So I started this blog specifically for a class this semester where we would be learning about technology and its role in sharing and seeking information. I must say, I would never have considered making a blog on my own, the idea of blogging just never appealed to me. Not to say that I didn't recognize the value of other people's blogs. But, this experience with blogging has been a useful one. I think I really have a better understanding of what blogging can be. It's not just someone rambling about their day or keeping an online journal. Blogging can be a useful source of information supported by other research. Looking at my classmates blogs, I can see how someone searching for information on a topic could end up on one of their blogs and using those blogs as a starting point for research. All this being said about the benefits of blogging, I'm still not convinced its for me. I don't see myself completely abandoning this blog from this point on but I think I might make the topic of my blog more general. My professor explained that we are creating a sort of online portfolio and Im happy that this blog will be out there in the vast land of the internet to represent me because I am proud of what I have done here.
Aside from the blogging aspect of this class, there is a lot I learned that I had no idea I was so ignorant about. For example, we talked a lot in class about privacy and technology. Going in to this class, I really didn't think much about my privacy online. I figured I have passwords to log in to sensitive sites and that meant I was secure. But, in our class we really went in to depth on the different aspects of privacy. We learned about the ways people can illegally access your moblile phone, the dangers of bluetooth, and the sheer amount of information that you can gather about a stranger on the internet. One exercise from the class that sticks out for me is one where we had to seek as much information about someone on the internet as we could but we had to pretend we only knew their name. It was a little scary how much information I could gather on my person. Not only did I find information about them but I could link them to other family members. This exercise is just one example of the way this class really opened my eyes. I remember commenting in class that it seems like a lot of the precautions would limit one's freedom to live their life and that it wasn't worth it but I think I have a different attitude now. There really are a lot of simple things I can do to make myself more secure in this rapidly changing technological world.
This class also gave me a better perspective of what technology has to offer for education. The tools that my professor used to engage us in the material were really impressive. We learned a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of a virtual classroom. One day we all met in the virtual classroom instead of physically going to our classroom. I think it was an exciting experience for everyone and I would go as far as to say that everyone was more engaged that day. There were also some drawbacks though because the professor couldn't actually see our faces and gauge our interest level. He had to rely on us to take the initiative to respond to material. Just the other day, we watched a video on a middle school whose principal initiated a program to give everyone student a laptop. The students there use google tools to do their work and have a lot of creative assignments based on their computer. There were some drawbacks with kids going to other sites during the school day but overall it seemed like the students were really getting a lot more out of school. I think this is evidence of where education and technology are going. Through my experiences in the class and the material we covered, I can see the future of education resembling something more close to this middle school and my class's experiences than the type of education we see in schools today.
I just want to close this post with a recommendation to anyone reading. If you are in school or an educator, seek out opportunities to incorporate technology into learning because it can really be your friend. If you aren't in school, still seek out these opportunities! The world is going to keep moving toward a more technological one and you don't want
to be left behind.