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Currently a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in secondary math education.I have a deep affinity for old typewriters, pens, and keys.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

a picture of a manhole cover with the text at the top, a triangle in the center, and well at the bottom on it.

This is How We Dream

 After watching this video and thinking about I came to a tough decision, parts one and two feel not only separated into two different videos but into two ideas. In the first video Dr. Miller is talking about change in how we express ideas and publish which will be the first issue I tackle. In his second video he is talking more about changing the actual institutions we learn in after about the halfway point and spends the first half talking about how everyone can write. He ties the two issues together but given that he broke it up into two separate videos it breaks up the message, making the connection between them less established in my opinion.

His first issue comes in two parts, we are moving away from print media more and more. This can be applied to magazines, books, pictures, videos (they were once on film after all) and everything else. This argument is focused on the institution of how we write. Publication is now becoming less printed word and more mixed media, which improves on how ideas can be conveyed. He has himself been published in academic papers, published a book, and constructed digital publications as he mentions in his video. However what he does not mention in is video, more than likely on purpose since it would weaken his argument, is that anyone can publish online. There is no filter for digital publication and there rarely is an editor that is not the creator(s), this is one of its inherent short comings. While in the print media there is always something standing between the creator and the final product unless they self-publish. Who would see that as a reliable source in printed media? Why is it accepted digitally? Why should the reader be the only real filter in place? In printed media you have to find a publisher or publication that approves of the work, it is then edited and copy edited and eventually published. If it goes out of print this doesn't mean that copies do not exist anymore, especially in the modern age when digital archives are often made.

 While making digital works and websites for educational and informative reasons can make them aesthetically pleasing it does not necessarily make them more effective, in fact it can detract from the full message of the work. Though I never would have seen this had it been a written document submitted to an academic publication the visual aspect of it seemed disjointed and distracting at points, such as when he abruptly cuts himself off at the last hint of the word "material" to have Martin Luther King  Jr. speak at 5:12. While it has a lot to do with his title, it has very little to do with his argument as a whole.
 In the second video he talks more about how the way we all gather information and view the world is changing. How searches can be honed to find whatever kind of information you are looking for and even where you are looking for it. You can search blogs, academia, and news outlets to your heart’s content. You can find programs that will search these things for you. Hey, don't a few of us EDM students already do that with tweet deck! Right around six minutes there is change in direction though. He stops talking about how we can write and use media and shows an example of how he used cad software to make a theoretical place of learning. A university meant to be the kind of the future, it's green, it's sustainable, it's amazing.  However this little tidbit shows up a little out of left field. Suddenly we're not talking about ways to learn and teach. We're talking about the place and not even in the same light unless you count the constant of change.
 For the most part, I agree with his points. Things are changing and they need to be changing. The way we teach and learn must evolve and not be allowed to stagnate, and therefor where we learn and teach must also change. Digital media is where it is at and we can not only make things appear more interesting and aesthetically appealing, we can make them more coherent in the process. We can collaborate with everything around us a pool our knowledge with the greatest of minds. We can cite works faster; insert videos directly into the text and so much more.

As for the questions posed in the assignment:
Am I prepared to write in multimedia?
Well, in many ways that is exactly what we do in EDM 310. We have created podcasts and videos, time lines and blog posts. We link, we draw, we record, we post. Sometimes it's just easier and less time consuming to make a cohesive statement in writing though. I could certainly turn this post into multimedia by recording myself reading it and overlaying video and pictures, but would it really improve it?

Will my students be able to do this?
The first thing I am going to say about this is geocities went down for a reason. I'm sure they'll have the ability, whether or not it is a good thing. Writing multimedia is a part of our society already. People write in multimedia, they just don't do it for academic reasons in general. That's what needs to change. It's fairly simple to create website and even simpler to post something to a pre-existing website. Just search for any topic you want and you’re almost guaranteed to find pictures, videos, publications, and a websites about it.

EDM for Dummies
What!? I don't have to write a reaction? That's crazy. Ca-razy.

What kind of videos would I like to make? Just about any really. Making a video about technoshock sounds like a blast, I'd totally do that. Maybe even something about getting out what you put in EDM 310. Possibly even something about commenting. Hey, I'd even help make an anti-technology video. Making videos is fun and I might as well be making them for a good cause.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

How do I feel about the arguments made in this video, hmm let me think for second...not. This is the message of EDM 310; this is what we're here for. This is what most of us want, for schools and the way we teach to change. Schools need to advance and keep with the times, this is what we talk about blog after blog after blog. The "real world", as it was so often referred to me in elementary school, is not a place of a single discipline. No matter what you study, no matter what your degree is in, no matter what your job is, no matter what you do your life, it will not have a solitary aspect. It will be made up of parts of the whole. You cannot expect that once you graduate you won't need something that you study at some point. While I may be a secondary math education major this does not mean that once I move into teaching that I will not use english, science, art, technology and what have you. English teachers will still need to know math, and there would be no science without either. Geometry is present in art even if you just think in the area of perspective. Successful people, at least in my eyes, are those who branch out into different areas. My favorite artists are thinkers and mathematicians, M.C. Escher is known for his tessellations and impossible scenarios. He also started out studying architecture. E.E. Cummins is known for his poetry but was an artist as well. Man Ray was a sculptor, photographer and painter and offered a scholarship for architecture. When you get a job you are not given four or five options, you have the world in front of you. You can attack a problem in any way you'd like, there is always a choice. This isn't always the case in school. If I have a plumbing problem I can fix it myself or hire someone else, both if I don't know what I'm doing. Working in the factory I always given the option of patching, fixing, finding a way around problems, or simply shutting down and going home so it could be fixed by maintenance during the day. Each and every possible choice we make branches out into other choices and changes. Why isn't education more like this?
 In my school career I have been given very few chances to explore possibilities. I have made one multimedia presentation before this class, it was in U.S. History and it was about Nikola Tesla, it was our final. The thing is, without good teachers students just are not presented with opportunities to be a part of the world they will be thrown into. This does not prepare them, it does not help them, and it certainly does not make them smarter.

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

These two videos are basically about how people think.
The first one focus on environmental factors that people are exposed to and how this affects them. The first video flows from how our physical environments shape us but flows into how our digital environment can shape us as well. As the video says, "We don't waste time on single function devices." It's true! It almost seems ridiculous but it's the way we live. He then brings up about how we are impatient, how impatient we are becoming and I would like to point to an interview of Louis C.K. with Conan O'Brien. The times we live in are pretty awesome if you ask me, I can't imagine having been born in a time without this technology. The modern world is crazy at times; you just have to get a handle on it. We live at a faster pace than they did in the past but it can make us better. Someone could be reading this in Russia a few seconds after it goes live on the web, that's insane.
The second video talks about rewards. In the beginning of the video it talks about how rewards can actually be harmful in certain situations. Bonuses and large rewards can be severely detrimental to the way people can perform. The second half of the video shows how self-motivation can result in amazing results even over short periods of time. It is talking about how when allowed to apply themselves in the way they want people can surprise you. Sound familiar? The video is even bold enough to show you examples of how people who are doing what they want on their own time are making amazing products for free.

So? What's the big picture? Because you know that every blog post we do tends to have a specific theme going for it. In my opinion this post is focusing on the short comings of standardized testing. It's a carrot and stick approach, a push it in and spit it out way of doing things. It's not the way the world works, it is not making students perform better, and it is not making anyone smarter. Students need to be allowed to apply themselves but not handed complete control over their education. They need to be allowed to learn at the pace we live life and guided through the process. They're students they don't know everything obviously but neither does anyone else. Let people surprise you, let them exceed your expectations, let them create something that challenges your view of the way we think and do things so much that it starts a shock wave throughout culture. In terms of technology five years is a very long time, if you don't update your out of date. Why is it that education is taking so long to change its ways and why on earth are we allowing it to stagnate!

This post was written and submitted on Saturday, isn't technology amazing?


  1. Nicholas,
    I am your C4C this week. I agree with Dr. Miller's perception that printed publications are becoming obsolete. You mention that anyone can publish online without many constraints. Blogs and Podcasts are wonderful ways to convey new ideas and opinions. I believe that these are key elements in the education process.

    I believe that Dr. Miller's ideas tie into Learn to Change, Change to Learn. As a Secondary/English Language Arts Major, I think that it is important for students to continue reading great literature, but teachers must realize that the way in which students experience text has changed. Some students may be more interested in reading, if they are allowed to use their iPad or Kindle. Creativity is something that all educators should employ.

  2. Blogger keeps deleting my comment so I am going to try this one more time.

    First things first, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people misspell my name when it is in front of them.

    While technology may improve student interest in reading I believe that is up to the teacher to really bring it all home. I was an avid reader in high school but hated my required reading list and was often envious of friends who were assigned books I wanted to read. It is up to teachers to keep material interesting and not depend on a device to make it so, it is after all just a different format. I distinctly remember not having to read To Kill a Mockingbird in class because we watched the movie, our teacher didn't have us read it, didn't encourage it, didn't really even mention it was a book. I found this horrendous then and still do to this day, I read it anyway and think the class was scammed on an important piece of literature by not actually opening the book. I think that students who don't want to read will continues not to read even if using an e-reader, they'll just buy digital CliffsNotes instead of those flimsy pamphlets. It's very similar to the smartboard problem, it's a novelty and maybe test scores improve because of it or maybe it's just that teachers that incorporate it in their classrooms are better because they are more open to changes and new ideas. It's up to the teacher not the tech.
    I don't believe printed publications are becoming obsolete just that their nature is changing. Table top books will always be around and other whimsical print media. As I tried to mention in my first comment I have my copy of 'A Book of Books', a collection of photographs of books, on my desk right now along with 'Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper'. Double Fold speaks out against the loss of information due to libraries converting publications and books to microfilm and then their destruction in efforts to save space. Though it is older and has less to do with modern situations, it still raises very strong points with the problems of people's attitudes towards the printed word especially those in charge of keeping our history. Digital media is just as susceptible to being destroyed as print and most people don't think of it that way. An EMP, either man-made or naturally occurring, could send us back decades if not farther and result in massive information loss.
    It is very important for students to read and I agree with you on this though I would drop the "great literature" part and doubt you meant it as literally as I am taking it. Reading expands horizons and it is important to always be open to view things in a different light, we do this by reading not only non-fiction but fiction as well. Just to make a point here, you'll notice how Dr. Strange feels many students don't properly understand satire. Maybe they weren't exposed to it properly, maybe they're reading it in the wrong tone, maybe their teachers breezed by it in high school or never covered it. This all comes back around to the fact that we as educators need to teach our students skills and not simply feed them information, it doesn't just apply to information gathering on the internet. We need to raise their interest in what the world around them has to offer and how they can form their PLEs to better themselves not only as students but as well rounded individuals.

    To go further on the students won't do what they don't want to I'm going to use you as an example. Your blog is well written, thoughtful, and very cleanly laid out. You put your images up and do the assignments and take the time that it takes. Your comment was actually on my blog and not a "great job I agree!" snippet. You are putting effort in, this isn't true of everyone.

  3. Nikolas,
    Excellent post! You did more than anyone else's that I have seen. Keep up the great work! You have very good thoughts and I like how you speak out about it.