Monday, April 29, 2013

What have you learned?

Our classroom was designed specifically to encourage a more active, student-centered, and engaged learning experience. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman writes,

“. . . the content of a lesson is the least important thing about learning. . . . 
the most important thing one learns is always something about how one learns”(144).

So, what have you learned in this course?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Twitter adding some sound to its Tweets

It's finally here - what you have all been waiting for...Twitter music!

The music streaming industry has been starting to boom a bit as of late. Recently it was reported that Google was jumping into the music streaming ring. Now Twitter is joining the fray.

The Bird is finally going to make some noise

To be honest this wasn't really unexpected. There is money to make in music streaming, and honestly mixing music with twitter as a tool of discovering new artists seems like a cool idea.

However, there still definitely is this reoccurring theme of transparency. Sites are seeking to become so multi-faceted and versatile, and, like with smartphones, people could start to grow too dependent on or addicted to sites like Twitter (though I don't think it would ever be to the same degree as smartphones).

What do you think? Does the twitter music concept seem cool? Let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mass Amaturization and Websites

So while I was thinking about what to write this blog about, I started thinking about the different stuff we have done in class and kept thinking about our Web Based Research Project.  Mine is hosted as a Weebly website, which got me to thinking about the whole, mass amaturization stuff we have talked about in class. 

I am by no means an expert when it comes to building websites, I barely know the basics of HTML and CSS (the language used in programming websites), yet I can build a website and host it online for free.  This is interesting to me primarily because my uncle used to be a web site programmer, and built websites for a living, and is very good at it.  The process of mass amaturization is applicable here mainly because I, being a web building amateur, am able to build and host a website.  However, I still find myself wishing I knew as much as my Uncle does because that would make this process significantly easier because I would not be confined to the limits of what Weebly allows me to do.  I would be able to start from scratch.

That being said, it is still possible for me to learn how to do that using HTML and CSS on my own but the time and effort that it would take me to get that final product finished would way out weigh the benefit.  In the end, I think even though there are a lot of "amateurs" who are capable of becoming almost as good as "professionals" there will be still be a place in most industries for "professionals" to do their work. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

When walking into the Apple store at Keystone, you would think to find more people in their early twenties to forties. This was not the case, I began noticing older adults buying mini IPads, IPads, Mac computers, etc. Seeing this surprised me, because we hear about the digital era we are in, but I know when it comes to my father using his IPad, he only uses it for Facebook (Sadly) and Flipboard. Although, this makes me wonder, are older adults starting to get better at technology, than the younger generation?

From the Article Online habits Coming Slowly to Older Adults, explains how older adults are all coming to the digital era. In addition, it goes into explaining, the more money someone has (older adults) the more technologies they will buy to fit into society. I believe this to be true, because my ninety-three year old grandma has an IPad, and she uses a variety of apps and takes it with her everywhere. This question is for you: Do you believe that technology is being used by older adults, if so, how can you tell?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Gift Cards and Privacy

So, over Christmas break I was shown this website called MyFreeApps where I download free apps and get points, once I get enough points I can cash them in for different types of gift cards.  I only ever get iTunes ones though.  The only catch is that you have to actually open up the app and use it for awhile, usually only about 30 seconds, and to make sure you do this you have to install something on your device to make sure you are actually using the apps for the required amount of time.  I read though what they tell you it does when you install it, and didn't really find that they monitored or stored any info other than how long I was using the apps I downloaded from them.

I am now getting ready to write my paper on mobile devices and all the privacy issues involved in that and have been thinking about what other information they may be taking from me, and also whether or not I care if they are taking it.  I think I have come to the consensus that I don't really care that much.  There can't be that much information they are taking from my iPad and I am being compensated (the free iTunes gift cards).  Also, I am convinced that in order to be able to install software on an iPad (not sure what it is, but it wasn't actually an app) they had to have Apple sign off on it because they typically highly regulate what can and cannot be installed on their hardware, especially mobile stuff, then they can't be taking too much.

lastly, if anyone is interested it is available for iOS and Android I believe
Here is the link:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Youtube/Google continuing to take over

I recently made a Spotify account. It kind of snuck up on me. All of a sudden everyone was using it, and notifications on facebook let me know about it. I had never jumped on the Pandora train, so I didn't really have experience with streaming music sites. I made a Spotify account and have really liked it. Being able to listen to full albums legally without buying them is a really cool way to test out albums before buying them and then keeping albums that are only ok but not worth buying available in a way that gets at least some profits to the music industry (via ads).

"Anything You can do I can do better" - Google

With the boost in popularity of sites like Spotify and Pandora, I was not very surprised to see that Google is joining the music streaming fray. Youtube will soon feature a free with ads and premium, ad-free music streaming service. As many of you probably know (or might not know), Google owns YouTube, on top of things like Gmail (naturally), blogger, drive, maps, calendar, and images. Many of these services that Google provides have become, as we talked about in class earlier in the semester: transparent. Heck, google has even become a contemporary verb - googling.

With the addition of a (I assume) competent music streaming service that can rival spotify and pandora, it would seem that Google would become even more transparent in that it would have one more feature that we become very accustomed to. Yet, the neat thing with Google is that it has all of these cool features tied to one account. I think that youtube adding a streaming service is a good idea, despite the increase in transparency of and dependence on Google's services.

What do you all think? Do you use streaming music sites? Is Google taking over? Too transparent? Are we too dependent on it? Am I asking too many questions?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Website Creation

So this week I finished an online class covering the basic training of the Dreamweaver web design program.  As I finally finished this course and made my final project into a website, I began thinking about the different platforms that we were able to use for our mapping projects, a few weeks ago.  I thought about visibility, user friendliness, layouts, and essentially what you can do with each program. 

I personally like sites such as, Prezi or Wiki Spaces, because they are very easy to use.  The only problems with them are the limitations that they have. It seems Prezi is somewhat limited all around, but Wiki Spaces was very limited when it came to design and layout options (I know from personal experience, working with my mapping project on Wiki Spaces).

I have not tried Weebly, but have heard some good things about it.  Dreamweaver, however, allows you to do pretty much anything you can imagine on a website or web page; but, you need to have some training and knowledge of the program, in order to know what you are doing.

I am interested to hear what other web platforms there are that you have found user friendly PLUS diverse in the capabilities of the web designing process. Should we have to choose between one or the other?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a relaxing spring break! A few classes ago we had the discussion about chapter two, which explained that more men use technology/Internet compared to women.
Some part of this I do believe to be true, but other times, I believe it to be false. In the past I would fully agree with anyone to say, “Men use the Internet more than women and are more advanced in this department.” I say this because forty to fifty years ago it was the men who went to work and as they say, “brought home the bacon.” Women were recognized as staying at home, taking care of the children, and baking cookies. I believe this to be true because men dominated the work force earlier than women and were able to have a jump-start of incorporating technologies into their everyday life.
Today, women are working outside of the home and using the same technologies that men do, although some may say that they do not use it to its full extent. I did find a website that disagreed with this from Huffington Post. It explained, “Women are dominating in the digital "battle of the sexes." That's what the numbers say, anyway.” This incorporates social media, video games, and research. Do not get me wrong; everyone has different preference to what he or she does on the Internet, but women are starting to get more involved with technologies, but are moving at a slower pace, because they are not as advanced. In addition, it may not be a woman’s preference to use a certain type of technology or research certain information.
In conclusion, do you believe that women are held back from Internet because they were not given this as the same time as men were? Also, do you believe that women will be able to take on Internet use as men do now, in the next ten to twenty years, or do you believe it has already happened?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is the Easiest Card the best card?

by Tom Carreras

I found an interesting article about easy cards on BBC's website. It is about "easycards" in Taiwan that do everything - open your office door, check in at school, ride the bus, go to a hospital, or even buy lunch. Kids have them, adults have them, and they are extremely popular.
Everything is tied to this one card

While on the surface this might not seem entirely relevant to the class, to me it is paralleled by things like Google accounts or the ability to have an account on so many sites simply with a facebook account. They are very versatile accounts to have and make the prospect of having the account hacked more worrying. Also, the easycard seems to be something that could feasibly be on the horizon for other countries - perhaps America too?
Everything all tied to your facebook...a good thing?

I personally use my facebook to log in at other sites - but typically it is for sites I would not use as often and therefore do not want a completely new account and password for. I personally enjoy the convenience factor of it - and the Easy card definitely is in that vein. I find it to be very interesting personally. However, the fact that it contains so much important information - with newer models having your picture and name - and is a physical object make me think that it is probably not something that would be as practical.

What do you think? Will easycards (or something like it) emerge in America in the next few years? What do you think of facebook integration on other websites?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Diminishing Human-to-Human Contact

As I began reading Critical Literacy in a Digital Era, I was concerned after reading about Moore's Law.  Barbara Warnick wrote, "If Moore's Law continues to hold true and our technological capacity does indeed accelerate exponentially over time, then the creation of virtual environments, diminution of human-to-human contact, and relegation of work and labor entirely to computing devices appear to be logical outcomes" (Warnick 4).  After reading this and giving some thought to it, I was most concerned about the prediction of taking away human-to-human contact.

Looking at my mapping project for class, I saw how often I communicate through technology (whether it be on my cell phone, texting and calling, or a laptop for emailing).  I am a really big "people person"; I would much rather talk to people face-to-face, than on my cell phone.  I see how technology has already reduced human-to-human contact; but, if Moore's Law is correct and diminishes human-to-human contact even more, I think people won't know how to properly communicate and interact with others face-to-face, especially the younger generation.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Random Musings on Sunday Morning

So, while trying to think of what to blog about, a conversation that me and a friend of mine had a couple weeks ago while setting up for Church.  First off, the space we meet in is not in fact our space, so we have to haul in all of our sound equipment and set up every week.  This usually involves several large carts filled with cables, huge subs, mains and LOTS of cables, as well as a box full of microphones.  As we were talking about our usually nerdy stuff, one of us (I don't really remember who, could have been me) pointed out that what we were doing required highly specialized skills and knowledge, and we were doing it without even thinking about what we were doing.  Most people don't know what any of this is, let alone how to set it up or use it.

This got me thinking, surely we are not the only people with specialized skill sets that we have based purely on our interests, not necessarily something we learned in one of our major classes.  I am sure everyone reading this has some sort of specialized skill or knowledge they have developed without realizing how specialized it is.  They also have those circle of friends, be it in real life or on the internet where outsiders wouldn't be able to understand any of the conversation.  We have specialized language that we use that most people wouldn't understand,  for example, me and my friends will talk about pre-amps, XLR cables, 1/4" cables, snakes (not the slithering animal), frequencies and how to use the EQ to eliminate feedback.  Chances are most of you won't understand half of that, but thats my point, and that is why I think this relates to Digital Literacies.

Each of our specialized skills, and knowledge probably come with a set of technical terms, or jargon.  I think this is partially due to the internet and vast amount of knowledge at our fingertips that we can search through and educate ourselves on topics that interest us, and therefore accumulate this specialized knowledge and skills.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recently, I have been working on a lesson plan about Indiana Physical Characteristics for a third grade class. When typing into Google physical characteristics it provided me with many sites that seemed accurate, but when deciding which site to click on was when I began to struggle. With so many websites that appeared on my screen, I became over whelmed with which one to pick. This made me revert back to our book Understanding Digital Literacies.

Jones and Hafner describe this as "managing information." This describes picking particular data and turning that data into information and knowledge. With so many sites to pick from it may be difficult to find the website that incorporates the data you need, at that time. Why can't we all just have an easy button and then it magically appears on our screen?

I just wish that it would be a lot easier to find information that I need at that moment rather than 10 extra pages of sites that deals with some form of my topic.