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?

The Wrath of Kahn

I’m still trying to figure out why this assignment is linked to me…

Diving in though! I’m going to use the same tags I used in my first curation in order to be able to link the two in the future.

In order to save room all original nuggets can be found by following the two links to my original panning for nuggets.  Nuggets 1-3, Nuggets 4 & 5

Tag 1: Knowledge

Nugget #1 demonstrates through an anecdote how knowledge itself may not be enough. It is how we apply this knowledge that really makes intelligence. The sort of scenario that is described in Nugget #1 is quite a common one, where someone is taught a fact but due to the lack of engagement no connections are made and the knowledge is lost in the grand scheme of the world. Nugget #2 addresses how a lack of interest and engagement will negatively affect one’s desire and ability to “engage in exploratory behavior”.  As Dr. Coats said to me, students these days are taught about gravity and Newton, but aren’t asked to analyze it beyond that.  To kids gravity is just an unquestioned fact. Because the students in Nugget #1 never questioned what they were told they are unable to make the connections necessary to truly understand.

Tag 2: Critical Thinking

Nugget #4 describes a Tulsa class that encourages students to do just this, to ask the questions “Why?” and “Who cares?”  These questions are more important than they might seem at face value, as they are important both for a writer to ask him or herself about their own research, as well as an academic in reference to a piece of research they are reading. If no one cares then why bother? And if it exists then why is it worth caring about? By asking these questions we can try to mediate between the writer and the reader and maybe bridge the gap between the two.  Research done by the authors of Nugget #5 shows that the students they polled are thinking more critically than one might expect regarding their resources.  It showed that the majority of students consulted course texts and databases as a first stage of research, and continued on to ask librarians and professors for guidance. This is a great path to analyzing research and thinking critically.  I am all for asking for help. Who says we have to do this all alone? The sharing of thoughts, ideas, and resources is how the world works and I think it will really get people to care more like the professors at Tulsa were encouraging.

Tag 3: Development

Nugget #3 is actually an analysis of another text, but the book as a whole is about the learning and development of Gifted and Talented (GT) program kids. As far as personal experience tells me, GT students usually get identified around 3rd grade through testing and teacher input. This is the perfect age when learning and development spikes, but students are not aware enough yet to know they are being tested or observed. One clue of a GT student is signs of boredom in normal-speed classes.  This article describes different reasons and displays of this boredom.  The key concept though is that they learn and develop at a faster pace than other students. They need to be engaged at a higher level in order to keep them interested in their learning.

Tag 4: Websurfing

None of these very well relate to websurfing because they are all geared more towards learning than the internet.  But all of these were found by websurfing! So how cool is that! Five unique sources all found by surfing either the same phrase, or adjusting that phrase based on the feedback of my surfing. Oh internet, you’re so cool.

I think all of these nuggets tie in very nicely to each other. All in all I think they demonstrate the importance not only of knowledge, but of interest, engagement, and application.

The State of MY Union Address

My fellow Americans,

We gather here today in the vast internetspace not just to reflect on our past month here as a community, but to rejoice in the glow of only one more month! Let us begin by discussion the progression of the KahnQuest. The quest began with one noble young girl’s dream to bring her internet based time-wasting game to the forefront for all of her class to enjoy.  From there it developed into an academic pursuit, testing the waters of questioning credible sources, while also leading an investigation on the search for knowledge, what inspires it, and how to improve it.  America, what a ride it has been! For it was not the easiest pursuit. It has been a tumultuous uphill climb to find academic research on a source that some find so decidedly un-academic. But through the help of ERIC, Google Scholar, and Jason Coats, appropriate tags have been claimed and utilized for this endeavor.  As for the dreamers who have inspired so much conversation amongst us, I say…meh. I have found you useful and interesting when I have had to and I appreciate your role in this class, but I am super seriously tired of hashing open the same few paragraphs.  Ahem, carrying on. The nation of Kahntopia would like to thank Dr. Coats for both his help and counsel throughout these trying times, as well as the brief tour of his bookcase.  While it is a very odd thing to figure out the dynamics of Gchat with a professor you are meeting for the first time, it was a very valuable conference that left me feeling confident in my ability to squish all of the variations of my topic into one big superproject. I think through that conference I have gained some perspective on what to expect in the future, as well as some reassurance that I am not doing this all completely wrong. I look forward to seeing how we all progress as a group of nations.  Thank you, America, and goodnight.

Nugget Curation

I’m not sure what I’m going to have to say here that hasn’t been said already since I’m not working with any new materials, but we’re gonna try to dig deep.

Tag 1: Knowledge

Nelson and Engelbart both discuss knowledge, however their views on it seem to diverge.  Nelson discusses knowledge as a powerful and elusive force in the world.  His line “Knowledge is power and so it tends to be hoarded.” sounds like the dramatic opening to a fantasy novel, styled after Smeagol from Lord of the Rings.  Followed by his comment about the priesthood, Nelson definitely sets the scene for a dark and mysterious quest for knowledge.  This is countered by Engelbart’s more lighthearted view and imagery of knowledge.  Engelbart is quick to state that man is born with an inherent set of capabilities and knowledge.  While the environment may change just how you think and what you think about, as a human, one possesses innate abilities.  Clearly this goes against Nelson’s view of knowledge being hoarded, because how can you hoard something everyone possesses? 

Tag 2: Critical Thinking

Licklider brings up the topic of symbiosis between man and machine, and how eventually they will work seamlessly together in processing and decision making. I think the idea of this paragraph is that between the intuitive judgements and knowledge of man and the critical analysis of machine, optimal decisions can be made.  Neither man nor machine has the ability to rely on both of these (though it could be argued that man could painstakingly collect the data of precedent and analyze it effectively) but together they can work as a harmonious team. Whether you consider this critical thinking though, I’ll leave you to decide.


Tag 3: Development

There is no question that technology has developed over time, and has developed us as a society alongside it. Bush conjures the image of a “well-built house” provided by science, from which we have learned to live happily within.  To further this imagery, we have slowly been upgrading from a little shack with an outhouse to a seventy-two room mansion. It’s not that we were ever unhappy in our little shack or our one-bedroom apartment, it’s just that we eventually outgrew it and realized we could have better.  However, Bush is not merely singing the praises of science and technology; he is quick to balance the scales by pointing out all the damage we have done and can do with this powerful tool.  As we develop more good in the world, there is more to destroy. 

Although Nelson does not address this, I would like to think that we as a community have developed since his piece was published.  I would like to believe that through technology and the internet we have stopped hoarding our knowledge and have started to spread it.  I think I could make the argument that we have indeed succeeded, but who knows how much information remains inaccessible to us?

Tag 4: Websurfing

This one is a bit tougher because none of these authors directly address the topic (I’m pretty positive the concept didn’t exist when any of these people even wrote!) but considering it is by far my most used tag, I feel it’s pretty necessary to do.

Websurfing,  I think, is actually a good example of Licklider’s symbiosis.  I, the human, come up with a starting point or line of inquiry.  Then Google, the machine, will come up with suggestions, alternatives, or similar topics relating to my original point.  For instance, I never would have gotten to half of my cited articles had ERIC and Google Scholar not properly interpreted my inputs and gave me valuable outputs.  By trying to search “intrinsic learning”, which, let’s face it, who is going to put that as a tag? I was able to find articles on learning, motivation, and education.  All because my computer knew what it was I was looking for and was able to point me in the right direction. How cool is that?!

All of my other tags are basically along the same lines, or else not useful at all. So I will close this out by trying to draw one more conclusion from the lot of these. 

Most of the students of this class never really had to grow up without technology as we know it today. I don’t even remember my household without internet access. (forgive me, I may have lost a bit of my direction here as this is where I stopped writing to do my conference call with Dr. Coats)  However, most of the dreamers we are reading from were writing from a time in which none of what we know was even on the horizons for them.  Yet many of their points are still valid and cause a number of discussions, which makes me wonder what it was they saw looming in the potential of technology? What is it about all of these readings that make them so worthy of our thought now? I think it has to do with their interpretation not only of technology today, but of mankind and why technology is important to us as a society.

World Science U

I may try to integrate this into an actual academic post later, but I just thought of this and want to get it out there. As you all probably know by now, I am trying to research and encourage learning both in and outside of the classroom for interest’s sake. So for those of you who may be interested, Brian Greene, a world renowned physicist, is working with World Science U to create online interactive classes for those interested in learning about physics. It is a totally free and accessible class for people of all ages and levels of education. You can currently enroll in a summer session about Special Relativity that includes weekly live discussions with Brian Greene (which is kind of a huge deal!!) so if you are interested please check it out!