Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the last post for #IUP574?

So it looks like this is the last post for the semester. I guess I should reflect on my model and how it's changed.
Here's the original:


This was meant to be a metaphor of how time and timing is of utmost importance in implementing technology in classrooms. It also represents the cyclical nature of iterations. And as a bonus each of the pictures is a model of it's own. The light bulbs aren't only ideas but also thoughts.
Thoughts or principles like in the Computer Clubhouse we read about this week. The Computer Clubhouse was founded as an after-school center for inner-city low SES youth to gain experience with technology in a responsible and profesional manner.

Then I made this new model last week. It is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, which most people understood. But for those who didn't let me emphatically state that this is very satirical:

Here you can see the children of the world, a very peaceful and happy world, full of joy because they all have iPads. First of all, the iPad isn't really designed for empowering users to create media, it is much more about offering a unique and familiar way to consume media. This is the model is the opposite of the Computer Clubhouse. But look how happy those kids are!

I think there is merit to the iPad like this model claims. I think it would fit in very neatly with the technology described by Nichole Pinkard who designed software to boost African-American elementary age reading abilities. The games in the study are Reading Rapper and Say Say Oh Playmate. These games have users develop abilities with rhyming and rhythm that transfer out the ability to learn new words. In the words of my undergraduate mentor, "The more words you know the more words you can know".

I think both of my models address what these authors are pushing. Meet the students where they are. This sentiment is the root of all recruitment too, just a fun little fyi for you. If knowledge, or education rather, is about an enculturation into a dominant discourse then bringing students into that discourse, as effective as possible, is learning. If that means taking in extra-curricular interests like social media (as in my research) into the classroom to boost student engagement and standards based analysis skills, then that is learning. If having students mimic rappers to which they aspire to become, and in the process learning new words, then this too is learning.

The purpose of the model, be it classroom model, technology model, curriculum, or implementation plan, is to streamline the efficiency of said learning to the prescribed standards of the dominant discourse.


***

Reading about Say Say Oh Playmate made me crave some step dancing videos. So I did a little fishing and found some. Then I went ahead and thought about dominant discourse some more. It seems, in my novel yet fledgling research, that every discourse has some kind of fancy footwork rhythm dance style here is a few:

Stepping with the ladies of Z-Phi



Clogging at the Florida State Fair



Irish Step Dancing



If you haven't seen a Breslover dance, this is just the tip of the iceberg

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

why should a computer solve equity?

This week in P574 we are studying the Digital Divide in Information and Communicative Technologies (ICT)!

So for everyone who asks me, "Jeff what do you do in grad school?" This is what I do. We looked at 3 articles and one report on the difference in participation in technologies, covering race, class, gender, and geography. Yes, geography.

Mark Waschauer writes on the issue of access to the internet. The claim is geography based. The questions raised are, "First, is lack of ICT access a cause or effect of
poverty or other measures of social exclusion? Second, what does it
really mean to have access to ICTs? And third, what is the best approach
to dealing with unequal access?"

The chapter says that lack of access to ICT (computers, internet, etc...) is a causal to impoverishment. Whoa! So Mark is really saying, without the web, your aren't only worse off because you cant torrent "New Moon" but you also are going to be in poverty. I know what you're thinking, my great-great-great-grandparents didn't have a computer or an internet and they did all-right. But this is being written in comparison of countries like Malawi and the USA. But to put it into a local perspective, today I needed an optometrist. I went with the one who had the best website. You could argue that my new and friendly optometrist has more access to ICT and better support for ICT. This optometrist will not be living in squalor. ICT can predict this. I found it interesting that Mark talked about Egypt's aggressive campaign on getting the country wired. Here, the government grabbed the Ministry of Education together they build technology development centers. Now, Egypt has more capital than a country like Malawi and can invest in government programming. So what is Malawi to do? They need a change in the social environment to facilitate “the learning of new behaviors that propagate continuous improvements in conditions of living” (Corea 2000, 9). Well said Corea.

Carsataphen (1999) found that male members dominated online discussions. This is in looking at how male and female members differ in online discourse. What is bothering me is why people assume that computers will solve equity issues between genders? The authors mention that women are socially conditioned to avoid confrontation whereas men enjoy it as a game.

Are people expecting computers to solve issues of gender roles/equity in this digital divide?

I think that is a foolish claim. Those pushing this agenda, excluded from our course readings but I know you're out there, I would liken to OLPC (one laptop per child) folks. Those believing that putting computers in disadvantaged or marginalized populations will solve issues like education. It falls into an ideological category. It's ultimately up to teachers, and deisgners to institute this kind of ecology or value system.

Does this mean our society and our social ecology needs to learn new behaviors that propagate continuous improvements in the conditions of living? I think Corea would agree.

That's where John Ive comes in.

Wait you don't know who John Ive is? Look at this buff stud! Now I bet you wanna know him. He is the most important product designer in the world.

He is the lead designer from Apple Inc. Remember the unibody macs, this guy. The iPhone, his idea...err design. And iPad, once again this dude. He also is responsible (in part) for how you use this neat gizmo, the iPad.

I am of the Macheads/apple fanboys who believe the iPad will right every wrong technology has pervaded. I think the design is genius in that there is nothing saying, this is a boy toy or girl toy. None of that choose your happy meal with a barbie or hot wheels BS.

The intuitive user interface is so easy a 36 month old can use it. -Watch out Geico Cavemen, you're next. Just watch this clip. You don't need to watch the whole thing but enough to see her spell lion.




My educational model this week is a rip-off of a cliche. Deal with it. The iPad, this wonder tool, is the first of it's kind to interact with people implicitly on their individualized level. This is the development of a social ecology to contribute to benefiting the continuous improvement of conditions of living. I can't say it will solve every equity issue, but it is a leap in the right direction.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

DELfest

This post is for those who come to this blog not for the educational models but for my reputation a bluegrass fanatic.

But check this out:



Del McCoury is a legend. I recommend you and your friends go to Maryland for DELfest, tix go up in price apr. 12 so hurry up.