Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog Post #8

This is How We Dream Pt.1 & 2- These videos are a presentation by Dr. Richard E. Miller. Dr. Miller teaches writing courses at Rutgers University and has written several books. In his most recent book Writing at the End of the World, Dr. Miller addresses several questions including "what do the humanities have to offer the twenty-first century?", and "does it make sense to go on writing in a world full of books that none reads?". He seems very dedicated to discovering what form literature will inhabit in the future and how will our styles of writing and publishing change.

In these videos Dr. Miller presents the changes our forms of communication are experiencing and will experience. Today, for the first time, a single person can communicate with anyone around the globe in a fraction of a second using the internet and digital technologies. So, what does thin mean for our existing forms of communication? It means that they will have to adapt to fit into new moulds. For centuries, predating the Great Library of Alexandria, libraries were the center of knowledge to their communities. According to Dr. Miller, those days are over. The new "library" has an unlimited supply of each book or article or map. The new "library" also more effectively facilitates exchange, among people from all parts of the world.

Dr. Miller's purpose for this presentation is to give a glimpse into the future of humanities. In other words, we've already seen the differences in the "place" people will go to acquire information, so what type of information will they be seeking. Fortunately, Dr. Miller provides the answer. Documents in the future will not be limited by paper, therefore, text and pictures alone will be inadequate. These new documents will be an assembly of audio clips, video clips, maps, and real time charts, with traditional text and pictures all merged into one file. They will be inviting and informative, a collaboration of all the available data for a given subject.

I personally am not prepared to write with multimedia (not far from it though). My students, after a few instructions, will be. This style is perfect for today's student. I believe it will breathe life into outdated forms of instruction.

The Chipper Series & EDM310 for Dummies- Both of these videos were made to inform students new to EDM310 of what's expected of them and how to be successful in the class. I personally liked both videos. If I had to make a different video with the same goals, I think I would lean towards a reality style video. It would be Real Worldesque with a "confessional" (more of a VLog) that would have students talking about their impressions of the class or their assignment. At the end of the semester you could assemble the videos of each student to see how or if their impressions changed.

A Discussion on SmartBoards- This assignment involved reading two bloggers accounts of the wastefulness of purchasing Smartboards or IWBs (Interactive White Boards). I have to say that I thought both of their opinions were ignorant. Neither of these two visionaries were able to figure out the usefulness of the boards other than:
          1) As a means of replacing the mouse for control of the computer
          2) As a means to capture a screen shot in order to save your work
Really? Thats like saying iPhones are useless because all you can do is call people and listen to music. As far as I can tell the Smartboard is an extension of your computer, so it stands to reason that are tons of activities available for use on your Smartboard. What if you were to use Skype on your Smartboard and bring classes from across the world together for a lesson. Or, during these times of budget deficits you could arrange for a trainer at an aquarium or zoo to interact with your class so that they could experience the field trip that "just wasn't in the budget".

I searched for two sources that support the use of Smartboards but they were considerably harder to find. I guess there's truth to the saying "Everybody's a skeptic". The two sources I found:
          1) - A good
              resource for teachers looking to get more from their equipment.
          2) - Lists of
              different uses for Smartboards.


  1. Fantastic post Mitch!

    I really liked your take on the smartboard issue and I agree. My main position on the smartboard debate is that its just like anything else, everyone has an opinion and people will debate just about anything. But comparing the smartboard to the chalkboard is about like comparing picking cotton by hand to using the cotton gin, it defies common sense. The smartboard is a great tool and its effectiveness depends on the user. If the teacher has an open minded and creative attitude it will be extremely beneficial for all who are involved. If the teacher is not open minded and has a negative attitude about the smartboard it will be useless. It is as simple as that.

    Don't forget about alt and title tags on pics and proof reading. Otherwise, your blog looks great! SS

  2. I really like your argument about smartboards. The idea of using Skype on the smartboard had never occurred to me. I think it would be a great idea! Smartboards can be used affectively with the proper training of teachers.

  3. Mitch,

    I also thought Dr. Mitchell's presentation was interesting. I think it's good that someone is noticing this change, doing research on it, and sharing it with the world. It's true that a lot is changing, and people can choose whether to adapt or not. I also like the idea of integrating various technologies in the future to produce an even more interesting product, whether it be a presentation or project.

    As for the blogs about Smart Boards, I also thought that the arguments were a little one-sided. It seemed -at times- that the two authors didn't even want to recognize possible benefits with Interactive White Boards.

    Nice post!

    Amanda Brewton