Flickr or Picture Trail?!

While I was searching for a variety of photo sharing sites I discovered that there are many offered on the Internet. I think this is a definite bonus because users are able to compare and contrast and find a photo sharing sites that is suitable for them. The photo sharing website that caught my eye was The Picture Trail (http://www.picturetrail.com/). Similar to Flickr, Picture Trail allows users to upload pictures and save them onto a personal account. Within your account, you are able to know how many times a photo was viewed, which can also be done using a Flickr account. As well, it is connected with to servers, which allows users to post photos to sites such as Livejournal and Ebay. Something that caught my eye was the fact that you can add music to your albums. I think that this feature is really amusing and adds that added oomph to a users photographs. I find that it is also quite easy to use and that is definitely a plus! When comparing the two sites and trying to figure out which one was better, I had some difficulty. I think it just came down to my personal taste in the lay out. I find that I like the Picture Trail layout a bit more than Flickr and I also like the music idea!!

  • Current Music
    Korn - Ya'll Want A Single

The Child and the Machine/Armstong and Casement

I really enjoyed reading this article because I believe that as technology continues to grow, literature and reading actual books starts to get overlooked. I believe that it is very important for children to be exposed to all types of literature and if that includes reading literature on the computer, then by all means, include it in a child’s life. Being exposed to a variety of reading materials is definitely important. Yet, this should not take precedence over reading actual books. As stated in the article, school boards are facing cut backs and often books are the ones taking the hit. This brings up the point of having computer programs that install reading material on them so that children are not negatively affected by the limited number of books available in school environments. Although, books should continue to prominently be a part of a child’s literacy experiences. Literacy is a fundamental aspect of a child’s development in reading, writing and speech. The article states that the first step to literacy is oral language. This was also emphasized in my Language Development lectures, wherein I learned that children understand language that they are exposed to, prior to the production of their own words. Through exposure to oral language of their own language, children are given the opportunity to understand it and therefore produce it. When children are introduced to literature by computer, it may eliminate the actual talking and listening that is involved in shared reading activities. When children read an actual book, or are read to, children are given quality oral language, which in turn will allow them to further their own development. Listening to a computer ‘read’ a book will not have the same positive affect on a child. When a child is exposed to oral language, they are able to distinguish words said by watching the speaker’s mouth, open and close. This is not possible when a computer ‘reads’ a book. In addition, when a child is reading on a computer, they will attend to different things as opposed to reading an actual book. When reading a book, the child focuses on the words on the page and the illustrations. These illustrations accompany the words in order to further develop the story and fuel imagination from their reader. By reading the book with others, discussion may be fueled through the illustrations, which strengthens the impact of literacy. As well, the physical handling of the book, allows for a more hands on exploration to occur. The mind is allowed to move at its own pace and it time is provided for reflection and stimulation of the imagination. When a child is reading on a computer screen, the presentation is much different. The electronic text is structured and, as the article states, the mind stands still as the text flashes by, screen by screen. Reading should continue to be an important aspect of each individual child’s life. Parents, teachers, educators and all individuals interacting with a child need to continue to embrace the act of reading books in order to foster literacy and encourage reading in general.

  • Current Music
    Dead Disco - Metric

Jason's Article/Tux Paint

The monolingual privilege of English amongst the Internet is tremendously difficult to understand. We are living within such a multicultural society only in Canada, let alone all the rich varieties of cultures, race and ethnicities in the entire world. It just doesn’t seem clear to me as to why English would be the predominant language used in every program no matter which country is using it. Even when things are written in another language, such as Japanese, the coding is still in English. It is clear that English is the worldwide language and all countries are exposed to it and expected to be familiar with it. Yet, I do not understand why different countries cannot create programming in their own language. This is only diminishing the idea of embracing multiculturalism and celebrating diversification. It is as if to say, individuals who wish to participate in the creation of programs, must be fluent in the English language. That poses such a barrier to those who are not fluent in English. Having an understanding of English will not allow for the creation of programs. Fluency is key, when creating a program that has a Western bias. I think that it is important to promote the idea of open source programs, because as stated by Nolan, this type of programming allows for others to use their own language of fluency to create programs since open source is not governed by one dominant language.

Just on a small note: the article mentions the notion of software programs on the Internet that do not allow you to save your work, such as Livejournal or Blogger. I think that this would be quite beneficial in terms of blogging. I find myself writing my blogs on my Microsoft Word program first and saving it, just in case my computer decides to crash, or something goes wrong in the middle of writing my blog. Then, I copy and paste my post onto my Livejournal account. Having a ‘save’ option would be much easier for people to be able to start a blog, and continue it later on if they wish to, or to just have that reassurance that it will be there in case of a malfunction with ones computer.

As for Tux Paint, I think that it is great to have free programs that are made available for children to use. These would be quite beneficial to be used in a classroom environment, through the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher. The fact that the program is designed for children is quite important because it is age appropriate and caters to their developmental needs. I truly believe in an arts enriched curriculum and I believe that multi-curricular activities should have an artistic foundation. A program like this will fuel creativity and experimentation. Allowing children to be creative in a risk free atmosphere, such as with Tux Paint, will only increase and promote artistic and creative confidence.
  • Current Music
    Touch It - Busta Rhymes

Week #11 - Children As Phenomenal Photographers!

The articles this week pertaining to children as photographers were not only exciting but also they were a real eye-opener. I think that the promotion of a child as a photographer is significant and it will continue to grow as the years pass us by. I found the line, “new research shows that children are natural photographers” quite humorous. How could a child with a camera not be a natural? They are expressing themselves and revealing parts of their personality through photography. As well, they are capturing what they enjoy the most. This in turn gives an insight into how they view their environment.

 It was interesting to read that children at the age of 11 years were more likely to take photographs of natural settings outdoors. I believe that children at this age seem to value artistic creation through photography, which reflects their developmental capabilities as artists. Children at this age view nature and the environment as art – in turn capturing innovative photographs. As well, the children that were 15 years of age were more likely to take photographs involving people, emphasizing the social nature of their photography. I believe that children at this age are forming more significant social bonds with others, as well as trying to find a place within their social environment; therefore their photographs are a reflection of this stage. As for a 4 year old, they’ll capture anything that is emotionally or visually stimulating, which I believe reflects their need to understand the world around them.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the photographs taken by children of all ages. It was interesting to categorize the photographs by age or gender and to look for significant differences. This only emphasizes the idea of children being natural photographers. These photographs reveal quite a lot about the photographer, it reveals their interests, how they perceive their world and who is important to them. You can learn a lot about someone just by looking at his or her photographs. What better way to learn about other than to look at some fantastic shots! I believe that children should continue to be encouraged to use cameras and be photographers.
  • Current Music
    The Streets - You're Fit and You Know It

Blog on Video Conferencing for Wednesday's Class

Attending the video conference on Wednesday was quite an experience for me. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because this was new to me. I had never really had a chance to use this type of technology although I had used a webcam, which is similar, yet different. Also, I had seen this type of technology being used on a television show (24 with Kiefer Sutherland -- fantastic show!!)

There weren’t many people attending our class so it was a little more intimate as opposed to Tuesday’s class (from what I heard). It was interesting to see that we could ‘interact’ with Kenny in real time even though he was all the way in Ottawa, and we were here in Toronto. At first, it was a little choppy, which made it hard to concentrate. Yet that soon stopped, and we had a smoother frequency. I also found that it was hard to concentrate because I kept looking at all the different camera angles, and I was looking to see myself moving on screen (there is the egocentric in me). Also, I found myself just listening, partially because I felt like it was the respectful thing to do, since he was presenting, but also because I felt as if I was just watching television. I felt as if I was in a classroom, watching a video – only when he would mimic body language or he would respond to a question, would I remember that he could see and hear what we are saying and doing respectively. I also think that all of my reactions to this experience were because it was novel. With more interaction of this technology, my reactions would differ.

It was fun to see, I think it was Maggie, go up on the table and then project the screen on her back … fun stuff. And the way movement and dance could be portrayed using the different windows was really innovative as well. It just shows that with experimentation, this type of technology can be used in a number of ways.

Of course, I think that video conferencing is a really great tool for the adult world, for things such as conferences and research. On the topic of having this within a classroom, I’m a little apprehensive. I would like to see it first hand before I would be able to actually make a statement on whether or not I would agree or disagree with the placement of an Access Grid within a classroom. Yet I do believe that children should have access to this type of technology in one way or another.
  • Current Music
    One Million Ways To Be Cruel - OK GO

Week 9 (with week 12 readings)

The article “Children as Photographers” was, in my opinion, the most interesting of all the articles read this week. I really enjoyed reading about this study of children as photographers. It’s interesting to note that Kodak suggests, “over three quarters of children aged 6 years and older living in economically developed countries own or have use of a camera (p2).” This only acknowledges and illustrates that children should be viewed as photographers and even if a young child lacks the ability to aim a camera, the child is still capable of being a photographer. I think that parents need to eliminate the fallacy and clearly misleading notion of children just wasting film and allow them to be creative with this art of photography. Once a child is given a camera, they will arise to the opportunity to freely take photographs of what they wish – and this, might I add, is not just wasting film. It’s a good thing that now a days, we are able to purchase a digital camera that is $20.00 to give to a child so that they can use it. These pictures can be put onto the computer or printed and the child is able to view what they have captured. Within the conclusion, a statement is made that children’s photographs are not just their view of the world, yet a construction of their identity. I believe in this statement for the reason that when a photograph is taken, they aren’t going to capture just anything. Within a photograph a possession, a family member or beautiful scenery is captured – all this will reveal the child’s personal perspective, a part of their identity.

On the topic of Video Conferencing, I think that it is quite a beneficial use of technology. The ability to ‘interact simultaneously in real time with groups scattered around the world’ is extremely valuable. By being able to see, hear and speak to others through the use of a Video Conference, meetings can be preformed, collaborations with others on research can be done, lectures and tutorials can be taken to another level – and children can interact with other children in other countries. I think that it would be revolutionary and quite innovative to have access to Video Conferencing within a classroom wherein children would be able to connect with other children across the country in interactive, collaboratively virtual ways.
  • Current Music
    Aqualung - Brighter Than Sunshine

Rape, Race and all things White

Whoa. That was quite a lot of reading.

I began by reading the article ‘A Rape in Cyberspace’ because it caught my eye firstly. I was appalled to be reading what I was reading. Of course, I’m not ignorant enough to believe that people like this do not exist. Of course they do, in real life and in virtual life. Things like this, according to the techno libertarians of LamdaMoo, are inevitable. Of course, I was glad to know that this sick and twisted individual was ‘toaded’ from the ‘mansion’ of LambdaMoo. How interesting, that something that has been virtually created by a bunch of numbers, letters and words can have such an affect on people and create this up rise of vengeance within this virtual reality. According to Dibbell, this program is just a database with a variety of subprograms in which it allows users to interact within the rules and regulations of the program. This program is merely mimicking the principles of reality – the real world. Yet an occurrence, such as the sexually violent Mr. Bungle, blurs that line between what is real and what is just merely a program. It blurs it enough to create this immense disturbance amongst users in which some felt violated, assaulted or just plain outraged.

The article of ‘Race In/For Cyberspace’ brought up the issues of wanting to eliminate racial discrimination – and the element of it being ever so present. The act of ‘passing’ is easier to do on the Internet because one can represent themselves as a different gender, age or race then one really is. That is, according to Nakamura, the ‘dynamic of the Internet.’ In LamdaMoo, users create a character in which they must give a gender to. Yet race is not a required option. Users may chose to depict their race within their descriptions – although, even if they don’t flat out say what their race is, at times, it is easy to assume a users race, according to their descriptions, ex. physical features of a blue eyed, blonde can be assumed as a white person (I’m not fond of the term ‘white’). I just don’t understand why it is so important to cancel out race or to even hold assumptions of who holds what race. The part of the article that I really didn’t enjoy, is the “Orientalized theatricality” in which users could choose to perform, as Nakamura describes as ‘racial play’ and create a character based on token stereotypical Asian characteristics. If these token characters are being used within the program, why have the programmers allowed for these characters to exist? As well, the idea of being “whited out” in which there is a default of  “whiteness” throughout LamdaMoo in order to hold, what Nakamura states as “cybersocial hygiene” -- I don’t even know where to begin with that statement!!

As for the article, ‘Bridging the Digital Divide” – to tell you the truth, by the time I got to this article, I was all tired out. It was easier to read then the other two articles and was laid out in a more organized manner in my opinion. I wasn’t really impressed with the language though – I don’t feel comfortable being referred to as “white.” Do I look white? Am I classified under the category of white? Anyway, that’s beside the point, it just irked me a little. I do fully agree with Hoffman and Novak when they state that society is leading into a “digital divide” between those who ‘have’ a computer, or at least access to a computer, and those who ‘have not.’ Interesting read, although it would have been more interesting if it were a Canadian statistical paper – enough already with these American papers.

  • Current Music
    Summer Love - Remember

Readings, readings and more readings!!

Wow. That was quite a bit of reading to do. First and foremost, the Sims. I personally have SimAnt, SimTown, SimFarm and SimSafari and each are equally addictive. I haven’t dabbled in the newer versions of Sims; I’m quite content with what I have. (Although Sims RollerCoster Tycoon – I think that is what it is called – seems kind of fun) I think that the idea of ‘edutainment’ is quite thrilling. Using these simulation games to learn – learning by computers. As stated in the article, they are turning the traditional subjects such as geography and arithmetic into games, in turn, making it fun! By using this game one can build from scratch, handle controversial decision-making and solve problems that may arise. To think, these simulation games (i.e. the Sims) have been around since the 60s and are still around and popular to this day. With all of the variety and complexity of the numerous simulation games, of course they would continue with their popularity.

Secondly, I looked at an article found on the Media Wise website called ‘Wired but Disconnected’ by Dr. Dave. We are living within a technological society in which every person, as stated by Dr. Dave, is ‘wired.’ I fall under this category – I have a TV, CD player, computer, videos and DVDs, Ipod – and that’s just in my room! We are living in a society where people don’t even have to leave their homes when “running” errands. I don’t think I can even call it running, because now people can go to the bank, the library and do the groceries all in the comfort of their own home – sitting in front of a computer. Not only can errands be completed, nevertheless we can find out current events, celebrity gossip, order books and CDs and watch movies, all without leaving our homes. Dr. Dave states that trust is built when people have shared experiences and children will learn how to interact with others through practice in real life. Yet, by living in this increasingly technologically dependent society, more time is being spent alone. Dr. Dave says that we are spending far more time alone than ever before.

Thirdly, and lastly, the Linux open source software. Hey – there is something out there besides Windows?? Mac?? What’s Mac? Okay, that was a joke. I know what Mac is, I’m just not a Mac user, and so it frustrates me a little. (Although when interning at TVO I had to use Mac and it was frustrating because I couldn’t bring the Word documents that I wrote at home to TVO!! But I slowly learned to appreciate Mac … sort of) Back to my point, I was unaware of this software, Linux. As Dern states, the children were able to develop the ability to work on the computer independently, creating their own desktops, window managers and establishing a variety of programs. I think it’s great that they are using this software to, as stated by Dern, express themselves by using a computer and using it as a voice, a way of getting information and communicating.
  • Current Music
    Seether - Veruca Salt
thinkstupid

Hacking Human: Nolan and Levesque

         It is interesting to learn about this concept of ‘social hacking’ in which people are watching people. It is true that there is so much information out there on the Internet that has been lost, buried and outdated over time. When you think about how much information you yourself have put out there on to the internet, you start to think – how much does someone know about me?! With all of the information that has already been lost, it can be dug up by someone, in which they would piece it together to create, what Nolan and Levesque describe as an ‘identity map.’
        The idea that people are actually sifting through piles of information and trying to piece things together is boggling. Who has the time to do this?? And not only does it take time, but it probably takes a lot of patience. Especially those who spend time in a chat room and study the individuals that take part in the chat. The hacker is sitting ‘passively’ in front on the computer screen, trying to get a deeper understanding. Hats off to those people who can successfully endure it.
        The way that I see social hacking is in the form of art rather than sport. It is an art to take all the bits of information and collage it together in order to form a character. This character may or may not be accurate, but they are based on a true personality, with true credentials, a real person. As Nolan and Levesque state, hacking is about exploring information for personal ends. Using the tools that are out there in order to formulate what I see as a work of art, creating and molding a person by using the materials and information that they can dig up.
         As stated in the article, we can find out information on a person by using 411canada.ca or MapQuest. I used these two search engines quite often when I did my internship at TVOKids. I had to look up information on people and I found exactly where they lived, their phone numbers, address, postal code and a map of how to get to their home. I was surprised to see how easy it was to find this information just by having a name. I’m sure that I could have found out more information if I wanted to really look for it. Crazy stuff!
        It is noteworthy to know that there is not one tool on the market that will allow a person to know if they are being watched by a social hacker. As well, there is not one thing that can assist a person in finding out if they are being watched. If there is a Ying, then there will always be Yang; with the numerous benefits of the Internet there must be the negative and being watched by social hackers is just one of them.
  • Current Music
    Carolina Marquez - The Killer's Song