Not everything that’s bad isn’t good.

I don’t really think that I have added to detail and my thoughts for this blog (I’ve just layered stuff on top of stuff), so this post will not only be a research post, but also a follow-up one!

Not too long ago, we had a lengthy discussion about video games and how they contribute to our learning abilities and personalities. Michigan State University conducted a new research that expresses that video games can also lead to creativity in children.

So while video games may cause violence and rage (or what we talked about in class: personal acceptance and a way to escape) in children, certain aspects of video games can cause the children to be more creative.

When this was brought my attention, I was able to change my mind about my previous aversion to video games. If games are able to help a child grow in cognitive ways instead of just what I would call a false hope of reality, then I can see the need/want in purchasing a video game for this child. I’m all for letting a child become the best that he or she can be. The world needs more creative people anyway.

Now, I was unable to download the actual research article; I could only view the summary article because the website that directed me to the real article I would have had to pay for. But when I think about all the games I know out there, I can’t really think of any that would increase creativity in children if they didn’t already have some strong connection to being creative. For example, when I used to play the Mario Brothers game, I don’t think the game aided to my creativity. Before I played the game, I wanted to know the reason behind it. I wanted to know who these brothers were and why I had to help them with their quest.  Games like Mario already had a story to them–they were two brothers who were plumbers and some dumb chick fell into an alternate universe and they had to go save her. Sounded legit. I played X-Men mostly because the movies were awesome ( I didn’t read the comic books–that’s what brothers were for).

Maybe these video games that lead to stronger creative minds have to be particular games like the Leap Frog books aid to learning. But if I hear more stories where such video games help people learn and not give them this false reality, then I may change my mind completely about them.

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Extra Credit; ArchiTEXTure options

Through my many years of learning as much as possible, I have realized there is a specific way that helps me learn the easiest, fastest, most beneficial way achievable. That way is by mixing information I already know with the unknown and seeing how they relate. Understanding one thing to its fullest and then being introduced to a similar yet different concept really aids to my further understanding of both subjects.

For the ArchiTEXTure idea, I would say I would not only like to learn about different concepts with the context-switching approach, but I would also mostly likely actually learn more this way. With this approach, I can see and understand the need and concepts behind each subject and be able to relate them to one another. This approach reminds me of a study my CRTW class conducted where we (the students) critiqued the way the professor set up the class schedule. It turns out that yes–professors do think about how they set up their schedules! Amazing!  Each day we built upon the main subject by adding another idea about reading and thinking critically by studying ways we were most familiar with and then gradually to ones similar to those customs to others further out of our understanding. Eventually, we were able to understand the different ways of thinking and reading critically.

Adding new approaches to New Media like the example above would guide me through my understanding of it as a whole as well. Seeing the type of media we are most familiar with (such as print), viewing how effective/ineffective it works in certain areas, etc., and then considering how web-based text is effective/ineffective in its medium will help me relate the concepts of what is effective, useful, and the opposite for each one. It’s like comparing and contrasting items–if you don’t know what you prefer or why you’re comparing/contrasting the items, you can’t do so as well.

However, I still see justification for the context-meshing approach. By mixing two concepts together, the reviewer is forced to identify how they work together (or don’t) and why they were put together for the project at hand. This may, in the long run, take less time I believe, but I do not know if everything concerning the two contexts would be fully understood by all members learning about them.

I hope this helps!

Wearable Technology; Promises

We have talked in class about wearable technology, but OmniTouch has taken concepts like this to a new level.

With their upgraded product, OmniTouch lets you place their multitasking projector thingy maboob on your shoulder and lets you use it wherever you are, and however you want to:

When I first saw this video, I thought it was another joke. But it’s not!
I think this is the first thing that has to do with technology that I actually find cool.  Technically, I don’t really see an everyday use for this type of technology, but if I had it, I would definitely show it to my friends to make them jealous. I wonder when NCIS will start incorporating this into their show? 

If they (and by “they,” I am being very liberal–not just OmniTouch, but anybody who works with/develops new technology) already have this kind of wearable technology that can be used on any surface, what are they going to come up with next? Is there even anything else to come up with left? I’m also curious as to how useful things of this nature would be–and by that I mean, instead of just for show and tell, what about educational advances? Who would use this in a classroom setting, either grade school or college? and for what purpose? I haven’t seen any new way that this would be purposeful in that type of situation; it seems more like a hassle. Though it does look fun…

And if they already have something that can be projected and used on any other surface, where is my hoverboard that I was promised in “Back to the Future P. II”?? In three years, I expect to see it in at my doorstep. And I expect it to work on water.

 

A More Accessible Web: More Potential

I enjoyed reading John M. Slatin’s article today titled “The art of ALT: A more accessible web.”

The article was written well for readers/web designers trying to understand how to make webpages more accessible and helpful to navigate for people with disabilities.  The part that  especially caught my attention was when Slatin mentioned that the changes to the webpage were not just for ease of mobility and design, but for everyone’s potential. The point for any alterations done to a webpage were to aid what can be done from reading a/learning from a webpage.  (His exact words: “As teachers and Web developers, we aim to create esthetically rich, intellectually exciting learning experiences that engage and challenge all students to the full extent of their abilities. The goal of accessible design is to enable people who have disabilities to participate as equals in those learning experiences.”)

This statement really hit home to me. I liked the how Slatin put in words the fact that learning experiences not only need to be equal to all, but should also be engaging. There’s nothing more awful than a boring class that makes a student fall asleep because he or she is uninterested because he/she is unengaged in the classroom.  The same goes for a webpage. If a webpage is boring or inaccessible, it can be painful and upsetting to use.There may need to be several different objects in a webpage to keep someone who is usually bored entertained, and people with disabilities may need those different objects to help them navigate a webpage. For example, pictures may take up space in a webpage, but they may help someone with poor eyesight who cannot clearly read all the text understand exactly what is being said. Voice over can also help a person with poor eyesight.  Little things that change a webpage can also change the way a person reads it and takes information home with ’em.

Not only can these minor alterations help someone with a disability, they provide different ways for everyone to view the text, offering different perspectives for the material.

How Writing for the Webpage Uncivilizes Us

Chapter 1 of the Yahoo! Style Guide reminded me of  one of Mike Judge’s funniest films, “Idiocracy,” starring Luke Wilson.

Of the 3 ways to keep information short and sweet on the internet so that readers actually read, guideline number 3 made me facepalm. It states to keep only one or two thoughts per paragraph (understandable) and says that the writer should “choose common words over more difficult ones.” (desecration!)  This is what led me to think of the said movie. In the movie, officials and whatnot cannot understand Luke Wilson’s character when he talks and acts educated because the education has spiraled downward into a bottomless dark abyss 5oo years into the future. In order to be understood, the main character can barely speak in complete thoughts and has to show people what he is talking about using their language for them to understand what he is saying (and even doing so the other characters were still at a loss).

So this guideline upset me to a certain degree. If I put something out there online, whether it be this blog or Facebook, I’m going to express myself through writing–and that is done by how and what I write. I consider myself to be educated, and I plan on creating educated material. Sometimes it may not be the best, but I’m going to shoot for more than “common.”

I do agree that readers on the internet read less and skim more, but that will not stop me from putting information in sentences that I deem to be appropriate. If I happen to come across a page where I do not understand it, I Google what I don’t understand. Half the time I think that the way the person wrote that information was wonderful. Not only did I learn what he/she wanted me to, I may have learned a new word/phrase. And isn’t that what reading is about, whether it be online or off?

Power in the People of the Screen

As I was reading The New Atlantis‘s post: “The People of the Screen” by Christine Rosen, quite a few questions popped into my head.

The first was (and the only one I’ll talk about), what exactly do we (Americans, people who read, or just her) consider to be literate work? Or what do we consider to be rhetoric?  For the first part of the article, I came to an understanding that only printed material–books–were what made people literate, so only reading printed books was literacy. So I began to have a conversation with Rosen in my head (because I am that crazy) about how there are several arguments that state that reading online is a considered being literate. I was somewhat blockaded from Rosen in the beginning—I mean, is she saying what she’s writing isn’t  material reading? Because I’m reading this online. But when she finally came to a different section in her article about online reading, (I was somewhat  relived) I felt that she was a bit biased about reading print and reading online. (It sounded to me that one was better than the other). Plenty of things online are rhetorical.

But aside from the minor confusion, which could just be a result of me being tired, Rosen made some pretty interesting points.

I quote from a particular section in her article:

      Screen reading allows you to read in a “strategic, targeted manner,” searching for particular pieces of information, he notes. And      although this style of reading is admittedly empowering, Bell cautions, “You are the master, not some dead author. And that is      precisely where the greatest dangers lie, because when reading, you should not be the master”; you should be the student. 

This really struck me as something powerful that we should all think about. What she stated I believe to be true–when we are online, we choose exactly what all we read and how we get to what we read. We can easily hit “CTRL” and “F” and search for the information we are looking for in an article and not be bothered by reading every detail in a long paper. The computer and the internet is designed this way. But is this necessarily a good thing? As a writer (or at least someone who has always dreamed to be a published writer), I believe that when someone writes something, it is so that another person reads it and takes something away, let it be inspiration, hope, hatred, anger, etc.. So when we all can simply hit those two said buttons and not read the whole material, we are controlling what the author has written, instead of the author controlling our actions through reading. We may not get or understand exactly what the writer was saying because of this. Reading is done for understanding, and if we don’t read what we need to, we do not fully understand. We only half-way or somewhat-half-way understand something, and that seems good enough for us internet users. We become the master of what we know and read, and let the teacher slip away.

I also liked the following quote:

           British neuroscientist Susan Greenfield argues that the time we spend in front of the computer and television is creating a two-          class society: people of the screen and people of the book. The former, according to new neurological research, are exposing     themselves to excessive amounts of dopamine, the natural chemical neurotransmitter produced by the brain. This in turn can lead to the suppression of activity in the prefrontal cortex, which controls functions such as measuring risk and considering the consequences of one’s actions.

I don’t think I really have to explain this one because it seems kind of obvious, but I will since I put it up.
Let’s face it–most of us, when we get online, it isn’t because we have to get online but because it’s a way we wind down from a stressful day. Get on Facebook, maybe watch a few fun videos on YouTube and forget the troubles we had from the day. When I do this, I know that once I do I will most likely not do anything at all afterwards. I have to force myself and tell myself that I am only going to be online for a few minutes before I do homework. It’s a vicious cycle that I barely follow, but I do it all the time.

I just made you read this (master!) but I bet you didn’t read all of it (I pass on my reins.)

Part 2 Values and Criteria Analysis

Part 2 is posted as a separate page beside the “About” of my page as requested! I hope it’s good! 🙂