Ben’s Weblog

My Three Questions
December 10, 2008, 10:02 pm
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The first question that arose for me from this semester is how in the world are we (as a society) going to allow for equal access to technology? I am all for integrating technology into the curriculum (I am majoring in instructional technology) but I wonder how are we going to ensure that everyone has equal access to the new technologies.

 The second question that arose for me is are we using and relying too much on technology? This really arose within me with the last journal article that we read. I have witnessed students try to rely too much on technology when researching. For example I have seen students attempt to conduct research on a given historical topic by “googling” instead of first looking at their immediate resources (textbook, encylcopedias, etc.). The problem with this is they will have 100,000 + results on the topic from Google that they will need to weed through where they can get information directly from their immediate resources.  

The final question I have is when will schools begin to loosen up their restrictions on  access to various websites? I liked some of the things that we did in class. Such as manage a blog, utilize a wiki, and create a digital story. I would really like to incorporate some of these technologies into my own classroom but I sometimes feel suffocated from the restrictions placed upon us. For example I could not access this blog or the class wiki from my school, despite it being used for educational purposes.

The Future Does Not Compute
December 3, 2008, 9:49 pm
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I was really intrigued by Talbott’s article/book. I actually agreed with a lot of what he wrote, or at least what I read. I think that education is geared too much toward with the artificial and not the actual. For example students now dissect animals using computer programs instead of the real thing. I understand that they can probably get more in-depth with the computer (see all of the parts) but to me personally is not the same as actually cutting into flesh and removing actual parts of an animal.

The chapter I agreed the most with was chapter 12 where Talbott discussed a student having a pen-pal from India but yet they will not talk to culturally diverse students within their own school.  I have seen a version of this firsthand. I (and probably most other teachers) have students that are reluctant to participate in class discussion but when asked to discuss a topic on my class website they are the students that write a dissertation as a response and respond the most to other students.

As an undergrad I took a mythology class as an elective and one of the assignments we had was watch Bill Moyer interview Joseph Campbell, one the foremost experts in the field. Campbell explains the power of myth on people and one of his comments was that people really feel connected to one another when they are actively engaged with one another celebrating their cultural myths. For instance a traditional dance of the Zulu or attending a Christmas mass. He claimed that when we are inundated with the artificial is when our culture/society breaks down. If you ever get a chance to come across this interview I recommend watching it.

I did disagree with his attitude that technology virtually (good play on words, huh) has no place in education. I think that dissecting a frog with a computer program would be a great tool for educators and students. They can really see the parts of a frog and view what it is doing while alive but it should not replace the real thing.