Week 13 - A Final Look!!

I think that Project Gutenberg is a wonderful idea especially if the books are used as teaching materials in the classroom. The site makes a good distinction between the two meanings of the word “free” – one which is “free of charge” and the other is “free to use it however we want to”. I think that it is very important to know the difference so that people who do download these e-books understand what they can actually use the books for. As educators, I think that if we are unable to find a specific book or story for our class and it is offered on Project Gutenberg, I would definitely use this service. I may not be able to show the students the pictures (if it came with pictures) but if I wanted to get a point across, I am still able to do this.

The reading “The Young Reader and the Screen” looks at really good points about the direction our society is going when it comes to children and literacy. At my placement that I just finished their library was lacking a lot of books – they had the books, but they were not in any good condition so many of them had to be thrown out. However, in each classroom there is at least one computer and there are computers in the computer lab as well as the library. As it was stated in the reading nowadays, when children are visiting the library, they spend time on the computer rather than looking at the books. Another good point that this reading points out is that children need oral language in their lives early on. It is expected that without oral language from person-to-person contact, children will have trouble sorting out in their minds what they want to say. I think that after this reading, I have a better understanding of the importance of using oral language in teaching children, and that it is easier for young children to learn to read by using rhyming words. In addition, I have become more aware of how electronic books for children can never replace actual books – the children get distracted with animated pictures and focus on those rather than what the story is about. Pictures should extend the reader’s imagination rather than flat out show them what things look like. One example I would like to mention about learning to read off the screen is that my brother started playing video games from a very young age and because the games he liked to play had text in them, he learned to read by playing video games. However, even though he learned to read somewhat difficult text from the games, I am not sure how much of it he actually understood and his liking for reading books has not been fostered due to his liking for reading things on video games.
  • Current Mood
    sleepy sleepy

Week 12 - TuxPaint & Jason's article

A few weeks ago when I was introduced to the meaning of open source technology, I wasn’t sure the types of programs that are compatible with such technology. After reading about the new art program for children called TuxPaint, I am starting to get convinced that open source technology can benefit children as much, if not more, than the usually types of computers most of us use in our households. What is very fascinating with TuxPaint is that it supports over 45 different languages. This can be beneficial for teachers who have children from diverse backgrounds because all the children will be able to succeed in creating some type of art. From experience with other creative programs, it is difficult to understand what all the buttons mean and how to actually create a nice looking picture. The site that allows you to see how a screen of TuxPaint looks like is definitely easier to use, especially if it is for children from ages 3 and up. Each button has a picture as well as a word to describe the function of the button so that there is no confusion.

The article by Jason Nolan brings up a good point about how many programs offer their service only in English. Sure, there are expansion packs and whatnot that can be downloaded off the internet, but if someone is unable to read the instructions to get these language packs, what use would it be to have it offered? Another valid point that is brought up in the article is how many blogging sites don’t allow you to save your work before you are ready to post it to the public. From personal experience, I have written a nice long entry in one my blogs and when I clicked “submit” there was a page error and all the information that I have written got deleted.

Let’s say that someone assisted you in downloading language packs in order to write and read information in various languages, are the programs only good for people who actually know the language or can someone inquire about what a word might be in a certain language? For example, if I wanted to communicate with a parent in Japanese about a field trip that the class will be going on but I did not know the language, is there a program that allows me to type all the information that I need to tell the parents in English and by the click of a button it will translate into Japanese? I feel that if programs or books, for example, are offered in various different languages it helps people in the community become closer with one another because they all have been given the same information and there are no cultural gaps.
  • Current Mood
    satisfied satisfied


Originally uploaded by dimple_dumpling_2.
Here's a new post of the same picture on a new account! I reached the limit of uploading photos on my other one..oops! I will have the photos that we take w/ our digital cameras on this account! Please save me as a friend again!

Week 11 - Children as Photographers!

I am very fascinated with children and photography because I think it is very interesting to see what children find important. As the article by Stewart (2002) points out, children as young as 4 are capable of taking good photos. I can see how this finding can be true because it is often that young children are able to pick out details that many older children or adults miss out on. Giving children as well as adults the opportunity to view the photographs children take can be quite insightful. When children get to review their own photographs, they can learn to self-reflect and make modifications to their picture-taking techniques. When adults look at pictures that children have taken, they can get a better idea of what the children are interested in and it can facilitate meaningful discussions.

I came across a really pretty picture that an 11-year-old took at twilight and I am really amazed at how professional the picture looks. There’s a good chance that if the age of the child was not on the page, not many people would be able to guess a child took the picture. I think that as an educator, I would love to give my students opportunities to take disposable cameras to take pictures at different times of the day or just different aspects of their lives. One factor that I think plays a part in a child’s photography skills is the amount of opportunity they get to practice and to explore. For example, if a child rarely gets the chance to go outdoors they would not have many pictures of the environment/scenery.

The article by Sharples, Davison, Thomas, and Rudman (2003) makes an interesting statement about how the older children get the more they try to take adult-like pictures – with “posed idealized images”. From personal experience, my brother, who is 11-years-old often likes to try and capture action images. He attempts to take pictures while someone is jumping, running, or dodging, but soon realizes that because the camera has a slight delay, he is unable to capture such a picture.
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    drained drained

Week 10 - AccessGrid

Our experience with the AccessGrid last week was very interesting. It basically is a bigger version of the webcams we use at home, with a lot more functions. Even though I knew that people from both sides could have interacted and talked to each other (which is different than just having regular cameras on you) I still felt self-conscious about every action that I did. I was telling a friend that I didn’t even want to sneeze or blow my nose because the person that we’re talking to would see it. She brought up a very good point which is that even if you talk to someone face-to-face, you would do it anyway. The reason might be because the whole class had view of everyone so it seems like you’re being “extra” watched (if that makes any sense at all). If we all have had more experience with this type of technology we might be more relaxed and actually get up and experiment with the cameras and whatnot.
Relating this experience to young children, I think it would be a great way for children in the ELC to come into contact with children in other daycares across Canada, and maybe later even in other places around the world. For really young children, it is hard for them to imagine what or how things are when they are not in view. With the use of the AccessGrid, children can view other children in various parts of Canada and see either how similar they are or even how different they are. Some modifications would have to be made, however, especially if it is the AccessGrid that is available at Ryerson. It would be most advantageous if the children have eye-to-eye contact with each other rather than having to lift their heads up and strain their necks. I can imagine that if the children interact with each other a few times and form some type of relationship, they can share some artwork with each other or some songs/plays for one another to learn to appreciate other people/cultures.
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    working working

Week 9 readings (i don't think it's week 12)

Video conferencing with preschool children: Mass communication media in music instruction by Peter Gouzouasis
I found this article extremely interesting because of how technology has advanced tremendously. Not too long ago, picture messaging over the cell phones was introduced and people wanted to buy these phones because it’s “new”. Nowadays, going along with what the article was talking about, it is possible to connect individuals from one country to another through video conferencing. Sure, people might argue that it’s similar to webcams, however, I get the impression that video conferencing would be more beneficial to use for instructional/educational purposes. Also, using video conferencing allows the person (or people) to move around more freely than if they were to use a webcam. In the section titled “The efficacy of the teaching segments”, when it was talking about how some children were not able to follow the chants or patterns, I automatically thought to myself that the problem might be relating to the technology and not to the children’s inability to do such tasks. Reading along further, the article actually says that on the Australia end, the volume was too low or the beginning of the chant was cut off, and the children in Canada had trouble seeing the movements because the video was slow at parts.
I feel that with some tweaking to video conferencing, it can potentially work out to be extremely beneficial for educators to get their children in contact with children half-way around the world. Since it is almost impossible for all the children to travel to another part of the world, it would be nice to introduce them to other cultures in some other way, such as video conferencing. Expanding on video conferencing and music, I think that it would be a great experience for children in Canada to video conference with children from other cultures to share each other’s music.

Metaportal for megatrend: New Visualization Lab is up and running by Lynda Lester
There are two things that learned while reading this article. First, I have heard of the term AccessGrid before, but never really knew what it meant. Now I know that it’s “an ensemble of network, computing, and other resources that supports group-to-group human interactions” (Lester, 2002). Secondly, I found it really interesting that the South Pole has an AccessGrid as well. I wonder what it would be like to connect children in Canada to children in the South Pole (if there are any that live there).
Of course it is better for people to have face-to-face interaction but if it is not possible, having video conferences seems like a really good substitute. For business networks that are located in various parts of the world, using an AccessGrid can help them move from talking over the phone where neither person can see each other, to a more meaningful interaction among people. I know from personal experience that when you communicate with someone over email or even sometimes over telephone, it is hard to see how the person really feels about what you are talking to them about. For example, if someone sent me an email that says something jokingly, it is really hard to tell that it is a joke (even if you add a smiley face beside it). Some people can misunderstand what others say and take it offensively. Sure, on the phone you can tell the tone of their voice, but again, I know people that can act really happy just for “image management” purposes. Through an AccessGrid, you are able to see a full body image of the person you are talking to and their mannerisms as you are engaging in the conversations.

Children as Photographers: an Analysis of Children’s Photographic Behaviour and Intentions at Three Age Levels by Sharples, Davison, Thomas, & Rudman
After reading this article, I’m really excited to do our photography lab. I am curious to see the types of pictures that my child will take and if it falls into similar categories that the researchers in this study found. This study looked at boys and girls at the age of 5, 11, and 15 and discussed the differences of their view on photography in each age group. The differences that were mentioned about the types of pictures that 5 year olds take compared to 11 year olds or 15 year olds can be due primarily to age. Not age such that older children don’t look at their family as often or are as close, but age in the way that younger children are less likely to be able to roam around freely to take pictures of their choice. At the age of 15, most people are in high school and more freedom is given to children at that age.
Many parents refuse to give their children cameras to take pictures with because they feel that their child will waste the film or break the camera (if it is an expensive one). As the article points out, children, even at a young age, are not film wasters. It is understandable that parents would not want their child using their $500 camera. However, there are many disposable cameras or child-friendly cameras that don’t cost very much. If the pictures get developed and placed in a photo album, it would be really interesting for the child to look back at the pictures they took when they were much younger. In my opinion, children who get the opportunity to take pictures learn about what is important to them and what is not that important – they learn to construct themselves.
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    relieved relieved

Week 8 readings!

“Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet” by Lisa Nakamura
I find it very fascinating how some people are able to create characters with complete identities for role playing sites offered online. I realize that it’s like telling a story except the user will have to play out the entire story of the character they have created. The article mentions about users creating characters of different races (other than their own true race) or not putting a race at all. I don’t really see anything wrong with someone creating a character that is not of their own race (e.g. Asian), but I can see how it can become offensive when this character is portraying stereotypical characteristics of a certain race. For example, if a user chooses to make their character of Asian descent and talks about how this character liked to eat Chinese food, for example, it would not be viewed as offensive. However, it would be viewed as offensive if they portrayed this character to be a brilliant mathematician who is a bad driver and subservient. I have to admit that it can be quiet entertaining to create a character and see how it plays out in a “world” where none of the characters you associate with actually exist. What I am skeptical about are those people who are too involved in role playing sites that they forget about the real world.

A Rape in Cyberspace by Julian Dibbell
This article has made it clearer to me how role playing sites work. I’ve heard about MUD before and even know people who play it, but I had no idea how you can tell what others are doing or saying. I never knew that you are only allowed to leave a room if there’s an “exit” sign or that only players that are in the same room as you can see what you actually say. I always thought that it’s more like a chat room where one person types in something and everyone else has the chance to see it and respond to it. It’s very disturbing and mind-boggling how someone can be so inappropriate and perverted to ruin a good “life” that people have created together. Imagine innocently playing a game and having so much fun when all of a sudden something flashes on your screen that is disgusting and crude. Can any person join a group without having people accept them?

Bridging the Digital Divide: The Impact of Race on Computer Access and Internet Use by Hoffman & Novak
Before I read this article, I didn’t think that there would be a difference between Whites and African-Americans in terms of computer or internet use. It is interesting to see that Whites are more likely to own computers, use computers, and have access to the internet. When I first read that there was a difference, I almost automatically thought that not everyone needs a computer at home and sometimes not having internet access at home for children are more beneficial. Internet access should be given in certain parts of the school for research and in the home on certain computers (for older family members and not young children) where children can use it for specific purposes when needed. I didn’t really think about income levels (which does not really play a part) or education levels between the two groups. As an early childhood educator, I would never treat children of colour differently than Caucasian children in regards to computer use until I have gotten to observe the way they use the computer.
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    stressed stressed

Week 7 Readings

Open Source Household by Daniel Dern
At first I felt confused about what the article was talking about because I am not too familiar with Linux – I’ve heard that name before but was unsure of what it was exactly. After understanding the basis of this article more clearly, I find that it is quite an interesting concept – to have open sources in the home. Typically, you would imagine only having the most popular software for your computer, which would probably be Windows. However, there are so many other types of software available that might even be better than what the majority of people possess. I was enlightened by the fact that the different software that was mentioned in the article was free and they still offered a large variety of programs to download and use. In my opinion, children should be introduced to a variety of software so their abilities are more versatile. As it was mentioned in the article, one of the children was not able to use the computer at his friend’s house because it was not the software that he used at home. For people that use Windows, they should experiment with other software, such as Linux so they are not refined to using only what Windows supports.

National Institute on Media and the Family Joins Senator Clinton in Demanding the Truth about Secret Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Pornographic Content
I find it very shocking that those individuals who programmed the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas would include pornographic content. Although a code was required to view the content, it doesn’t make matters better because the code was there for a reason. If they did not want people to see such content, they would not even have the code available. I’m not saying that people are not allowed to include pornographic content because even in some award-winning movies, there are scenes of nudity, for example. As it states in the article, the rating should be appropriately changed if there is pornographic content so that parents who are purchasing the game for their children are warned ahead of time.

Seductions of Sim by Paul Starr
While reading the article, I really liked the term “edutainment”, which basically means educational entertainment. I was always for educational computer games because I feel that it’s a productive way for children to learn important things in a fun way so that they’re excited about learning.
I knew that simulations are not something new; however I did not know what people used it for in the past. I find it interesting that military services and other business professionals used simulations to assist them in their job, but in 2 different ways. One way is a role-playing game and the other way was through a complex system. Nowadays, the simulations games that we know of, such as SIMS, the two are combined. There are advantages and disadvantages of the Sim games - the advantage would be that people can play out close to real-life situations and work through problems; the disadvantage is that playing the game on the computer takes a person away from the real world and the social interaction with real people. When policymakers truly generate laws and health plans, for example, a lot of debate and effort is put into it, it isn’t as simple as the game shows it to be. Whatever Sims depicts can be pretty close to what happens in the real world, but that’s all it can ever be.
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    optimistic optimistic

Week #6 – Hacking Human

While reading this article I started to feel a little scared because it never really crossed my mind that there are people out there that try to fish out all the information that they can about a person. I’m not totally innocent when it comes to looking up information and I bet a lot of us aren’t. Aren’t we hacking other people when we go to Mapquest to look up their address and exactly where their house is located? I know I have used the phone number reversal lookup as well at work when I have no idea what a customer’s name is by their writing but they left a phone number. For some reason it doesn’t feel like I’m invading their space because I know that the intention is not to do any harm. However, when you think about someone else doing that to you, it makes you wonder why they would do it and it kind of creeps you out (especially if you don’t know the person).
I’ve always known not to put too personal information on the internet because it can be dangerous, but it wasn’t until reading this article that it really clicked in that all information that we put on the internet will always be there. There are always ways for people to find out certain information if they try hard enough to look for it. Also, I’ve always found it sort of spooky when you meet someone in person and they know who you are by your online name (if you have a blog, for example). The reality is though that if you put enough information about where you go to school or where you work, your picture, and some of your interests, someone is bound to recognize you. If you’re lucky, the people would be nice, if you’re unlucky, you can be in big trouble. Keeping a blog is a good way to have a record of your thoughts and events, but not having it such that people know every aspect of your life is also important. Remember also that it’s always more fun to find out information about someone by talking to them rather than reading it off a computer screen or piece of paper.
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    stressed stressed