Archive | October 2011

“The Technology is Re-Wiring Our Brains”

This week’s readings are, I believe, the first that really got me thinking and worrying on the subject of multitasking and how that is affecting my personal life and/or life style. Before I think I was complacent and ignorant because I just thought I would not be one of “those” who get addicted to Internet-based activities, but this may no longer be true…which is really frightening me!

In Richtel (2010) article, he notes that new research shows that “Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour.” I was not surprised at all. Also he states that according to RescueTime “Computer users visit an average of 40 sites a day” and at the time I was reading this line at a computer lab at butler I had 19 different tabs open in a window and had a moment of shock that was delivered to my heart (that I swear stopped beating for like 2.5 seconds -_-).

As my concern grew as I read through the article I could not help myself but try the games that tested how well you switched between tasks. Fortunately, the results showed that I did better than heavy multi-taskers who showed lower efficiency in juggling problems. However, I noticed that I was zoning out frequently (mind you that the game/task was about a minute or two in total) and did not remember if “letter” or “number” was flashed in front of my eyes literally milliseconds ago. It really was a disturbing realization of how easily unfocused I could become.

Another disturbing fact is how people interrupted by e-mail and other computer/mobile alerts had increased stress levels and a lot of people will remain “wired” and “hyper” or “alert” even after tech devices are turned off and your brain is “off.” This week with Lindsey’s survey I expressed to my two neighbor discussants in class that my Google account is part of my life. I chat constantly about life issues with friends, life updates with families, check-ups on homework assignments and deadlines with schools friends, etc. I communicate with almost about everybody through email. I set up meet-ups, meetings, schedules, daily plans, etc. through my e-mail. I expressed to my colleagues that I would not be able to function without my Google account. So it would not be a stretch to say that the majority of my planning and life style depend on this account of mine. But, it seems like the very “identity” of my life, this account I have, could be stressing me out to the point it is hurting me. It is true that I am constantly refreshing my gmail account and talking to people on it. I am a little bored and uncomfortable when there is little to no activity on my gmail account and I have experienced that during extended school breaks.

Though there were certain positive aspects on usage of technology such as (1) playing video games developing visual acuity (that could prevent traffic accidents in the future, still need to be verified), (2) multi-taskers being more sensitive to incoming new information, and (3) the evolutionary development of the constant growing neural circuitry in the brain (though still need to be proven), the seemingly more obvious negative effects really got to me this week.
Ironically after I took the survey below for MTA I was furious with the “bad idea” group. WHY NOT??? EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD HAS CELL RECEPTION!!!!! See, this type of behavior is scary, to say the least. Where do you stand?

LINK: Straphangers Campaign Poll

Click here to view results of older polls
http://www.straphangers.org | http://www.nypirg.org

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ASTD TechKnowledge 2012

A conference in Las Vagas this coming January, 2012.

Are you a learning professional with technology on the mind?

If you call yourself an instructional designer, an e-learning developer, trainer in the modern age of learning, knowledge manager,

OR

if you are responsible for learning AND show up to work and sit at a computer, carry a mobile device, or log onto Facebook a few times a week…

… then you need to check out ASTD’s TechKnowledge!

At ASTD’s TechKnowledge™ you’ll join colleagues and experts to figure out how technology will give you the edge at your company, with your clients, and your future as a learning professional.

http://www.tk12.astd.org/tk12/public/MainHall.aspx?ID=4767&sortMenu=101000

3 Min Presentation

My presentation was on

Does it compute: The relationship between educational technology and student academic achievement in mathematics. 

by Harold Wenglinsky

Click here to have access to the article.

The findings included the significance of the usage of computers in the classrooms as opposed to the presence of computers in the classrooms.

Higher order thinking use of computers are highly recommended and that teachers should receive proper professional development training in order to implement proper technology use in the curriculum.

4th and 8th graders both had better academic outcomes in mathematics when computer technology was used for higher order thinking skills and learning games.

EVERYBODY GOOD JOB on your presentations! They were awesome.

Cloud Computing

Reading this week’s article on Cloud Computing by Jaegar, Lin, Grimes and Simmons (2009) made me really feel ‘the power of technology.’ This specific phrase, the power of technology, is what my friends and I used to say half jokingly and half seriously whenever something miracle-like seemed to be happening. However, now I know it really is kind of like magic…hahaha I love how I am constantly amused and surprised by new innovations and what those innovations entail.

When I started reading Jaegar et al.’s article I was not really sure why environment was a topic that had to be considered compared to more obvious ones such as jurisdiction, ownership and privacy. However, learning about how datacenters required so much energy I finally understood how this is actually a great concern of all of ours regarding the environment as well as a place for investment and new jobs. In terms of the last point about new jobs refer to the following blurb:

Eco Factor: Data center to make use of renewable energy wherever possible. Lockerbie Data Centers has been given the green light by Dumfries and Galloway Council to develop UK’s largest data center. The £950 million project will create about 3000 jobs for 10 years and provide firms with a 250,000-square-meter storage facility. The data center will be powered by renewable sources where possible, which might include a sustainable heat and power system as well as localized gas production units. Moreover, the heat generated by the equipment can also be harnessed as an ecofriendly source of energy.

The above was taken from EcoFriend.

And the following is also from EcoFriend and is the Google patent for the floating data center that was mentioned in the article.

Eco Factor: A Data Center that uses wave energy to fulfill all its energy and cooling needs. It seems that people are realizing the power that the ocean holds in its waves with concepts like Wave Powered Gymnasium coming up. Google seems to have unearthed another gold mine by visualizing a data center that floats on the sea. Google apparently filed a patent in the US Patent and Trademark Office in early February 2008. The document shows Google’s plan to build giant floating data centers on waves. The new data centers would be completely powered by wave energy and a freshwater-seawater cooling system would be used for cooling the peripherals. A data center of one square kilometer area would produce 30 MW of electricity and Google says that this would be sufficient to run the data center. This not only cuts down on fossil fuel use, but keeps the data centers close to customers and reduces transmission power.

And not surprisingly Google gets the patent by 2009, about two years after they first proposed the idea about the floating data center. Here is an article about Google getting its patent approved:

Google Gets Patent for Data Center Barges

So what is next? Maybe something floating in the air? Oh wait…that already exists…satellite….dang, is there anything that has not been invented yet? This reminds me of the exercise we did in class a few weeks ago with writing down any potential future computer mediated communication tools or ideas. Would anybody like to share what they wrote? I know we only got to hear like one or two ideas. I am curious to hear what ya’ll had in mind!!

Can You Hear Me Now?

 

The following italicized paragraph is directly taken from the article.

 

And what of adolescence as a time of self-reflection? We communicate with instant messages, “check-in” cell calls and emoticons. All of these are meant to quickly communicate a state. They are not intended to open a dialogue about complexity of feeling. (Technological determinism has its place here: Cell calls get poor reception, are easily dropped and are optimized for texting.) The culture that grows up around the cell phone is a communications culture, but it is not necessarily a culture of self-reflection–which depends on having an emotion, experiencing it, sometimes electing to share it with another person, thinking about it differently over time. When interchanges are reduced to the shorthand of emoticon emotions, questions such as “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” are reformatted for the small screen and flattened out in the process.”

 

In Sherry Turkle’s Forbes article Can You Hear Me Now? Turkle mentions that the communication tools that we use these days such as instant messages, emoticons, cell calls with “check-in” and update features prevent us from having a dialogue about complex feelings and deep thoughts.

 

There is some truth to her statement but there are definitely some examples that go against her claim. Mine are mostly anecdotal and personal but there are many times in which I had very deep conversations with my friends through chatting for example. I also chat with my mother online as well because she lives thousands of miles away and sometimes I am at the library so we cannot video chat and a lot of the time the topic we discuss are very dense and futuristic.

 

There are people (because of the advent of technology) who definitely reflect more on what they do with their lives as well. A friend of mine, for example, writes on his blog about things that happen in his life that are interesting to comment and reflect upon. I feel like I see a lot of self-reflection and evaluation on the blog posts. Because people are aware that what they post online will be shared with the public, sometimes people are even more careful at what they say and how they say things, which definitely requires reflection and thorough thinking at times.

Facebook…bridging or bonding?

On page 1152 in table four I found something a little weird…

In my opinion there are some conflicting or even opposite questions in the same category with similar means from the same population. For example, in the Self Esteem Scale, there is a sentence that says, “I am able to do things as well as most other people” with a mean of 4.29 and a standard deviation of 0.63. In the same survey in the same category the following was displayed to be rated: “All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.” Its mean and standard deviation were 4.27 and 0.86 respectively. Am I reading this incorrectly with the statements that have ‘reverse’ next to them? These two examples I have mentioned seem to be conflicting judgments with similar means. Unless the participants who rated both statements highly believed that “other people” were all failures I do not see why both statements both had high ratings.

Other than that I agree with the findings/results from this study, mostly because they align with my behaviors concerning FB. FB “can lower barriers to participation and therefore may encourage the formation of weak ties but not necessarily create the close kinds of relationships that are associated with bonding social capital” (p. 1163). I definitely take advantage of FB to keep in touch with people I would have normally lost touch with and it is definitely harder to create close kinds of relationship through the site.