Friday, November 26, 2010

Article Response: Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

I feel that I do indeed have much in common with Vishal and the other teenagers described in the article. I often find myself distracted away from my responsibilities for hours on end even after promising myself that I would start working. After about an hour or more, I realize that I have been distracted and that I need to get back to work. Before starting, I quickly get a glass of water and tell myself that I have to start working now, but once I sit down at the computer, I become distracted again, and a vicious cycle ensues. Luckily, this does not have a negative affect on my mark because when I do focus, usually late at night when I become desperate, I work very quickly and efficiently. However, I am worried that this habit may start to have a negative affect on my marks and my life as I start having more responsibilities and duties.

When the article mentioned games, I came to realize that games do affect my sleeping patterns. After playing games, especially right before sleeping, I tend to lie around for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep and I usually think about the games I played. However, I do not think it affects my ability to retain information, because even if I do play games, as long as I get enough time to sleep, I have no problems. Whereas, if I go to bed late, and sleep even later because I played games, I might not do well on the test or quiz the following day because I am tired. I'm not sure about others, but I feel that for me, it is ultimately fatigue that effects my mental capabilities.

I agree half-heartedly to the statement by Alan Eaton  that  technology has led to a “balkanization of their focus and duration of stamina.” The reason is that though I do believe that the focus and stamina of teenagers have decreased, it is not necessarily a catastrophe. Now teenagers are able to multi-task with much more efficiency and the lack of sleep from the days in high school when they are distracted by technology can be "training" for university when they really won't have any time to sleep. As well, the skills they learn through technology, even if it is learning to just use it, can save a tremendous amount of time depending on their future career. Also, his fallacious argument comparing rock and roll with technology made me speechless at how weak the analogy is. Not only is technology so much more diverse with so much more potential, it has practical uses in technology unlike a genre of music (except to make educational songs but...).

Many are like Vishal in the sense that technology provided for them a career path that they are passionate about and can pursue, whereas without it, they would be completely lost and unhappy. Though education cannot be perfect because of the diversity of each individual, we must try to satisfy and nurture as many students as possible, and I believe technology is a large part of that. It provides to some students a passion that they cannot find in math, science, or even art. It is a whole new path in life that they can walk, and I believe education should make that path available to them. A lot of parents, teachers, and other adults think that technology will do more harm than good as many students will abuse it to play games, or use facebook; however, I feel that those students would find other ways to be just as distracted as they would be with technology. The benefits of technology outweigh the cost of it in education.

Though I don't want to admit it, I felt a connection and realization with many of the examples of teenagers given in the article. Especially for the past week or so after the surgery, I become tired very easily and just don't want to do anything. Technology such as Youtube, facebook, and games have been a way for me to avoid work. Though I have no problems doing the work I "have" to like school work, I find working on university applications and scholarships almost impossible because it is not near the deadline and there are so many sources of distraction.

Many students in the article seem to complain that they cannot control themselves when it comes to technology. Unless there is an addictive substance that physically addict you to technology (obviously there isn't) self-control is all you need to control yourself. Though some students say that technology drops their grades, I think that even without technology, the same students would still have their current grades because of another source of distraction. Ultimately, the success of a student or a person is dependent on himself or herself no matter how many excuses he or she can find.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview #2 with Dr. Burt

The meeting on Nov. 3rd started with me and Akiva proposing our ideas of incorporating technology into Dr. Burt's classrooms. After some discussion, we decided to incorporate our ideas into the ISPs of her classes. Also, if we have time afterwards, we will create an assignment for the grade 12 biology class using 3D molecules. In a week or two's time Akiva and I will prepare presentations for Dr. Burt's classes, going in for the first ten minutes of each class.
As well, if Dr. Burt finds a possible guest speaker, we will set up a video chat with her class.
We also confirmed each other's e-mails.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Placement Update

1. Last week, Akiva and I met with Dr. Burt. As both of us were a part of her class last year, she was very happy with the placement. As we both took grade 12 chemistry last year and Akiva is currently taking 12 Biology, she told us to think of ways to incorporate technology in those courses. We brainstormed and came up with a number of ideas to propose to Dr. Burt.

2. This week, we will be meeting with Dr. Burt to propose those ideas and pick which ones to pursue and develop.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teacher-Student Match-up

1. I'd probably be best at learning new software or teaching teachers and students to use technology and software. I am a quick learner and I like to learn new things and expand on my skills and so I can learn any new software quickly and efficiently. As well, I am good at teaching material to others and I'm also good at thinking on my feet, which would allow me to teach students and teachers well while avoiding problems.
I wouldn't have a problem with any of the roles, however, I am not very artistic, and if I were to design a website, it would be slightly bland.

2. Creativity: 8 - I am creative and can come up with a number of ideas on various topics whenever needed. However, I have a problem with following through on some of the ideas
Responsibility: 10 - I am a responsible individual and I can guarantee that my responsibilities will be carried out
Web Design: 3 - I have almost no experience with web design and I am not very artistic
Developing Action Plans: 9 - I am good at creating plans and realizing the flaws and problems of the plan before it is executed
Teaching Other People: 9 - As long as the other party is willing to learn, I have no problems teaching and I am good at helping people understand difficult material
Meeting Deadlines: 10 - If it is within my ability, I will never miss a deadline

3. I am very comfortable leading a group of students.

4. I would prefer to work in a group or with a partner.

5. I am most comfortable with Biology and it is my best subject area among the options as well. I don't have much experience with business or media so it would be a bad match for me.

Follow-up on Enriching Technology

Both Anzella and Jenny recommended that I pursue my idea. We will approach a teacher and suggest the idea, and from there we can decide on times and the specific class for this assignment. For the teacher involved, Ms. Dyke would be the best because she is the head of the computer department and teaches many of the programming classes. As the idea is focused on progrmaming classes, I will be suggesting them, but if the project is successful, we could use it for other classes afterwards and give each student a topic to focus on, for example, in chemistry, students can focus on different functional groups in organic chemistry. To teach the class, a few IDC students including myself, can come in during a class to teach Jing or meet with Ms. Dyke at lunch or during her prep period.

Both Anzella and Jenny also raised the concern of recording the student's voices because the school does not have mics. However, mics can be purchased (as suggested by Ms. Cuttle) because it can be used for a variety of other tasks as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Enriching Technology (Final)

Idea: Jing videos for the programming classes

Subject Area: Gr. 12 programming and maybe Gr. 11 programming

Details: The programming classes learn most of the programming alone in grade 12 by doing individual research. Rather than each student researching every command or method, one student can make a Jing video for a specific command or method and upload it onto a website where all the students will have access to it.

Technology Needed: Computers with Jing

- Saves a lot of time for the students
- The students can learn more programming with the saved time
- The videos are easily accessible for review whenever needed

- If a student creates a bad video, it could affect the entire class
- Creating the Jing video can take up time, but it should be balanced by the time saved from other videos, as well making the video can be good review

What Needs to Happen for the Idea to Work:
1. The students need to learn how to use Jing (IDC student can help)
2. Teacher needs to create a website or a source to upload all the videos (IDC student can help)
3. The students need to responsibly upload their videos (IDC student can help in the beginning)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enriching Technology (Initial)

Idea: Homework/Assignment E-Mails
Subject Area: All Subjects
Details: The students will write down their e-mails for the teacher at the beginning of the course. The teacher can add all his/her students into contact list categories that are divided into classes. Every time there is homework or an assignment, the teacher can simply send one e-mail to the corresponding category and all the students will receive the e-mail.
Technology Needed: Computers with internet access for students and the teacher at home, E-Mail accounts for the students and teachers
- Students will receive reminders for all homework and assignments
- Teacher can make changes to the homework or assignment at any time
- Instructions for a class can be sent to all students if the teacher will be away
- If students or the teachers have smart phones, the e-mails can be sent or received anytime, anywhere
- If the Internet is not working for a particular student, problems may arise
- Students may become too dependent on the e-mail reminders
1. All students and teachers need to make an e-mail account (IDC student can help if necessary)
2. The teacher needs to make a contact list category with all her students (IDC student can help if necessary)
3. Send e-mails whenever necessary (up to the teacher)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

eInstruction Global Classroom Makeover Video Contest

For the music video, I was thinking of making a musical kind of video where there is a storyline following the song. We could show the frustration of the students and the teachers about the lack of availability of technology and also the quality of it. Also, using a catchy song with a repeating chorus would be good because it would be easy to sing and will have a lasting effect on the judges.Using a song with rap can provide more room for story-telling and I think that more male students would be more willing to rap than sing.
An idea I had is a parody music video of Love the Way You Lie by Eminem: Love the Way You Lag. We can illustrate students and teachers who hate the laggy computers but pretend to love it because they need it. Having a sarcastic theme can also add in humor to the video.

Future Generation Tech Lab

Compared to the number of students in the school, we have a small school without enough technological resources. As a result, this contest can really help our school get some of the technology it needs. As well, Mackenzie is home to the MaCS program. Because it is a computer related program, a computer lab make-over would be very beneficial to the MaCS students and any students interested in computers. We could ask for more Smart Boards in classes, or netbooks as that is a way around the lack of space for computer labs. Also, many of our computers are old and not as fast as many students would like and the money earned can really help fix that problem.

Staples Recycle for Education Contest

Our school has done a number of things for the environment that I think we can include for the Staples Recycle for Education contest. For one we have a number of clubs such as SWITCH and gardening club that display concern for the environment. As well, David Suzuki came in a few years ago because solar panels were installed on the roof on the school by SWITCH. Though it was more symbolic than anything, it still shows the initiative and concern of Mackenzie students.