November 28th, 2005

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

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