Questions Chapters 4 & 7

Group members: Frankie, Mark, Brandon, Mychael, Angela

Chapter 4 

 1.  When teaching methods are introduced, why must innovative ways to assess student work follow, according to Davidson? (Hint:  See page 122-123)

 When you change the teaching method, the old method of grading may not accurately assess the student’s knowledge appropriately.

2.  Where did grading potentially come from and what were the activities worthy to assess? What American school used letter grades?  What kind of assessment method became known as “the symbol of American education” and when was it introduced? (Hint:  See pages 129-130)

Letter grading may potentially have started at Cambridge University, with numerical or letter grades supplementing written comments on compositions in a few cases by a few dons sometime at the end of the eighteenth century. Yale was one of the first American universities to implement letter grades, public schools started to use them in 1897. The multiple-choice test became the symbol of American education in 1914.

3.  If current modes of assessment generated from the 20th century “assembly-line model,” then what model should a 21st century modes of assessment be derived from?  (Hint:  See page 131)

For assessment, Davidson thinks we should stop using end of the year grade exam. She thinks testing should be more flexible and have more variety. It should be casual and carry less weight, such as a smaller impact on the overall grade.

4.  “College is a place to learn how to educate oneself rather than a place in which to be educated” (134).  Do you agree or disagree with Kelly’s statement?  Why?

I agree to that, as a student, you must be able to

5.  What is ultimately the problem with standardized testing, according to Davidson?  (Hint:  see page 141).  How does Cohen and Rosenweig’s H-Bot show that “search functions on Google have rendered the multiple-choice form of testing obsolete” (143)?  What do these findings lead Davidson to suggest for changes to assessment practices? (Hint:  see page 144-148)

The problem with standardized testing is that it doesn’t teach creative thinking and critical problem solving.  This may be shown by the H-BOT, which was created by a student that searched algorithms able to read test questions and browse the internet for answers. The H-BOT was able to score 82% on a National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that was designed for fourth graders. Davidson says that, she would first stop, immediately, the end-of-grade exams in public schools because the tests are irrelevant to the student’s actual learning needs.

Chapter 7  The Changing Worker

1.  What two things does Davidson say we need in order to “succeed at work in the future” (236)?

Collaboration and Context (Page 220, Nook) — changing our point of view can mean the difference between problem and opportunity.

 

2.  The discussion about Specialisterne workers suggest a different approach to labor and views toward disability (238- 239).  What is it that this company is doing that is drawing attention?  Why does Davidson suggest that it serves as “a metaphor for work in the future” (240)?

They employ autistic workers in quality assurance. The autistic employees are not bored by the repetitive nature of code analysis. This is an excellent example of collaboration and context–where other employers might see a disabled worker, Specialisterne found a group who thrives where others struggle. Sonne tries to structure assignments and work spaces to the particular needs of his employees. Trying to “force everybody into one mold… Just causes stress, and workplaces already produce too much of that.”

3.  “What is relevant in a new, decentralized world of work may not even be a skill for which we know how to measure or test” (242). What are the parallels between work and education, based on what you learned about changes needed for education and assessment?

Wayne Gretzky did not test better than other hockey players in any of the detailed analyses–he was better than other players because he could predict the position of the puck and the movements of other players, allowing him to start moving before anyone else.

The inability to measure something does not mean it does not exist. In this example there is evidence that there is not a way to measure one’s ability to be successful in a workplace without placing the student in a productive work environment. Tactile learning is different from book learning. The experience of touching and feeling the ice and watching other players cannot be expressed or measured by traditional methods of education, but it is still a real skill. A necessary part of being successful.

4.  What makes FutureWork’s approach to work unique (244)?

Check out their website at: http://www.futureworkinstitute.com/

Taking life desires into account, not just work ambitions. Some people like 80 hour work weeks. Others perform better working 25. The flexibility to change with life’s requirements can be important as people raise children and deal with health issues. They seek to take the pre-industrial model where people shaped their work around their life, and bring into the post-industrial era.

5.  Do you agree that “[w]orkers have changed more than workplaces” (247).  Why or why not?

I agree, the information age has really allowed people to begin thinking more creatively and this is beginning to spread. People are changing to be more flexible about where they can add to their work environment. Entrepreneurship is becoming more valued, no longer is it enough to fit into one title. It’s more important to fit into many categories with a range of skills than it is to fit only one title. It’s easier to be more successful if you have more than a single skill, and in turn that makes the workplace shift from isolated cubicles to pods and rolling chairs.

6.  DIY and Do It Together drives the work structure so unique for Wikipedia (252-253).  What are these two concepts and what does it mean for the Wikipedia workplace?  (Hint:  See pages 252-255)

DIY and Do It Together are the two methods for getting things done. They indicate a balance between meeting personal goals on one’s own, and working together, collaboratively to meet a goal. For Wikipedia it is a structure that largely uses crowdsourcing for its informational entries. Users are not required to be certified experts on the subject  in order to contribute to its bank of data. Though there are experts and employees of Wikipedia who monitor the information for errors, it largely relies on users to fill its pages, much like the world wide web.

7.  Davidson cites three principles that make for a successful workplace (258-259).  What are they?  Have you worked in a job that embraced one or all of these?  What were the results?  What example does Davidson provide to illustrate them?  (Hint:  See pages 262-267)

1) How we think about ourselves.

2) How we view our future at any age.

3) How we imagine aging in the future.

 

The best example of embracing these principles is the CMDC program. It offers a chance to make some great connections and fill a multitude of roles. There is a range of disciplines offered, and the extent of a student’s involvement is only limited by the students themselves. The program reaches further than just our campus, it stretches into the community and gets involved in putting on exhibits and attending city functions. It encourages collaboration and entrepreneurship and provides opportunities for the students to exercise those skills to effect change on the world. Davidson talks about the CEO of Proximity hotel and how he was a businessman, a developer, and entrepreneur.

 

 

Questions about eBooks

 1. Compare the first book ever printed with the first work ever turned into an eBook.  What do they have in common?  (Hint:  Use your handouts from Monday)

They were both religious texts.

2. The first publishing house of print books was established in 1472; the first publisher of eBooks, in 1985.  Observations about the time frame?                   Format?

1450 was when the Gutenberg printing press came out and it was 22 years before the first publishing house was established. The first home computers came out in 1984 and the first eBook publisher was open in 1985. The time frame shortened between the invention of the technology and the use of it.

3. Note the various formats digital books have been published in since their introduction.  What can you say about this period of eBook development in light of what you have learned about pBooks?

They are moving away from using a lot of actual text and morphing into a more visually oriented environment. They are developing and making printed versions obsolete and unattractive.

4. Born digital works have been around since the 1950s but Stephen King raised their profile with the release of his novella in 2000.  Go to http://www.pcworld.com/product/947815/stephen-king-s-riding-the-bullet-.html.  What observations can you make about the book and its readership of this book today?  What obstacles did King face 14 years ago when he released this work?

When this novella was first released Stephen King had a big following already, that helped the sales of his first digital publication become popular. However, the technology was new and the number of downloads were causing computers to crash and the websites offering the novella to crash. It was difficult to get any accurate data about the readership because of it.

5. What do you think drove Random House and HarperCollins to begin selling the print books in digital versions?

There was a lower cost for production and therefore they were able to publish books at a lower cost.

6. We see Kindle released in 2007 and Nook in 2009.  No mention is made of iPhones in 2007.  Why?  What bias is showing in this “history”?

It is a bias of not wanting to admit that a cellphone is an acceptable way to take in information. It makes a person seem smarter if they are reading from an ebook reader versus reading on their iPhones.

7.     The history ends in 2010 with the release of the iPad and eBooks overtaking the sale of pBooks.  Where are we in 2014?  Where are we headed in book technology?

Right now we are at a tipping point between print and digital books. There is a large push toward digital, and more interactive books. Though there is still a large group holding onto print editions. It is the transformation from print to digital media, and we are still in the midst of it. Standards are being redefined and boundaries being pushed.

 

Now You See It: Reflective Essay

Cathy Davidson starts her book by talking about “cognitive blindness”. This is having the ability to focus on certain details, but not being able to notice some other important details. Her example is a video called Selective Attention Test, where a gorilla walks through a group of basketball players. The viewer is asked to count the number of times a player in white bounces the ball. After a few seconds a person dressed in a gorilla suit walks through the scene. The significance is that most viewers report not noticing the gorilla at all until it was pointed out to them. There are however, some viewers who notice the gorilla in the picture, and Davidson uses this point to illustrate the usefulness of working collaboratively in a group setting.

There is a shift happening from working alone in a cubicle, to working in a pod, where colleagues can face each other and offer their input. It is more effective to have multiple people contributing their strengths to a project. This shift is happening not because of a changing workplace, but because technological changes are shifting the way we create and learn, and it is the people changing the work environment. We have to adjust to accommodate modern affordances.

Now You See It discusses the need for updating methods of teaching and evaluating students, to follow with current digital technologies. Her example was the H-Bot, which when given a short list of key terms to search would find and retrieve information based on those search terms in order to automatically build an essay or a report. It could also answer multiple-choice tests and receive average scores.  This was evidence that testing methods were outdated. If a student could create a program to do the testing for him why did he need to know what the computer could find out for him?

Technological advancements are creating a world where humans no longer need to compute or do much in the way of research; we have machines to do that for us. What we need to be taught now is how to think critically and learn to solve problems creatively, and current methods of educating are not getting us there. It is no longer sufficiently preparing students for living in a digital era.

In conclusion, Cathy Davidson, is saying that technology is advancing, the way we learn is changing, our roles as thinkers and problem solvers is changing and yet we are still using old models of educating and evaluating. The dawn of this new era requires some shifting and reform in the way of teaching, testing and working in order to prepare children for the increasing pace of the digital age. We need to unlearn old methods and limitations and relearn how to keep up with the world around us as it is today, rather than as it was fifty years ago.

 

10 PRINT Reflective Essay


Reflective Essay

In the book, 10 PRINT, Nick Montfort and his group of cohorts talk about the one-line piece of BASIC code, 10 PRINT, the Commodore 64 and their effects on computing. Both the Commodore and the string of digits “CHR$(205.5 + RND(1)); : GOTO 10 provided a new level of computing, putting more personal computers in homes everywhere. It opened a new level of creativity and control in an emerging digital age and provided an outlet for those who wanted to learn about programming. In short, it brought accessibility in computing to the masses by making affordable, yet powerful personal computers.

The Commodore 64 was a big deal because it brought a current technology to the average person. Most computers in 1982 were anywhere from $1000 to 1500 dollars, making them only affordable to a small portion of the population. Anyone with a very good paying job might be able to have a computer in their homes, generally for business or educational purposes. However, the Commodore came out at a mere $499, making it affordable for the working class. For this reason it outsold IBM and Apple from 1983 to 1986. It was able to undercut the competition because many of the parts were made in house rather than bought from a manufacturer. They were able to cut out the middleman and use it to their advantage. This revolutionary method, along with selling consoles in retail stores rather than electronic stores, brought computers to the average joe, and each of those consoles came ready installed with 10PRINT.

10 PRINT is a one-line bit of code, which automatically generates a random maze pattern. The string of characters used in the code are “CHR$(205.5 + RND(1)); : GOTO 10.” Written into it is the command for the number 205.5 to generate a character while the rest repeats that character across a line creating a string. Next, an automatic scroll command carries the repeating character to the next line and the lines together create a pattern that looks much like a maze.

Many people who owned the C64, and therefore had access to 10 PRINT, without knowledge of its original intended purpose, began to manipulate the 205.5 to see what else the code could do. They began exploring the different ways they could mess with it and make it do interesting, artistic things. There was no danger of ruining the software like on the IBM or Apple computers, so the user was free to play and explore. Control was placed in the users’ hands and it inspired talks, essays, and deeper exploration into the effects that accessible home computing was having on culture. People were no longer being passive observers of television and radio programs, now they were learning to program and create. It feels that the main focus of researching 10 PRINT was not to glorify it as a magnificent piece of code or name the C64 an outstanding piece of equipment, but to emphasize the birth of computer access for the common man and follow the lineage leading up to now where access to computing devices is abundant. Rushkoff, I’m sure, appreciates what the C64 and 10 PRINT have contributed to bridging the divide between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

 

Rushkoff: Reflective Essay

Program or Be Programmed was a much needed guideline for the very new and unstandardized digital age in which we find ourselves. The etiquette of digital interaction does not seem to have much thought gone into it. Our attention is constantly being vied for by ads, games, apps, email, searches, videos, as well as the tangible world around us. It is easy for priorities to become muddled nowadays, and what we ought to be doing is interrupted by push notifications, bleeps and whistles. What Rushkoff does is hand us ten guidelines for how to deal with the constant influx of information and distraction. I especially liked the chapter on not always being on. It spoke to the importance of turning off technology for set periods of time in order to become more attuned to natural biorhythms and light cycles.

Another important practice that Rushkoff recommends is knowing when to interact with your device and when to pay attention to the present world. His examples are the high school girl constantly updating her social media sites and running from party to party, and the person talking on the phone while standing in line at the grocery store. In both instances the person is taken from their present place to whatever is happening somewhere else. They miss out on what is happening right here and now, missing out on that experience. It may not seem like such a big deal at first glance, however opportunities for networking, awareness, and close personal interaction are lost. Rushkoff describes it as a trade off; if you are spending your time focussed on happenings elsewhere then you miss out on community interactions. He does not demonize this trade, but rather advises us to recognize appropriate times to be taken away to far off lands, and says that perhaps the grocery line is not the best place to be sucked into a phone conversation. Not only does it distract from the flow of things, but can be bothersome to those in the vicinity. There were many other excellent pieces of advice, but those were the two that I found to be the least practiced and most important.

Chapter 10 Summary

Chapter ten wraps up with a reiteration of how important it is to learn and understand the way our new technologies are working in our world and our homes. It falls into almost every aspect of our lives and we must realize what it is capable of doing to our minds and our lifestyles, both positive and negative. Rushkoff implores his readers to learn how to code software, websites and anything else we can, and to be responsible, positive contributors to the shaping of our world at large. He encourages his audience to embrace and command the very technologies being produced. With the emerging technologies there is an opportunity to impact and create the path to the future. Unlike past technological advancements, this digital one is open-source and available to anyone brave enough to delve in. This book is a guideline to etiquette and ethics to be used within these uncharted areas of digital creations and interactions.

Chapter 9 Summary

This chapter talks about the importance of learning and watching for copyright policies associated with the different media gathered and used from the Internet. There are various types of copyright laws that can be infringed upon if we aren’t careful about it, and one may find oneself sued in a heartbeat. There are a number of creative commons options available for use and remix, which require little more than a credit mention in the publishing notes. These make for the best options when media and images cannot be created on ones own. Rushkoff also feels that it is important that intellectual property be maintained and respected since there are not many standardized rules in place for online content just yet. So, it becomes this delicate act of watching and balancing the legalities of using other people’s content from the web. Where does remix end and intellectual property theft begin? This question is best answered after reading this chapter and doing some research into proper digital crediting and borrowing ethics.

Chapter 8 Summary

Chapter eight of Rushkoff’s Program or Be Programmed, talks about the importance of fact-checking before spreading misinformation. There are a lot of rumors, which have been sensationalized because someone got their facts crossed. It happens in schools, media networks, and everyday conversation. Miscommunication can cause a breakdown of mutual understanding and cause confusion or unnecessary upsets. Rushkoff warns against taking things wholesale and assimilating them into your belief system, as well. Many people make the mistake of passing along bogus information and it becomes common knowledge, or I might say, common misconception. So, he advises following the rule for sharing credible information in an age when information of all sorts (right, wrong, indifferent) is in great abundance.