Author Archives: jmarie92

Final META Team Project

When Dr. C mentioned a META Team, I had no idea what he was talking about. I was wondering what “meta” even meant and how it applied to me or this class or education in general, I was clueless. But, I enjoy a challenge and this class proved to be one of those challenges. Therefore, I took a leap of faith and joined with two other graduate students who I have come to respect very much. In the beginning, we were trying to find our footing. There was no previous data or projects go upon. There wasn’t even much of a mission statement or goal other than to be “participating observers”. The goal that we came up with was to be organizers. We would make sense out of material that has so many different avenues of explanation and opinions. It was a task that seemed daunting at the time, but looking back we embraced. We discussed at several of our biweekly meetings what we wanted to do and how we wanted to approach the project. We even met with our librarian, Rebecca Miller. She gave us some fascinating background about what angles the class had been taught at before, be it only undergraduates, only graduates, etc. She explained that there were class themes that each class would constantly go back to and how it was interesting that each group of people who took the class saw the material differently. This reassured us of our goal to make sense out of material that could be taken so many ways. However, we were still unsure as to what to make of it.

At some point, Jake mentioned a pretty cool website that made these things called “wordles”. When he showed them to me I was instantly drawn to them. I’m a very visual learner and I was anxious to try them out. So, I used them in my seminar presentation of Alan Kay. Dr. C seemed to really enjoy them. At the time I thought they were just a cool visual aspect that would get the class talking since I had no previous notions of what a seminar presentation should be like. But, now I think that they can have much deeper meaning than just words in pretty colors, which I hope you all will witness with the launch of our META Team website.

After getting such a positive reaction from Dr. C in class, we met again. We weren’t sure how we would use them, but we thought that maybe it would be cool if we could do a web of hyperlinks within a wordle, allowing people to move from a wordle to our blogs and tweets. We were envisioning something so much smaller than what we will be presenting tomorrow; at least in my head it was not as intricate. But, it was an idea. So, we pressed on and continued to bounce ideas off each other throughout February, making progress in class by participating in group discussions, blogging, and tweeting as much as we could. Finally, we met and came up with something of substance, a physical project that we could present to the class.

I managed to connect my personal endeavors to the project. I had been vigorously working on my own personal/professional website, an attempt at branding myself for future employers as well as an eager family audience. It’s a place called Wix and it turned out to be the foundation of our project. I showed them my website and they seemed to like what I had done. They trusted my opinion and we decided that it would probably be easy enough to add wordless to a website. Also, we thought it only fitting to use the internet to explain how we learned about the internet while using the internet in a class with internet in the title. So much recursion. Therefore, our main structure was to combine the aspect of the wordles and the website. But, how to do that and do it well? Well, I’m not quite sure who came up with the idea- this entire project was so equally managed and collaborative- but we decided to divide the material up in to authors and themes. Our thought process centered around our main objective, which as I’ve stated before, is to be organizers and sense-makers. In a class with so many components over the internet and so many possibilities for human interaction, there was a lot of material to work through and organize. As participators, we wanted to use our experience to make more sense of a class that had a lot of information and grey area. So, authors and themes seemed to not only utilize the structure Dr. C prescribed by dividing the class in to very physical chapters but also utilized the natural connections made by our class throughout the semester.

So, we began the process of constructing a website out of nothing in the beginning of April. Our ongoing work had previously been divided between the three of us at one of our first meetings. Because we could not figure out a way to archive the blogs in one feed I simply copy and pasted them periodically throughout the semester. I would divide the blogs up by author and then make a wordle for them. These were all saved in word documents and were extremely useful when it came to creating the actual website. They also gave us visual confirmation of what we thought the class was thinking at the times that those authors were discussed. Jake created an archive for our tweets so that we could reference those later on in the semester as well. We continued to monitor that and it turns out we have all of them saved from when he began the process which I believe was in early February. Matt was to begin thinking about the themes. He was in charge of monitoring class discussions with his speaker and slowly breaking down the class in to subcategories that he would then later make in to wordles as well. So, throughout the semester when we met they were brief meetings. In mid- March we still did not have a full grasp of what we wanted to do in regards to details of the website.

As I said before, we began the process of picking out a layout and creating the website in early April. Because I had previous experience manipulating wix and using their templates, I took on the role of transforming the pre-made template in to a META Team website. But, before I go in to that let me give you some background. In order to have a website from wix you have to have an account. They’re free but you need one. I thought we could use mine since I already have one and you can make multiple sites from one account. But, the email on the account would be included in the url of the website. So, we actually had to make a separate gmail for our class. Vtclis12@gmail.com Although this was not planned in the beginning, it actually made for a really cool addition to our website because as you will see tomorrow, you can actually send us an e-mail directly from the website. We hope to give Dr. C access to this account so that he can get feedback from users of the site as well. Anyways, so we made the email account and picked out a template. That was hard because we basically had to design the website in our head as we were picking out a template because we had to make sure that each wordle had the ability to link specific words to various links instead of the whole wordle being one link. After searching, we found an auto car template that worked very well. I began to transform the auto car template to META Team.

This took several hours and all the while, Jake and Matt were continuing their ongoing efforts. Back when we decided that we would make a site with wordles on it that would be divided in to authors and themes, we decided Jake would be in charge of linking the author wordles to various content including but not limited to blogs, tweets, and delicious links. Matt would be in charge of making up the theme wordless as I previously stated, as well as linking those wordles to content that includes but is not limited to blogs, tweets, and delicious links as well. We wanted to incorporate the audio from Matt’s speakers but our efforts to obtain a transcription program did not work so well. Rebecca tried to get us one but it didn’t transcribe as well as we needed it to because there was so many hours of audio. It just wasn’t efficient. So, unfortunately that got edited out of our website.

Once I had the layout transformed, we put the wordles on the site and linked them all to each other and all of the rest of the content. We purposely kept the direction of the website vague because we want users to feel unrestricted in where they can go and what they can see. We hope that everyone will move throughout the site by that unknown motivation we keep talking about that seems to breed curiosity.

In the end, I’m so happy that I got on the META Team. I was nervous being the only undergraduate student, but they really surprised me. My thoughts seemed to be just as important to theirs and they really acknowledged that although I am younger, I had some cool ideas too. It was nice to be respected and put on the same playing field as two extremely intelligent individuals such as Jake and Matt. I really appreciated this respect and cannot say how much this boosted my confidence in this class. It really was a privilege to work with them on a project that none of us really had any idea what we were doing to begin with. It’s really cool to make something out of nothing when you’re working with people who also care about the end result and when we all appreciate each other’s ideas. I wish them both the best of luck in the future and would be honored to have the opportunity to work with them again.  

I hope you all enjoy our end project and can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts!

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What is the World Wide Web Today?

This piece was a bit technical for me, but I definitely did see some differences between the world wide web is 1994 and the world wide web in 2012. The authors of this piece termed the World-Wide Web as “…a pool of human knowledge…” which I suppose, in some senses, is still the case today. However, I think it’s much more than that. Today, the internet is used (and this is not a fact, simply what I witness/my daily activities) primarily as a communication device. Yes, there are times when research is necessary-and it has become increasingly easier to retrieve. But, this research and data is still a means of communicating. We are using the internet to communicate findings and studies and different ways to think about the same problem or many different problems. In “What does W3 Define?” they say that one of the things that W3 stands for is “The idea of a boundless information world in which all items have a reference by which they can be retrieved.” Well, I think we have definitely surpassed that small definition.

In terms of communication, we now have Twitter which uses various ways to organize information and communication between people. We have the hashtags and the @’s used to “mention” people on Twitter and “tag” people on Facebook. On a broader scale we also now have things like social media networks which include not only Twitter and Facebook but LinkedIn as well as Myspace (old I know). But, what is the common thread with all of this organization? Communication. While I was reading this piece I understood the internet of 1994 to be a lot of information which can be retreived, but with little human interaction. Now, we can share data, comment on that data, access the data, tag certain key phrases or words or people, and even send it to others simply with the touch of a finger.

But, somethign struck me in the Conclusion. They say, “The Web does not yet meet its design goal as being a pool of knowledge that is as easy to update as to read.” I’m wondering if we have gotten that far yet. Our communication devices are extremely esasy to change and update-we can make status and Tweet constantly throughout the day. But, I think that might be too literal. Perhaps what they were thinking is more like the children writing their own programs. Is it as easy today to make a program or update software manually as it is to use the programs or to read using the software? I don’t think so. However, I am certianly not technilogically advanced enough to speak on the topic. Though I suppose that’s the point. The goal is to get people like me to be able to update and change our programs so that they see fit to our lifestyles and our personalities. But, we are definitely not there yet. Yes, we can change fonts and update Facebook, but we can’t add new colors or new fonts based on our own liking. We have to download them from somewhere else (we have to communicate with the outside world in order to enhance our own).

In conclusion, being a social media advocate, I must say that communication is key to our society. The internet has become an increasingly large part of this aspect of our lives. We use it every day. But we are not yet to the point where it is fully customizable, just like we are not at the full potential of education. I can only imagine what will be said about this article in another 20 years, but I hope it’s something more extravagant than this!

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Are video games shaping our future?

After reading Sherry Turkel’s piece about Video Games and the Computer Holding Power I can only imagine what my brother goes through on a daily basis. I never got in to video games, but I certainly see the appeal to games such as Rock Band; however, I had never really thought of that as a video game before. I suppose as our generation grows up, the idea of a “video game” has become morphed from a small, relatively simple PacMan to a very complex Call of Duty to an interactive console in Kinect. How is all of this shaping our youth?

I think that Turkel really hits the nail on the head with her use of Jarish throughout the piece, referring to him and learning from his experiences in order to get her point across. And what I think her point is, is that video games are the gateway to computer knowledge-with video games we can channel our inner relaxation, concentration, creativity, and perhaps our “raw instincts”. Since 1984, computers have become commonplace in all households. But, not only can people type in short programs for games, they can connect to people around the globe in ways never imaginable in the 1980s. This kind of communication, we can use the specific example of video games and their online communication devices, can have multiple effects. First of all, it allows the players to learn more about how to communicate with people from all over. But, I must admit that I rarely hear my brother connecting with people that he doesnt know. This is good, but it also stifles the whole point of being able to connect with people in teams from different parts of the world. I see this kind of communication as an opportunity to let our youth learn that our culture and our way of thinking is not the only way to reach a goal. But, it is not used in this way most often. Another effect it may have is sort of opposite to that-the desensitized socially awkward individual. However, I happen to disagree a lot with this idea. I think that perhaps, the children or adolescents who are already shy or don’t know how to connect with their peers use video games as an outlet (much like Jarish). Thus, the video game is not producing withdrawn individuals, it could heighten these comfort zones though.

Turkel makes some interesting comparisons between the relationship of human to television and the relationship of human to video game. So often do I still hear these effects intertwined as if the relationship is even remotely the same. But, she is so right and they are so wrong. When I watch the tv, yes I am more relaxed. But, no I am not engaged in a goal-oriented task that needs my undivided attentition in order to meet a personal goal that has no “real” impact on my life. Beating this level or killing that monster will have no impacts on what school I go to or what job I may get-at least, you don’t think so then. But, what if there is some psychological consequences of video games that television also does not produce? She says that video games are sort of the in between regarding humans and computers. They act as an interactive intermediary showing humans what they can do with a computer. Key word for video games is interactive-you share an experience, no..you live an experience that cannot be lived anywhere else nor can it be controlled by anyone else except you (and the video gamers who made it..although as I understand more and more weight is being shifted in to the players hands in regards to decisions and what actions to play-most of this probably due to technological advances)

In the end, I think that video games definitely have profound and obvious effects on our youth. And we are the future, so hopefully these effects are positive rather than negative, though I see little room for optimism in a sociey in which violence is a must for video games to be successful within the gaming community.

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Is Kimon “good” or “bad”?

While reading this piece, I could not help but think of our discussion from last thursday. The concept of a virtual world is hard to relate to Kimon because it is so different than the “real” world of earth. But, the idea that one culture is bad and one is good had me guessing the whole time. From Bishop and Earth’s point of view, which is really the only one we can ever get, Earth is good and Kimon (though it seems so amazing) is a threat. This aggressive way of thinking leads Earth to be so competitive and short sighted that in the end, they look like the bad ones because they cannot see that Kimon is actually doing them a favor by letting them in on their secrets.

This had broader implications for me because I feel as if a lot of our society is based on individualistic thoughts-at least, in the US. We only really care about the product that we make (be it a material object or the kinds of people we produce). We definitely don’t think about reaching out to civilizations that are weaker than us in order to help and embrace them in to our culture-and if we do, it’s usually hostile or in order to service ourselves, not them. On one hand, I think this makes the US sound pretty bad, since we do have some of the best living conditions in the world why shouldn’t we help others?

But, on the other hand, it’s not the same as in the reading. We are not totally more evolved, we’re just more arrogant and productive. I think that the piece offered a great insight in to the good and the bad of competition. Yes, competition is good because it fosters the curiosity needed in order for the motivation of learning to occur. But, it is also bad because it makes some people seem inferior (like those who could not go to Kimon). So, what’s the happy balance? How do we motivate people and spark their curiosity without discouraging others?

Well, that brought me to the thoughts of deschooling. How much competition is good for students? My roommate has a class in which only 3 people get an a, 3 people get an a-, etc. On one hand, it definitely discourages cheating and helps keep the students motivated to learn more. But, on the other hand it fosters anger and competition that can really demotivate people because even if they all have 98 and 99, only 3 people can get an a. I’m not quite sure how this is “fair”. But, what is “fair” really?

In general, I have lots of thoughts about this reading-but putting them in to a blog is becoming more and more difficult as I think! I hope that we get a chance to discuss this reading in class so that I can learn more about what other people are thinking! Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Who Are We Really?

First of all, I am terribly sorry for this post being late. My internet has been having lots of problems; but, I think the kinks are all worked out! This was probably one of my favorite discussions so far. We had so much to talk about and I’m really enjoying the experience of tying things together and really making connections to past readings. We are reading them in an order that makes sense! The piece that we read, “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitats” by Morningstar and Farmer, was fascinating. The first sentence gave me one of this sinking feelings when you know that this article is 1) going to take forever and 2) probably because it will be boring and have no significance to your life and 3) you’ll be wondering forever why it connects to this course. BUT, boy was I wrong. My highlighter was going crazy all over these pages at nuggets that are not only applicable to this piece and virtual worlds in general, but to the real” world as we know it, in a very broad sense.

One of the beginning nuggets that I highlighted was, “The essential lessons that we have abstracted from our experiences with Habitat is that a cyberspace if defined more by the interactions among the actors within it than by the technology with which it is implemented.” This got me thinking of several things. 1) the difference between Twitter and Facebook. It seems as though Facebook recognizes that the interactions are there and of course they make up your experience, but it’s more important to make it innovative through changing the layout and adding new features so that it can be, ironically, more “user-friendly”. On the other hand, we have Twitter which for the most part (as far as I have heard in class) has stayed true to its original identity, focusing on incorporating only the necessary and user-demanded characteristics that we now take for granted, such as the # and the @. These symbols represent this idea that the interactions are what matters. They make up the technology. 2) this idea of having multiple “selfs”. Which one is your true identity? Do we need to deciphere betweewn your virtual avatar and you as a human being? Well, why should we-shouldn’t it be a reflection of who you truly are? That’s an interesting question because then you start diving in to later nuggets that I highlighted which including the discussion of whether or not to have weapons and how murder should/if murder should be punishable in the virtual world. Do we punish people at all? Do we even make it possible? Do we punish their avatar or them as a human being? What is that line that marks the difference between virtual and real, and why is it there?

All of these questions are extremely fascinating to me, especially since I am so engrossed in social media through my organizations, major, and just simply living in 2012. Social media is, essentially, a virtual world. Books are, essentially, virtual worlds. Anything that takes you from what you can tangibly see, feel, and hear to a place where you can interact with people without seeing them, feeling, or hearing is virtual. So, who’s to say you need to be accurate in your portrayal of yourself on the internet or even when writing books? It’s an interesting question and in class we talked a lot about good v. evil- whether people are inherently good or inherently evil. This question has been raised several times in varying ways, particularly when talking about deschooling, self-motivation, and productivity farms (all three of which are very closely related). Though it is a question that should be addressed, i think the point we are trying to get at is, why, in this environment where everyone generally grows up with the same fundamental rules that murder is bad and charity is good, do some people think that virtual murder is good and that some people think virtual murder is bad? The answer we proposed was that it involves a lack of consequence. People are trained to react and interact with each other based on the consequences that they will receive or not receive from their actions. So, if you take away those consequences, our innate and raw emotions are brought up again. But, is the idea and act of murder “innate and raw”? OR is it just scandalous and thrilling to pursue an action in a virtual world (with no consequences) that you know you cannot pursue in real world (where there are consequences)? I’ll use the example of something as simple as taking a cookie from the cookie jar before dinner when your mom’s upstairs. If you knew there was no way she could find out you took the cookie, of course you’ll take it. If, however, you knew that there was about a 95% chance that you’d get caught-you might think twice or not even risk it at all. Well, at least I wouldn’t. BUT, there are some people who would do it no matter what (or perhaps be even more likely to if they knew there was a risk). Why is that? Well, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe the thrill? The feeling of being sneaky?

I have raised so many questions in this post and I cannot begin to answer them all. But, I challenge you to take a gander at this piece and attempt to come up with some opinion. I certainly have mine, but I find I am always thinking of new things or hearing new things that make me contradict myself! Hopefully you all can help me sort this out!

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Educational Reform or a Whole New World?

For tomorrow’s class we read Chapter 6 “Learning Webs” out of Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich. This reading was probably one of our most intriguing readings for me. Not because I liked what he was saying however. I think that what he is trying to say is very interesting; but, unrealistic. I’d like to just take out a couple segments and reflect on what I thought about them.

The first nugget I highlighted was “…it shapes the consumer who values institutional commodities above the nonprofessional ministration of a neighbor.” In this passage, he discusses how schools are the same across the globe even though every other aspect of cultures and the way we organize our business systems are different. School systems have the same structure no matter where you go. He then comes to the conclusion that this system makes people value “institutional commodities above the nonprofessional ministration of a neighbor.” As a business student, I don’t understand why this is wrong. Although I guess I do to a certain point. On one hand, you don’t want children to grow up to only listen to commercials and media for their source of information. But, on the other hand, there is a reason people are professionals and there is a reason things are mass produced as well as institutionalized. It’s more efficient. It’s more productive. It gives you a sense of trust for the people you are learning from and the product you are purchasing. However, I suppose that I should take a step back and realize that I am a product of this school system that is breading commercialized individuals. Therefore, maybe the question is NOT what is most productive. What Illich is getting at is that our focus needs to take a shift towards what he considers to be more important, which is allowing everyone equal opportunity to learn at their passion and free will.

The next part I highlighted was just below that, which illustrates what I just said above even more- “Everywhere this same curriculum instills the pupil the myth that increased production will provide a better life.” So, I suppose I am one of those pupils. But, I don’t want to leave it at that. I don’t want to say, well he’s right, I’m a product of the school system and the way things are now is incorrect. Although my opinion may be exactly what he’s talking about, I truly believe that the way our society values professionalism and the way our society values mass production can help. Without mass production, products would be much more expensive and much more time consuming to make. Throughout this entire piece he talks about using computers to help people connect with shared interests; but, how are they going to be made? He says that people should be able to learn how to fix things on their own. I cannot imagine the inefficiency of this. There is a reason that some people train to do task A and some people train to do task B. It just doesn’t make sense to have everyone being able to do everything.

I did like his three main points on what a good educational system should have.  I’m going to reflect on each purpose separately. The first one is, “…it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives…” When I heard that, I thought man this guy really does want Utopia. How in the world can we make every person have the same availability? I like the idea, because I’m all about being fair. But, I don’t see how it is feasible. Perhaps I’m too close minded to macro changes such as these. From the way I see it, I feel any society grows to have classes, whether they be educational or socioeconomic-they are going to happen. Just because you give everyone equal resources does not mean they are going to be used equally. In conclusion, I love the idea and I think it’s worth a shot. But, it is hard to implement in today’s society. The second purpose was, “…empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them…” Now this was interesting to me. It did not say empower all those who want to learn to find those who want to share, it was the opposite. How do we get people who have skills or knowledge to want to pass it along to others and are willing to exert the effort to find those who are interested? I think this ties in to his idea of peer networking. Just because you are not of the same level of intellectual experience does not mean that colleagues cannot learn from each other. If there was an integration of the peer network and those who were searching for learners, it would be ideal. The third purpose is, “…furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.” I thought this was kind of misplaced in an educational setting. I like it in tha sense that I think everyone should feel comfortable expressing their opinions or what needs to be changed, but I don’t understand where it fits in with the educational context UNLESS you’re talking about research.

Which brings me to my connection with that Matt brought up several weeks ago-peer reviewed papers. It seems that making your way through the research world is becoming increasingly difficult due to “peer”-reviewed papers. When Illich talks about how giving professionals too much credit, I can understand that in this context. During the discussion with Matt, the question of whether or not radical research studies are getting shot down due to the fact that the ones reviewing them are not as radical was brought up. I don’t ever think this should be an issue. If the question proposed has a valid research plan and is carried out thoughtfully (and has good implications on society) it should be considered, no matter whether the person reviewing it agrees or not. They’re professionals, but they’re supposed to be unbiased right?

This paper was huge, and I would love to discuss every chunk I highlighted but I am hoping that Melissa will talk about most of that tomorrow! Therefore, I’d like to end with one of the more significant quotes from this Chapter. “Technology is available to develop either independence and learning or bureaucracy and teaching.” This is such an all-encompassing statement that it seems overwhelming even to read! I can just picture Dr. C getting us to reread it several times to really get the meaning. I am extremely eager to hear what you all think about this quote! Can’t wait to hear some thoughts…

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Frames within Frames within Frames…

As I have been reading my classmates’ blogs, I just either 1)keep getting more clarification or 2)keep getting more confused as to the answer to many of our questions. First of all, is time linear? As we can see, perhaps it is both. Yes, time does cycle through year after year, day after day. But-is it really a cycle? Or is it just consistent ways of labeling things. Becuase today is different than yesterday, just not in the way that we label the hours. I suppose we could always just keep a running tab on exactly what hour it is in this year/this lifetime. That could get very tedious and too long. But, it would still give us a means to plan our day, because although each hour is the same duration of time, this hour is not the same as the last. That way, you can even point to a specific instance in time just by saying its specific hour and never have to worry about the day or the month. But, how awful would that be? Our perception of time would be much more linear and sequential-but gosh it would be hard to keep track of. So, for our own sake, we simply limit it to a cycle of hours 1-24 that just restarts itself at some point in time that we call midnight.

I think trying to block time and movement in to frames, or schema, is difficult because of the human obsession to label everything and categorize everything. That’s just the way we think. How else would we remember what information we learned in each class or who belongs to which of your organizations? Everyone would just get too jumbled. So, we put everything in to very specific categories and we give everything this sense that it has its own single meaning. But, that’s so not true. I am someone’s sister, daughter, neice, friend, girlfriend, student, coach, waitress, etc. I am not just one singular thing. Time should not be seen as just one singular path either. It has a place in our memories, in planning, and in the “real time” that we think of as we are in the present.

That was another point that we made during class. What is “Real time”? Because I know when I plan out my day, I know I only have roughly 15 hours a day to be awake and productive. When I allocate an hour to reading, that doesn’t seem very long while planning. But, during that actual hour, it seems like it is lasting FOREVER. So, why is our perception of ‘time so different in these two situations? One might say that it’s because of the way we feel in the moment (i. e. our emotional state) If I enjoy reading that book, perhaps that hour really does go by as fast as I thought it would when I was planning out my day. But, since I didn’t care or didn’t like what I was reading, all I could think about was doing something else more worthwhile, thus I felt as if I was wasting my time. And of course, perception of time gives us that cruel slap in the face-if you don’t enjoy it, why don’t you spend more time feeling like you’re in it. (I don’t know if what I just said makes sense to you all, but it seemed to make sense in my head!) Others still might say that time really is just an illusion. Maybe I just wasn’t being honest enough with myself when I made my plans for the day. When I was thinking that an hour wouldn’t be long, maybe I wasn’t really thinking of an hour in the sense of how I’ll feel while I’m in it.

To sum up what I’m trying to say-perhaps when I plan out my day, I am comparing it to the whole. It seems like a small amount of time. Thus, when we are trying to remember something that happened, it seems like it didn’t lastr very long because we are comparing it to our whole memory. However, when you are in the moment you aren’t thinking about how many more hours you have in the day, you are thinking on a second by second basis feeling each minute pass by.

All of this talk is making my head hurt. But, basically I can’t come up with any conclusion other than it’s all about perception. Perhaps we will never really know whether time is linear, circular, perceptual, or simply too advanced for us to wrap our heads around. It could be more than one of those though, don’t you think?

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What is happening?

Today’s discussion really got me thinking about what we had read (Scott McCloud’s Time Frames) I’m glad we have next class to discuss it as well. I thought that the piece was obviously extremely easy and enjoyable to read compared to most. I didn’t highlight many phrases this time, but after today’s class I definitely can find some themes/elements that can’t necessarily be highlighted which were really the essence of what McCloud was talking about.

First, the idea of the panels causing a distinct relationship between time and space. Our minds automatically wire panels in a timely fashion from left to right and up and down. Based on the relationship/size of the panels, cartoonists can create the illusion that either time is slower or faster than what it actually is/is not. Also, not just the size of the panel matters, whether or not the panel has borders, is there a panel that extends off the page? If so, you may have a very unique opportunity to create multiple panels all relating off of the same situation or idea. Like the panel with the rain, in class we pointed out how the next panel greatly mirrored that one, with multiple panels inside of it. This kindof brings me to the whole idea that we came to at the end of class. There is present time, which woul dbe the cartoonist making the cartoon. Then, there is the time which is deeper (the time of the cartoon/perhaps an experience or memory that we may have and are currently thinking about). Then, even deeper you can create a collage like on page 723 which demonstrates that there can be various time lines, or simulataneous time lines in the same story with varying ways to look at the panels. It was mentioned that perhaps this also happens in books. I think that yes, it must. Because when I think of a good book I think of one that is read like I think, or one that is written in the way that a normal person would talk. Because we all have memories and a lot of our storytelling plays upon past experiences, there must be this same reflective time reference/discongruity that we see in comics, just not as obvious.

Another point that I want to touch on is the connection that we madfe to McLuhan’s idea of the media being the message. The whole point of this article is for the comic to talk about comics while demonstrating the very concepts he is talking about in a visual manner. The recursive aspect of the peice made it so much more interesting than what I had originally thought when I read it. This comic makes the reader think, which is something that in educational purposes is extremely necessary. But, Erin made a good point when she said that education cannot be too ambiguous because then it may not teach the right thing. But, if we are trying to make education more tailored to each child, then what is “the right thing”. Which direction of reading a comic is “the right way”.

Lastly, I really anjoyed the dynamic aspect of class today in which we made a comic as we were talking about the complexity of the comic itself. I think that it made us think in the same terms that McCloud has to think when he was making the comic. Of course, our sketches were not as meaningful as each panel was to McCloud because he was trying to teach us something or show us something that we had not done before. In class, we were merely writing down our interpretation of the events as they were happening. I think that this would be a great educational tool to implement in younger classrooms because it gets the students to step out of just listening and gets them to interpret what the teacher is saying, a meta thing kindof. It also would allow the teacher to understand better what is going on in the minds of his/her students. What do yal think?

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Can computers think?

After reading The Six Elements and the Causal Relations Among Them there were less highlihgted passages than the other slections we have read recently. I found the connections between our class and this selection very small. The second selection was completely disjointed I felt like. But, there were several nuggets that I did select that I found interesting. The main one that I’d like to talk about first is on page 567 “Can computers think? There is an easy answer. Computer-based agents, like dramatic characters, do not have to think (in fact, there are many ways in which they cannot); they simply have to provide a representation from which thought may be inferred…was the system thinking?…The answer, I think, is that it doesn’t matter.”

I think it’s interesting that the thought of a computer thinking even came in anyone’s mind. However, such communications like Siri have made this idea intriguing. I do wonder what makes the computer give me any answer, but obviously there has to be some sort of database. They don’t think. But, I suppose they are getting closer and closer to this. The isntantaneous rate at which you get responses from a computer make it seem much more “alive”. This is kindof what we were getting at in class on tuesday. The medium is the message simpy because of how fast you can get a response. So, although the computer doesn’t think, just the idea of having a medium that is so instantaneous at its response and the reliability of its answers makes it have an important effect on society in itself.

The second part of that nugget was what got me thinking about the medium is the message even more. We don’t need to think about how the rate or speed of the computer has an effect on society, just simply having it around says something about our society. We don’t need to think about whether or not the computer thinks, it just does what it does and it serves our need. Why think about how great the computer is when you can just use its greatness to complete your goal more efficiently and effectively than if you did not have a computer? I guess being a business major, that’s what I always go towards, efficiency and effectiveness. Computers do this and therefore, it doesn’t matter whether or not they think. They serve their purpose.

But, Dr. C. would probably disagree with this. One one hand, people use computers for their use. On the other hand, the one Dr. C. mentioned in class with the “penhand”, the medium becomes a part of you. So, the computer becomes a eyehandcomputer. Thus, because you are thinking about what you want the computer to do, the computer must be thinking right? I don’t know. An interesting question. What about the computer makes it a part of you? Are there any specific applications that really feed in to the mind of humans and the users of the computer? There’s got to be some kind of discussion on this.

Overall, I thought the reading was inteteresting, definitely not one of my favorites. But, the connection back to McLuhan  makes it probably the most intriguing. What did you gyus think?

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Also, here are the wordles from my seminar presentation!

article wordle blog wordle

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