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Last entry [Nov. 30th, 2005|01:55 pm]
The Gutenburg site/project was interesting to read and learn about because many sites on the internet offer online journals but they charge $20 - 40 for membership fees that sometimes lasts a few months or at max a year. If we knew about this site earlier we could have used it to research papers for each of our classes. It's great to know that there are free services of all kinds to help students, teachers and children such as last week's blog about the tuxpaint. It is interesting how some individuals come up with such ideas, i would have never thought of copying/distributing books and articles because the copyright dates have expired. In fact, i wasn't aware that they can expire! Light literature can be used for young children, heavy literature can be for adolescents and adults, and references can be used for post-secondary school students.

In the second article, i agree with the writers because computers should be additions to our lives, not substitutions for important components of our lives. When children read animated stories off the computer they are deprived of the ability to imagine and play out the story in their minds, in a sense, they are told what to imagine and think. Overall that can be negative for their growing minds because they do not get the chance to imagine, or create images within their minds. Personally i know i needed my mom to read with me a lot in grades 1 to 3 because my english and reading was bad. It helped when she went over the words and slowly sounded out each letter and waited for me to join in, and take over to guess what the word may mean. If i had been given the same lesson on a computer, i'm almost definate that i'd gain the same reading skills much much later such as grade 4 at the very least. Sometimes the most important things in our lives are the most simple things such as outdoor play, tactile books and tools.
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Week 12 - TuxPaint & Jason's article [Nov. 23rd, 2005|03:57 pm]
[mood |contentcontent]

After reading the articles and informational pages on TuxPaint's website, it was interesting to learn that there are programs that offer so many professional tools within them for free. I was amazed that TuxPaint offers tools and features such as the ability to draw with sparkles, rainbow coloured paint brushes, and it was unique with tools such as fade, darken, chalk, tint, drip,and cartoon because Adobe Photoshop does not even offer many of these tools. It is good to know that such educational programs are free and readily available to all children, even those with slower computers operating at different speeds. This would be a good tool to use in the classroom to see if children understand concepts such as colours, and shapes. With the stamps option, children can practice and learn about creating patterns. Having this program as an option to use in the class is good because children learn and display their knowledge in different ways using different tools. Perhaps they can improve this program by offering different canvas sizes, but overall the parental and teacher controls option is very well thought out, parents can save paper by setting this program to print every 10 minutes so that they can stop the child from printing 100 different pictures because of this time delay option.

After reading Jason's article i noticed these two articles tied together. Open source software is useful especially in classrooms because it is free and you can change certain parts of it so that it is tailored to the teacher/classroom needs. As can be seen in tuxpaint, anyone is welcome to translate the program into yet another language if they would like to do that as an act of kindness/consideration to others. The parents are also able to customize the features offered to children using the program.
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Week 11 Children as Photographers [Nov. 15th, 2005|09:18 pm]
[mood |rushedrushed]

This weeks readings were very similar so I'm going to just write it as one post instead of 3.

I thought it was neat how the researchers wanted to ask children about their thoughts and feelings when they took the photographs, usually teachers/parents ask children about their drawings and other creations but not about their photographs. It is interesting to think of photography as a way to express yourself and to try to analyze photographs to understand children better. It was also a good idea to ask children if they are happy with the results because it will make them think of technology and how they can modify their tools in order to get better results, we seldom ask children 'Are you happy with your painting? what would you change to make this painting better?'. One concern was that in the Sharples' article, they asked children about the intentions behind the photographs a week after they were taken, but would children really remember their initial intentions for that long? Perhaps if they had asked them after each picture, then the results would be more accurate.

It is interesting to note the age groups and what they focus their thoughts and pictures on, it seems to portray how children develop quite accurately; first they're egocentric so everything is about themselves or their immediate environment/family, then when they are older they want to find their own identity, and finally once they've found their identity they look for others that share the same interests.

Again, I wish there were cheap digital cameras for when i was growing up, i loved taking pictures but my parents would say "Such a waste of film...Why on earth would you take a pic of that?!?". When parents say such things to children it puts them down and tells them that there are only certain purposes for the camera, in my case that would be to use them when everyone knows you're going to take the picture. I personally believe the best pictures are not neccesarily the prepared and posed ones.

All i can say is that the future generations will be lucky to have so many more devices/technologies to play with and use at such cheap prices. I'm pretty sure that i will allow my future children to have a DigiCam like the ones we bought for this course!
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Successful pic with the new mini Camera!! [Nov. 15th, 2005|06:35 pm]
After many mistakes, i finally got the picture to actually show the two stuffed animals! At first, even when i saw them in the centre of the camera.. somehow when i uploaded them they were always cut off *sniffles*
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Stan's pic of the Moon [Nov. 10th, 2005|07:42 pm]

Stan's pic of the Moon
Originally uploaded by A_Me_Lum.
My oldest brother took a telescope and a digital camera, put it together and voila!
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Beautiful Sunrise [Nov. 9th, 2005|03:02 pm]

Beautiful Sunrise
Originally uploaded by A_Me_Lum.
Here is Jason's beautiful and artistic picture of the sunrise. It looks so professionally done!
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Week 10 AccessGrid --> I will never wear white ever again in my life! lol. [Nov. 6th, 2005|06:17 pm]
[mood |embarrassedembarrassed]

Children can benefit through the use of accessgrids by gaining new knowledge and experience with new learning technologies, maybe in the future if this type of techology was easier to carry around, then children might be able to go to other countries or field trips without having to go there physically. They can tell the other user "turn the camera to the left to see what's there" and it would almost be as if the child has been transported into that environment if they get to control and ask the other user to show them their surroundings.

Overall this experience participating in the AccessGrid seemed normal to me, perhaps due to the fact that i have used webcams and microphones before for chatting with my boyfriend when he lived further away.

When we entered the room that had all the programs and devices set up, it felt strange at first because i expected the images to be projected right onto the wall at the same level as most of us would be (when we talk with someone in real life). It was interesting to see so many different angles of the same picture, and to be able to see what the other user can see (our classroom and the exact location of everyone). It was a little awkward to converse with Ken because we don't know him very well, if i had been in that same classroom but with people i know, i'm sure i would appreciate the technology even more.

I believe the part where Ken moves his arm in the screen that had many frames within it, amazed me, it was a cool effect and was scary because the delayed projections of his arm moving seemed paler by each frame and it gave a ghostly vibe. Did anyone else feel that way?

Also, my experience with the AccessGrid was enhanced when my classmates volunteered me to be the new projection screen because i was wearing a white sweater(P.S. I hate you girls lol, i'm just teasing). I only wish someone else was wearing white too so that i could have seen what everone else saw, i guess i'll just use my imagination for now!
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Week 12 [Nov. 1st, 2005|11:02 pm]
[mood |uncomfortableuncomfortable]

Metaportal for a megatrend Article:

This new technology may make learning concepts easier for children, instead of telling children why they should/shouldn't do certain things, they can learn for themselves through using this device to converse with other children in different settings and environments. An example would be having the children in Canada speak with children from developing countries where starvataion is a common problem, or having children compare what they may have in their own respective countries so that they can learn to appreciatee things such as food and education.

Overall i imagine that this experience for us tomorrow will seem maybe spooky, like those old movies that have the main character enter his/her house to find ppl talking to them from the television shows, but tomorrow will be different because it is in real time. This concept is bizarre yet a good idea because it may change the lifestyles of many families if the husband/wife can do their 'out of country' business trip now at home or at their workplace with this device. They can get the task done, but save on driving/travelling time and time away from their families and friends.

Video Conferencing with preschool Children:
This article was interesting because it shows that children can learn important things from interacting with others; in this case, they learned that they share a similarity in the songs that they sing, even if the words are replaced, they recognized that the song was 'The farmer in the dell'. Noticing differences and more importantly, similarities help children engage in acceptance of others because they may learn to look for similarities first.

Even if the technology is relatively new, perhaps they should perfect the programs and connections better so that the next time they test this device out, the results would be more clear and valid. So far the results sound pretty good. I'm still having a hard time believing this can be done! I remember watching Star trek and thinking the video/graphics people were really skilled to make those pop up hologram pictures of people...who are able to interact live, but now with developing technologies, the impossible seems to be possible.

Children as photographers Article:
Giving children a camera to use is an interesting way to see what they think about the world; what is important and what is not? Very much like Freud's theory that young children (as seen in this article) like to focus on themselves during certain periods of growing up. It makes sense that children take pictures of themselves and their immediate family first because when they are young these are the only people they usually share their most deep secrets to, but when they grow up and meet friends, they crave independence and privacy from their family (mainly from parents)and tend to value friends the most because they define who the individual is.

I remember growing up and wanting to take more pictures, i love to reminisc, but my mom was one of those typical parents who would tell their children "Stop wasting film!". Children nowadays are so lucky to have technology at such convenient prices and a lot of varieties. I wish they had cheap $15 or even $30 digital cameras back when i was a child!!
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(no subject) [Oct. 18th, 2005|11:43 pm]
Article #1 Seductions of Sim

It was interesting to read this article to be reminded of how technology can help children learn through their interests. I was amazed to read that a 6 year-old boy would be able to comprehend city budgets and other governmental concepts that may be associated with adults. Most children enjoy playing video games or interactive games and they (Sims) have used this to teach children concepts such as life cycles of animals and humans and other ecosystems. Within these topics, children learn to fulfill basic needs and proper living conditions for the characters or animals in the game. It is important to keep in mind that games can have errors so it is hard to guarantee the same results every time the same steps are taken; therefore it would be difficult to explain to children why the animals may breed in certain times and not in others. Also, taking care of animals on a computer game will always be easier than to have a real dog as a pet, if children are not warned that there is a difference in real life and life in the computer system, parents may be in for a lot of whining. Sims may serve one good purpose; children may become more able to multitask and organize things because they are required to take care of complex systems and keep them from dying.

Article #2 National Parental Warning
This 'secret' feature in the game was most likely created with censorship in mind but was not well thought out; it can be easily accessed by anyone regardless of age; all they need is the ability to read and use the internet. Children as young as 8 years old may be able to crack this 'code'. Another problem is that once this option has been broadcasted, children who were once unaware will now go to search to see if what they hear is true.
Prior to reading this article, I was aware that they re-released the game for individuals who are 18 and older. I agree with their decision to do so, it would have been better for them to have not made this mistake in the first place, but their solution is pretty good.

Article #3 Open Source Household
There are pros and cons to using open source programs in the house.
A positive feature would be that open source programs provide free services that allow you to do what you need to do while saving money. In the case where you need to crop and fix pictures, Adobe Photoshop = $600+ US normally, but similar open source programs like GNU Image Manipulation Program = free! With each program that is downloaded, in the long run, a lot of money is saved. This can be related to brand name clothing items, children should be aware that the other options (home made or non-brand name clothes) can be just as good or even better.
A negative feature is that open source programs don't make money, so the programmers work on limited resources because of lack of funding so this may affect the accuracy of the products/programs that are created.
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Hacking Humans (Week 6) [Oct. 11th, 2005|11:42 am]
[mood |sicksick]
[music |Craig david - You don't miss your water]

This article was interesting in that it highlighted an important point; it's not technology that's dangerous, it's us humans. We are the ones who censor our information that we give out to others, we choose to blog and post personal or not so personal things according to our level of comfort. So maybe it's more practical to focus on how to protect children from telling too much; there should be information that can never be given online to people they have not seen or met before. Sometimes it is this carelessness in giving away personal information that humans can be manipulated.

The issue of censorship from the parents is difficult to solve, many years ago i started to chat with another guy who was supposedly my age (i was about 18 at the time and claimed he was 20 & that he liked me). Later on i was randomly clicking on MSN and realized through his MSN contact card that he's actually 40, needless to say, i never talked to him again. Even if parents check if the person on the other side of the screen is a child/adult, they can never tell 100% if they are who they claim to be.

Children and teens should be taught about posting only what they mean online because sometimes they may post hate/unprofessional messages or letters to others and get in trouble for it later on when they are older and mature. For example, a student can post sexual/racist comments online and later on in life be denied a job because there is 'evidence' that this person doesn't work well in multicultural settings.
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