My Teacher made me do this… Volume VI

My Teacher made me do this… Volume VI

Q: What technologies are depicted in the show?

A:  The movie I chose to watch was Blade Runner (1982). With the movie taking place in 2019 Los Angeles there were many pieces of futuristic technology presented. Some of the most prominent were flying cars and regular space travel that would sore above the crowded streets that were overrun by pedestrians and busy shops. Another example of technology were the A.I.s used in the movie. One kind were artificial animals such as birds and snakes. Artificial versions of these creatures were probably created due to the fact that many species would become endangered by the year 2019 and they were replacements programmed to be pets. One character even replied when asked about her pet snake with “you think if I could afford a real snake I would work in a place like this”. Probably the technology with the most presence in the movie were the humanoids known as “replicant” as they strike a great resemblance to their organic human counterparts so much so a special test is needed to tell the two apart.

Q: Briefly, how have the technologies changed people/business/society/government choices and behaviours?

A: The replicants in the movie were built to be stronger and agile than their makers with an intelligence that was either equal or less than that. So they were used primarily for slave work in very physically demanding jobs. This forced many people to try for work they were under qualified for but was deemed a human occupation such as police work. Since many of those workers would not meet the qualification for such jobs there are many people suffering poverty. The movie would also have the same audio ad playing on in the background as a sort of transition noise in an attempt for people to leave Earth and live on some other planet claiming it was a land of golden opportunity most likely to combat the over crowding on earth. Along with that the problem with creating A.I.s that have such high intelligence level is that rebellion in inevitable which is driving theme is the movie.

Q: Overall, are the technologies portrayed in a positive, negative or neutral fashion? What evidence do you have to support this?

A: The future portrayed in Blade Runner is very bleak. The movie is named after a character whose job is to “retire” (or execute) replicants that have been banned from earth. Replicants though may seem essential to life in 2019 Los Angeles are constantly being ostracized and discriminated against though the way they are built makes them virtually identical to their organic counterparts or just as human. With history repeating itself slavery has essentially come back “in style” and technology drawing great divides in society.

Q: Would you want to live in this future? Why or why not?

A: I would not want to live in the future portrayed in this film. Blade Runner is a great example of dystopian writing. By definition a dystopian society is one where citizens lead very dehumanized and fearful lives. Though the technological advances seem incredible the amount of problems that arise the future the society progresses does not seem like a good trade off for the bleak and terrible classist society that you have to live in.


My Teacher made me do this… Volume V

My Teacher made me do this… Volume V

Q: Based on the materials presented in class and your own background knowledge and experiences, do you think social media has overall had a more positive or negative impact on the world?

A:  The creation of Facebook and other social media platforms changed the way we would communicate forever. With most of these services not even reaching a decade old many of us have stopped to ask whether or not their presence in our lives have a more positive or negative effect on the world.

In short social media brought about positive change to the way we live our lives. When these platforms were first created they promised us new ways to express ourselves as well as new ways to connect and communicate with each others. Though many have sought out ways of exploiting the connective nature of these sites to the average user they are still what they have always been and what they were first meant to be and that is a great tool for communication.

Social Media has made it easier to find common ground with people all over the world. We as humans are very social animals and are constantly looking for a sense of belonging. With the billions of users on these platforms daily it has been easier to find people who can empathize with you.

Sites like Facebook and twitter have introduced new people to ideas that we would never have had access to in the past. Allowing us to gain new perspective on the worlds issues and better educate ourselves with the knowledge of what is going on.

Finally these social media sites have given us the chance to connect with friends and family much more efficiently than we ever could. Though they may live on opposite ends of the world family and friends have been brought closer together thanks to social media.

My Teacher made me do this… Volume IV

My Teacher made me do this… Volume IV

Q: Did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?

A: IDC ICT is not your traditional course. With few structured lessons and no tests it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the lack of direction. But what this course lacks in final exams and notes to study it makes up for with a variety of ways to express yourself in some very open ended assignments. Our placements were no exception to this. Really our only instructions with the assignments were to meet with our placement teacher an help them complete and implement their desired projects. I was fortunate enough to work with Ms. Law a teacher I am comfortable with and have experience as to what she expects in the work we produce. This made having the longest placement in the class a much easier and immersive experience. I really enjoyed the individuality and the sense of responsibility that came with our respective placements. Every class after our initial placement assignment  was a work period where we were not constantly reminded to finish our teacher’s projects but just the idea of setting deadlines and meeting them and pushing along kept me interested. Though I could work at my own pace I would have to be mindful of the expectations set by Ms. Law on the quality of work I must produce as well as the time frame I had for each project.

Q: What went well with your placement?

A: I feel that communication between my team and Ms. Law went very well. Her prep conveniently lined up with our IDC class making it that much easier to set up any necessary meetings to discuss project information and progress. Ms. Law was always quick to reply to emails and remind messages which kept the entire group up to date with feedback and follow up material. Her quick response time and availability would also make acquiring the necessary materials (bio probes) and information (website domain names) much easier which stopped that from being a reason to stall our progress on the “various science-related activities” as she liked to call it.

Q: What difficulties did you have with your placement?

A: One difficulty would have to be communication within the group. Though we set up groups chats on Facebook and remind the two were rarely touched. At one point responsibilities had been mixed up, assumption had been made and in the end we would have to refer back to the original placement plan project to clarify and disputes. Another difficulty that really wasn’t under anyone’s control and was very specific to our placement was contacting OttawaU and Expedia in search of accommodations for a possible MSC trip to Ottawa. When contacting the two in hopes of acquiring a general quote we experienced long wait times, confused customer services reps and information that was inconveniently relayed. All in all adding up to a very frustrating experience that elongated the project unnecessarily.

Q: Do you consider your placement a success?

A: I would consider the placement a success as we were able to complete mos of the projects given to us by our supervising teacher. The final product was checked over multiple times by ourselves and our teacher ensuring they were completed to the best of our abilities and to her standards. Any project that we could not initially complete we went back to talk to Ms. Law about to discuss and difficulties we were having. In doing so we were able to make a more revised plan and still create a final product that although may not have been the original intent of our teacher was still a result that not only got the approval of Ms. Law but our entire team.

Q: Do you think the project is useful/has value for IDC students/teachers/students of placement teachers?

A: I do feel that this project to everyone involved in it. For the IDC students it gives them a sense of responsibility and independence as they are told to complete the projects of their respective teachers by a certain deadline. It gave students a sense of working in an “employee” and “superior” environment where they had to report to their teachers and get work done to the best of their abilities. The placement also benefits the supervising teacher and their class. With the projects completed in the placements students will be able to enjoy a more immersive learning experience for years to come with the new technology and materials we helped their teacher organize and incorporate.

Q: How could the project be improved for future IDC classes?

A: One thing I would change about this project for future IDC classes is to restrict the number of project a teacher would like to assign to one placement team. This is probably coming purely from the fact that I was assigned the longest placement in the class and at times it seemed a bit much. But when requesting certain projects to be done teachers need to take in to account the time and effort that goes in to producing good quality work. This would be done simply to ensure that the average time it takes to complete a placement is readily uniform through out the class and nothing to ambitious is placed on the students.


My Teacher made me do this… Volume III

My Teacher made me do this… Volume III

Q: How successful were you at implementing the strategy or technique? What helped or impeded your success?
A: When we were first told to pick a new learning strategy to test I was very hesitant and doubtful. I have had a cyclic history where I would experience periods of extreme motivation and wanting to complete the many projects ahead of me. During this time I would be very excited to organize myself and try to tackle my problems from a new angle. That was promptly followed by an apathetic slump where I would give up on my strategies and just watch as work piled up and be too sluggish to attempt it. Needless to say I did not go in to this challenge of implementing a learning strategy with the greatest attitude.

I am happy to say that I was wrong about what would happen when I started a new learning strategy. When implementing the Pomodoro technique in to my work the reason I was so successful this time around with a learning strategy was because I got others involved. By convincing my parents and older brother to take part in this trial with me there was not only an overall improvement in the time it took us to complete our projects but an improvement in our work quality. Whether it was my father working on his companies annual budget, my mother creating a new lesson plan, my brother studying for his midterms or just me trying to finish homework on time since we were all working the same system we were all able to hold each other accountable stop each other from going astray on our plan.

Q: Did the strategy improve your learning or reduce your procrastination? What evidence do you have to support this cthat laim?

A: The pomodoro technique was very effective in combating my procrastinating habits. I knew that this technique was working out when I began to see many of the side effects of procrastination disappear. That including I was able to go to sleep and fall asleep quicker as I did not have to burn the midnight oil in an attempt to do a weeks worth of work in a night and the anxiety cause by the thought of not meeting my goals was not there to keep me up all night. With those side effects slowly fading away as I preformed the technique over and over again I found myself with more free time than I could possibly imagine allow me to focus on other projects that had fallen wayside and really take some time for myself.

Q: Will you continue with the strategy?  Why or why not?

A: I can confidently say that I will be continuing to implement the Pomodoro Technique in to my life. In just over a week I was able to see improvements in my work ethic resulting in more free time to pursue new endeavors. The technique also gave me the ability to look back at all the work I had completed and the sense of accomplishment that came with it resulted in me feeling more self confident. However I know that if I were to stop now it would very hard to start up again. During this time of reflection I was able to acknowledge that though it may have been motivation that had gotten me started it will be habit that keeps me going and when a habit has such rewarding side effects I see no reason why I would want to stop using this technique. The Pomodoro Technique is built on the principal of routine which is something I appreciate and can maintain though habit and constant reminders and accolades from my family as we all work through our personal endeavors.

My Teacher made me do this… Volume II

My Teacher made me do this… Volume II

Q: Summarize your chosen strategy and explain why you picked it or explain your procrastination or multitasking problem and explain why you want to fix it.

A: As a student I am quite familiar with the problem many of us face with a deadline seems far away. We have a week to do an assignment so we put it off for a day to do some meaningless task that will have no benefit to us. Then a day becomes 3 days and 3 days becomes six days. Until it is the night before and you are staring at an empty word document and hoping your teacher is ready to read your 3-AM-redbull-enduced-self-hatred-extravaganza that is your project. Now as you curse yourself with each line of BS you write you pray your teacher will somehow make sense of it all and that you will never put yourself through this again. But let’s be real, as soon as you get the next assignment that isn’t due the next day you are just going to fall back in to that rut. It’s a vicious cycle that I am using to essentially dig myself an early grade. I used to think I was better at working than most of my friends because when I procrastinated I didn’t watch all 6 seasons of Community or clean my house from top to bottom. No, that’s too easy. I’m what I would refer to as a procrastinating workaholic. Which works something like this: say I have a paper due at the end of the week, but I also have to make a logo for an extracurricular activity due at the end of the month. Instead of taking the time to carefully plan out my hook, thesis, multiple drafts, etc. I will spend most of my time picking out the appropriate colour scheme and test various fonts until I find the one that really defines me. Both projects that have hard deadlines, but at the time of my procrastination the paper was obviously more important than the logo. As I got older and my work arguably became more important I learned the value of being able to prioritize my work. I needed to be able to recognize which tasks had to be done now and which tasks could wait for a different time. Better prioritizing my time would also help in dealing with the side effects of procrastination like sleep deprivation caused by anxiety.

Q: Explain how you will implement the strategy – be as specific as possible

A: A strategy that I have recently looked in to in hopes of counteracting my procrastinating ways is know as the Pomodoro Technique. In short, the technique states that someone can work more efficiently if they have 25-minute work periods with 5-minute breaks in between. This particular strategy seemed very appealing because it gave me a distinct time to step away from a more urgent task and do something I would much rather enjoy, even if that fun break activity was more work, but now work I actually wanted to do. I would implement this with everything I do, really whenever I have two hard deadlines but one is much closer to the other. Having a timer with not pause button ticking away while I work so I know I have to stay focused for those 25 minutes and then reward myself with something I find more interesting.

Q: What is your end goal? How will you know the strategy works for you?

A: I will know my strategy has worked for me when I begin to feel the side effects of my procrastination subside. The main reason I want to break my procrastination habits is because of all the negative effects it has had on me. If you look at procrastination from any angle it seems illogical. My procrastination has caused me to do worse on assignments that I easily could have done well in. It has caused me to have anxiety attacks that I did not know how to deal with. It would also cause me to lose sleep and not preform at a level I could be proud of. My end goal is pull myself out of this rut and stop hurting myself by putting off work.

Q: What are your critical moves?

A: My critical moves are to establish a regular study routine. As I write this blog right now my studying habits are a little sporadic. There are days where I will put off studying until 10pm and not finish my work until 2am. Then there are days where I will be on top of everything and have all my work done by 9pm at the latest. My hope is that through using the Pomodoro technique I will be able to make a more structured studying schedule so I can not only produce better quality work but have my work done more efficiently and on time.

Q: How will you shrink the change?

A: I will move from my current study habits to a more a structured system through small changes in my routine. I will be following the steps of the Pomodoro technique. First, I will take the time to make a list of the project(s) I would like to get done that day and then realistically estimate how long it will take to complete each task. I will find a quiet place to work that is free of distraction and then try and work for 25 minutes at a time, designating 5-minute breaks in between work sessions to work on other projects I would much rather be doing. After about 4 work and break sessions I will take the time to assess how well my Pomodoro sessions went and take that in to consideration the next day when I repeat the process.

Q: How will you tweak the environment?

A: I will work to ensure that any distractions while working are kept at bay through keeping my study area organized, quiet and free of clutter. This will help me to focus on the task at hand and be able to complete what I set out to do. Along with that I will also get my family and friends in changing my habits, by doing so they will not only be able to encourage and support me through this change but also hold me accountable if I go astray from my plan.

My Teacher made me do this… Volume I

My Teacher made me do this… Volume I

Q: Do you feel school is preparing you adequately for your future. Why or why not?

A: Simply put, no. But my opinion was not always so blunt and pessimistic. No, believe it or not there was actually a time where school gave me hope for my future. When I was in elementary and middle school my life was nothing more than ensuring a certain level of academic success, participating in extra-curricular activities and hanging out with friends. Anything outside of those topics I considered a “grown up thing” and something I was sure I would know once I came of age. Fast forward maybe 8 years, I am turning 18 this January and have little to no knowledge about finding work, paying rent or really anything that has to do with a bank.  I was always told that if I focused on school and my extracurricular I would be ready to take on the world when I graduated. That planted the idea that success came from mindlessly chasing perfection in academics while being apathetic to everything else I would need in life. I feel like high school especially has that effect on kids. You walk in on your first day of 9th grade and that’s when it hits you “I am technically an adult in four years”. School became more about getting a good grade than actually learning or feeling ready for what lied a head. Even when school tried to teach us valuable social skills like taking responsibility or working in groups, all that really proved was the quality of work you could produce at 2am running on nothing but cold black coffee as well as how you can’t trust anyone to do anything because no one wants to contribute and while you curse their name with every sentence you’re forced to do for them you pray your teacher will mark you all separately. So if life is about implementing the quadratic formula in to everyday tasks then you bet I’m ready. But if at any point in the future I find myself having difficulty trying to understand how mortgages work and the only thing that comes to mind is that a mitochondria is the power house of a cell, well I have school to thank for that.

Q: How do you personally use technology to learn?

A: As I got older my dependency on technology increased greatly to the point where I used technology for a myriad of things in school. One of the simplest forms could be using my phone’s camera to take pictures of friends notes or the teachers lesson. Creating an email and Facebook account in middle school gave me the opportunity to communicate with my teacher and peers outside of class. With google drive and classroom I was able to save and access files across several devices and hand in assignments with out the teacher being present. The internet has obviously eased every aspect of learning from research to unit review. Along with the above examples every course the revolved around technology (ie. computer programming, media art, etc.) has introduced me to new aspects of technology (coding in java) and reinforce any experience I already had (adobe illustrator).

Q: Do classes that use more technology appeal to you? Is it easier for you to learn the content?

A: I feel that it is essential for classes to reach a certain balance between using technology and more traditional methods to learn. Though there are certain aspects of learning that I would have a very difficult time using technology for. Take textbooks for example. I prefer to have a physical book that I can hold and turn pages, this also helps me absorb the information more efficiently. Whenever I am presented with a large body of text on a screen that I must read I have the tendency to skim over it and not want to read it all. Though this may be a bad habit and is condemned by many I write small notes in the margins if textbook as I work through them and even answer questions right on the page. One aspect that I would prefer to use technology for are smart-boards. They are a helpful replacement to chalkboards and allow teachers to access many different resources that they can easily integrate in to there lessons for a more thorough learning experience.

Q: Does it matter to you if a teacher uses technology in class? Why or why not?

A: As I stated above I feel that it is very important for teachers reaches a certain balance between using technology and more conventional methods for teaching. The right technology in proper doses can make for a more immersive and thorough learning experience. On the other hand if a teacher is using technology simply as a substitution for conventional ways of teaching it is easy to see through the fad and notice that the technology really isn’t adding anything to the lesson or assignment and may just be disengaging or distracting to students.

Q: What technology would you like to see teachers use that is not currently being used?  Why did you choose that technology?

A: The technology I would like to see in schools are 3D printers. These printers open a world of oppurtunities to students that may have been impossible or very difficult in the past. Printing in 3D provides a tangible element to learning that was once unimaginable. This tool will help students better visual certain aspects of the subject making for a more immersive lesson. Along with teaching, 3D printing gives way to a wide variety of new assignments and porjects to go along with the initial excitement of new technology in the classroom.