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?

Pass the Nugget!

Knowledge is power and so it tends to be
hoarded. Experts in any field rarely want
people to understand what they do, and
generally enjoy putting people down.
Thus if we say that the use of computers
is dominated by a priesthood, people who
spatter you with unintelligible answers and
seem unwilling to give you straight ones, it
is not that they are different in this respect
from any other profession.
For those of you who have come to know me, my project, and what I am advocating with it, it should come as no surprise to you that this paragraph stood out to me.  As a knowledge-seeker and supporter of fellow knowledge-seekers, I want to believe that this statement is false. Or at least no longer valid in the fourty-something years since it’s been written. And I think I can support that it is an outdated idea, although the author does make some good points.  I do believe that right now anyone motivated enough can find the knowledge they seek with the help of computers.  However, as the author is quick to point out, this knowledge can be encoded in a secret language known only to the experts. In fact, the author states that his main motivation is to create a meaningful and not entirely boring piece of work for the sake of the laymen who can not break this code.  That is something I appreciate.  Let’s tie this back into me and my project (not because I am terribly self absorbed, but because I am fulfilling project requirements!)  I think this so strongly relates back to what inspires me about Wikipedia, linksurfing, and the pursuit of knowledge.  This priesthood that the author speaks of has disbanded and their power has gone to the atheists! Knowledge seekers can now get a crash-course in virtually any topic they could imagine, and some they can’t just by surfing the web.  Experts (and admittedly plenty of NOT experts) share their knowledge with the world just for the sake of educating.  This is such an exciting fact when you stop to think about it and I hope people take proper advantage of the opportunity.
It’s interesting how different two nuggets can be that come from the same original source, and how these different nuggets can lead to such different thoughts and topics of conversation.  This difference became very apparent after reading Helena’s blog post which discusses the humanity or lack thereof in robots.  This line of inquiry started from the exact same place mine did, but because our research topics are so different we were both drawn to different portions of the reading.

This totally doesn’t relate to me or my nugget, but I am amused by this all the same.  Contrary to my previous paragraph about how interesting I found it to diverge from one source, the next two blogs I read were basically the exact same posts! So I can now make the exact opposite post!  Jeremy Watts and JawadBlog chose the exact same nugget, discussed it in similar terms, but have fairly dissimilar research topics.  One is looking into technology and human consciousness, and the other about how social media has affected music, yet they both brought up similar points about the nugget in connection to their own topics.  Does anyone else find this interesting? Because I find this fascinating.

Connecting the Dots

It appears to me that a lot of people are taking the same approach to this this assignment — pick one of your favorite well known websites — and asking similar questions regarding this website — Why do people like it? Are we getting addicted? Is it making us stupider/sadder?

I find this terribly interesting because it seems like people almost want to sabotage their relationship with said favorite website.  Is this Neo breaking out of his cocoon and seeing the Matrix for what it really is? I am very curious to know what inspired all of these questions, and even more curious to find out if the answers will alter their use in the researcher’s lives.

For instance, in Blues Cruise   the author questions the reason behind Facebook’s popularity, as well as its ongoing presence in our lives. I will be interested to see the research on this as well as what the author concludes.  As for how this relates to my project, I suppose I am more focused on the opening portion of the post about the barking cats.  Well not those cats in particular, but the benefit of internet distractions.

I am really intrigued by Imelda Jurasova’s   entire blog and way of interacting with the nuggets.  Imelda is able to link back research from Diigo to last week’s nugget in a small but insightful way, and is able to connect this research even further by describing it like a mosaic.  While our research topics are quite different I enjoy the methodical layout and clear direction in which it is going.

Author of the blog Elisey   views Diigo as a sort of road map to research and compares this adventure to a hike in Belle Isle.  As a huge fan of exploration and Belle Isle, I appreciate this analogy if only because it warms me to the idea of the research.  I will try and use Diigo more as the author suggests, by following trails made by other people and not just trying to hack my own.

In general, it seems that other people are finding much more use in camaraderie in Diigo than I have so far and I am determined to change this for myself.  I would like to be able to, for lack of a better term, piggy back off of other research and see in what directions other people are heading. If only for the sake of my curiosity, since my whole project is inspired by curiosity.  Unfortunately unfiltered curiosity and academic pursuits don’t seem to have as much presence together on the web as I would have thought.  In order to better apply my own research to others I am going to explore the tags other students are using and try to be more consistent with them so we can more easily share.

to tie this back into my nugget, I am focusing on the idea that we are all born with a set of tools to deal with the world. We are all born with an innate curiosity that can manifest in many ways.  Although the world around us changes and feels unpredictable we are able to adapt and make those changes beneficial to us because of this strong mix of curiosity and…maybe selfishness? Or just self preservation or satisfaction? We just want to better our lives and will work to do that, which is why technology is constantly being improved.





The Tastiest of the Nuggets

The individual does not use this information and this processing to grapple directly with the sort of complex situation in which we seek to give him help. He uses his innate capabilities in a rather more indirect fashion, since the situation is generally too complex to yield directly to his motor actions, and always too complex to yield comprehensions and solutions from direct sensory inspection and use of basic cognitive capabilities. For instance, an aborigine who possesses all of our basic sensory-mental-motor capabilities, but does not possess our background of indirect knowledge and procedure, cannot organize the proper direct actions necessary to drive a car through traffic, request a book from the library, call a committee meeting to discuss a tentative plan, call someone on the telephone, or compose a letter on the typewriter.” –Douglas C. Engelbart

So my first thought when reading this was the question “is man born into technology?”, which I quickly googled, expecting nothing.  What’d I get? Nearly nothing.  But I did find this quote which I will post before deciding if it is pertinent.

No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him. There is always work, and tools to work with, for those who will, and blessed are the horny hands of toil. The busy world shoves angrily aside the man who stands with arms akimbo until occasion tells him what to do; and he who waits to have his task marked out shall die and leave his errand unfulfilled.

— James Russell Lowell

I read the quote for a third time and I finally like it.  What I take from it is that man is given the tools he needs, he just needs to figure out how and when to use them, because no one is going to come along and show him.  I think this can fit back into the grand scheme of technology, and even back into the first Nugget I chose of Bush’s that spoke of the Egyptians.  Let’s speak broadly (and forgive my choice of random numbers, my mental timeline is not so good.) Let’s go back about 400 years. That’s around Jamestown times, right? Back then did they have the abilities to create a modern sort of technology? Let’s say a car.  Yes and no.  They had all the basic materials, right? Discovery of the wheel, metal work, etc.  But the human brain hadn’t learned how to utilize the materials in a way that could achieve this.  They still hadn’t learned to harness the powers of electricity or create a motor, but they COULD have if someone had thought to do it.  My point is, if I haven’t made it clear, that there is a difference between worldly ability and human ability.  Man had not caught up to that point of innovation, and until the need for it arose, man wouldn’t have a need to try to create it.   Going back to the original nugget, an aborigine with no experience of this technology would of course have no idea what to do with it.  His life never required it so his people never created it.  He has the ability to learn it because he was born with these tools, but they are not put into action.
I was very impressed with Maryam’s analysis of her chosen nugget, not just because of where her interest and research led her, but also because she so well integrated her own analysis with modern sources, examples, and images.  Her mixed media post really demonstrates the modern technology she speaks about.
In Wuddy’s post, The Domino Effect, Wuddy discusses Englebart’s brick-pencil example and how different technologies seem to have a lifespan.  Although he did not use these words, what I took from this post is that technology, similarly to humans, is subject to “survival of the fittest”. If a new invention does not significantly impress or improve it will die out and be replaced by a more useful tool. I had never thought about this before, but after reading this post I find the idea absolutely true and very intriguing.
Braxtondn was an interesting blog to read because we used virtually the same text in our nuggets, so I was able to do a closer analysis of opinions.  Braxton began by discussing cause and effect and how decisions can influence an outcome, so immediately our thought process diverges, which is completely fascinating that people can have such different and valid thoughts on a text.  Braxton then continues that thought to technology and how computers become a sort of research-assistant to those doing the research by fixing and suggesting searches.   I’m not sure the two thoughts discussed quite link in my head in the same way as the author, but I like both thoughts individually, as they expanded the way I think about the topics.

Golden Nugget : As We May Think

“The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against one another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome” — Vannevar Bush


I am going to try to keep my response and analysis specifically focused on this paragraph, because my thoughts seemed to get terribly muddled in the grand scheme of the article.  It is the first sentence that struck me in Bush’s closing paragraph, particularly “The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house.”  I don’t think science has done anything of the sort.  Science is a tool that man uses, so any house that has been built for man has been built by man.  The thought that kept popping up while I read this article was that I feel that man creates the science as it is needed.  The reason the pharaoh wasn’t building cars around Egypt wasn’t because it wasn’t economically efficient, it’s because no one’s brain was focused on solving that problem because that problem didn’t exist. New technology brings new problems, which brings on even more new technology.  Because of this I don’t think we will ever stop creating, our science won’t perish.  If only because we keep creating new expectations and with those expectations, new problems.  From that we will always innovate.

Radiolab discusses the inevitability of innovation:




Question – “What are you seeing as the difference between science, technology, and inventions? Are they the same?”

Answer – “I think that they are different definition-wise (or else they wouldn’t have their own words!) but are very strongly intertwined. I feel that science is sort of a standing fact, independent of human beings. The science exists whether we understand it or not. For instance, quarks were always quarks before we even realized it. Science is just the amazing explanation for what is and why. I think technology, on the other hand, is a concept completely dependent on humans. Inventions as well. Those are humans interacting with science and the world and building from it. “