Author Archives: horner03

Pecha Kucha Reflection

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For my writing class I had to make a “Pecha Kucha” presentation with a group about the topic Freedom. Then I had to write a reflection piece about my project.

A Walk Through A Slide:
The image I chose for my second slide was a screen shot with a picture of a toddler. He was sitting in the backseat of a car with headphones on watching a screen secured around the driver’s seat headrest. Now I know this isn’t a new technology and that kids have had the privilege of watching movies in the car for quite some time now, but I felt like it summed up everything I wanted to say in my narrative with just that one picture. We literally can’t go to any public place without their being some kind of technology involved. Everywhere we look, people are walking around with their smart phones in front of their faces. I see mom’s out in public, paying no mind to their children because they’re busy looking at their phones.
I quoted Kevin Kelly in his Becoming Screen Literate article and in his opening paragraph he talks about that fact that everywhere he goes, there’s a screen. Whether it’s getting gas at the pump or drawling money out of an ATM, he’s looking at a screen. I chose to cite this text because it was right on target with what I wanted to talk about in my presentation. My group’s topic was freedom and my own personal topic was time constraints and how it’s hard to get away from all of this technology since it’s become a part of our everyday lives.
I saw this slide blending in perfectly with all of my other slides because each dealt with a different point of why technology is a part of each of our lives now. My other slides were about how technology should be blended into the school atmosphere since we won’t be going back to the way things used to be. Kids get bored in school now, so why not make it fun and interesting with the technology they are used to being on the other hours of the day they aren’t in school? If I had a chance to revise this slide, I would not have directly quoted Kevin Kelly in his article. It was definitely too wordy to get out in twenty seconds and I felt like I didn’t get my point across.

 

 

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What I Learned About my Blog Topic:
I wasn’t too sure about my group’s topic at first when we picked it. I thought, what am I ever going to have to say about freedom in my blog posts? All I could vision was “freedom of speech” and symbols like the American flag. I definitely didn’t want to be political in my blog posts or have argumentative topics. I am not one to put strongly opinionated ideas out there on the internet, especially since my future employers will be googling my name. I never knew there would be so many articles out there touching on this topic. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and I gained knowledge about many topics by reading blog posts and articles about our freedom, or what little freedom we have, on social media apps. One particular article I found from googling “freedom” was insightful and I even blogged about it. I never knew Twitter could take down a post they didn’t agree with and that iCloud could delete images they didn’t like from your computer. Even when I read articles I didn’t blog about, I was still gaining knowledge about my topic.
The readings for class broaded my knowledge on the topics read in class. It definitely helped having them listed under headings with the years because it put it in perspective where we were in technology at that point. Cynthia Selfe had a lot of great ideas in her writing and put things in different perspectives for me. In Literacy and Technology Linked: The National Project to Expand Technological Literacy, she really goes into detail about integrating technology into the classroom. When she says, “Technological literacy refers to a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments, including reading, writing, and communicating”. (Selfe 11) The children that are in school now and that we will be teaching in the next few short years will be completely surrounded by technology and it will be completely integrated into their lessons by then. We have to keep up on the technology to keep up with our face-paced students. They will think very differently from the way we thought and went about problem solving in schools.

 

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Companies track our purchases? No way…

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target picAfter reading How Companies Learn Your Secrets by Charles Duhigg, I was a little creeped out, I’m not going to lie. I had a conversation similar to this article, last semester, when one of my education professors told us a story about how he started buying a new brand of Yogurt, Oikos, because he received coupons after buying Dannon. Shop Rite was scanning his card and keeping track of his purchases. They hooked him with a really nice coupon the first time, about $2.00 off his purchase of yogurt. The next coupon to come was .75 cents off. The third coupon was .15 cents off. No more coupons came after that. They didn’t need to send them anymore because the company did their job; they got a new customer. He stopped buying Dannon and now only bought Oikos Greek Yogurt.
Andrew Pole, the statistician in this article for Target, figured out how to determine when their female shoppers were pregnant. Every guest is assigned an ID number and when they go thru the line, their purchases are tracked. If a certain number of products on a list were scanned thru, Pole knew there was a good percentage that the woman was pregnant. As time went on, the store would start sending coupons to the woman’s house for baby cloths, equipment for the nursery and prenatal vitamins and cocoa butter.
It amazes that we have the technology to track the purchases of over 300 million people in this country. This article talked predominantly about Target, but I shop at CVS as well and I noticed them doing the same thing to me. I scan my CVS care card when I pay at the register and I receive an abundance of coupons for the cosmetics brands I buy frequently and other products I buy only at CVS. I used to think “oh I love this store; they always give me coupons for products I want!” Then I realized they were getting me to spend even more money there because of all of the coupons they were sending me and the other items I was picking up because I was already there.
We have little freedom in this country anymore. They track each and every move we make, from the purchases we make at the grocery store, to the links we click on when we search Google. If we have the technology to track everyone’s purchases in this country, I can’t imagine what else they can track in our every day lives.

First Amendment & Social Media don’t mix

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ICloud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
Image via CrunchBase

ICloudReading Tweets of rage: does free speech on the internet actually exist? By Nilay Patel opened my eyes to the way the internet really works these days. The First Amendment claims that we have freedom of speech, but when it comes to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, I’m sorry to tell you, you don’t. Even apps that you think are personal to your own computer, like iCloud, are controlled by Apple. “Apple can pre-screen and delete data from your iCloud account if it finds anything ‘objectionable.'” So what does that mean? If they don’t agree with a picture or video that I upload to that file, they will delete it because “they said so”? It’s not up to them to decide what I have on my phone and computer.

Trevor Timm states, “The top decision maker at YouTube has more censorship power than any Supreme Court justice,” he says. “We have to develop policies that better protect free speech from not only government interference but also corporate censorship.” We should not stand for this. The government says we have “Freedom of Speech” but we really can’t just post anything we want. Do I think it’s right to post hate crime and pornography on the internet? No. I think people should make some real use of their time and find another online activity. But if they need a place to vent or blog out their issues, they most certainly should be “allowed” to. Who are we to say that they can’t think or say their opinion on a certain subject matter?

So there you have it. You can’t post anything you want on Twitter or Facebook. Youtube will take down anything questionable and your iCloud pictures will be deleted if they are “objectionable”.

 

Educators on Twitter: @DaisyDyerDuerr

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As I was looking through educators on Twitter, I came across a woman by the name of Daisy Dyer Duer, her Twitter handle is @DaisyDyerDuerr. Her profile read that she was a Principal of a school district (K-12) in Arkansas. She even had a hash tag, #ArkEdChat, which I thought was neat since we have our own hash tag to communicate with each other in our Writing Arts classroom (#tfws13). At the end of her profile she has a website listed, http://daisydyerduerr.com.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Right away I could tell that Dasiy was deeply involved in her profession and I wanted to learn more.

I clicked on her website and found out from there that she writes her own blogs on her page and that she travels around the country as a speaker. She obviously makes teaching more than just a job, it’s her passion and she’s made it into something that she enjoys. Her quote on her page says “Prepare ALL Students for Success in Today’s Digital World”. That is literally what we talk  about in my education and writing classes at Rowan University each day. It’s nice to read it somewhere else and know that it’s our future and it really exists.

Next, I clicked back over to her Twitter and checked out her follower list. Everyone that followed her was an educator or belonged in the field somehow. The same went for people who she followed. They were all involved in education; whether they were administrators, teachers, aides, or curriculum specialists. I am so glad I stumbled upon her account, and followed more people from her Twitter that inspire me to be a part of the amazing world of educators!

 

Facebook-less

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facebook iphoneLast Thursday night, my professor challenged my class to go exactly one week without using their Facebook account. At first I thought nothing of this. This was easy. Who really needs Facebook anyway? Well I have the app on my iPhone and I never knew how much I actually clicked on it through out my day. I use other social media apps like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but they just didn’t seem as fun without little old Facebook to go on as well. For instance, whenever I post edited pictures on Instagram, I automatically click “share” on Faceboook and Twitter when I’m about to post the picture. I posted a picture of my eight month old nephew this week on Facebook, even though I wasn’t supposed to be using it…it’s just a hard habit to break.

So this week I had to force myself to click around on different apps on my phone instead of using Facebook. What did I do before I made a Facebook account? Well I made a Myspace account when I was in ninth grade. I thought I was soooo cool. Now when I look back on that, I can’t believe how boring that website really was. I used to get so frustrated with making stupid backrounds and fonts. Facebook is straight forward and user friendly. I suppose another social network will come out in the next five or so years that’s better and more popular and we’ll all leave our Facebook accounts in the dust.

I learned a lot about myself from this past week without Facebook. I learned that I go on my Facebook way too much. I mostly use it to kill time between classes, when commercials come on the TV (because God forbid I’m bored for three minutes), or when I should be writing papers for class because I’ll be happy to log back on tonight after class but do I need to go on Facebook and read peoples’ whiney posts? Nope.

Shopping Carts to Mouse Clicks

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In Kevin Kelly‘s, We Are the Web, he makes some interesting points about the past, present and future of the computer and all of it’s uses for society. He mentions many times through out the post that “That remarkable achievement was not in anyone’s 10-year plan.” (Kelly 2). I don’t think any one could have imagined that the internet could provide the endless services that it does today. People can have their careers completely on the internet based off of the services it provides.

In the early 1990’s, people used the internet for checking their email or typing up Word documents for work and school. Today, the internet provides services for literally every aspect of our lives. “Today, at any Net terminal, you can get: an amazing variety of music and video, an evolving encyclopedia, weather forecasts, help wanted ads, satellite images of anyplace on Earth, up-to-the-minute news from around the globe, tax forms, TV guides, road maps with driving directions, real-time stock quotes, telephone numbers, real estate listings with virtual walk-throughs, pictures of just about anything, sports scores, places to buy almost anything, records of political contributions, library catalogs, appliance manuals, live traffic reports, archives to major newspapers – all wrapped up in an interactive index that really works” (Kelly 2)

Websites like Google, Amazon and Ebay have changed the way consumers buy and sell merchandise. We don’t have to leave our houses anymore to go buy clothes, parts for our cars or even food. With the click of a button, and of course a credit card, we have the freedom to buy what we chose and when at our convenience. “Instead, we have an open global flea market that handles 1.4 billion auctions every year and operates from your bedroom. Users do most of the work; they photograph, catalog, post, and manage their own auctions” (Kelly 3). Users are creating their own businesses on web pages and marketing their products in ads and pop ups. The world of having a small, family owned business in the downtown area of your home town is no longer. You can have your very on business on a web page with all of your products without ever having to pay a monthly fee to rent out a space for your store. I don’t think past generations could have ever dreamed of a world of  all of our wants and needs all on a little computer, just a click away…

shopping cart                                                                                                           amazon

The Right to Tweet

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twitter     We all remember the days we used to spend hours on MySpace, commenting on each others walls and pictures. Then all of a sudden Facebook came along and you didn’t have to make stupid backgrounds and pick colors out for your profile page. Facebook was more straight-forward, to the point and user friendly. Now Twitter seems to be taking the reigns in the social media world. You can be anyone you want to be on Twitter. There’s little room for a biography and it only allows you to have one profiule picture to look at. Apps on smart phones have made it easy for users to have multiple accounts on these social media websites so if somebody doesn’t want everyone to know who they are on Twitter, they can switch over to the account with no picture and tweet what ever they’d like.

I’ve seen several methods to how users get thousands of followers, for starters being famous helps. Everyone wants to follow their favorite celebrity and they’ve been known to tweet just about the strangest tweets out there, and then we all hear about them on TMZ or E! News within the hour “Lindsay Lohan just said (insert tweet here).” or “Rihanna just posted the most provocative picture (insert picture here).” When you are famous, you get have your little official blue check mark next to your name and of course just having a Twitter account can guarantee them at least 100,000 followers. They don’t even have to post anything interesting!

I’ve learned that “retweeting” celebrities, your friends, or that random account that posts funny sayings (and that are good for a laugh so you follow them anyway) can definitely get your “follower” numbers up there. Twitter only allows you to post a tweet with 140 characters, but that doesn’t stop people from tweeting how they really feel about that “crazy storm” that just happened or the “horrible traffic” they’re stuck in, omg…that’s never happened to anyone before! Or the infamous weather updates as if I don’t have The Weather Channel app right next to my Twitter on my iPhone. I find that I have to keep my sarcastic, “Thank you, I didn’t know it was snowing outside because I don’t have twenty windows in my house to know that” to myself. But I’ve grown to accept the blatantly obvious tweets people post all day because that is basically what Twitter is used for now, status updates or silly fragments of a sentence. It’s their right, and who am I to judge?

 

From Papyrus to iPads

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We would not be where we are today, in the current technology we use, if we had not gone through all of the previous technologies before. It was crucial to the development of writing tools to use papyrus and reeds to transcribe writings and pictures as well as animal hides, rocks and cave walls. It amazes me that humans came all of this way using preindustrial tools to the technology we have now. We started out writing marks in the dirt and on rocks to having printed texts in books. Better yet, we have now started reading on iPads, Nooks, Kindles and other E-Readers.

In Writing As Technology, Bolter says “In fact, it is hard to think of a marginal technology in the history of writing that the computer cannot imitate, just as it is hard to think of a dominant technology whose elements the computer does not borrow and reinterpret” (Bolter 23). I could not agree more with Bolter’s statement about the computer and its’ amazing technology it offers. All of the technology we use today is based off of the computer. With all of this technology being extremely accessible, it means anyone can make a website, blog, viral video or social media page.

With all of this technology being at our fingertips, it means anyone can say whatever they want on any website while staying anonymous. They can post their opinions on any topic and have the freedom of speech to back it up. In Writing As Technology, Bolter says “The open architecture of the World Wide Web allowed individuals to create sites and add them to the Web without the approval of any authority” (Bolter 20).  This aspect of the internet is what our country was founded on. To be able to have the right to express opinions that may differ from the people around you. We can have our own religious and political beliefs and write about them on the internet until we are blue in the face. Some people get carried away with internet use and they use it for bad reasons like making adult websites and videos and posting them for little kids to see.  Morality and censorship go right out of the window with these graphic web pages. Thank god for parental controls and pop-up blockers!

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