Friday, November 30, 2007

How to Create a Character in World of Warcraft

This is a video on how to create a character in World of Warcraft. I made this video so the students in the Emerging Technology class would have an easier time when they go to create their character for our groups assignment in gaming.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Are we Safe Out There?

After reading one of Lois’s blog on security issues, I went back to what she was commenting on from Derek’s blog. While I understand, the risk of things you put on Face Book and MySpace these are not the real security issues that concern me. The fact that it is the Christmas season again and many retailers have your credit card information concerns me much more that what I have on MySpace. The fact that if you have my social security number it is only a small step to get all medical information worries me. This is a new world in information gathering and there is really no way to avoid it completely.
Believe me Derek, when I say I can understand your concerns but when I worked for a Department of Defense contractor and had to have a security clearance, it is no different today than it was then. It was just harder to get the information then. The DOD went to my neighbors, friends, and relatives and asks them questions about me. Some, I thought, very personal. If a company wants to spend the time looking into your past they can find all the stupid things you did. The only difference today is it is much easier.
I would be more concerned if I had a bad credit history or a criminal, record than I would what my daughter says about me on MySpace. I realize some of your concern but I think the media has played it up as more hype than actually exist. I am not sure I would want to work for a company that doesn’t hire me because of what I have posted on blogs or MySpace. If they are that intrusive in their hiring practices, how are they going to be to work for? These are the same companies that are most likely going to read every email you receive or send. Do you really want to work for a company that is 2nd to Big Brother?
With that said, I do agree you do have to watch what you post but I think that it should be consistent with the rest of your life. Don’t post anything out there, that you would be ashamed for others to see. Then again, this is nothing new; don’t do anything in public that you feel is inappropriate. Just ask a recent senator, even the public restrooms in the airports are not completely beyond scrutiny.

Parents Need to Change

This is in comment to one of Sarah’s blogs Way to Go Rad Techno. It relates to one of my earlier comments to Steve’s blog where it was discussing “Need to Change”. I think it is great what Sarah H. is doing at her school. As I stated in the earlier blog my daughter is good about having comments on what is going on in her classes. It is also disappointing how my daughter’s school is using technology. I am glad that Sarah’s school allows them to connect to Google Docs and Google Search.
Again, I think before you can truly get technology in schools you have to get the parents onboard. It is great that Sarah has created a blog for the parents to find out what is going on. The things I have to ask here is, how many of the parents do go online and read the blog.
I know several of my daughter’s friends that will not allow their child to have a MySpace. I find this somewhat disturbing because they do in fact have a MySpace it is just listed under another name and email address. I think these parents are being a bit naive if they think because they don’t see it on their computer it doesn’t exist. I think it is time for parents to take the time to look at what their children are doing online and take some responsibility. To continue down the road of just saying no to technology isn’t going to work. The parents need to take the responsibility to see what their children are doing.
To put it in a different perspective, I am sure John Deere would discover, and take a dim view if you were on adult sites looking at hot studs 4 hours a day. To me this is no different than a parent taking the time to look at the sites their children are viewing.
Just my view, comments welcome.

Wikis, Collaborative Writing and Publishing: Using Web 2.0 Tools

First off, let me congratulate you on a fine presentation tonight. I think you all did a great job on coordinating the activities in your presentation. I thought the activities were really fun although sometimes frustrating. I realize the difficulty in trying to present the number of technologies you wanted to in the time allotted. The main idea that sticks in my mind is none of these technologies work well on their own for all purposes.
What you did was ask us to collaborate with our group members without a true collaboration tool. While Google Groups would work fine to communicate with each other over a period of time, it did not work well in the short time we had. Your group may look at this as a shortcoming in the presentation; I thought it made one thing very clear. Without the use of IM or cell phones we were pretty much all in the dark. We did what most businesses would do, we used other means at hand adapted and moved on.
I realize Lois stated, “She thought we had enough to contend with and didn’t want us to have to deal with another tool”, but sometimes it is necessary to have an arsenal of web tools at your fingertips. I think the activity showed this in a phenomenal way. As I reflect on this, if you were to present this in the future I am not sure that this isn’t the best way to show how one Web 2.0 tool cannot do everything on its own. Although you may want to include this was why you did it in this fashion.
Again, great job and a fun learning experience. Look forward to reading everyone else’s post.

The Lecture is for Who?

I found this article to be very interesting. Lectures Work Against the Brain. This is in reply to Steve’s post on “The Death of the Lecture”. In this article, it explains why lectures are still being used. Not for the sake of the student but for the well-being of the lecturer. He states that lecturers retain 95% of the information they present in a lecture and this is the reason they think this information is important. He also gives some ways that make a lecture more entertaining, but I thought his final concept was amazing.
I just thought this would add a bit to Steve’s post and give you something to think about next time you give a lecture. Just because you believe all the information is important are you transferring it to your audience. The above photo was also taken from Dr. Ellen Weber’s blog; I thought you would find it amusing.

Need for Change

Here is where I go back, reflect, and comment on others blogs in the class. I remembered this one from Steve, “We Need a Revolution”. I found it interesting to say the least. I have an 11-year-old daughter. She tells me the way they are using technology in their classrooms. I find it hardly worthwhile for the school systems to spend money on computers that are only being used as a word processor. She has told me that unless a teacher is present that the entire internet is basically blocked. I am not referring to a teacher in the room; the teacher has to be physically watching what the child is viewing.
I realize this is only middle school, but why should they be this limited? I am sure the answer is comments by parents or worries of something a child might see. I think before the schools can move forward with technology parents need to get a grip that sometimes things are going to pop up on a computer that may be inappropriate. This is not to say that the schools are not responsible to try their best to block porn or other adult sites, but how are children going to learn technology if they are not allowed to use it.
As Steve stated the old systems need to be completely changed. The first thing we need to do is get parents and education on the same level. If this means signing a waiver for their child to be on the internet at school, then it needs to take place. School systems cannot be in constant fear of being sued over what might happen if technology in the classroom is to move forward.