Tag Archives: technology

Texting, Typing, and Carpal Tunnel, Oh My!

6 Dec

After watching, “As Real as Your Life” by M. Highland, it really made me think of all the people I know who are addicted to video games, my brother being one of them. Not only did it make me think of video game addicts, it made me think of how many of us are addicted to pretty much anything with a screen; TV, computers, cell phones, iPads, iPods, Nintendo DS, GPS, etc. Maybe “addicted” is a strong word, but we have a sense of dependency for these items, and at this point, we don’t know what it is like to be without them. The other day I left home without my cell phone. I began to think, what if I get lost and need my GPS? How will I check my emails throughout the day? My mom, dad, boyfriend, and best friend are going to think I fell of the face of the earth, have been kidnaped, or go into a car accident and died! Even though I was already 20 minutes away, the feeling of being without this piece of technology overwhelmed me, so I had to turn around. It is pathetic if you think about it, but it is the world we live in.

As much as technology has to offer, The more I type and text, I can’t help but to think it is going to have physical implications. The dependency and addictions teens and even adults have for cell phones and computers can have a negative effect. I am on my computer at least 3 hours a day for school purposes, I send at least 30 texts everyday day (which is very low compared to teens these days), and I Facebook, tweet, surf the web, and send e-mails from my phone. Over the past year, I have noticed that my pinky finger on my right hand is always curled up and I have a very hard time straightening it. When I type and text, it doesn’t reach the keys or play a part in the texting, so it does not serve a purpose, it just curls and cramps up. When ever I am typing for long periods of time, I get a bad cramping pain in my pinky finger. I am worried it could be an early sign of carpal tunnel. I googled carpal tunnel and technology and I found out that I am not alone. Teens have already been experiencing this issue due to the mass amount of texting. I read this article, “New Technology Causing Increased Risk for Carpal Tunnel”, and Dr. Sivia was quoted saying, “The repetitiveness of using a computer for typing as well as using text on your phone, that combination can increase your risk for stress issues or carpal tunnel syndrome.” (wpsdlocal6.com).

Carpal tunnel from texting! YIKES!

Carpal tunnel from texting! YIKES!

 

My awkward pinky! I should probably get that checked out!

My awkward pinky! I should probably get that checked out!

I am not suggesting that we boycott texting and typing, but I do think we need to be aware of these implications and make sure we are not using these technologies to an access. In the mean time, I am going to end this blog so I can stretch out my curled up pinky finger before it feels like it is going to fall off!

 

Blogs have Refashioned the Idea of Writing: Now Refashion Your Classroom by Incorporating Blogs!

21 Nov

After reading Bolter’s, “Introduction:Writing in the Late Age of Print”, it is clear that all new writing technologies refashion its predecessor. I am new to the world of blogging and I wanted to explore my own question on how blog’s refashion past writing technologies and how they can be incorporated into the classroom. My writing tools have evolved from pencil onto paper and then to the keyboard onto word processor and now my words spill out onto blogs. Blogging offers something different than other writing technologies; it offers collaboration which could be a monumental tool for the classroom.

Blogs are a collaboration of words, images, video, audio, and links which really give the reader an insight into what the writer is trying to share. Even though I once handwrote words onto paper along with hand drawn pictures (mainly crappy looking stick figures) and I still type into word processor and occasionally copy and paste a still image, blogging offers a much different experience. Rettberg explains this difference very well, “In most forms of print publishing, such as newspaper articles, novels, or poetry, the author is not in charge of the way the text will look. The text is written in a word processor (or on a typewriter, or by hand) and submitted to an editor who, usually with a staff of designers, determines the layout. Bloggers, on the other hand, choose their own template and often spend considerable time adjusting the way their blogs look and work.” (Rettberg’s, 4). Blogging gives authors more ownership over their meanings and intentions of style. It puts the author in more than just the role of the writer; the writer also becomes the designer.

What I like most about blogging is the social interaction. Blogging is like a healthy virus. It spreads all over. It “links” writer’s in so many ways. Research articles may reference an idea of another author through quotes or paraphrasing, but how often do we search for that other author? The author shares an idea of another author, but the connection stops there. I have never put a paper article down to search for works of that referenced author that the article mentioned, simply because the work of that author is not readily available. But when reading blogs with hyperlinks, it’s too tempting not to click on the link to see where it will take me. “Student blogging is powerful and stimulating and enriching. The online capacity to link-reference makes for a punchy way to write interconnectedly.” (www.guardian.co.uk). I don’t even think twice about clicking on wherever that writer is wanting to take me and when I click, I am introduced to a whole other site I probably would have never came across my own. The connection of ideas is genius. I think of blogging as a selfless act. The authors of blogs give credit to other authors, web designers, and a variety of other creators so effortlessly. It brings the idea of collaboration to its fullest capacity. Blogs have totally refashioned the static website.

In my future classroom, if I am teaching a higher level of elementary, I will definitely have a classroom blog for my students to participate and collaborate with me and their fellow classmates. I believe it makes the idea of writing and learning much more interesting and engaging for the students.  I think reluctant writers will become more involved and eager to write. The blogs can be used for many different purposes in the classroom; free writing, storytelling, researching, interactive lessons, informative videos, student collaboration with responding to other students, group projects, study tools, etc. It is also a great way to get the parents involved. Parents can view the collaborative classroom blog to see what their child is learning. It forms a learning community which is one of my goals as an educator; for everyone to have a sense of involvement and importance in the learning process. The student’s can become the designers not just the authors of their ideas. To combine words, images, audio, and visual for a well-rounded learning environment. Students learn in many different ways, some students are more visual learners whereas other students are more auditory learners. Blogs can help to differentiate the instruction for the many different types of learners.

To Be Or Not To Be, Internet Is The Question

20 Nov

Bolter makes many valid points that can relate easily to the Elementary Education field. In today’s classroom, many students use different technologies on a daily basis to further the implications and real life connections from that day’s lesson. But in order to respond to a blog, for example, or do outside research, they need to understand the act of writing itself, and the overall product. In addition, for many students, the Internet and Web are the spaces in which they write and express themselves, whereas in other parts of the world throughout different times, students had different means of expression (papyrus, bound paper). The demands for paper bound books are decreasing immensely, and as Bolter writes, “communities of readers help to define the properties of the writing space by the demands they place on the space and technology.”

I do not, however, think that students value their own minds as a writing space, based on my observations in my field experiences. They see the computer as an endless pool of ideas, instead of using the Web to further their own ideas. At times, I think using the computer as a resource actually masks the knowledge each student possesses, and instead has them using previous concepts as their own. Students should be taught to write independently, using outside sources as support instead of a base. Technology also creates a separate area for students to share their ideas, and add to them based on viewer feedback. The revision process seems to be largely emphasized with Internet based learning, as seen on Wikipedia pages, or even with the quick response of a teacher’s email. Students have the opportunity to receive quick and efficient feedback from outside sources to correct information and enhance the learning experience. This seems to encourage collaborative learning. They can also use writing as a means of social interaction, in addition to a writing space, which I think most students are familiar with. Using blog posts and Facebook related assignments in place of pen and paper relate more to students today, and this may be where the writing space and the writers’ minds connect.

Completely opposing my view above, I do think that the Internet and Web provide a valuable learning space for many different learners. Visual, musical, verbal- every type of learner can be addressed within Internet based differentiated learning.  In my field experiences, the many uses of technology have positively impacted the classroom environment. Document cameras aid visual impairments, mathematics online learning programs assist those with verbal difficulties and SmartBoards encourage bodily kinesthetic learning.

Bolter also questions this new writing space’s effectiveness of communicating ideas to society, and I, myself cannot chose a side.  Collaboratively of course, the Internet poses a great space to add on to whatever is already out there. But individually, it could pose a problem to the classroom if students are using others’ ideas as a jumping off point for their own purpose. While this “new” writing space allows many different discourse communities to make connections to one another, individuality and credibility becomes limited with the expansion of the web.