Tag Archives: online

The New Social Norms: Technological Literacy

What exactly is technological Literacy?

In accordance to the national project to expand technological literacy, technological literacy involves “computer skills and the ability to use computers and other technology to improve learning, productivity, and performance.” This definition, and also a second more social definition, can be found in an article called “a New Literacy Agenda and its Challenges” by Cynthia Selfe.

The second definition, which according to Selfe, is in reference to “complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments  including reading, writing, and communicating” and it differs quite dramatically from the previous definition. The first definition involves skills, which not everyone has; however, the second definition refers to to social values and practices, which implies that technological literacy has been adopted into society as required norm.

The interesting part about society’s adoption of technology is the various generation gaps, which can especially be seen in the world of education. In an article called, “How schools are Using Apps to Engage Students, Parents, and the Community” by Chirag Leuva, which was found from a tweet by Kylie Trush, the focus is exclusively on all of the advancements technology has to offer. Before listing various amounts of helpful educational apps, Leuva makes the claim that, “an app can creatively take the education beyond stereotype boundaries”, however, what exactly are these boundaries?

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The boundaries Leuva mentions exist because, as New Literacy and its Challenges writes, technological literacy was a skill at one point. Due to new adaptations, it has slowly become a practiced value. The problem is that not all educators know how to find, let alone share, new apps; while the newer generations are embracing technology, older generations are lost in the wave.

While the gap between old and new technologies will eventually close, right now, technology stands in an extremely ambivalent gray space. The merging of technology and literacy happened in a dramatic fashion; at this point, educators who reject or misconstrue technological literacy, will drown under the currents of articles and societal pressures to conform.

So, to answer the appointed question, “what is technological literacy?” my answer is that it is our new leap. Every century has something to set it apart, something that defines the work put into the years in the spotlight. Centuries from now, students will be reading from something (definitely not a textbook, maybe not even a computer), and they will read about when “technological literacy” was first introduced and how it caused such a stir amongst those unable to throw papers away. A laugh will emerge from students after they read these claims, mostly because they will wonder how something so common now so controversial then. Technological Literacy is both the end and the beginning; RU ready?

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The Technologically Inspired Classroom

I feel as though teachers used to dread  introducing and involving  computers with daily lessons in their class for fear of it not working properly or taking too long to load, or even be too complicated. I remember sitting in class as a little girl and constantly wondering when we were going to get the chance to finally use the computers that were collecting dust in the back corner of the classroom. I always wanted the chance to use the computers, and was disappointed when the only chance we got to used them was during our “specials” period when we learned to type the right way.

Today, teachers are not only incorporating computers into their daily classroom instruction, but also using iPads, SMART boards, and social media to get their class more involved and interested in the lesson materials and topics. In an article from the World Economic Forum titled How Online Learning Prepares Teens for Higher Education, “there is a growing interest in the possibilities that different forms of virtual schooling can offer,” (Oliver). Teachers are becoming more creative  with how they incorporate technology into the classroom, and is proving to be very beneficial in the long run.intro1

A study was performed by the Institute of Education, which took a look at experiences of current university students who had completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). These students took a series of online classes, and the ages of the participants ranged from 17 to 23 (Oliver). The results of the study are pretty interesting and exciting for technology; “Of the students interviewed, 94% said finding academic resources on the internet was important to their success and 78% said being able to plan group tasks using online calendars, scheduling tools and discussion applications mattered. Another 71% found social networks useful for building relationships with other learners,” (Oliver). Essential parts of university life, such as virtual learning environments, discussion forums, Google tools, and audio-visual learning resources such as YouTube were all a major part of online classes, and gave the students  confidence with using the web, as stated in How Online Learning Prepares Teens for Higher Education.

“One student described how this experience online had helped them develop valuable skills and approaches: ‘I often use Google Docs and other Google tools to collaborate on group projects, including working with teams that are in different locations and time zones,'” (Oliver). Technology, both inside and outside of the classroom promotes independent learning, which is a really important skill for students to develop. Instead of having the information handed to them in a presentation and lecture form, students could be given instruction before class, then investigate further during class, like in a flipped classroom for example. Having the teacher present in class to answer any questions about the lecture/material from the previous night is really beneficial. Instead of sitting through a boring lecture in class then going home to complete the assignments, the students can talk to their professor about any issues and get them squared away before the end of class.

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Online learning and technology infused into the classroom is proving to be very beneficial to students, and teaches them various styles of learning. For students who do not have computers at home, the chance to use various forms of technology is wonderful! Technology is going to play a major role in our lives inside and outside of the classroom, so it only makes sense to get accommodated with that it has to offer when whenever possible!

Technological Influence

In Turkle’s article, “ Who Am We?” she discusses the evolution of the computer. The importance of the computer can not be determined by the past influence and implantation of the technology. “The computer had a clear intellectual identity as a calculating machine.” (Turkle, page 3). As well as, a calculating technology the computer was also defined by it’s “cut-and-dry” programming. However Turkle discusses the relationship between the computer, the technology, and the person, the user, as a humanistic and technological correlation. “Computers are not just changing or lives but changing our selves.” (Turkle, page 3). 

The internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.” (Turkle, page 3). Bolter provides clear evidence that supports Turkle’s claim, in his article “Introduction: in the late age of print.” “It now seems possible that many texts might never be printed, but simply distributed in digital form.” (Bolter, page 2). Therefor, the computer is changing the way we read and write. Newspapers, magazines, books, and scientific research can be found from an online source. The computer has progressed from programming and calculating, to word processing, than informing and connecting its’ users all over the world.

The impact of the computer is still evolving and changing, and is constantly influencing the live’s of the users. The computer is an essential, educational, reading and writing tool. Though it can also be used as a recreational escape. “Windows allow us to be in several contexts at the same time, (…), The self is no longer simply playing different roles in different settings at different times.” (Turkle, page 3). The computer’s technological revolution has progressed from the assets of the world wide connection and information aiding our lives, to influencing its’ individual users on a personal level.

The balance of negative and positive influence is still undefined, in the sense of the impact on the person as an individual. Today studies have shown that children are using cell phones before they can walk or talk. The true influence of technology on people will be defined within the next generations. Children now have iPhone based toys, and coloring books and paint sets are designed for digital use. To the current generation new technologies seem unnatural, but we must remember that this occurs with every new technology. Crayons are the natural way to color for children who grew up in my generation, however crayons are not natural. The generations who grow up with the technology, are comfortable and used to it. Where as, the generations that the technology is new to, see it as complex and unnatural. Therefor,  one day digital coloring books may be the norm, and crayons and the new coloring technologies are viewed as obsolete and unnatural.

Until the generations using technology before they can walk, grow up we may never comprehend the actual meaning of technology in our lives. As well as, the true impact and influence the technologies have on our individual self and personality. There are always positive and negative aspects to any new technology. To embrace the technological revolution of the computer, we must discover that the positive assets outweigh the negative hindering interference’s.

A Rape in Cyberspace: Issues Within Virtual Relationships

A Rape in Cyberspace: Issues Within Virtual Relationships

In Julian Dibbell’s “A Rape in CyberSpace”, he narrates an instance in which a cyber character raped another character. The consequences of said rape were extremely complicated because there are multiple ways to see this situation; some people took the stance that these characters are fictitious so the cyber rape is not actually valid, while others took the stance that real people are behind the characters so there should be consequences. In the end, the cyber rapist was “frogged” from the game, meaning his profile was completely deleted. This entire online controversy made both the players and the observers take a step back and analyze the online situation. Although these characters are supposed to be fictitious, there are real people behind the screen; real emotions are being hurt, stimulated, and affected because of these games.

The first aspect in consideration from this situation, virtual or not, should be the victim. Different people react in different ways, it is not fair to call someone’s emotions invalid or over dramatic just because the situation is virtual. In fact, the author comments that “months later, the woman in Seattle would confide to me that as she wrote [her statement], posttraumatic tears were streaming down her face- a real life fact that should suffice to prove that words’ emotional content was no mere playing” (208). The victim cried real tears, not virtual ones; a line was definitely crossed. Although some see these characters as “fake”, they actually exist. A player can’t just put their emotions on hold just because there is a computer screen in the way.

Another issue that this article arose is the fact that some players will release their inner angers or disturbances into characters. The problem with this, however, is that the players are not harnessing raw emotion properly. The Internet is not the proper place to experiment, especially with heavy topics such as rape. Characters such as Mr. Buggle, the virtual rapist, are real people, which is disturbing because the author categorized him by writing that his, “delusional statement placed him among the second type: the sociopath” (209). Sociopaths should not be freely running the Internet, hiding behind a computer screen, and releasing the raw emotion built inside them. When this does happen, the consequences include horrible situations such as this one- cyber rape.

In a news article titled “Popular Violent Video Game Linked to the Suicides of Four Teens” by Glenn Beck, the author describes an extremely horrific story in which four teens take their own lives due to the violence witnessed in video games. The disturbing images seen in video games are desensitizing players to gruesome events. Plus, options such as “live” or “chat” give players the opportunity to communicate with other players. While this seems like a helpful feature, it has become a means of trash talk and violent words. In the article, it is quoted that players have “become so addicted to technology that we have forgotten the interpersonal relationships and a quieter life” (Glenn Beck). This quote shows that video game players are becoming so accustomed to fast moving and adrenalizing games, that living a normal life is no longer appealing.

All in all, these two articles demonstrate how certain personalities are unable to handle the anonymity and freedom virtual realities offer. While some people can easily function playing virtual realty games, others, such as sociopaths, find it as an opportunity to release negative inhibitions.