Friday, April 13, 2012
Monday, January 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My trip to China was amazing. I had a great time and learned a lot. Overall I'd say our learning system will work in China. Sight seeing was fun, but mostly Terrie and I enjoyed the shopping. Below are some of the lessons I learned while in China.
Lesson one- All the web 2.0 sites I use (such as this blog) don't work in China. I was planning on updating my blog on a daily basis as well as my Facebook and Twitter status. Of course if I had thought for a minute I would have remembered that none of these sites work in China.
Lesson two- Video sucks in China. YouTube didn't work, but Viddler did. Well, it wasn't blocked, but it still took at least 30 seconds for videos to play. I should not have been surprised by this, but I still found it weird that the people I talked to haven’t ever heard of YouTube. Although Viddler worked, it did not work very fast. Our biggest challenge seems to be streaming video.
Lesson three- There are decent server hosting solutions in China. China telecom is the hosting company run by the government. It basically hosts everything. We got a price from them equal to about 10K/year which does not include any service at all. if something goes wrong and we need a hard reboot- we have to hire somebody to go in for us and turn it off. We then met with a sub contractor who quoted us a price that was only a third of the price and included 24/7 support. So, what should we choose; cheap with service, or expensive with no service? Seemed like an easy decision for me- but apparently China Telecom is what everybody uses because it is so much more secure.
Lesson four- Test speeds indicate that most of our Westminster specific tools work great in China. Some of the test speeds are a little hard to interpret. Some of our wiki pages loaded in less than 3 seconds, and most less than 10 seconds. The video’s we tried to play took between 15-30 seconds to begin playing. The results were pretty consistent between testing on campus, in the hotel, and an internet café. Unfortunately things were noticeably slower when we ran our tests at our interpreter’s house (it was a DSL line but only got speeds of about 500 kbps which might explain the slow load time).
Lesson five- Shopping in the bargain markets is fun especially once you realize how to play the barter game. Always offer 25% of their first offer and stick with it. I love how many of them would finally break down and give me the price I wanted because we were “friends”.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
- Internet Explorer 8.0.6
- Firefox 3.5.3
- Google Chrome 3.0.1
- Safari 4.0.3
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The article begins by saying:
"Technology addiction among young people is having a disruptive effect on their learning, researchers have warned. Their report concluded that modern gadgets worsened pupils' spelling and concentration, encouraged plagiarism and disrupted lessons."
The beginning of this article already has me upset. I can just picture the researchers who came up with this study are old-brown-elbow-patch types who hate that they are becoming irrelevant because their lectures aren't as interesting as cell phones. To prove their point- get this- they actually handed out paper surveys!
Ring!!!! Ring !!!!! Um, excuse me, it's for you, 1999 wants their paper survey back.
Of course paying attention to a lecturer is difficult while texting. Of course spelling is worse when people are use to spell-checkers. Of course technology makes it easy to plagiarize. I'm dissapointed that the study did not find that their cursive handwriting and abacus skills are also waning due to technology. Why did we need to get a survey to tell us these things?
From the article: "The research said technology drove a social lifestyle that involved a strong desire to keep in touch with friends." How dare people want to socialize more! I wonder if these are the same people who say that Facebook/Twitter/texting are the cause of our society becoming more antisocial? What is it? Too social or too antisocial?
It doesn't matter. Why does it matter if technology makes us too social (or too antisocial)? Or if it makes us bad at speling (yes, I'm being funny, not dumb)? The technology is not going away, the youth who use the technology are not going away. Instead of pointing at the negative aspects of technology use in the old paradigm, we should be focusing on how we can use it to increase learning in the new paradigm.
Learning doesn't just happen in a classroom. Learning happens when information is applied and synthesized. Today's learners are capable of multi-tasking and quickly digesting massive amounts of information. It is the job of education institutions to create better digital citizens, who can navigate these incredible learning tools, contribute to learning communities, and filter the information that has little worth.