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08 December 2005 @ 10:44 am
This class is finally over and I completed it without completly loosing my mind.
Yeah for me and everyone else who's feeling the same sort of relief.
01 December 2005 @ 02:16 pm
Finally an article that I can relate to, The Child and the Machine: Why Computers May put Our Children’s Education at Risk. For the last two months I have been trying to get my point across that no matter how interactive you make computers they just can’t compete with hands-on experiences. Children learn with all of their senses and will learn better when interacting with objects and people than with a machine. In this article the authors do a very good job of getting this point across and use research to support their theory. This article deals specifically with how computers may decrease children’s motivation learn how to read and write. As an early childhood educator I know how important it is to talk to children and read to them. Through early reading experiences children learn how to handle books with respect, which way to hold the book, and which way to turn the pages. Children learn vicariously through the action of caregivers and teachers that books are important and fun. Children will also learn to recognize letters or words if the adult uses guided reading in which the reader uses their finger to follow the text on the page as they read the words. In reading stories to children they often interrupt with some information from there lives that relates to some aspect of the story. In reading a story that included animals children will often stop me and say “I have a cat/dog….”. Through these interactions with adults when reading children learn that text has meaning and that reading is a valuable tool. In using computer programs with children they may become overwhelmed by the visual and virtual components and not pay much attention to actual text. I could go on but the point is “there ain’t nothing like the real thing”.
28 November 2005 @ 01:47 pm
This week I had a look at the comments on the Tuxpaint program for children and had a look at the site directly. I guess a lot of people think that this is a great idea but personally I wouldn’t encourage its use. I can hear Jason saying how interactive this system is but is still think there is nothing better than the real thing. With Tuxpaint children can experiment with different brushes but the never get to touch the bristles or feel how each brush glides differently across the paper. With Tuxpaint the child can smell the paint or feel the texture of it. I could rant some more but I think I’ve made my point; while Tuxpaint may seem interactive to those who are techno-friendly, as an early childhood educator I know that children learn by using all their senses. Computers just can’t offer the type of sensory experiences that are essential to the developing child. I then went on to read the chapter that Jason wrote The Technology of Difference: ASCII, Hegemony, and the Internet. I didn’t really understand most of the chapter but here is what I managed to gather. Some people have access to the internet and others don’t which leaves them “voiceless” at least on the web. Multinational companies have control over closed source software so I guess this makes open-source better. This chapter also discusses the community of Hackers and some of the stuff that the guest speaker mentioned about hacking not being all bad. There are some instances in which hacking into personal information can be beneficial. If someone is posting child porn or other inappropriate material, hacking can be used to find the source and stop a crime. I also gathered that the language system used by computers is based on English. I’m not really sure why this would be a problem unless you wanted to be a computer programmer. I am also not surprised by this because English is becoming more and more a global language.
15 November 2005 @ 07:33 pm
The article by Sharples discusses a study done in Europe which children of 7, 11, and 15 years of age were given single use cameras to use as they pleased. They then talked to the children about the pictures they took and what the act of taking pictures meant to them. The study identified some differences in children’s photography based on their level of understanding and their intentions when taking the picture. The second link was cool because you could actually see the pictures taken by the above mentioned children along with quotes telling you what the children had to say about their pictures and why they took them. It’s also neat that you can view the photographs by age, gender, or the theme of the picture. The article by Stewart offers the view of children as natural photographers. The article discusses a similar study to the one done in Europe only this study involved children as young as four years of age. The purpose of this study was to determine the intentions of children when taking photos, what children thought about their photos and how they viewed the act of photography. In this study the children were also given single use cameras to use as they pleased. The findings of this study revealed qualitative differences in photographs taken by children of differing ages. The older children were found to be better able to reflect on their photography and are better able to vocalize their intentions when taking the photo. While young children were found to take emotionally or visually stimulating pictures, eleven year olds were found to take more photographs of the outdoors and showed a greater appreciation for visually pleasing objects or environments. After reviewing the preceding information it becomes clear that even four year olds can use photography as a mode of expression.
31 October 2005 @ 03:57 pm
The readings for week nine were not that interesting to me. The first article that I read was the one on video conferencing. I don’t understand why children would need to learn music using video conferencing. What’s the point? I’m sure that there are plenty of music teachers in Vancouver so why not learn that way. In this article they also mentioned the poor resolution of the picture as well as slow transmit and an echo effect. In learning music I’d think that sound quality would be important. Finally the authors tried to suggest that this technology is cost effective. I don’t know if it’s just me but $2500 at each end seems like a lot of money to me. I can understand the benefits for international businesses but don’t see the purpose of using it in this case.The next article that I read was about metaportals. I have heard of examples of grids being useful for the government. In law enforcement for example it is important to communicate between agencies. I could also see this type of system being used to link libraries together to make what is accessible at one library accessible by all. The article on children as photographers was of the most interest to me. I get what was being said about eleven year olds having the most gallery worthy photographs. I remember that when I was young I would just draw without concern for reality and what others considered to be nice. As we get older we get more conscious of other’s opinions and may lose that natural ability by becoming overly critical of creative efforts.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
24 October 2005 @ 05:39 pm
The first article that I read for this week was Bridging the Digital Divide by Hoffman and Novak. In this article the focus is on the different levels of computer access by race. In reading the article several of the hypotheses came back with results that were not statistically significant. Comparing computer use by income and education however was much more informative. I have personally experienced the problem of being a “have not” in a school full of “haves”. In high school most of my classmates had home computers with internet access while my family did not have a computer at all. I often found myself going to school early in the morning, at lunch, and after school to work on my assignments. Another problem was that all my teachers expected my assignments to be typed. I often had to sit up all night rewriting my assignment on a typewriter. Whenever I made a mistake I had to start over because there was no way to delete mistakes without starting all over again. This made completing assignments very difficult and time consuming and put me at a disadvantage.
The second article that I read was A Rape in Cyberspace. From this article I finally found out what MUD’s and MOO’s are. I did however have a very hard time understanding virtual sex offences, I see how the comments made could be very offensive and even emotionally abusive. What I can’t understand is, why not just turn it off? If someone is being offensive on-line I can close my browser and stop listening or reading what they are writing.
The third article Race in Cyberspace made some interesting discoveries on LambdaMOO. While gender must be noted there is no category for race. This could be considered racist if you assume that this means that the internet is made for white people. On the other hand I thought that the exclusion of race as a category could signify that race is of no importance. When on the internet we can act as we want without worrying that someone is judging what we say according to our race.
Current Mood: blahblah
18 October 2005 @ 07:47 pm
The first article that I’m read was Open Source Household. To start, I’m not really sure what open source software is. Therefore from the article I gathered that open source software is supposedly superior to the crap that we all use, and had very little impact on me. The website about computers and videogames on the other hand had quite the effect. I first clicked on the icon about computer and videogame addiction and read some facts that reaffirmed my beliefs about the pitfalls of children using video games (as I mentioned in my first journal). However before going on to the next assigned reading I decided to click on the icon of a boy. When the video clip appeared I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. This boy is talking about prostitutes and murder with no understanding of how cruel and vicious what he’s saying really is. I have worked with several children who take the violence that they see on the television or in video games and act it out in the classroom. Is this really what we want to be teaching children? I think as parents and educators we should all sit down and play the games before we hand them over to our children.
The final article Seductions of Sims was a long and painful read. I have tried playing SimLife and really didn’t see the attraction. Maybe it’s because I don’t have much interest in the economy or city building, maybe it’s the way I learn, or my love of the outdoors. I’m a kinaesthetic learner and I learn by doing. Even if you’re building a simulated reality with your computer it’s not the same as going out and experiencing the world. There are so many naturally beautiful things to see and learn from just outside your door, if you’d only take the time to stop and look.
11 October 2005 @ 12:32 pm
The article that I chose to read this week was Hacking Human: Data-Archaeology and Surveillance in Social Networks by Jason Nolan and Michelle Levesque. From this article I learned a few new terms such as the difference between hacking and cracking. Although hacking can be used as a method of gathering information on a person or subject for personal purposes sometimes it is used to hack into a persons “social sphere”. Through blogs, photoblogs, and moblogs hackers can gain a great deal of information about a person’s style of writing and interests and possibly their name or address and other personal information that may be available on-line. In chat rooms hackers can listen in on conversations and gather information that may enable them to pretend to be someone else and ask you for personal information. Hackers may also access personal information via e-mail. I can remember getting an e-mail stating that I needed to confirm my banking information. A few days later an e-mail was sent to me by the bank notifying me that the bank will never ask for such information via e-mail and not to respond to the fraudulent e-mail. I did not respond however, I’m sure that some unlucky people did respond giving away their banking information to a complete stranger. The lack of security of information that is on the internet is one of the main reasons that I use my computer as little as possible. The other main problem that I have with the issue of hacking is the idea that one does not know when they are being watched. At home if someone has been through my paper files there would be evidence of tampering but if someone gets into your computer through the internet you have no way of knowing what information may be used and for what purpose it will be used.
05 October 2005 @ 09:30 am
The first article that I will discuss is SeaTrek Distance Learning Evaluation Study. This study discussed the use of technology to connect the classroom with a marine laboratory. Through interactive video conferencing the students are able to see how the information that they are learning in science class can be applied to the real world.

The second article that I chose was Children, Child Abuse and Cyberporn. In this article the author discuses the distinction between pornography, obscenity, child pornography, child abuse and child seduction as well as exposure to inappropriate materials and indecency on the interned. One interesting distinction was that if the manufacturing of pornographic material does not involve the use of a real child it is not considered to be child pornography. The issues of censorship and freedom of speech are often in opposition when it comes to what can be posted on the internet. Another problem with the internet is determining if the information is valid or not. People can post whatever nonsense they want on the internet and it is up to the user to determine if a web site or posting contains facts or fiction. This was difficult to determine with the sites that I looked at because of the lack of referencing to the sources of information. Due to all the fiction that can be posted on the internet, peer reviewed journals are the best source of scholarly information and facts that can be trusted. For this reason it is important to discuss the validity of internet information with children who may not be able to distinguish facts from fiction.
28 September 2005 @ 10:14 am
The use of web-cams in child care facilities is a new and interesting phenomenon. After reading the article I have realized that there are several different reasons why parents would choose to use web-cams to check up on their children throughout the day. If parents are worried about their children they are able to use the internet to take a peek into their child’s classroom and see how they are managing. This may be very useful for parents who are leaving their child for the first time. Working in daycare I often encounter parents who are very concerned about leaving their child and remain in the classroom for extended periods of time. When this happens it often makes the transition more difficult for the parents, teachers, and children. When parents leave the children often calm down within a few minutes and begin engaging in activities. Though the use of web-cams parents can leave their child yet continue to monitor their progress. Once parents have seen how quickly their children calm down after being dropped of they may feel more comfortable leaving their child.
Another use of web-cams is to ensure safety. Some parents may be concerned about their child being neglected of suffering abuse at the hands of a teacher. Having the opportunity to check in on one’s child and monitor staff responses may make parents more confident in the teacher’s abilities and character. Web-cams could also provide childcare supervisors with a way to monitor their staff. This may lead supervisors to have a better understanding of their staffs abilities and weaknesses.