Friday, January 28, 2011

Course Reflection - FINAL POST :(

What part of the course did you enjoy the most? Why? What part of the course did you enjoy the least? Why?

Like many great things in life, there are things that are enjoyable and there are things that are less enjoyable. During this the ride through the IDCICT course at Mackenzie, I loved filming the promotional videos for the school. In contrast, I did not fully enjoy setting up all of the 30 netbooks.
Guided with Ms. Cuttle’s, Mrs. Green’s, and our creativity, we decided to have two parts to this project. The parts consisted of filming a short website introductory video along with the feature promotional film. After much research and brainstorming, we have decided to use stop motion for the introductory video and a creative approach to the promotional video itself.
I was instructed to bring my tripod and camera to school one day for the shooting of the stop motion film. The main idea was to take a picture, slightly move the characters, take another picture, and repeat. We took over 600 photos that day and utilized approximately 200 of them in the final introductory video. The final result is astounding. Although we have seen many stop motion movies in the past, this stop motion movie looked as good as the professional films that we see online.
The second part is the promotional video. Unlike other schools, we decided to make our promotional video original and interactive with the viewer him/herself. The ultimate goal of this video is for students to want to spend four years of their lives in our school.
All in all, I loved this entire one month filming experience. Every day that I picked up the heavy camera/tripod set, I ignored the pain on my shoulders and muscles because I felt the small sacrifice of a little pain will yield successful videos that will make a difference to a prospective student’s life. I enjoyed the experience because I felt like I was really a part of something bigger than just a school project. Knowing the school depended on my filming gave me motivation to try harder and endure longer.
If I really had to pick something that I did not enjoy in this course, I’d have to say the experience with the netbook cart team. Whenever my father brings home new technology, I would rush to open the box and set up whatever that box may contain. When we were sitting in circles in the library for the first bit of the course, I remember being very excited to open the boxes containing the netbooks. For the first few netbooks that I set up, I was very excited. But soon enough, all good things must come to an end. I then found netbook setup to be slightly tedious and time consuming. Aside from that, I loved setting up the netbooks and running around the school with the cart. It really made me feel like a unique and important student to the school.

What advice would you give future IDC students? Be specific.

The primary advice I would give to future IDC students is to refrain from slacking off. Throughout this course, I have seen too many instances where procrastination lead to poor results in the work that students’ hand in.
IDC class is a class where students have more freedom to do work on projects and assignments at their own paces. IDC is a class where due dates are not set in concrete (not always) and procrastination is always very tempting. In finer detail, I think students in the future should always use their time more wisely due to the fact that technology fails. There were many instances where technology failed or was too slow. For example, David Jo and I were collaborating for our final ISP. We thought the entire process of filming and editing would take no more than three hours. Little did we know that Sony Vegas actually likes to take its sweet time to render videos and save movies. In the end we did not put our best foot forward due to the time constraints that we had. We slept at approximately four o’ clock in the morning due to the procrastination that took place earlier that day.
Procrastination may happen in every course and possibly everything in life, but I feel many students are more prone to procrastination in the IDC course. Ms. Cuttle is very flexible with due dates in effort to iron out possibilities such as technological failure and students should not take advantage of that.

A teacher is reluctant to invest the time and energy it takes to use more technology. What would you say to this teacher to convince him/her that using technology is worth the effort involved?

To a teacher that is reluctant to invest time and energy into more technology, I would say many things to convince him/her into investing this time. I would first start off with the learning curve involved, then the benefits of integrating technology, and then the surprising simplicity of the programs available today. *I will complete the rest of this question as if I am speaking to the teacher reluctant to invest time and energy him/herself.*
Today, technology is everywhere. Many institutions use technology to their benefit and convenience. However, I understand why you might think technology is not worth the time and effort. Technology comes attached with a learning curve. Depending on the level of skill that you have, learning curves for some programs will be bigger than others. The results from utilizing technology are quite astounding. Once you learn the basics of programs and software, using technology will definitely be worth your time and effort.
There are many benefits of implementing technology into your curriculum. As you may know, technology is our future and technology is literally everywhere. The benefits of implementing technology into your curriculum may include convenience, insurance for your documents, and increased attention span of your students. Students may submit assignments and contact you through a class website or blog. This provides convenience for you and your students as you can access this class gateway through any computer with internet connection. You will never lose your documents again as programs like Google Docs ensures all your documents are safe and secure on their servers linked to only your account. Students will increase their attention span when learning new concepts in class. The lessons will be more interactive and students will be more motivated to learn.
Each and every one of these programs *provide teacher with list of researched programs* that we have previously researched are extremely user-friendly. Once you understand how each program works (most programs are extremely simple to understand), the full potential of technology will be shown to you.
In conclusion, in almost every case, implementing technologies into your curriculum will yield great results for both you and your students. Your time and energy will be worth the end results of implementing technologies into your curriculum.

One of the main differences between this course and many others, besides the lack of tests, is the potential to do more than is expected of you. At any point do you demonstrate superior leadership, involvement or commitment to this course that you would like me to take into consideration when determining your final grade. Please be specific and clear in describing what you did and why it went ‘above and beyond’ the expectations of the course

For the interest of the success of our promotional video group, I have done what I have been assigned and went beyond. When we were brainstorming, we came across stop motion being a good idea. At first the group was hesitant over whether or not we should do it, but I stepped up and said that it’s doable with the equipment that I have. I volunteered to bring in my camera my tripod, and the tripod ball head. The tripod ball head is an attachment onto the tripod that allows me to lock the tripod in any angle. I was not going to buy this ball head any time soon, but for the interest of the group I decided to spend $120 dollars for the ball head. Of course I did not buy the head entirely for this project, but I was debating whether or not I should get the head.
Another factor that I was thinking about when I volunteered to bring my camera in is that we would be taking hundreds of photos. Each DSLR has a shutter count. Consider a shutter counter as milage in a car. Every shot that I take from my camera counts towards a shutter count and eventually the shutter will give out. For the interest of the success of our group’s ideas, I decided to sacrifice over 600 shutter activations.
The tripod that I volunteered to bring in proved to be useful in the stop motion filming as well as the promotional video process. The tripod that I brought in for the group really played a key role in stability of the camera during the promotional filming process. I believe without the tripod we would have a lot more difficulty in shooting a successful promotional video.
I believe that not only did I do my job well, but I constantly went above and beyond for the interest of our group. I believe I have demonstrated superior leadership, involvement and commitment to this course when compared to others in the class.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reading Response Part 3

After reading the Don Tapscott's response to his own article Growing Up Digital, I got the view of internet/computer use for adolescents from both sides.

After reading the article, I found three criticisms that I found were most important.

The first criticism that I found important is the one where Tapscott makes of the adolescents' ability to multitask. I believe it is true that parents do not understand the concept of multitasking. The entire concept of multitasking is to be able to do more than one thing at one time without a loss in attention or in the quality of work.
After the internet has become a major part of a teen's life, multitasking has really become a skill that every teen has. I completely agree with Tapscott because I feel I am good at multitasking with the use of computers/internet as well. As of right now, I am multitasking. I am instant messaging, scanning pictures for yearbook, and writing this article all at one time. This point is important because without the internet being a trainer for multitasking, multitasking would be a difficult thing to do.

Another criticism that I found important is when Tapscott mentions that the internet does not decline a teen`s interpersonal skills. This is true in many ways and this fact needs to be enforced so that parents understand that. People have felt that the internet causes teens to become hidden in the walls of the world wide web, but that is not true. Today there are websites like Facebook and MySpace which allows the user to become more socially active than one that does not use Facebook. Of course this does not apply for all, but as a teen who has experienced a boost in interpersonal skills that has been influenced by Facebook, I can speak for this criticism.

The third criticism that I found important is the fact that Tapscott makes about kids that don`t pay attention in school. I feel teachers should look into this fact because optimal teaching styles changes frequently. In order to keep students engaged and interested at all times, teachers must adapt to newer and more exciting forms of education. Technology is a great new way of educating students while keeping them focused at all times.

I do agree with Mr Tapscott when he says we need to change "the relationship between student and teacher in the learning process".
I believe teachers should find a new way of teaching students due to the rapid rise of technology. Students these days are not as much engaged with lectures and textbook questions anymore. If teachers were to implicate technologies into their teaching styles, students can experience a more entertaining learning experience and perhaps a more convenient one as well. For example, if assignments were to be submitted online rather that in person, a click of a button to hand in assignments is more convenient than spending money on ink and destroying trees to bring the assignment to school the following day.

Of the two articles, I believe this article arguing that Growing Up Digital is beneficial to everybody is right in every aspect.
I strongly agree with the arguments that were placed in this article because I can speak for the arguments myself. The arguments that were in the article against digitally influenced teenaged years were weak. I felt the arguments were biased and only looked at the perspectives of the students that lack self control. The full benefits of the internet and computer use are so great that they cannot be determined in present time.
I believe all the arguments in this article and I strongly believe that if used correctly, the digitally influenced teenagers can harvest more knowledge and skills than a teenager that did not have access to the wonders of a digital world.

After reading this article, my position remains the same as I feel that in the big picture, the digital world brings nothing but benefits.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Teachers' Views on Technology in Classrooms

After watching a series of eight videos about teachers using technologies in their classrooms, I feel that there will be many benefits if more technology is implemented into our curriculum.

An idea that was used in a school was the implementation of iPads.
This is a very good idea because iPads can replace many things including textbooks, assignments, and perhaps even binders. iPads are powerful tools for organizing notes and word processing assignments. I believe the iPad is great for students to use but I do not think these benefits overrule the price of an iPad.
iPads cost a lot of money. I believe if every student was provided an iPad, they will become too reliant on technology. Technology is reliable but if students forget simple things like textbooks or assignments at home, they will become less responsible.
Overall, iPads are great for education but the benefits do not completely justify the price per unit.

Another idea that I really liked was the digitizing of assignments.
At Mackenzie, we already sort of implement this idea. In some of my classes like this class, assignments are all submitted digitally through the internet.
On the other hand, some teachers ask for paper copies of assignments. I believe this is a waste of paper when compared with handing in assignments through the internet. In both cases, word processing is required, so why not hand in assignments through the internet?
This is an idea that I think all classes should implement. This idea is easy, this idea saves paper, and this idea is simple to implement.

Overall after watching these videos, I do not like most of the ideas.
The ideas I do like have already been considered at the beginning of the course. They were elimlinated due to financial constraints of the school.
Therefore, these ideas are not original to me.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Article Response to Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

After reading an article about the effects of technology on students' study/work habits, I can relate in many ways and parts to the people in this article.

I do have things in common with Vishal. He often gets distracted by watching videos and going on Facebook when he should be doing homework.
This sounds all too familiar to what I do at home. Right now as I type this blog post, I have been distracted by YouTube, Facebook, and MSN Messenger when I should really be working hard on completing this blog post. Vishal's addiction leads to poor marks in school.
Because I have always been around computers as I was a child, I cannot accurately say if I have been affected in the same way that Vishal has been. I do however, believe that if I eliminate procrastination and drifting off into watching videos and socializing using the internet, my marks may rise. In general, I believe my time online has a negative impact on my grades.

Technology does amplify my personality.
For example, photos and comments are shared on Facebook on a daily basis. If I did not use Facebook, not as many people will see photos and comments that I have made. The internet has allowed me to make more friends in real life compared to just making friends without the internet. People these days are closer to each other by the frequent and simple communication techniques that are made possible by the internet.

In my own experience, gaming does affect my sleep pattern. It does not reduce my abilities to retain information though.
In the past, I have been hooked on to games so much that my sleep pattern has been altered to be from 7am to 4pm. In between 4pm and 7am I am playing games.
This however does not happen to me all the time. I have developed control over my gaming patterns. For example, this year is an important year for me. I have decided to sell my gaming platforms and restricted myself from playing games in order to maximize study time. But Facebook, YouTube, and MSN messenger stayed, and that was an issue on it's own.

I believe Alan Eaton does have a point when he says technology has led to a balkanization of students' focus and duration of stamina. But I believe Eaton is only looking at things in a small picture. Like most grown adults who had a childhood absent of technology, they believe technology is bad. They believe technology has corrupted our children and society. The truth of the matter is, everything big that has a big impact on society has it's pros and cons. Without computers and technology, the world would be nothing compared to what we have today. Without computers the death rate would be much higher and the quality of life lower. The benefits of having technology heavily outweighs the disadvantages of not having technology to the point where there is no argument for technology being beneficial. In that case, Alan Eaton's point is worth nothing more than a speck of Amish logic.
Sure, technology has a lot of downsides, but let's be real, nothing amazing comes with no catch. Alan Eaton is full of garbage if he sincerely believes technology is nothing but a distraction and he should re-evaluate his facts and beliefs.

Schools should definitely be embracing more technology. Technology is expensive, but nothing comes without a price tag. The truth of the matter is, without knowledge of technologies, you are almost excluded from the entire world. Money revolves around technology and I can almost guarantee everything in existence today has required technology to exist.
There is a saying along the lines of: A nation's treasure is in it's scholars.
The future depends on the present day students. Since very few people will argue against the fact that technology is the future, a smart plan would be providing technology for present day scholars. Scholars will adapt to technologies faster in the future. This may lead to a brighter technology packed future.

The students in this article are not an accurate depiction of my life.
Considering the fact that the article is attacking technology on it's impact on students doing poorly in school and life, this article is biased.
I know many people in the world that have been positively impacted by the internet and computer use. A small example would be myself an hour ago. I have a biology test tomorrow and I do not completely understand a concept in mutations. But no worry! The internet is a goldmine filled with many pages of information.
The students in the article have blamed technology for the negative sides. Technology's benefits severely outweighs it's cons. If a student cannot control him/herself due to the availability of computers and the internet, that's his/her fault. If someone gets into a car accident due to poor driving, should we blame cars for the accident?

I do admit that I do get sidetracked by technology. But with enough self control, technology should not run your life. With enough self control, technology should only benefit you.

It almost seems as if these students have been chosen particularly because they find other things to blame than themselves for doing poorly in school.
These students are definitely not good deceptions of my life.

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Placement Update

As of this moment, Jenny and I have completed two placement assignments.
Ms. Hanna wanted a website along with a blog and Mr Willms wanted a website.
I have created a Jing video tutorial for the operation and creation of Ms. Hanna's blog.
Here is the public link:

Enjoy the video!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

What was accomplished last week?

1) What did you accomplish last week in your placements?
Last week, Jenny, Noah, and I were assigned to Ms. Hanna. She is an English teacher for the 11th grade and she has requested for technologies to be integrated into her curriculum.
After an interview with Ms. Hanna, we composed a to do list.
This list included prezi, blogger, google sites, and possibly YouTube.
With this lust of things to do, we quickly divided up our roles. Noah would be responsible for prezi, Jenny would be responsible for the google sites, and I will be responsible for the blogger website as well as the YouTube account if she wants YouTube to be used.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Placement Blog Post

I believe I will be best at learning new software.
On a regular basis, I am always testing out new software at home where I have had a lot of experience in harnessing the potential in different types of software. I know how to differentiate between good and bad software and what is useless/useful.

I believe I will not do so well in developing and creating websites. Although I have taken a few programming courses in the past, HTML is a fairly new concept to me and I have put much effort into making my blog nice and neat. I believe there are other students in the class who are much more fitted for this job.

8 - I am good at coming up with creative ideas but sometimes it takes a lengthy amount of time before I get the "aha!" moment. Other students may have an easier time coming to this "aha!" moment.

10 - If I say I will get the work done, I make it my priority to get the job done well. I always take responsibility for my own mistakes and wrongdoings.

Web Design:
8 - Although I have stated in the past that I am not amazing at web design, I had a 100% custom theme on my blog before (which I had to convert back to a template them due to the RSS feed not working) which took me a lot of time to create. I was able to change the way I wanted something but this took time. HTML is not yet second nature to me as I am fairly new at designing web pages.

Developing Action Plans:
10 - As a previous manager at a unit in Wonderland, action plans are made in my head without much deliberation. I have become very good at making rational decisions based on the information that I am given and the knowledge that I have.

Teaching Other People:
8 - Depending on what I am teaching, I may not be so good at teaching other people the skills. I am capable of learning on my own, but sometimes I have trouble thinking like someone else.

Meeting Deadlines:
10 - Aside from the miscommunication last week, I always meet my deadlines. I treat my deadlines as a DEADLINE where past the deadline is the end of the world (somewhere I do not wish to go). As long as a date and time is put up, my responsibility kicks in and I will make it my primary concern to meet that responsibility.

I am comfortable with leading a group of students. Leading a group of people was my primary job when I was a supervisor back then.

I am okay with working with a partner or in a team.
I prefer to work with people rather than alone because I am able to share my ideas and get constructive criticism.

I would like to work in any of the subjects listed.
I have interest in all of the subjects, and I have taken at least one course in every single one of those subjects.

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