Thesis meeting: Jan. 25, 2013 (10:30am)
Sorry that these notes are a bit dense, but it was my only other academic event other than my other ed. class that occured between Thurs. and Tues.
Today, I went on a walk with ekthorp and sarahj to discuss what our plans would be to arrange the opening and closing for tomorrow’s ramble. On our way back we began discussing “the Lives of Animals” and I became really fixated on the part of Elizabeth’s speech where she brings up Sultan, who is starved until he can achieve his task. In doing so, he is being trained to focus and give importance to only one thing, and being asked to disregard all other possible thoughts or distractions. I had recently listened to this podcast that had reminded me of Sultan for another one of Anne’s classes (http://www.onbeing.org/program/last-quiet-places/4557) and it had a huge effect on my thinking. One of the things discussed in the podcast is how children are taught to direct their attention, to close themselves off to divergent and distracting thoughts. I began to see a connect here between the way we are conditioned to focus and the way in which Sultan was taught to abandon his instincts and focus only on one thing in order to achieve his task. I wondered about the way we teach children, and how often learning and play are intertwined. Most “play” moments actually serve as teaching moments, where children learn problem-solving skills, teambuilding skills, leadership skills. It doesn’t seem like children are ever just playing. However, I’m starting to wonder whether or not it is “ecologically literate” to teach and condition children to filter out divergent thinking.
During class, someone said that in Minecraft "like in SIMs, you are a person and you are creating a world" while trying to sum up the satisfying appeal to the game. I completely felt this as well while playing. There was something satisfying to being able to control my environment and decide my own course. This is a freedom I don't always have in everyday life because of time constraints, responsibilities, and money. These constraints don't exist in this game.
This comment also reminded me of a project my placement teacher did last year in his geometry class. The assignment was similar to a geometry assignment I've seen many times: design your dream house. The twist was that the class was to use google sketch-up, a google software used to make 3D models (when I worked in a blackbox theater, the set designer did his designs on this). Using sketch-up, the students would make a virtual 3D model of their (roofless) house, and then decorate it.
I could not get Minecraft to work on my computer. It was the most frustrating thing ever! After Mikah (my lovely roommate) started playing I wanted to play too and I spent about an hour trying to download all of these different things. Minecraft ended up not working and so I ended up watching Mikah "struggle". Mikah spend about a good 30 minutes trying to get wood as suggested in the youtube videos. We could not figure out how to get the wood until our friend Ashley came in and called her brother. Later that night, he called and told us exactly how to get wood. Rather than clicking over and over we realized we could just hold the clicker of the mouse down (duh?). Are we too old and out of touch? I felt that I was so lost in technology that I could not even get Minecraft to work on my computer. It's safe to say that Mikah and I have not played it since... If we incorporated this into the classroom, there would have to be a demo and the glitches on certain computer types would have to be figured out!
Issues in Gaming in the Classroom:
"I am disappointed in the lack of education as it is, I would rather use resources to better the improvement of reading"
"My son spends too much time playing game at home that are non-educational"
"Too many kids in the classroom" Will gaming take away from the personal attention of each child?
"How and to what extent should gaming be involved?"
"Learning and gender difference" ADD? How can we account for learning difference?
Test scores and funding ?
Positives in Gaming:
"Don't you want you kid addicted to learning"
"Could games change identity in a different way? Positive social interactions online" If a students could make decisions online maybe they could use this confidence in making decisions in the "real world" "Shouldn't parents and teachers help to determine boundaries"
I interact with people outside of the school community to learn and connect could this be more useful than gaming
I don't like school, games keep me engaged
What are the intentions behind supplying schools with the most recent technology?
Is it just tho keep it current? Comparing expectations to actual use by teachers and students?
How is (or isn't) technology incorporated in the classroom?
Who determines the effectiveness of technology? Teachers or students?
What is Clark forgetting/leaving out? Where is technology not a 1st priority in the classroom and how do our schools' models and policies promote and inhibit learning in the classroom?
How can issues of saftey in the classroom affect the ways in which tech. is neglected or misused or even perpetuate inequalities and achievement gap (safe environments achieve more than unsafe ones)?
Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
In class, our group discussed Clark’s cyborg readings and how that played into our feelings towards the class. There was a general consensus amongst the people in our group that the Clark reading was more confusing rather than informative. The main reason I think this is, is the writing style that Clark adopts. In his writing, Clark tends to try to prove concepts by examples rather than solidifying his claims and arguments by using original research. Thus, Clark’s text seems more like a thoughtful muse, rather than a piece of writing meant to prove a certain fact.
I'm still struggling with figuring out what should education provide for humans, considering the new role of technology. I keep hearing the opinion that with computers around to help us, we can bypass the basics of math/science, depending on the computers for that knowledge, and skip right to the quantum mechanics and other higher-level ideas that we haven't taught computers how to do yet. My hesitation is that I am not convinced that higher-level ideas can be accessed without an understanding of how the basics work, especially when we want to put our current ideas to the test. I have trouble imagining a creative scientific process that relies on information feeding from computers. Also, I think it would be really difficult to solve a higher-level problem without having first grappled with the lower-level ideas first. Just because a machine can produce relevant information instantaneously doesn't automatically give this information meaning. What are ways a teacher can facilitate a deeper understanding/meaning to a concept, not burdening the student with calculations that computers can do, but still bearing in mind that any program created to help foster this understanding is a human creation and can still be (and should be) called into question.
To me it has been hard to see the application of Clark's ideas to the classroom. His ideas seem so theoretical and massive that applying them to the small setting of a classroom is hard for me. However, I take his ideas at the most basic form to mean how integrated our biological beings are with technology. Technology however can be just about anything. In my group we wanted Clark to put forth a list of what exactly is not "technology". There seems to be no line at all to draw between technologies and non technologies. However, I would like to take away the fact that we have and have always had a relationship with technology. Whether it be your pen our your laptop. We must then understand how we can use and work with technology rather than see it as it's own separate entity.