Our new Year 9s (still 8s) arrived today for their orientation. Thanks, Nick, for inviting me to do a few sessions as an introduction to their ipads. I’ve shared the slideshow and hope it will make sense without much of the talk behind it.
Tag Archives: internet
Well, we’re winding down at school with this week being the last in term 2. I’m thinking about all the things I’d like to explore in depth online, but at the same time, I’m hoping to enjoy interests that get shoved aside during the term.
It’s Sunday night and I thought I’d indulge in a light-hearted post, in anticipation of the term holidays. Here are two videos parodying the internet.
Web crash 2007 is a humorous parody of the causes and consequences of a major internet crash (which I can’t embed, unfortunately)
The IT Crowd is a favourite comedy show in our house. Here’s the episode when the IT guys manage to convince Jen that they’re handing over ‘The Internet’ to her.
The humour of these two videos rests in the mystery and awe which used to surround the internet. A little like how the old TV shows used to depict computers – either as robots or massive machines with flickering lights. I think that Web 2.0 technology is still viewed with varying degrees of mystery, although it’s usually not awe but a kind of negative or fearful reaction that is demonstrated. I suppose that it’s part of human nature to resist change, but I think that approaching something new with caution is a good thing, while criticising it without looking into it at all is not a good thing.
Photo by Sansanparrots on Flickr
Another article about whether reading – in the way we have known it – has changed forever; and is reading books becoming extinct as we are lured by online offerings.
People of the screen by Christine Rosen in the online journal The New Atlantis: a journey of technology and society is certainly worth reading. It tackles this subject with a wide net, and even though you may not agree with everything that is stated, it is an excellent basis for discussion.
The article deals with many aspects of the reading issue. Here it talks about the decline of reading for pleasure:
In 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published a report, To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, which provided ample evidence of the decline of reading for pleasure, particularly among the young. To wit: Nearly half of Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure; Americans ages 15 to 24 spend only between 7 and 10 minutes per day reading voluntarily; and two thirds of college freshmen read for pleasure for less than an hour per week or not at all. As Sunil Iyengar, director of the NEA’s Office of Research and Analysis and the lead author of the report, told me, “We can no longer take the presence of books in the home for granted. Reading on one’s own—not in a required sense, but doing it because you want to read—that skill has to be cultivated at an early age.” The NEA report also found that regular reading is strongly correlated with civic engagement, patronage of the arts, and charity work. People who read regularly for pleasure are more likely to be employed, and more likely to vote, exercise, visit museums, and volunteer in their communities; in short, they are more engaged citizens.
Here is an interesting take on the type of personality apparently suited to online reading:
For centuries, print literacy has been one of the building blocks in the formation of the modern sense of self. By contrast, screen reading, a historically recent arrival, encourages a different kind of self-conception, one based on interaction and dependent on the feedback of others. It rewards participation and performance, not contemplation. It is, to borrow a characterization from sociologist David Riesman, a kind of literacy more comfortable for the “outer-directed” personality who takes his cues from others and constantly reinvents himself than for the “inner-directed” personality whose values are less flexible but also less susceptible to outside pressures. How does a culture of digitally literate, outer-directed personalities “read”?
I disagree with the contention that screen reading discourages contemplation; in fact, the commenting in blogs, for instance, creates a string of contemplative replies. That this type of contemplation is interactive is surely a positive outcome.
There is too much in this article for me to cover it in a short post. The advantages and disadvantages of the Kindle are discussed, the attention span of young people, the changing nature of libraries, research and librarians’ roles, as well as the future of literature with the advent of hand-held devices that save books as iPods do with music, creating mashups of the paragraphs within different books.
Have a read. Tell me what you think.
JP Rangaswarmi wrote a post about Us Now, a one-hour documentary by Ivo Gormley about participative citizenship, mass collaboration and the internet, and their implications on government as we know it.
The Us Now website links to the thinkers asked to determine the opportunity for government in the radical new models of social organisation. Some of these are George Osbourne, Ed Milliband, Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky.
It’s interesting to follow the new democracy that online social organisations have opened up. More than interesting. As stated in the Us Now website, ‘In a world in which information is like air, who has the power?’
The Us Now blog includes interesting information by Paul Miller from the School of Everything. The School of Everything is a social learning network that connects people who can teach with people who want to learn.
Having been led to read about the School of Everything, and linked to Wikinomics through Paul Miller, I started to think about how, on the whole, we accept schools as the way to go with learning and trust them with our kids. My father, who completed his school education at the age of 14 so that he could get a trade and contribute to family finances, revered Education as a hallowed institution. Throughout my schooling, though, he had moments of disillusionment when I was unable to understand the politics in the TV news report, when I was useless at practical things or what he termed as ‘common sense’, or when I started philosophy and started questioning whether the table was really there. My own experiences as a parent saw me disillusioned at times when my older son was told to dumb down by the primary school psychologist so that he could more easily fit in, and even now, fighting frustration when my younger son is instructed not to cut and paste, but to use his own words in a project that simply asks for basic facts about a country.
I have friends who have home schooled their children. Is this an option? Hasn’t home tutoring been one of the ways to educate young people throughout history? And yet, these options have always made me nervous. Maybe because I was told my children would be socially impaired without normal social contact with their peers. Or maybe simply because it wasn’t the norm, and therefore frightening.
I’ve just had a conversation about this and alternative schooling with my older son who has completed year 12 recently. He’s a good example of a passionately curious child who stood out from ‘normal’ children and suffered for it in his primary years, but eventually toned down to fit in. It was interesting to see him become defensive and uncomfortable when I mentioned the School of Everything and questioned the relevance of traditional schooling.
No, you can’t have that, he protested.
Well, it’s not all about learning of content, it’s about being with people and learning from them.
Who said that an alternative or online learning program excluded face to face contact or social opportunities?
OK, well, you can’t just do your own thing. You have to learn that not everything in life is interesting.
Tell me, how many teachers did you find boring and unengaging, and how much of your schooling have you retained or found valuable in life?
(squirm) But you can’t have life without suffering. You need to learn to cope with disillusionment and disengagment. You can’t totally remove it.
I’m not going to unpack this. I’m just going to ask you to give me your thoughts.