Showing posts from May, 2010

This is your brain on technology

I just read an article “ The web shatters focus, rewires brains ” in the latest Wired magazine (yes, the paper-based version, not on an ipad).  One writer, Nicholas Carr, makes the case that the barrage of information and interruptions in our lives “shatters our focus and rewires our brain”.  The article ( Wired June 2010 pp. 112-118 ) is adapted from his new book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains”, to be published in June 2010.  He shares examples of research done to compare heavy to low Internet users where they fMRI’d their brain activity.  Heavy Internet users did have higher brain activity and that the brains of the low users after spending an hour a day online for a week then showed very similar brain use patterns.  Their brains were rewired!  This might sound promising whereby Internet use reroutes neural pathways but Carr argues that this is actually turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain. Carr shares that sinc

Welcome to your life in 2020

I don’t know about you but I often try to imagine what the world might look like in the future and what I might be doing in it.  2020 is a particularly interesting year for me.  It is the year of my retirement, I hope. “Retirement: entering a period in life where I don’t have to work to live but will choose to work at something, just because…” I wonder what changes I will experience, initiate, or resist… over the next 10 years?  Warning, wild (or mild?) speculation follows… Mobile communications devices : all landline phones are relics now – mobile devices are very small, thin, and foldable but are able to take on a rigid form when necessary.  They have a holographic image capability to project a 3D color image of live video calls, video media, virtual worlds, digital information, online applications, etc.  Multiparty communications present each party in the holographic image as if they were there.  Interactions and input with this digital world involve gestures, virtual touch / mani

Digital Tools and Social Responsibility

I remember when I was growing up sneakily watching TV shows or listening to music my parents didn’t approve of - good thing my mom doesn’t use the Internet, she won’t see this, I’m safe :-).  That’s about as complicated “digital tools” were back in the day.  Fast forward to today and it’s a whole different world with the Internet, devices of all shapes, sizes, and capabilities, in the hands of most kids.  The opportunity for kids to misuse digital tools is huge.  Who’s going to guide them? I wrote a post back in March, Digital Natives Need Infrastructure , where I talked about one of our schools’ (Riverside Secondary) experiences with students using digital tools and the impact on the network.  When kids are bringing their personally owned devices (PODs) and you have a philosophy of openness (no blocking), things get interesting.  My post Learning with a class set of ipod touches tries to contemplate possible learning benefits and difficulties.  Dave Truss has an interesting perspe

Privacy with Free, Foreign, or Shared IT Services

It’s amazing how quickly the menu of IT services has filled out.  I remember back in 1992 when I was asked to connect my employer of the day to the Internet.  I wasn’t quite sure what that meant or where to turn to do it.  It was difficult, expensive, and slow…  18 years later, the Internet is the underpinning to everything we do. We have many teachers and students that use free Internet services such as for encyclopedia, for finding info, people, tools, and storing / sharing documents, for instant messaging, storing documents, networking, for access and storing / sharing educational videos, for screen casting lessons, for professional networking, to host their blogs, and to write collaboratively.  I am interested in what steps teachers or Districts take to address privacy concerns with free services.  I know in our District it’s not a formalized process.  Teachers learn from others and use their own good judgment to take certain precautions.  They may create class, instead of studen