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My Experiment.

leamirella's picture


What I've found extremely fascinating throughout the course is the idea of the changing nature of reading, writing and thinking. (Hayles) I am curious to see how all of this is affecting learning. This paper as a while (as you will see in the video at the bottom of my Glog) is my own personal experience manipulating and presenting information. I wanted to see whether or not the things that I learned while looking into the topic changed as a result of whether or not I used technology.

Michael Chorost, in response to Aybala50's question about education, said that technology allowed us to expose our brains to new experiences. And I don't disagree. What I am skeptical of, however, is if technology really enhances or improves our learning. In the psychology study that I highlighted in my blog, it seems as though there is a misattribution of child development to watching baby video. Worth mentioning is that the companies that create these videos advertise themselves as helping children develop better. This concept of a misattribution could easily be applied learning and technology.

There is a lot of talk about how computers and the cool new gadgets that we have now have really helped and improved learning. Is this just all talk? Or has learning really improved thanks to the creation of new technology? It is a different experience now to walk into a college classroom than it was 50 years ago. Does that mean that students who came college 50 years ago have not learned information as well as students who have technology?

(NOTE: This is not the original paper that I had started to write for this personal experiment.)


Academic Journals:

DeLoache, J. S., Chiong, C., Sherman, K., Islam, N., Vanderborght, M., Troseth, G. L. et al (2010). Do babies learn from baby media? Psychological Science, 21, 1570-1547.


Considine, D. (Unknown) An Introduction to Media Literacy.

Aybala50 (2011) Class Notes 4/11/11. /exchange/node/9941


Waffeln (2007) Baby TV.

Macfound (2006) Henry Jenkins on Digital Media and Learning.

(Something else that I think is really interesting is the idea of listing sources off YouTube. I played around with it for a bit and finally came up with a formula that I used above. The author is the username of the person uploading and the date is the date published on the internet. I can see some flaws in this first in terms of ownership and also, in terms of date published. Have I cited my videos the 'right' way?)


Anne Dalke's picture

Learning, Technically


it occurs to me, first off, that I *should* be responding to your glog with a glog--or @ least a video--of my own. Something I might experiment with myself, before I next offer a course in which students go beyond webpapers with experiments such as yours....

In the interim, here are some thoughts recorded in an older technology: that of typed words. You know, I'm sure, that I very much appreciate your willingness to test out, experientially, the central question of your paper-- how is technology changing our learning? --by presenting your finding in video and glog formats. But there's actually a bit of a mismatch here, as you yourself acknowledge: what this project is testing out is not a difference in learning, per se, but rather a difference in presentation. It may be "cool," as you say, to include screen graphs and video, but do I really "learn differently" from them? How could you find out? (My own response, as a reader, is that I can skim text in a way I can't skim video: I feel less in control of the pacing, and so impatient....)

The deep question all of this begs is, of course, what constitutes "learning." To ask "is my actual learning improved, or is this just a different experience?" can only be answered by figuring out, first, what learning is, and, second, how to assess it. I have been involved, this semester, in a faculty working group on assessment, which has circled round and about this question. We finished our series of conversations, surprisingly, by looking @ a recent piece in The New Yorker called The Poverty Clinic, which demonstrates an awareness of new, expanded causal explanations for disease in poor communities. The assessment, in other words, needed to be much more largely contextual than it had been in the past.

That's the sort of work you need to do next, I think. I suggest you check out the 1/2 credit Education and Technology course offered by the Ed Program. And that you look @ Everything Bad is Good for You, by the popular science writer Steven Johnson. He argues --quite convincingly, to my mind-- that video games offer valuable problem-solving skills, that reality shows function as "elaborately staged group psychology experiments" that stimulate (rather than pacify) the brain, that, in short, much contemporary technology is re-wiring our brains in cognitive stimulating ways (in that sense, his argument is akin to Hayles's, which urges us to recognize the value of hyper reading....)