Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction Response

29 Nov

It’s hard to believe that the commercialization of the Internet happened a mere 20 years ago. What started off with a few local websites, has now grown into “The Web” an endlessly interconnected online resource. On the Internet, it is possible to find almost anything, and in this lies the problem.

For me, personally, the Internet serves as both a distraction, and a resource. Unlike Vishal, I am able to organize my time. I tend to do my homework everyday, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t procrastinate. As soon as I come home, I usually go straight to the TV, and then follow it up by going onto the computer to check Facebook, and surf the web looking through loads of information. Once the clock hits 9:00 PM, I realize that I need to go do homework, and disconnect from MSN and Facebook in an attempt to finish my work.

Although I am often able to disconnect, this isn’t something I’ve learned easily. Over the past 6 or so years, I’ve been educated about different websites and web tools to access. Hence my time spent on the Internet has increased. When I first created my Facebook account, I was hooked, but as time has passed, this obsession has become more of a past-time now. However just because this is the case for me, doesn’t mean that this is reality for all. As a matter of fact, I have many friends who often complain how they cannot do homework because Facebook serves as a distraction. Facebook allows people to place their personality online, this is where I think many people’s obsession with Facebook lies. People want to see what is happening to who, at what time. They want to get to know people, there is an endless amount of things you can do on Facebook and online.

Last Thursday I bought myself a Blackberry. Now many will say that I have now permanently connected myself to the web, which is true. By buying a data plan I now have constant internet access. My “Crackberry” is addicting, I cannot lie. But this is just because of its endless features, which is easy to ignore for a short period of time. My Blackberry on the other hand has let me disconnect from my internet distraction. When I would go home before, I would make sure to check Facebook and other Internet websites for updates, things that I missed on that day. Now that I have the constant Internet access, my phone receives updates every time something new happens. Now I’m always updated, so I don’t have to worry about checking anything when I get home.

Technology is something we have to embrace. Technology will never seize, it will only continue to grow and expand. Our current use of technology in schools is minimal at best. However with our IDC ICT class we are attempting to change this. I believe that it is important to educate people about technology, so they will have some knowledge, and then expand on it themselves. With this education we are teaching future generations about useful web tools and resources they can use to finish their homework… using technology.

To wrap all this up, I have to say that I do believe that the youth have a problem with procrastination. Although technology has given us the ability to multitask in miraculous new ways, it has also impeded our ability to focus and manage our time. Both children and adults need to learn to prioritize well to be able to see what is more important, work (school, job, etc.) or enjoyment (in this case it is Facebook, video games, etc.). We are living in a digital age, and what we need to do, is learn to disconnect from the technology, and reconnect with real life.

Placement Update

2 Nov

Meeting with Mr. Carpenter, we discussed some idea on how to incorporate Google Earth, and other online technologies into the Grade 9 geography ISP. We split up the work, with some people researching Gapminder, another group researching Wolfram Alpha, and lastly Tal and I researching Google Earth.

What have we accomplished so far? Upon starting our research into Google Earth, we believed that it would be very hard for students to create their own KMZs in which they would display the information of their project. Once we actually began to play around with Google Earth, we discovered that is actually isn’t that hard to create personal KMZ files. We began to develop a way that the grade 9 students will be able to use Google Earth to present their information. All that is left to be done is work out some kinks, so that by the end of the semester, the grade 9 geography class will be able to do their ISP in Google Earth.

Placement Post

27 Oct
  1. Out of the 7 options, I would be best at teaching teachers and students to use technology and software, and  finding ways to incorporate technology into existing projects. This is because I like to teach, and many say that I am good at explaining and teaching things, as well as because I like to use problem solving, and those two components incorporate both. I would be worst at finding online resources for teachers. I am not good at doing research, so doing this isn’t suitable for me.
  2. –         Creativity – 5: I am somewhat creative, but not artistic at all.
    –         Responsibility – 9: I like to take control of a situation, and can be                                                   relied upon
    –         Web design – 6: I have never done web design, but I believe I can                                            do it
    –         Developing action plans – 7: I’m good at making plans
    –         Teaching other people – 9: I’m very good at teaching people and                                                                  explaining things
    –         Meeting deadlines – 9: I usually never hand in things late
  3. Yes, I am very comfortable leading a group of students. For school projects I like to take on the leadership role, because I like when I can see what is going on and how. I have no problem leading a group.
  4. It doesn’t really matter. It would be better if I work with somebody, because we would be able to split up the work, however it wouldn’t make much of a difference.
  5. I wouldn’t mind working in any of the subject fields except for Biology. I never took the course, so I feel it wouldn’t suit me well as I do not have the knowledge of the class, and thus would not be able to fully understand the projects and etc.

Enriching Technology Conclusion

26 Oct

After reading the comments, and reflecting on the idea myself, I believe it would be a great idea to go ahead and try to implement the idea. The idea does need a little tweaking however. At first what I believed would be the best course of action was to have presentations for the entire student body. In the beginning, when the library staff give a presentation on online resource tools, we could try to set up something similar, and teach students how to use the online web tools. However it would be hard to reach the entire student body. Instead, it would be better to specialize, and tailor certain web tools to specific classes.

Tools like Diigo should definitely be tought to social science classes, such as history and SAP, as a lot of research is done in those classes, and Diigo is a very helpful research tool. It would be best to teach the teachers first, and then pass on the knowledge to the students. Learn360 is an excellent educational resource that could be used in science classes, as it has many videos related to the science curriculum. It would really help students with science project resources, and would benefit teachers by incorporating these videos in their lessons. Jing can be used in art classes, and tech classes, as a presentation tool, for students to show how they made their model/piece of art, and  etc. Jing could also be used by teachers to make tutorial videos.

These are only a few uses of these programs, but over time, they could be incorporated with other classes as well. Of course we would also help teachers learn these programs if they want to try to incorporate the tools in their class themselves. If a teacher would like to learn a web tool, we would definitely teach them with no hesitation. It would take a couple of months to get to every teacher that would like to learn, and within a couple of years we would be able top develop a good plan on how to teach these tools to all the different classes.

Enriching Technology

21 Oct

Idea: Incorporate web tools and software we studied in IDC ICT into classrooms.

Goal: To teach as many W.L. Mackenzie C.I. students about the web tools and software, and all the possible and effective ways to use each. The goal is to start the education program for Grade 9s so by the time they reach Grade 12, they will be experts in each web tool, and will be able to pass on the knowledge to younger kids, and use their skills throughout highschool, and then university/college or wherever they choose to go after highschool.

Subject Area: All subjects and all school clubs to make school more effective and effiecient.

Details: Students will be educated on the use of the web tools and software so they will be able to use them for research, homework, and personal needs.

Technology Needed: Web tools (Diigo, Jing, Google Docs, etc.), computer with internet access, smart board (for some interactive programs, optional)

Pros:

  • Will give students knowledge of how to use many different web tools.
  • Will educate them on how to find other useful tools.
  • Will help with homework, research, etc.
  • Will teach a new generation about technology who will be able to pass down the knowledge to other students.
  • Will make our school more technology-friendly.

Cons:

  • Will take a lot of time to educate all students in out school.
  • First step would be to teach all IDC ICT students about all web tools and software to make teaching other students more efficient and fast.
  • Will need to convince teachers to take time out of their class for students to learn these tools/skills.

What Needs To Happen To Make The Idea Work:

  1. Each student who studied a particular web tool/software will have to teach the other students in the IDC ICT class to make everyone an expert in every single web tool/software application.
  2. Teachers who have signed up for their students to be educated, will have their classes tought first about certain web tools/software applications.
  3. Once this is done, and education program will have to be set up for next yea, dividing it up into 3 years, grade 9, 10, and 11.
  4. Next year, when the new grade 9s enter our school they will be educated on the tools and software, and then throughout their highschool life.
  5. In the meantime IDC ICT students will continue doing research on other useful web tools that could be taught in the school.

Overall this would take a year or two to be set up as many things have to be organized in advance. We would have to talk and negotiate with the principal and vice principal to make sure what we are doing is fine, and try and educate as many students as possible. This is only the first step in enriching our school with technology. Before anything else can be done, such as incorporating major technology into the classroom, we need to educate students on how to use available web tools and software

Software: Google Earth

17 Oct

Google Earth is an application that most students have used. However most people do not know the full use of Google Earth. I began this project believing that Google Earth was simply a satellite imaging program that allows your to view the world from a birds-eye view. However I discovered that Google Earth can be used in a much more useful way. Google Earth allows you to load on KMZ files which are small files supported by Google Earth that add an overlay to either the whole map, or  section that the KMZ file is designed for. The KMZ files allows the user to view maps from a different perspective, with interactive buttons and tabs incorporated into the map. These are the positive aspects of Google Earth, however there are some problems when dealing with KMZ files.

First of all, the KMZ files need to be loaded on through Google.com. The files are found using the advanced search option, and selection KMZ as the filetype. The hassle with this is that anyone can upload a KMZ file, meaning that the user is prone to find viruses, or completely useles KMZs. To find the KMZ you need often takes patience and multiple searches with different key words. Another problem is that some KMZs are not compatible with some computers thus they will not work, so once again the user has to keep searching. Also KMZs are temporary files that are opened with Google Earth, so to keep the files the user must save them onto their harddrive. This causes the KMZs to be forever available in Google Earth, which can cause minor lag.

The different KMZ files can be used to incorporate Google Earth in many classes, not only geography. Google Earth can now be used in history class, geography class, english class, and etc. In history class, students can load on KMZs that show historic explorer’s routes, or historic places. In english class, student can view the location of Shakespeare’s plays. The options are endless, all that is needed is a creative idea, and chances are, there will be a KMZ file available to satisfy one’s needs and wants.

These are 2 examples of KMZ files that I found. (note when opening these links make sure to have Google Earth open, and when the file opens click open, not save.) Also there are different options in the sidebar. Play around with the different options to see the full potential of each KMZ.

Plate Tectonics, earthquakes, etc.

geon.unavco.org/unavco/GE/Learn_about_Plate_Tectonics.kmz

Population Density overlay

www.anakinovni.org/population_density_n.kmz

eInstruction Song Contest

7 Oct

For the eInstruction contest our goal is to create a parody of a song not longer than 2:30, that incorporates at least one eInstruction product, and talks about the technology used in our classroom, and everything related to it. To do this we must choose an easy song to parody, and just replace the words and rhymes with things related to our use of technology. A song like California Girls by Katy Perry would be good to use as it is a fairly simple song that is still pretty popular with a variety of different demographic groups. We should discuss this topic in class to decide what we want to do and achieve, that way there will be a lot less disagreement when the actual task of making the video comes.