11 July 2013

blogging, again, for the first time.

i dug up an old domain name i purchased a while back and resurrected it...welcome to purgatoby.

i've tried me hand at this blogging stuff before but school, life, school and life have gotten in the way. i'm gonna try to incorporate some school and life stuff into this one--a mishmash of this and that, in attempts to make myself reflect and write.

so, what's happening: it's summer and i've brilliantly enrolled in two one-month-long grad classes. i'm in a hurry to gradumate and am so very ready to finish this degree so's i can start thinking for a living!

my doc-level course is a practicum and we're studying media and online study. so far (10 days in) and i've picked up some foundational work in our field of educational technology--stuff i've not read previously.

  • McLuhan's "the medium is the message" (1964) is pretty good...i think it fits in our age of rapid communication & insta-on, hyper-connected everything.
  • Postman's technological change (1998) and consequences of using technology (2000) are also striking chords with me--the little things we tend to focus on in this field (do 1:1 programs work, byod, firewalled school networks) will likely (hopefully, rather) dissipate over the next few years as techy devices get cheaper and more readily available for kids to use in the classroom. Bigger issue, to me, is how to get teachers to use the bloody equipment to teach, and to let the students use their own equipment to learn how to learn for themselves in lieu of being spoonfed useless, out-of-context facts and figures. Postman's point is to relax--most of these issues sort themselves out over time, regardless of how many papers are published/torches lit and castles stormed/cries on the street are carried out. The consequences of using tech are omnipresent--cyberbullying & digital divide issues are bigger, more serious--how can we alleviate these worrying problems? What are we asking kids to do with technology? how can we train 'em better? etc etc 
  • Digital Natives. sigh. sigh again. Prensky's (2001) second article about digital natives sets forth the idea that kids these days (how long has that been a phrase?) live and breathe through the four inch displays in their pockets. they all know tech backways and frontsides...they've had powerpoint shoved down their throats since Pre-K and mobile phones since they were three. the problem is, however, that many students just plain don't know how to use the technology wisely...either they didn't have access to it as a kid at home or school (d-divide issues again) or were never asked by a teacher to dig deeper into these fantastic tools can do...when was the last time you used an Advanced Google search? have you ever? it's not as easy as it once were--google removed the stinkin' button (bring it back! we loves it!) and now one is required to use several clicks to find those options. Anyway, many many kids and students now haven't been allowed to learn how they learn, haven't been challenged to NOT seek a right answer, to use tech tools to express their creativity through blogs, artwork, music, writing. they've not shared documents with each other. granted, the technology is only recently decent enough to really collaborate on some of this stuff, but still. so, reading prensky's gross overgeneralizations about this generations' plastic minds and how teachers are ill-preparing their students (all of 'em, i assume--he doesn't mention any numbers to back up anything he's said--it's all bloody anecdotal evidence--another huge gripe of mine). yes...too many teachers ask their students to do homework that has that right answer, one that's easily googled. we need to fix that in higher ed. but, i happen to know--i've seen and experienced f2f, through twitter, and through reading real research-based articles--that students need teachers' help to use the tech wisely. the 'natives' are a popular theory...NOT a research-based one.  so there, prensky...
  • Games! my 2nd class is about games and I've just read Gee's most most excellent article about 13 principles of using games in education. so very fantastic...i'd quote the whole thing here if it wouldn't break copyright. it's seriously good...go read it, very readable, etc. you'll thank me.
ah, the end of post one. several more are percolating in me had and need to go down on virtualpaper: brands i believe in and support. starting and maintaining an exercise regimen when you're old and too busy with other crap, making one's way through a phd program, how i finally came to be in love with my grill, music--always music, and insomnia--curse or welcomed? to name a few...

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