Archive for January, 2012

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

This weekend I watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid  for the first time. I had been thinking about Mike Wesch’s video, specifically the Numa Numa craze that greatly increased YouTubes popularity. In the second sequel of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, two young friends, Rowley and Greg are desperately trying to become cool and popular in their first year of Middle School. Among many other attempts at achieving fame in their school, one of the first ideas Greg has is to create a YouTube video. He says something to the effect of, “getting famous is easy, all you have to do is make a hilarious video.” Rowley agrees to lip sync and dance to Kesha’s TiK ToK song. Greg encourages his friend to be as ridiculous and funny as possible, while the main appeal of the video is to come from Rowley “accidently” falling backwards out of his chair while singing. Although I found the video they create fairly entertaining, Greg and Rowly sadly discover they have only received “4 hits” by the next day. Ironically however, someone has uploaded this scene from the movie onto YouTube and today it had 64, 422 hits.

I thought this movie did a good job of incorporating relevancy into their story. The fact that this portion of the movie exists just goes to show the extreme popularity of YouTube, and the idea of sharing yourself online through video. I think there are many adolescents and likely even adults who have had similar ideas of Greg and Rowley. The idea that becoming famous can really happen over night now is incredible. Mike Wesch described technology as capable of transcending time and space. When we recognize how true this can be especially for YouTube videos, terms such as “going viral” have a completely different meaning now than they would have 10 years ago. It’s interesting to see quickly things can change and how many people can be aware of and affected by those changes thanks to technology now.

Tech Task #3

Here is the link to my Living Expenses Spread Sheet

Tech Task #2

I didn’t know youtube was just launched in April 2005, it has become to integrated into our culture, it seems hard to imagine society without it. Ironically, while I watched this video on YouTube and he talks about how difficult posting videos online used to be, we got a call from my Grandma in Phoenix. She wanted to let us know there would be Live Streaming if we wanted to watch 3 of my younger cousins getting baptized online tonight. Technology is so amazing! There was no way we could have been in Alberta tonight to watch in person, but thanks to the internet we were able to feel like we were there and we were able to share in their special night.

Something that surprised me is that the majority of YouTube videos feature 18-24 year olds, and that 15% of YouTube videos are remixes and remakes, which are actually illegal. Another thing I found surprising is that the most commonly uploaded videos are home videos. I never knew that over 200,000 videos are uploaded every day, with around 10,000 of those videos being addressed to the YouTube community. First time vlogging looked so awkward! For someone who isn’t really into that, it seems strange that people choose to just open up to the entire world. I can see that for some people it is enjoyable, and even therapeutic, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I personally think it seems cheap to let strangers into your personal life, the same way I think it is cheap when people post really personal things on their Facebook status–it’s uncomfortable! I don’t want to publicly find out or know about your best friend letting you down or you children or your husband, or your marriage falling a part…it doesn’t seem classy at all. On the other hand, I enjoy reading a family members blog and following what’s going on in her life on a weekly basis. I enjoy having a community of friends that I actually see and hang out with(actually, not virtually), I don’t think there is any part of me that desires to expose myself to the whole world and hope strangers like me. Maybe if I didn’t have such an amazing family and support network of friends I would feel differently though.

One of the things Mike talked about was basically how sex sells, especially on YouTube. No matter what I want to look up on YouTube it seems impossible to not see some type of video (or several) that look raunchy. In my opinion, when Michael talks about this beautiful community being created on YouTube there’s a part of me that thinks I wouldn’t want anything to do with that community that is so openly and shamelessly sex crazed. That’s another thing that seems extremely tasteless to me about the site, and the internet in general. However, there’s obviously enough people who love it or it wouldn’t be so popular.

Obviously, YouTube also has amazing qualities and there are millions of videos that are tasteful, funny, talented, interesting and often helpful. My father-in-law is a very talented handy man, he can do everything, and anytime there’s something he isn’t sure about (like changing the oil in his new Porsche) he just “YouTubes” it!

Michael Wesch presents an interesting position, I found his video very informative and well done for the most part. Thanks!

Storing and Managing Information Electronically

As I listened to today’s lecture, we talked a lot about the benefits of digital fluency. One of the topics within this category had to do with online documenting—using sites such as Mendeley for instance, to edit and save various pieces of work. I thought about how this could be very helpful for writing university papers and then having an online data base where I could retrieve them whenever I needed to, even after university. Then I thought about my Internship experience…

I had an amazing Co-Operating teacher, and much like other teachers she had a plethora of teaching documents saved in boxes, bins, and large filing cabinets. These documents might include Math worksheets, long and short vowel booklets, science units, social units…and so on. I noticed that by the end of my 4 months in the classroom, I myself had accumulated a lot of curricular units, worksheets, and other papers that I wanted to keep so that I could photocopy them for my future classrooms. I remember trying to carry everything out of the class on the last day before Christmas break—there was a ton! Even worse however, was trying to figure out where to put all of it when I got home.

There were several items I had saved in a folder in my e-mail account. Documents such as lesson plans and units I had prepared, but even this is now an overwhelming folder and sometimes it is difficult to find different items. As I listened to today’s lecture I couldn’t believe that I had not thought of managing my information digitally before. I suddenly realized how much easier it would be if I stored my information and documents either online or on various devices such as USB sticks, and CD’s. Instead of having a ton of boxes to carry out of your classroom at the end of every year, perhaps everything could be saved on an online database. I am not really sure what the best method of storing information such as this would be, but I can definitely see that storing it electronically makes a lot more sense than carting around large filing cabinets full of papers. It also would be easier to find material I think. Instead of going through stacks of paper or binders to find something specific, you could just type the title into a search bar and then print as many copies as necessary once your search engine finds it.

Forcing yourself to grow in digital fluency has many benefits, before the end of this course I would like to find an efficient way to manage my information digitally. I am open to any helpful tips or feedback!

 

David Crystal & Text Messaging

In this weeks lecture I was really struck by the position David Crystals’ take on text messaging. He argues that literacy scores rise with the amount of text messaging students engage in. He seeks to de-bunk some of the beliefs and assumptions that various educators and adults have towards digital fluency and its perceived negative effects. Crystal points out that parents are always complaining that their children do not do enough reading and writing—however, he believes that through digital communication, children are in fact constantly reading and writing. Texting would be impossible for someone who does not know how to read and write. Thus he believes that children who own a cell phone and text message—are always reading and writing. Crystal also addresses the use of abbreviations in “text-lingo”, many have said that when adolescents use abbreviations, it proves that they are not fluent readers and writers. However, after researching and interviewing adolescents on this issue, Crystal concludes that abbreviations are simply used because they are “cool”. Furthermore he states that in order to use abbreviations, one has to know how to spell the entire word. If you do not know how to spell the whole word, how can you know which letters to include and which to leave out in such a way that the message can still be understood?

After listening to David Crystal’s argument I was very surprised. I had never heard such a compelling argument in favor of text messaging before (at least not from a professional’s view point). I agreed with some of his ideas but also disagreed with some things. I think that text messaging does provide people (children included) with an opportunity to read and write throughout the day, in a way that is meaningful and relevant—unlike reading Shakespeare perhaps. However, there are a lot of times that text messaging is happening during class time. Personally, I feel that when that is happening it is taking away from potentially very helpful learning experiences in the classroom. I know that this morning my brother Philip who is in Grade 5 was reading Proverbs 18 from his iPod while he waited on the stairs for his bus to arrive. For convenience sake, I can see how this is a lot easier that bringing your entire Bible in your backpack. An iPod is small, and easy to keep in your pocket—much like any cell phone. I can see how children as young as ten (and likely even younger) are able to use electronic devices to make their lives easier and I can also see how this is helpful.

I have also seen my sister who is in Grade 7 role her eyes in annoyance anytime she is asked to spend 20 minutes reading—and yet will happily text her friends on her phone for hours. Both of these circumstances lend themselves to developing literacy skills. However, I don’t think traditional bookwork can be replaced by text messaging by any means. But perhaps texting during free time is not as detrimental as some would like to believe…

Tech Task #1

a) Hello! My name is Amanda. I am currently in the Facutly of Education and I am a fourth year student. I just completed my Internship semester in a grade 1/2 split class and absolutely loved it. I’ve always liked school and have very much enjoyed my University experience.  However, I am really looking forward to experiencing what it will be like to teach my own classroom of children. Academics aside, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I love playing games, being active, and dancing.

b) I think technology is amazing. I believe that if it is used and understood properly, it can be a very effective tool to use both personally and professionally. Sadly, I am not quite as “tech savy” as I would like to be, but I am hoping that by the end of this course I will be closer. My primary uses for technology at this point are for communication purposes (via text messaging, e-mails, and Facebook), and academincs (writing assignments, researching, UR courses).

c) I think technology in the classroom can be very helpful in enhancing students learning if it is used properly. However, I have not had very many opportunities during my own K-12 experience, nor my Internship experience to see it being used in such a way that I could see the positive results and benefits. I am not opposed to technology being incorporated into the classroom, but at this point I would feel ill prepared to do so. In University, most students who bring a lap top to lectures spend all of their time on Facebook, Twitter, solitaire or e-mail. I think there are positive ways Facebook and e-mailing can be used to make learning and communication easier within a class–I, personally, find UR courses very helpful when professors post course information and updates on it regularly. If a Facebook page could be created to use in Grade 6-12 classrooms, I can see benefits similar to those of UR courses being available to students and teachers. I also think discussions that are written (via, a forum or comment) give every student in the class a chance to respond, including students who are normally too shy to participate in classroom discussions.At the same time however, I think face-to-face conversations are extremely important and if anything is lacking in this generation I think it is those actual person-to-person relationships.I think too many people have become comfortable with e-mailing, texting, and “Facebooking” to serve in lieu of real life conversations and interactions with people. I do think however, that technology has the potential to enhance learning and be a very beneficial tool in the classroom; I am hoping that by the end of this class I have a better grasp of how to provide that balanced approach in my teaching career.

d) I hope and expect that by the end of this class I will have a more well-rounded understanding and knowledge about the benefits of using technology in the classroom. I also hope to have a repertoire of strategies and ideas as to how I can incorporate technology into my classroom in a meaningful way. I hope to become more technologically able and informed during this class and I hope I learn valuable ways to use technology both as a professional and on an individual level.