Inquiry Proect Beta

The draft of my final paper can be found here.


Right now I am pretty proud of myself for banging this out during a sick day (yes, more headaches).  However I feel like I lost a lot of my direction towards the end and I think I am too close to the writing right now to see exactly where it stops making sense/being cohesive.  I also have some work to do to meet the 3500 word requirement, I think I’m at just about 2900 now. So I’m not sure where I should beef up the writing, or if I should include a whole new concept somewhere? Or is the content more important than the word count and I should leave it be? I don’t know, I need direction! Eek!


Because my topic seems to revolve more around education I am using APA.

Engelbart, D. C. (2001). Augmenting human intellect: a conceptual framework (1962). PACKER, Randall and JORDAN, Ken. Multimedia. From Wagner to Virtual Reality. New York: WW Norton & Company, 64-90.
Jones, S. (Ed.). (1998). Doing Internet research: Critical issues and methods for examining the Net. Sage Publications.

Kay, A. C. (1995). Powerful Ideas Need Love Too. Written remarks to a Joint Hearing of the Science Committee and the Economic and Educational and Opportunities Committee, available on the web at www. lcs. media. mit. edu/groups/el/events/love-too. html.

Kay, A., & Goldberg, A. (1977). Personal dynamic media. Computer, 10(3), 31-41.
Nelson, T. H., & Nelson, T. H. (1987). Computer lib: Dream machines (p. 31). Redmond: Tempus Books of Microsoft Press.
Renninger, A., Hidi, S., & Krapp, A. (Eds.). (2014). The role of interest in learning and development. Psychology Press.
Rush, E. (2012). Motivation of Academically Gifted Students. Online Submission.
Yeung-Fang, W. M. (2001). Does technology hinder or enhance learning and teaching. In Proceedings of the 2001 Technology in Language Education: Meeting the Challenges of Research and Practice. Language Center, HKUST, Hong Kong.

Assembly Initiated

Alan Kay’s Powerful Ideas Need Love Too! works to bring to light the lack of connection between knowledge and understanding.  This is best shown through the following text.

To those that didn’t understand the seasons, I asked if they knew what season it was in South America and Australia when it is summer in North America. They all knew it was winter. To those that didn’t understand the phases of the moon, I asked if they had ever seen the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time. They all had. Slowly, and only in a few, I watched them struggle to realize that having opposite seasons in the different hemispheres could not possibly be compatible with their “closer to the sun for summer” theory, and that the sun and the moon in the sky together could not possibly be compatible with their “Earth blocks the suns rays” theory of the phases.

Kay was shocked at the number of Harvard and UCLA graduates who could not explain scientific concepts taught as early as 7th grade.  What really got to Kay, though, was that all of them demonstrated the basic latent knowledge required to answer the question, there was just a major disconnect between the conceptual knowledge and the application.

The Role of Interest in Learning and Development, edited by Krapp, Hidi, and Renninger first attempts to draw attention to interest itself. The history of interest, the “interest in interest”, and the different types of interest.  The book then goes on to relate interest to learning. The book states that interest is commonly used as an independent variable, causing an effect on the dependent variable, learning of some kind.  These studies can be used directly in the classroom to inspire learning in currently dispassionate children.

Emily Rush hoped through her research to improve the motivation of gifted students in the classroom. Her research was documented in Motivation of Academically Gifted Students in which she categorized motivated students as those who “find value in their school experience”. Rush analyzes many articles for her own research in order to gain a well balanced argument. One article discussed the downsides of giftedness including the mocking and exile by their peers and the lack of interest in the classroom due to the basic level of the concepts taught.  I would like to see these attitudes changed by inspiring interest and motivation in all children, not just the gifted ones.

 Doing Internet Research: Critical Issues and Methods for Examining the Net, edited by Steve Jones, uses the University of Tulsa’s inquiry class as an example of the potential there is to be teaching towards this not-so-new medium.  We can not treat internet research like we do book research because it is not book research.  We have to reevaluate the most important and effective methods of research and teach to that, not to tradition.   One contributor also suggests that the internet is a self-governed and regulating body, which is an interesting concept to relate to Wikipedia.

Wai Mei Yeung-Fang admits in Does Technology Hinder or Enhance Learning and Teaching? that different schools of thought in regards to education will have different opinions on this topic. Fang believes though that it is possible to align any school of thought with technology, so long as the two are purposefully aligned.  She states that the fault and error lies with those who have no school of thought prior to delving into the depths of technology. She seems to believe that once all of the vague elements are removed, the internet and technology would be a valuable tool.

Kay and Goldberg introduce the Dynabook as a “problem solving tool” used to create a “metamedium” in Personal Dynamic Media. Their goals sound just as lofty as mine, to create a multimedia tablet for children.  The idea, if implemented correctly, would give children a hands on experience with math, science, music, art, architecture and more, all at their fingertips.  Instead kids are just launching angry birds at little pigs.

In Computer Lib/Dream Machines, Nelson goes so far as to compare knowledge to a little culthood, a protected treasure accessible only to the select priesthood.  I love his writing and even the concept is interesting, however it goes directly against what I am preaching. So I would like to either disprove this analogy, or break it down until it is no longer true.

Lastly, Licklider’s Man-Computer Symbiosis discusses the unique problem-solving relationship to be formed between man and computer.  I would like to harness this relationship and turn it into a widely beneficial one by demonstrating Wikipedia Wars and the fun of research


Real Estate and Interior Design

WordPress forever! I have decided that for my final project I will create a new WordPress site (ughh but why can’t I just keep THIS one?!) if only for the reason that I feel like I only JUST figured out how to use it.  I honestly do not have the patience or the interest to try to figure out a new site for this one thing.  I have figured out the interface for WordPress and I like it well enough and I will call it my squishy and it shall be my squishy.

Now for the important bits!
My general outline as presented by the prompt:

1) It is generally understood that not every child is motivated to learn, and I think it is equally understood that perhaps we could do a little better to engage children on an individual basis.  Here I would like to talk about some research done on interest, learning, and motivation. Perhaps I will be able to pinpoint here what is necessary to inspire a thirst for knowledge so I can suggest how to create that in an applied environment.

2) I find it problematic that we just accept that some people “don’t like learning”.  I truly believe that everyone likes learning about something, we just have to find out WHAT. I would like to change this perception and encourage everyone to seek out the knowledge they love.

3) Here I will insert first anecdotal evidence of how knowledge does not = understanding, then further discuss the research on learning and motivation.  Perhaps then I can bridge the disconnect and bring in how technology can assist.

4)  My thesis is not quite developed here, but I think it will be along the lines of ‘we need to encourage and teach learning what you love and teach on a more engaging and dynamic level.’

5) Here I will insert my Wikipedia Wars to demonstrate the fluidity of knowledge, as well as my example of how we can engage students dynamically even when studying something as general as the Civil War.

The Future All Over Again

I think my nugget and my visions of the future are related in the way technology organically evolves over time to meet the needs of the people. The entire concept of the Dynabook in the 70s was conceptualized to meet a certain set of needs, and I think the original concept has been evolved (iPad, tablets, etc) to meet the demand of today’s society. Similarly, I think Wikipedia currently meets the demands it wishes to serve for the public and will continue to do so.  The site will only change as much as society’s demands do.  Since, I hope, the desire for knowledge will only increase, I hope that Wikipedia expands. However I find it likely that it will generally remain the same.


Somehow Jamie and her Blog seem to take both a very realistic and sensible approach to this question, like I think mine is, and the most fantastically absurd approach, like I wish mine was.  Honestly, this girl’s mind is fabulously crazy and I love it. I had considered making up a whole story, maybe Wikipedia took over the world somehow, maybe it destroyed humanity. Who knows, but that story would take up waaay too much effort for this class.. Back to the serious though, I think Jamie took a very logical attitude towards her topic and determined the two extreme scenarios of Tor’s future.


Morganneperez also took more than one approach.  First, looking at the big picture — how will other forms of technology that change affect Pandora? Second, some crazy guesses about holographic images. Third, a realistic and simplistic idea of changing the interface, location of buttons. And finally, the fascinating idea which I LOVE of adding audiobooks, short stories, etc to Pandora.  Internet gods, if you’re reading this, PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Lastly, LinaIbrahim seems to have a very grandiose vision of where Complex Magazine is going. In fact, she seems to have this so well planned and laid out that they should really hire her to do their internal management! Nothing mentioned seems like it would take 10 years to implement, just the right person.


LOTR: Gimli and the Gang

Not sure exactly what this is supposed to look like in the end except for an “aerial shot”…but by my axe goddammit I’ll get it done!

I think I can group my sources into three overarching categories. Or I’m gonna try to.

1. Those that discuss learning and knowledge, the flaws in systems today, and methods on fixing it.

This includes Alan Kay’s Powerful Ideas Need Love Too! in which he laments over Harvard graduates who couldn’t apply knowledge that they clearly had stored in their brains to answer a (somewhat) simple question. Along with Does Technology Hinder or Enhance Learning and Teaching? which attempts to answer that very question! And Doing Internet Research: Critical Issues and Methods for Examining the Net which discusses a University of Tulsa based class that tries to get students to analyze the “why” of research.  All of these sources take a critical look at knowledge and how to get more of it.

2. An analysis of learners, how they learn, and why they learn.

This group only includes two sources. The Role of Interest in Learning and Development, which attempts to define interest and how it impacts one’s ability and desire to learn. I’ve paired this with The Motivation of Academically Gifted Students which is also a study of learning through interest and motivation. Together I think they work to analyze what needs to be targeted in order to better understand how a child learns and why.

3. Technology’s role in learning and knowledge

This group includes my three dreamers and their discussions on technology, where it is going, and what it will lead to.  Frankly, I’ve written so many nuggets and linked to them so many times so I’ll be brief now.  They all relate less to my specific topic but are all great examples of those who are inspired by what they are interested by and continue to explore that interest. Which is exactly what excites me so I will use them as role models.


Future Thoughts

So I know for certain that my digital text will be an example of “Wikipedia Wars”, meaning it will definitely be multiple pages of Wikipedia entries. However I’m not sure if I should make the entries meaningful to this class or purely random to demonstrate the intricacies of the game.  I’m leaning towards the second but then I have to find two exquisitely random pages to start and end with. Suggestions?

In ten years.. Assuming we are sticking purely to the interface of Wikipedia and ignoring all the possibilities of holographic images and whatnot…I’d like to think some other senses can be incorporated.  3D interactive images to better display diagrams, animals, medical procedures, etc. I think that the spirit of Wikipedia will still be the same, free information for all, by all.  That is also its major limitation.  Free, meaning it relies strictly on donations, and by all, meaning it is still an unreliable and constantly changing source of information.  Being so dynamic, it is a wonderful tool to bring into the future 10 years from now, because all the old information will remain and only gather and grow with time. Because it serves such a universal purpose though I don’t imagine it changing too monstrously or else it would cease to serve its purpose and become something else entirely.


I think I want to use my digital text more as an example of the bigger picture of my inquiry project, rather than the main portion of it.  The reason for this is that it seems throughout my research and thought process my main interest has been less of the “HEY Wikipedia is a great site for free knowledge and collaboration!” and more of “HEY Wikipedia is a great example of the endless connections that can be made and because it’s endless it has something for everyone to find interesting!” So I don’t know if I’d qualify this as a “policy change” or anything, but I would at least like to introduce some ideas that may slightly alter people’s way of thinking about education, learning, and knowledge.  I am considering trying to introduce a bit of a policy change in that I would suggest a classroom experience that I think would be useful to students.  Other than that I would really just like to speak passionately about questing for knowledge and discuss how to get children interested and excited in this quest.

Filling my Toolbox

Powerful Ideas Need Love Too! By Alan Kay

The Role of Interest in Learning and Development Edited by Krapp, Hidi, and Renninger

Motivation of Academically Gifted Students By Emily Rush

Doing Internet Research: Critical Issues and Methods for Examining the Net By Steve Jones

Does Technology Hinder or Enhance Learning and Teaching? By Wai Mei Yeung-Fang

Personal Dynamic Media By Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg

Computer Lib/Dream Machines By Theodor Nelson

Man-Computer Symbiosis By JCR Licklider


Yet Another Nugget

For educators, the Dynabook could be a new world limited
only by their imagination and ingenuity. They could use it to
show complex historical inter-relationships in ways not
possible with static linear books. Mathematics could become
a living language in which children could cause exciting
things to happen. Laboratory experiments and simulations
too expensive or difficult to prepare could easily be
demonstrated. The production of stylish prose and poetry
could be greatly aided by being able to easily edit and file
one’s own compositions.
Wow guys! This Dynabook sounds super amazing! Let me just google on my smartphone how much one is… Funnily enough, Kay still feels that his product has gone uncreated, and that current technology is still not comparable to the prototype.  Granted, I got this information from the Wikipedia Article on it.  It’s interesting how enthusiastic my nugget is on the influence in education. I could argue that with youtube demonstrations, graphing calculators, and laptops all of these claims are still achieved, yet I’m not sure anyone would make such a bold claim as to say it’s revolutionized the educational system.  Has this added technology opened up a world ‘limited only by an educator’s imagination and ingenuity’? And if not, then what will? We’ve made such great strides with technology, it seems like we have every resource at hand. So if even that is not enough to inspire more creative learning, maybe we need to look at the educators and not the tools.
It looks like some other people were able to relate more directly to this nugget than I, which is fascinating and fabulous because this article kind of covers all the media bases. That’s why I like it so much, it’s an early concept for what now seems so obvious. For instance, Blurpity is immediately able to narrow down what is important to their own project, CGI and the design capabilities of a computer.
Masha Taleb’s line of discussion took a more similar route to mine, comparing the Dynabook to the iPad. Lines of similarity were drawn right down to the pictures of Alan Kay and Steve Jobs proudly displaying their product.  These similarities leave me to wonder whether Kay’s goals have been accomplished or if some void has not been filled by the iPad that could be by another product.  I certainly don’t think of the iPad as an educational tool. Granted, I literally only use mine as a chalkboard for math. But I feel like I’m probably the exception to the rule.
Lastly, I really enjoyed The Blog’s choice of nugget because it was one I was considering using myself.  The nugget asks us to imagine a world in which every person had access to this brilliant technology.  In a way, we all do. At least the world we live in, which granted, is a rare and wonderful first-world.  It leaves me curious about what the world would be like if literally everyone had access to this technology? What sort of untapped brilliance is out there and just inaccessible due to the lack of technology?