The Transformation of Text and Words

It was interesting to read Carr’s history of the written word. I don’t often think of how books were presented before my time, which is weird considering I’ve taken both Latin and a middle English course. Dr. Fleming would advocate the study of older texts. It’s just funny to read about what you’ve put into application. I’ve read Chaucer in his original middle English. I’ve read poetry by Catullus and some excerpts from Caesar’s musings. I’ve even read some of Cicero’s orations. They all hurt my brain. So, while I was reading some of the history that Carr presents, I thought back to my first year of Latin, when the sentences were easy to understand and had spaces between the words. All Latin textbooks now have spaces between the words. But way back when, they didn’t have spaces and, unlike “Latin for babies” as Dr. Fleming likes to call it, the sentences were complex and difficult to understand after one read through. I found some pictures on the interwebs that display what I’m getting at here. Most were obviously done by scribes. One piece is from Chaucer’s work. The rest is the different “shades” of Latin. Enjoy.



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Safer Internet Day

Every year in February, the world observes what has been deemed “Safer Internet Day.” The objection of this day is to promote safer usage of online resources and the technologies available; particularly aiming this movement at the youth of societies. Each year, the organizations (Insafe/INHOPE)  that maintain Safer Internet Day (SID) focus the activities and events around a certain topic reflecting the current apparent issues pertaining to the internet. In February 2016, Safer Internet Day was based around the idea that “we all have a part to play” in making the internet a safer place.

In Kenya, educators are integrating technology into the lives of young Kenyans. These students have curiosities and passion to obtain the skills necessary to navigate technology. This plays into a larger Kenyan plan, called Vision 2030, in which Kenya expects to be self sufficient by the year 2030–each pillar of this manifesto integrating, in some way, the use of technology.

This article touches on the importance of not only obtaining a certain level of digital literacy, but also the importance of having the means to do so. For instance, Kenya sees technology as a major player in the move to self sufficiency. As the article points out, we are all apart of the global internet sphere–or so we think. There are so many societies and cultures not represented on the internet as others are. The global discussion is only occurring between those who have the technology to use and the knowledge to use it.

I don’t believe, however, it is up to the “olds” to teach us, the “youth” how to use the technology more responsibly. We have been born into the technological era; we know how to use the internet in the same way the older generations know how to use a record player. The fact that Kenyan students are participating in youth teaching the youth programs says that someone somewhere else understands this, also. Just like any tool, not everyone will be able to handle it responsibly or use it in the proper ways, but nonetheless, we have faced more consequences resulting from technology than any other generation. Our education, schooling, and even political opportunities have all been impacted by our technologies.

Nevertheless, it is up to everyone to participate in the integration of digital literacy around the world. We can all only learn from each other and our tools. Ultimately that is why we communicate, to learn the best forms of survival. We are entering an era in which understanding of technology will be apart of survival, and we must help each other to reach that level of understanding.

Safer Internet Day: Digital literacy plays crucial role in internet via @dailynation

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Carr: Skimming the Surface

In his book, The Shallows: What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Carr points out the negative affect of technological advancements on his attention span.  After getting used to reading news clips and short articles on the Web, Carr finds it difficult to go back to the deep reading of novels.  The brevity and quick pace encouraged by the Internet has not only affected Carr’s reading, but also his thinking.  Carr states, “Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving  stream of particles” (Carr 6-7).  Rather than digging deeply into a work, Carr now looks for the simple big picture.

Many people agree with Carr’s observations pertaining to the Web’s affect on one’s reading, but some are not convinced that those effects are wholly bad.  As Carr explains, a man named Scott Karp claims that “reading lots of short, linked snippets online is a more efficient way to expand [the] mind than reading [lengthy books]” (Carr 8).  These people argue the benefit of being able to make numerous connections while discounting the old-fashioned practice of reading a book.

Ultimately, is it more important to have a broader base of surface knowledge, or a more narrow base of deep knowledge?  Is it more beneficial to know a little about a lot of things or to know a lot about a few things? One’s answer to this question will determine whether technology’s affect on reading is for the better or for the worse.

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Current Issues + Past Viewpoints

In Selfe, Heidegger notes that “…we begin the process of ordering the world, and everything in it, to the service of technology.” (p.141) This idea that we tend to order even ourselves to the “service of technology” is not a new concept. In fact, there is one notable writer, who I can think of right at this moment, who sought to cast a daunting light on the future of technology. Herman Melville, in his short story “The Tartarus of Maids”, shows the absorption of the industrial revolution into the lives of the maids, and even the upper class’ view on this new technology.

I bring this up because I think it has a lot to do with dependence and the access/financial requirements of technology. “The Tartarus of Maids” happens to be the second part of two short stories. The first is called, “The Paradise of Bachelors.” Bachelors represent the upper class while the maids represent the lower classes. Both classes are dependent on the technology that runs in the factory, because it’s part of the maids’ job and the machine is creating paper for the upper class bachelors (they’re lawyers and the like). I recall Selfe bringing up how lower classes do not have the access necessary to absorb the technology they need to perform the upper level jobs described. But is that a bad thing? Do they really need to be taught technological skills in high school? These maids learned nothing about machines in the little schooling they received, yet they are still mass-producing paper. And the rich continue to buy their products.

There’s more comparisons to be made. I found a helpful analysis of the story that may be useful to those who have not read Melville’s tale for themselves. Enjoy.


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Education + Technology +Business

Back in 2003 there was a panel discussion between four entrepreneurs about the relationship between education, technology, and business.  Although this discussion took place over 10 years ago, the nuts and bolts of the article are still very applicable to today’s world.

Carla Tishler begins her review of the panel discussion with the argument that the combination of education, technology, and business will fuel the economy of the nation.  The four entrepreneurs viewed education as an incredibly large industry for the business of marketing technology.  Because of the large scale of the education industry, there are many barriers that discourage many businesses from trying to market to schools.  Besides this, businesses have to cater their technology to learning needs of students.  In this way, education has a major impact on both business and technology.

Business and technology have their fair share of influence as well.  Because of the introduction of so many new technologies into the education world, teachers are in need of training.  This training is then affected by school funds and resources.

One member of the panel stated that in order to effectively incorporate technology into the classroom, teachers are going to have to completely change their methods of teaching.  Technology in the classroom should not sit in the corner unused; technology in the classroom needs to enrich learning and build meaning.

Technology, education, and business have woven together to create the very foundation of our economy.  Understanding how each affects the other will help not the development of each individual factor, but also the economy as a whole.

To read the full article see:



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Selfe: Parenting the Technological Generation and Beyond

While reading about the Role of Parents in Selfe’s book, I was struck by a quoted comment made by editor-in-chief, Ron Kobler. He headed the magazine Computing for Kids. He said, “No matter what you personally know about computers, you need to educate your children about digital technology.” This seems like a no-brainer to our generation. However, I look back to when this comment was quoted.

In 1997, I was three years old and I lived with my mom and her parents. There was this push for home computers, but they made it seem like a gallant attempt to keep today’s children “in-the-loop”, because technology would take the world by storm and their children would need the no-how to function in the future’s work industries. So, when I read this comment, I sat my iPad down and called my grandpa, who happened to buy the first home computer I ever touched. I asked his reasoning for the purchase. His response, as I suspected, was along the lines of, “I just wanted one.” I find it interesting how marketing strategists pushed so hard on the education angle when people who had kids in their household were more focused on the fact that is was new and shiny.

My mom, who possessed both the role of parent and educator, found ways to utilize the PC as I grew older. Once I hit middle school, she found computer games that were educational as well as fun. I would play them occasionally, but only when I found myself at a loss on what to do during my free time. However, the computer played no vital role in the state of my education. My mom and grandparents taught me how to read, write, and function appropriately in the world. I can tell you that I heard, “Go outside and play,” more than I ever heard, “Play some games on the computer.”

Selfe addresses how parents are the stimulus for technological know-how in the home, but I never really received much technological training at home. And I was a kid when this technology movement started full-force. Either advertisements were crappy around my neck of the woods or my mom was more concerned with me being a kid. The latter is something I like to consider all the time. Should we consider technology to strictly be an adult privilege? Does technology take away from a child’s time of “being a kid”? I see kids who are about eight years old nowadays, who sit around while nose-deep in a tablet or a phone 24/7. It scares me. I better start planning how I wish to raise my kids, because they aren’t going to be like that.

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Technology and Face-to-Face Communication

Emily Drago conducted a study at Elon University over the effect of technology on face-to-face communication.  What’s interesting is the fact that even young people, who use technology frequently, have a lot of concerns about how technology is affecting their interactions.  When asked whether they believed if technology has a negative effect on communication, 92% of the people surveyed said “yes.”  A large majority of the students at Elon who were surveyed believed that the presence of technology causes a decrease in the quality of conversation.

Though most of these students admit to having technology with them at all times, many of them are worried about how it is impacting their interactions.  One student described technology as “a crutch to hide behind.”  Another student mentioned how he never pulled his phone out during a conversation because it really bothered him whenever someone else did.

While students thought of many issues with using technology in their face-to-face interactions, they also mentioned how technology could make conversations even better.  Many students who were interviewed said that looking up funny videos and random information are acceptable ways to include technology in relationships.

Many college students today are worried about how technology is going to impact their interactions, but few of them are worried enough to make a major change.  Students still carry their phones with them wherever they go, they still use their devices as an excuse not to talk to people when they don’t want to, and they still let their tablets fill up their alone time.

Check out all the details of Drago’s study:

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Selfe: Government and Education

In the government section of part two, I only wish to point out a quote that I found bothersome. “…the technologies to create, manipulate, manage, and use information are of strategic importance…” (p.52) What is so wrong with this sentence? I agree that technology that helps us use information is beneficial. However, there is one word that irks me the wrong way, and that is the use of “manipulate”. I find it strange that they would use a word with such a negative connotation in relation to information. It sounds like they wish to use technology to manipulate facts and distribute it through large access sites, such as the internet. I simply found “manipulation” to be a hindrance to what these politicians presented, as if they added the negatives in with their proposal.

The second thing that caught my eye was in the education section. In fact, it’s on the very first page, and the information made me chuckle. “Technological literacy is not just knowing how to use technology for word processing, spreadsheets, and Internet access. Fundamentally, it is using the powerful learning opportunities afforded by the technology to increase learning in academic subjects . . .” (p. 64) This program kick-started near my birth and during the early years of my life, yet when I entered public school and waded through elementary and most of my middle school days, we had barely touched a computer, much less needed one to complete anything practical. Apart from state testing like NWEA, which was done on a computer, we had no use for technology in my early schooling. Later, during eighth grade, we were required to take a computer class, which essentially taught typing and how to create spreadsheets. So, the first sentence, at least the things listed, makes sense to me. It’s the second sentence that gets me. They make it sound like there are so many things to learn from a computer. But after learning how to type up a document, create a powerpoint, and utilize a spreadsheet, along with using the Internet, what else is practical in an educational setting? Other than research, that’s all we used it for. I simply find it funny that they imply that there’s more to it than that.

Then there’s the agenda of making up-to-date technology available in all schools and libraries. How is that even remotely realistic? Technology is constantly changing. I just think about how expensive it would be to keep up with all of it and it makes me cringe. Especially when it’s not only computers they’re keeping up with now. They’ve added iPads into the mix. Again, I’m not quite sure how that’s practical or useful in an educational atmosphere for kids. Yes, I’m writing this as I peak over at my own iPad, but I’m an adult and I created my own educational purposes for my iPad. Kids will just want to play Minecraft. I’ve seen it where I work. (I’m a custodian at a local elementary/middle school.) Personally, I think computers are more substantial in the classroom than an ipad, considering all the practical things we learned to use with them. If anyone knows how an iPad is beneficial to elementary/middle school students, please enlighten me, because it peeves me.

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Lets Jump in Johnny’s Boat: Tech and Edu (or lets not and say we did)

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has taken the introduction of technology into the classroom as a serious and urgent matter. In 2012 they conducted a study group consisting of the following:

Members of the State Board of Education

-Members form 18 states

-3 in-person meetings between January and June

-3 virtual meetings between January and June

The purpose of the study group was to focus on the following issues:

-Using technology to personalize teaching and learning for all students

-Preparing students for computer-based assessments

-Increasing teacher capacity

-Ensuring media literacy and digital citizenship

The reason for this study was that the NASBE recognized that technology in the 21st century as a “foundational tool” (NASBE). They went on to state that children in today’s world are born into a digital age “where they no longer function on a daily basis without some form of communication device” (2012). Due to this fact, schools and their districts “must do the same [shift to reliance a reliance on technology] in order to prepare students successfully” (2012).

Furthermore, the NASBE feels that today’s use of instant communication and informational access provides both opportunities and challenges to teachers, administrators, policymakers and state boards of education for a variety of reasons (2012).

(above quotations come from

I am asking that, for the supplementary material, you go to the link at the bottom of this post (only if you really want to read the material). The entirety of the document is 8 pages but I am only asking you to focus on the chart on page 4 of chapter one and the subtitle Key Takeaways in chapter one on page 4-5.

Or lets not jump in Johnny’s boat and say we did…

If you do not want to read more than you need to this semester, you may instead view The League Season 3 episode 5, 6:35-9:23 (WARNING: 7:50-8:12 is very vulgar) and leave your comments on that section of the episode. You must sign into Youtube to view this episode. Our professor will send the sign on name and password via email. Please only use this account information to view this particular episode as I have personally purchased the episode for your viewing and the account is under my personal information.

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Shirky: Technology-pro or Technology-whoa?

Shirky has some extremely interesting points of view to add to our perceptions of technology in his article, “Why Clay Shirky Banned Laptops, Tablets, and Phones from His Classrooms”.

Here, Shirky makes a move in his classrooms that may have been the last step we would have ever expected him to make. He actually bans the use of technology (by students) in his technology classes.

In this article, Shirky explains his train of thought by first providing his reasons for allowing the use of technology during classes. One of these reasons is that he saw it as a challenge to be more interesting than the students’ devices. He then discusses his reasonings for wanting to tell students that technology was “banned unless required”.

Shirky makes some pretty strong statements about his ideas on multi-tasking. He states things such as: “We’ve known for some time that multi-tasking is bad for the quality of cognitive work, and is especially punishing of the kind of cognitive work we ask of college students.…even when multi-tasking doesn’t significantly degrade immediate performance, it can have negative long-term effects on ‘declarative memory,’ the kind of focused recall that lets people characterize and use what they learned from earlier studying” (refer to link).

Shirky also states that people “often start multi-tasking because they believe it will help them get more done. Those gains never materialize; instead, efficiency is degraded” (refer to link). He then goes on to argue that “multi-tasking doesn’t even exercise task-switching as a skill”.

On top of all of this, Shirky is adamant that the new devices have such attention grasping (maybe stealing is more appropriate here) features that students can’t help but to be distracted by. He elaborates this by stating,”interfaces provide an extraordinary array of attention-getting devices…[that] humans are incapable of ignoring…[due to a] visual alert in your immediate peripheral vision, it is — really, actually, biologically — impossible to resist” (refer to link).

What are your thoughts on the use of technology by students in the classroom?

Compare Shirky’s views on multi-tasking with your own. Which do you think is more accurate and why?

Do you agree that humans are biologically incapable of ignoring visual or audial features on their devices? Explain.

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