of science.

3. Of the two articles, which one demonstrates a greater understanding of technology and your generation? Justify your choice.

Easily Tapscott's article. It clearly shows that both sides have been considered and he makes a better argument more grounded in reality than in the confines of a classroom. To teachers who are evaluating a very specific skill ( the ability to sit and listen) the skills that are gained from exposure to technology may not be so apparent. However, in the big picture, these skills are the ones the business world will require.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reading Responses Part 2.

Response to H.B Whitehorne Middle School's use on iPod Touches.
I feel that the use of iPods is a risky endeavour at best. The presenter failed to present any specific examples of how the iPods are being used constructively, only telling us that "they are solving problems they wouldnt be able to by themselves" and "uploading podcasts" which are very vague descriptions. With my limited knowledge of the various iPod apps, I can't hazard a guess as to how these are being used in the school. I think that iPods, which are primarily developed with casual play in mind do not contribute anything that a netbook could not accomplish. I don't feel this idea is worth pursuing in Mackenzie because of these reasons.

Response to the Bullis School's use of Camtasia studio
I feel that Camtasia Studio has great potential for our school. While there are some minor details that need to be worked out regarding questions students may have, overall I think there is a lot of potential. Not having to waste time on basic concepts in class would increase efficiency throughout the school year. In order for this to take place, we would probably have to buy multiple copies of Camtasia Studio and then get the IDC class to familiarize themselves with how to use it. Afterwards we would have to hold training sessions for all teachers interested. The issue on price is one we would have to wait for the beurocracy of the TDSB budget department to sort out, but afterwards, it would be fairly easy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Growing up Digital, Wired for Success.

The troglodytes that currently occupy seats of control over the education system seem to be intent in stemming the growth of proficiency with technology, judging from the recent New York Times article "Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction". The article is heavily focused on people such as 17 year old Vishal, who admittedly has problems studying because of technology. Or 14 year old Allison Miller who credits technology with giving her three B's on her report card. With these oh-so-terrible cases you'd wonder why anyone in their right mind would condone the use of this satanic art called "Technology".

Wait a minute, are you old enough to remember the times when computers didn't exist? If you are, think back to how many students from your generation passed High School. For those who aren't, a quick little display of "witchcraft" has revealed the dropout rate in Canada in 1990 compared to 2004 was 16% in 1990 and a little under 10% in 2004. This shows us two things; Students of the 90s were just as distracted in terms of school work as we are right now, and that dropout rates have declined at around the same time as the concept of the computer exploded. The fact of the matter is that students, nay humans, have a natural instinct to avoid turmoil and work. We simply deal with it and in some cases delude ourselves into thinking otherwise because it is essential to our survival. Students will always find ways to avoid doing work whether it be the Dazed and Confused style graduation parties or the 24/7 social network. That said, if you want my opinion on why Vishal and Allison are currently doing poorly in school, it'd be because they are just lazy or simply do not have an aptitude for Maths and Sciences. Can you really say that if technology did not exist they would be guaranteed to be studying? Or that if these students did not spend their time using technology, they are guaranteed to be acing their more academic classes?

Speaking from experience, I had trouble with time management in my freshman and sophomore years. I'd come home, turn on the computer and do my homework on my lap in between typing rapidly to my friends. I definitely suffered in my studies but always brushed it off. Come my junior year, I continued these habits into a course load of Grade 12 AP Chemistry, 11 MaCS advanced Functions, 11 Accounting and 11 MaCS Physics. Needless to say, halfway through, I realized I needed to change something. My new routine is to immediately start doing homework until 7-8 PM on average. I do this at a quiet table away from my computer. I also restrict myself from playing Video Games at all on Monday to Thursday evenings. The change is difficult, but nothing worth getting ever came easy.

On a more personal note, I feel the need to pose the question, "So what if they're getting bad marks in academic courses?" Despite being knees deep into the academic rat-race (albeit unenthusiastically), I feel that doing poorly in academia is far from the end of the world. Vishal for example has managed to find a career where he must fully utilize technology in order to be successful. Pure academia is becoming less and less important because of the plethora of jobs being introduced because of technology. If students like Vishal have to foresight to jump on these new, blossoming jobs, all the better for them I say.

Technology is an amalgamation of the combined scientific efforts of great minds before us. It is malleable in utility and flexible in form. We are currently in a state of limbo between full integration and the old ways. As such there is bound to be people who wont comprehend for themselves how to effectively balance technology in their everyday lives. However, in the future, education and the working world is bound to use more technology. Proficiency with technology is a skill people will need to have in their daily lives. We are already seeing this with the example of our own IDC class, computerized testing, computerized business protocol and virtual conferences. Therefore the only reasonable thing to do would be to teach these skills as early as possible instead of rejecting it.

The New York Times article is the narrow-minded opinion of an obstinately archaic school of teaching that refuses to accept alternative ways of education. To suggest that your education system is failing because of technology is a poisonous sentiment that impedes the development of students in the working world. To teachers like Mr Eaton, I say this, "If 30 students would rather stare at an LCD screen than listen to you, it's probably your fault."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Daily Report.
Today I worked on finalizing our Action plan, then we came and discussed our plans with you. I also did some research on Turnitin and found their website and looked around. Furthermore i worked on making a gmail account exclusively for her facebook account. The 2 computers i tried had facebook blocked so I will continue to try tomorow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Placement update

So last week our group came up with a bunch of questions to ask Mrs. Elso-Ponso for our meeting with her. Among them we needed to discuss the extent of the diigo training and what the culminating task would require.

Upon getting back today, we came up with a list of To-do. Our priorities include how to get usable clips for assistance in the movies that the students will be making. Furthermore we need to put together a powerpoint presentation on how to use Moviemaker because chances are, we won't be around to teach the class how to use Moviemaker when Mrs Elso-Ponso wants to. Mrs. Elso Ponso has also expressed interest in getting a dedicated source for class materials whether it be on facebook or a blog or a class website. She will give us her final verdict on which one to use by wendsday and we will act accordingly.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enriching Technology Part 2

I think that this idea is ready to go as is, however, when we teach them how to use this, we need to emphasize that the Facebook Group is used purely for reminders and getting missed sheets. Perhaps a discussion room could be opened, but we must take care that no teacher plans to use it for some activity that requires everyone's active attention, since as Paul pointed out, facebook is distracting.

I'll start talking to my teachers if they'd like to implement a facebook group and set aside some lunch time to walk them through it.

Hopefully from the ones that agree, I'll start an interest within the school so that more and mroe teachers want one. if there is a big enough demand, we could even hold workshops for teachers explaining the intent, usage and possibilities of Facebook.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


1. I think i would be best at Teaching Teachers and Students to use technology and Software. Despite my "harsh" teaching plan, i never intended to actually read that word for word :P. I have experience talking in front of a group since i'm the Vice President of Anime Club and often manage meetings. Furthermore, I don't mind going through steps until whoever i'm teaching gets the concept

I also think that I would be good at developing lesson plans for teachers using technology. I can easily place myself in the students shoes and think about what sort of things would work and take that into consideration for developing the lesson plans.

I think i would be very bad at finding resources for teachers. Finding academic resources is bad enough when doing projects. The only research i have experience with is finding pirated stuff :P.

Creativity - 4 I can come up with a few good ideas every now and then, but it's never consistent and usually fluke.

Responsibility - 3 I can definitely have somethign done if it's absolute, but i'm often too flexible with myself for less urgent things.

Web Design - 2 I took an HTML class a while ago. I don't remember any of it. The only thing i can contribute is a thorough understanding of good user interface

Developing Action Plans - 7 I am decent at planning a reasonable path of action

Teaching Other People - 8 I feel that I am often successful at teaching concepts that i know because i always take the consideration to my student as to how it must feel to have this information piled on top of them.

Meeting Deadlines - 3 Sadly this is something i should work on. I know it's bad, but I'm working on it

3. I am moderately comfortable leading a group of students. They won't always listen, but I have no qualms about the job

4. I would prefer to work with a partner. It puts enough pressure on me to get stuff done while still having someone to bounce ideas off of. I am also comfortable working alone

History Class

Nothing i don't particularly want to work in.