We are members of a class at University of Maryland, called Networked Intelligence. This semester we are wrestling with ideas about how networked technologies and our information-rich worlds change the way we learn, live, and collaborate. In response to a wonderful letter that Dr. Davidson sent us, we will post a weekly blog that summarizes the big thoughts from our own peers’ writings and class discussion. Please feel free to connect with us and add to our networked learning.
Authors: Vanessa Cruz, Alysia Cutchis, Delaney Honeyford
We all know that the internet and technology have a big influence on today’s society. What seems to be up for debate is whether or not this is a good or bad influence. We do know that there are many different uses for the internet. As students, we have internet for everything. Whether it’s a distraction, as Jordan Rosenberg argues, or a helpful tool, we are still unsure. Technology makes it easier for us to access an endless selection of information but it is up to the user to piece things together and make connections. Making connections with the information is important so is making connections with other people. Pamela Assogba highlights the importance of collaboration, one of the internets most important tools.
With all of this information in various forms of media, we have greatly developed our ability to “multi-task,” a term that we use today that originated in terms of a computer. Joel Krinsky takes some time to discuss multitasking. “One of the problems we as a class found with multi-tasking was that you focus less on each of the “tasks” at hand. However according to the story by Brown, focusing on two or more tasks does not necessarily mean less attention is placed for each task, it just means a different level of attention needs to be placed on the situation.”
Technology has helped us become better multi-taskers but it is also a tool in which people can rely on to be creative and share things with others. This is one of the other uses that are beneficial to children. In her blog, Traci Siegel, points out that the idea that this creative way of sharing that kids are using now could also be used to enhance the way they learn if they can find a way to connect these technologies to their education. Not only can technology influence a better way of learning once there is an adequate form of putting both technology and education together, but it can also ease the way in which students integrate themselves due to the comfort and confidence that it gives them.
One technology that helps students do this is the video game. Video games are used to teach things ranging from mathematical computations to improving sports reflexes (such as the Wii) to reading and understanding information better. As Sean O’Malley points out “what the big picture is when someone is having fun and is more engaged they learn better.” As more new technology comes out, we interact with it more and learn more from using it. Ana Matos brings up a valid point that as good as internet sites are for teaching children (like video games), these websites have the added evil of subtly influencing children with their advertisements (with some product placements much more subtle than others). While new services are being invented to avoid ads, Ana fears of the new ways publicity teams will scheme up to “trick” children into wanting their products.
With the incorporation of technology into the learning environment, we become aware of the existence of different types of intelligence. Didi Ajibola, for example talks about the concept of Distributed Intelligence. One of the important things that she says about Distributed Intelligence is, “… our expertise or resources are configured across a number of mediums.” She then explains why technology is important and emphasizes the beneficial role that it plays when it comes to gathering all of the distributed intelligence. She emphasizes the positive use of technology by ending with, “This part of the paper like many of the other books we have read seek to find this happy medium where academics and technology collide to form something meaningful.”
As a follow up of to distributed intelligence, Vineet Shah, explains furthermore how due to technology things such as collective intelligence are possible. He points out that, “ … we are heading towards a society where certain people are experts in certain subjects, and each person contributes his or her share of specialized knowledge to a common pool.” Thanks to technology things such distributed intelligence can be put into this “common pool” that is spoken about. Different aspects of technology that could help in finding ways of integrating technology into the learning environment in order to enhance learning.
Amy Chow writes about how we can incorporate anything we want to teach into technology, but “maybe it’s not so much what media can teach us as it is what we can learn from media.” Jenna Chusid reinforces that idea that it is important to understand how the internet and technology can be used to enhance the education experience because this new media interested students more than their textbooks, and when students are interested, they learn better. Vanessa Cruz brings up this Networked Intelligence class as a prime example of how by interesting the students and making the class interactive, we learn more. With our discussions in class and blogs online, we have gained so much from collaborating and sharing opinions with others, “contributing our own expertise”, which increases our interest and activity in the class. Andrew Yung echoes this feeling by describing certain skills that cannot really be taught in the classroom setting but that we instead learn from interacting with other people. He also feels that classes like this one force the students to think and write critically, instead of simply regurgitating facts and doing busywork. The general class consensus is that if more classes were run like our Networked Intelligence class and were designed to take advantage of the internet and other technologies, students would be more engaged, interested, have a better experience and in turn, learn more.