Impact of Technology on Learning

Please respond to the question of “How do you feel that technology has impacted learning both in and outside of the classroom?”


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I returned to the classroom as a student about 7 years ago after having been out of a classroom, since 1986. I enrolled in “Anthropology of Southeast Alaska” thinking that this would help me to get a better understanding of the new community I had recently moved into and also as a way to meet new people. I didn’t think anything of taking my laptop to the first day of class as I had gotten out of the habit of taking hand-written notes. I found that I was much older than all of the students (closest might have been in the mid-20s), and that I as the only student who brought a device to class and used it openly. At the time it didn’t even occur to me that a laptop might not be accepted by the instructor and I didn’t even think to ask his permission. The instructor did use a powerpoint along with a whiteboard for his lectures and we had a lot of class discussion.

What I found was that I did use the laptop to take notes, but more importantly (at least to me) was that I was able to look up terms, locations, ideas that were discussed in class that were new to me. I’ve never taken an anthropology course before, so the terminology was new and I wasn’t familiar with the geographical spaces of southeast, so the place names were new. Had I just been writing down the terms to look up later or locations, I might not have been able to get the spelling correct, or not bothered to revisit the terms when they were out of context, nor been able to connect the terms to whatever we were talking out at the moment. When it came time to submit papers, these were printed out and handed in, just like I did as an undergraduate in the 80s.

I never thought that bringing the laptop into class might be a distraction for the other students. Were they watching me as I googled terms? Were they watching when I went searching off on a tangent? In reflection, I’m pretty sure I was being a responsible student and I wasn’t checking email, chatting, or watching cats on video, but I may have been sketching out ideas for forthcoming assignments using a drawing program. I image that that might been distracting. I often wonder what that instructor is doing in his class these days. I hope he has embraced using some technology in the class, even if it is getting students to look things up and sharing what they find back to the class.

The idea about that classroom experience almost a decade ago, was sparked by this blog post, by Megan Egbert, titled, “10 reasons why I will continue to give my children handheld devices” on her site: hipmombraian.com: http://hipmombrarian.com/2014/03/11/10-reasons-why-i-will-continue-to-give-my-children-handheld-devices/?utm_content=bufferf25cb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

She made this post in response to a Huffington post called, “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.”

Egbert’s reasons:

  • Because banning things never, ever, ever works
  • Problem solving
  • Technology Skills
  • Expectations in school
  • Interest
  • Because I care about their brains
  • Girls
  • Balanced Life
  • Literacy
  • Reality

I think that Egbert has a very healthy and realistic viewpoint of allowing her children to use technology in their everyday life. While browsing through her site, she seems to have a good understanding of how to balance using and enjoying technology with non-wired activities and it seems like the technology use she allows her children is somewhat supervised. The idea of completely banning handheld devices from a child as suggested by Chris Rowan in the Huffington post, seems very much over the top. She does bring in some very good points, and she has some references to support her objections. But the reality of banning access to emerging technology is unrealistic.

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Technology and Culture (advantages and disadvantages)

Write one page each (total of two pages) discussing your personal and profession production applications. Shoot for an equivalent of two pages of single spaced content.

In the write up, spend half a page or so, discussion apps that you use, name the applications, purpose, details of the application, i.e., computer, mobile device (both), cost, resides on the device or cloud. Discuss how you integrate the device into your life style. Is the application one that you would recommend to others or any other insights into the application.


I have never lived or worked in a rural area of Alaska and have limited first-hand experience with issues of culture as it is integrated in Alaska’s classroom. These are merely observations and I would benefit from those who are more experienced in correcting me.

http://openancsa.community.uaf.edu

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA): Rural Development Course

Several years ago our unit worked in collaboration with the UAF Rural Development program to create an online, open course site for a specific class that provided an overview and analysis of ANCSA. The course’s audience, beyond the student’s enrolled, was targeted at CEOs, future leaders of native and village corporations, and those who may be involved in working with Alaska Natives or their corporations. It was important to the instructor that video interviews be recorded to document the stories of the leaders who were central to the movement and active in seeing the act adopted.

Using technology to record and edit the lectures and then posting the interviews online, in an open and public space, created a resource with an Alaska Native emphasis on the act that is a rich resource for all Alaska Natives. The videos of the elders can be used as inspiration and as examples of role models that the Native community might want their youth to have access to. This website also creates an opportunity for the Alaska Native Community to show their perspective, which may differ from others perceptions of the events or strategies used in moving the act forward.

This example may not seem as much like “culture” as other things like passing down traditional knowledge of hunting, medicine, or songs, but I do believe that historic events such as ANCSA has had a huge impact on subsistence, village life, and the interaction with western culture. As an example, this map can be viewed by both region and by language: http://ancsaregional.com/ancsa-map/ which helped to shape how the corporations were created.

Another example of using technology in culture is shown at the Sealaska Heritage Institute Language Resources website: http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/programs/language_resources.htm

John F. Pingayak, states that reviving and maintaining language is fundamental in keeping a culture alive. (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop/SOPv8i1.pdf). I’ve heard this statement before among members of the Native community. The Sealaska site provides resources and suggested curriculum for teacher to use to incorporate into their classes or events. I can only see this as a positive step towards language acquisition and steps towards fluency. How often and to what extent teachers are using this resource is unknown as an observer. What is the success or acceptance level of students when incorporating these kinds of resources into a class of students who might not all be Tlingit, Haida, Alaska Native or might not even be native-english speakers, is also a question that is unknown to me. Should these resources be used only in small communities like Angoon and not in larger communities like Juneau? I’m sure there are differing opinions!

 

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Personal and Professional Application

Write one page each (total of two pages) discussing your personal and profession production applications. Shoot for an equivalent of two pages of single spaced content.

In the write up, spend half a page or so, discussion apps that you use, name the applications, purpose, details of the application, i.e., computer, mobile device (both), cost, resides on the device or cloud. Discuss how you integrate the device into your life style. Is the application one that you would recommend to others or any other insights into the application.

 


I’ve attached my PDF here. We’re also welcome to make comments (point out typos!) on google docs

ED650-Olson-Week2PersonalandProfessionApplications (PDF)

Discussion from peers