August 23, 2011

Technology and Education Readings

The Machine is Us/ing Us

In a quickly changing digital society, this video gave great insight into the leaps and bounds that the web has made in such a short amount of time. Separating form and content, even the most techno-phobic individuals can have their own custom space and identity on the internet, no coding required (on their part, at least). What interested me most about this video was not the technological wonder of all of this mass exchange of data (even though that's crazy cool), but how from a cultural perspective, this relatively new "language" of the internet (coding, I guess) is like a Rosetta stone for connecting people of all ages, opinions, and areas into one huge online community.

Henry Jenkins on Transmedia

Changes in technology have led to a huge change in how we send, receive, and perceive information. Everyone who is connected to the web can collect and contribute their own stories, and this is changing everything we have to deal with. We now have limitless sources to draw from, spanning over multiple channels, which are not redundant but rather complementary. Exploiting multiple channels helps to insure that the largest audience can receive (and potentially share) the information that you delivered.

Interest-Driven Learning

Technology is allowing us the opportunity to branch out into new social possibilities. The open communication that is available is really leading way to more opportunities for creative expression and exchange between individuals. Mimi Ito hopes that this new media will continue to seep deeper into our lives, particularly finding its way into the learning process in schools. Some teachers are already beginning to adopt this social media as tools in their teaching toolbox. Now the challenge is to adapt their curriculum past the basics of subjects.

Changing Education Paradigms

This was one of the most stimulating videos, in such a way that I'm not even sure what to say about it. While it was all very informative and relevant, it seems like one of the most pressing issues is the cyclical dilemma of the anaesthetic state that many of today's youth are in. Some of my feelings about all this are pulled more from my personal experience at my past schools than the video, but it all rolls together.
At the schools I went to, saying that the arts were neglected would be an understatement. I feel that this might be true in most schools. In elementary, we are taught to color and draw and explore and grow, but by about 4th or 5th grade, that interactive, creative form of learning was replaced and discouraged in favor of reading from a hefty stack of textbooks. While I might have been getting a heavy dose of dense information, what I wasn't getting was stimulation. Cutting children off from the media around them is meant to be in their best interest, I understand, but it is obviously taking a toll on the quality of their learning. Instead of removing them from the technology-rich environment of today, the real solution seems to be to adapt the technology to help them learn, and emerse them in it. The stimulation and inspiration of new ideas can only lead to more new ideas. Sir Ken Robinson touches on the concept of divergent thinking, or the creative ability to be able to come up with many non-linear answers to one question. Learning in the classroom needs to be more collaborative, more open, and more diversified to suit individuals learning styles.

Kids Learn How to Navigate the Multimedia World

Film as a second language. Media as a new language/viable source of education.
Being media literate is something that should be crucial to today's kids, since they are completely surrounded by this new form of education that, unfortunately, is not widely recognized in most schools. This video show several schools where technology is an integral part of the classroom, and where children not only learn about their subjects, but analyze it to better understand why it is important. Rather than just regurgitating information, they help to create it. Sounds like a cool system.

Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On

The web is smart. Really really smart. From what this article is saying, it seems like the need for keyboards and mice are beginning to fade away in favor it mobile devices and textless (like speech and location recognition) interfaces.
Some of this article seemed to be a bit over my head, but the general idea that I got from it is that the web is growing in wealth of knowledge through algorithms and applications that continue to allow it to cross-connect information and sort it in the most useful way for us. It can remember your interests, your searches, your location, many things about you to help set you in the right direction for whatever you're on the internet looking for. Even though it is intuitive though, it's not "learning," but "being taught." In other words, we are still the ones that have to feed it the information that it uses to grow with, it can't form this information on its own.

The Seven Types of Intelligence

Every child falls into one of seven different intelligence types. Instead of teaching the child to learn in the format that works for you, it is most to the child's benefit if you learn the method of learning that best suits them. While this seems really cool, it also seems like it would be very difficult for this system to for in the traditional sort of school that kids are a part of currently.

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