As of tonight at approximately 10:15pm, CST, I officially completed the final assignment of my last remaining class in my master’s degree program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
The degree, once it is officially awarded to me sometime in January, I believe, is a Master of Education (Ed.M.) Degree in Educational Psychology with an Emphasis in Curriculum, Technology, & Education.
Starting at about 8 minutes in…
After watching this week’s lecture and mulling over the question posed, I would have to say that my opinion about creativity is similar to Ken Robinson’s view of intelligence; I believe creativity is also diverse, dynamic, and distinct. Creativity in its customary definition is too narrow in scope; creativity is not confined exclusively to artists, writers, and musicians. I believe there is potential for everyone to be creative. In fact, I would argue that creativity and intelligence are intertwined–that restricting one’s view of intelligence and creativity to their traditional definitions is very short-sighted. As with intelligence, I think we all possess our own unique creative capabilities, and if properly encouraged and nurtured in the right environment, we are all capable of great things; of discovering novel ways of looking at the world and finding unique solutions to problems.
Related to our discussions this week regarding copyright law and fair use:
From the Chicago Tribune: Burning CDs checked out from the library: ripping or ripping off?
I thought the Digital Citizenship article was a very effective piece in its simplicity in outlining some of the core issues surrounding the protocol of technology usage. In the etiquette section, I could easily relate to inappropriate texting and IM usage. I have a daughter who is in seventh grade, and she freely admits that she and her friends exchange text messages during school when they’re not even supposed to have their phones in class. While my wife and I don’t really approve, we can’t be too authoritarian about this because she remains a consistent straight-A student. And we’ve warned her that if her phone is confiscated by one of her teachers, we will ground her from using it for a period of time. I did have to draw the line, though, by asking her not to post Facebook updates from her phone while she was in class. It seems her teachers have had to resort to ignoring this texting during class behavior because it is so rampant and difficult to police–all while trying to teach class. I can’t help but wonder–especially after some of the readings in this class–if both teachers and students wouldn’t be better served by accepting the prevalance of mobile devices and somehow incorporate them into instruction somehow, and hopefully discourage violations of classroom etiquette. But then, that raises another issue discussed in the article: access. Not all seventh graders own a cell phone (though it sure seems like it to me); so is it fair to make that a required instructional tool. Of course, the article does outline some suggestions for this, such as pairing students up for this type of assignment to ensure that everyone has access to a mobile device.
The other topic that I found to be particularly interesting was that of commerce. There’s no question that the market has changed with online retailers like amazon.com and the countless others. And I guess I never really thought about teaching wise online consumerism until I read it here–and I think that would be an invaluable topic to teach middle school and high school students; such as ways to determine if an online retailer is reputable and how to protect one’s identity. And I think this ties into the notion of responsibility, too. Though when it comes to music sharing, I have to confess that in the old days, my friends and I exchanged many cassette copies of albums one of us had purchased–so it would be hypocritical of me to denounce music file-sharing too harshly. In my opinion, I think sharing a copy of downloaded music among a few friends is an understood–though perhaps unwritten–assumption within acceptable boundaries; much in the same way that if I buy a book, I shouldn’t have reservations about loaning it to friends so they can read it. But I think when media is posted on file-sharing sites for thousands of people to download freely, that is an abuse of the system. Though I believe it’s an uphill battle to dissuade most people from avoiding free content. But, of course, that is all a part of the larger issue of ownership that needs to be communicated and taught, as the article describes–and perhaps a good place to start is with proper source accreditation.
The Basics of Copyright Law piece was very useful to me because I’ve always had an uncertain understanding of copyright law, and this chapter cleared up a few misconceptions I had–such as intent being a factor–and it confirmed some of what I already knew, mainly that an original work is automatically copyrighted, whether or not is bears the “C” symbol. The follow-up piece that dealt with fair-use was also very interesting for me because of the many discussions around the computer science department regarding who owns lecture and seminar content. There are times when an instructor will lecture from another professor’s slide presentation. So when we capture the video of the lecture, who’s property is it? The professor who created the presentation? The instructor who actually delivered the lecture? The decision around here has been that it belongs to the university. Of course, when we have guest speakers who are not employed by the university, the issue becomes a little murkier–is the video now the property of the speaker? Of when the speaker is a member of another university’s faculty AND an employee of an organization like Microsoft, who has rights to the content then? Though I imagine most–if not all–of this content falls under the “publish or perish” category. We assume that this is all worked out between the lecturer, the university for whom they work, and their employer. But to be on the safe side, we usually have speaker sign some paperwork drafted by the legal department.
My examples here may be a bit unique, but I still believe that they illustrate just how complex the issue of content ownership really is.
As far as screen capture utilities go, I’ve used Adobe’s Captivate, TechSmith’s Camtasia, and the open-source version: Camstudio. I won’t say I’ve used them all often enough to claim proficiency, but I am at least comfortable enough with each to be able to get started and going relatively quickly. I prefer Captivate over Camtasia for its editing capabilities, and because it seems to work better with other Adobe applications, which I use often (Premiere, Photoshop, etc.). I think Captivate has finer control over editing, too–at least the versions I’ve used.
Regardless of which tool, I’ve found screen capture utilities to be an invaluable resource in software usage documentation. It’s so much easier to show a user how to execute a set of process steps rather than resorting to text-only instructions.
I enjoyed reading Mark Milliron’s Catalytic Conversions blog–I think he really does have a talent for examining concepts related to education from different and unusual perspectives. While I do appreciate and embrace the Digital Natives vs. Immigrants comparison, I understand his objections–if for no other reason than there does need to be some way to distinguish between different natives’ levels of comfort and expertise with different and emerging technologies. His belt analogy at least incorporates the idea of growth, but I think the spectrum is too wide to separate into belt levels. I really appreciated his thoughts about introspection, and how it is an undervalued exercise usually reserved for a response to something–when it has such potential to be a proactive exercise. At least, that’s what I took away from his post…
As far as the sites related to universal design, my prevailing opinion (shared by many, I’m sure) is that I don’t believe enough thought is given to universal design, especially when it comes to state-of-the-art or “fad” technologies. I think there is a prevailing sense of urgency to embrace the next “big thing” without dedicating enough consideration to how it will impact those for whom universal design is most needed. That’s not to say that whether or not a particular new technology conforms to universal design standards should determine if it gets adopted at all. I just think universal design principles should be considered much earlier in the adoption process than it currently seems to be. And I can be just as guilty for not factoring it in unless there is an immediate need for it–which is something I hope to remedy.
A digital story based on a poem I wrote many years ago about my kids when they were little and summer evenings spent catching fireflies…