WIll Technology Change Education?

If I were to ask you what are three belongings you couldn’t live without, what would your answer be? Majority of people will have either cell phone, laptop, tablet, mp3 player, TV etc. on their list, if not more than one of them. Elderly people who grew up without these devices would probably be disgusted with the fact that we can’t live without them seeing as they did most their lives. Does that mean we depend on them too much? Is our life controlled by what devices we have and don’t have? 

MY LIST

If I was to make a list of the three belongings I couldn’t live without, my iPod and laptop would defiantly be the top two. Does this mean I fully depend on these devices? No. It means that I have the ability to do multiple things with each device that simplify life. For example, my laptop I use for majority of day to day activities that could be done without a laptop, the laptop just simply makes things faster and me more productive. My laptop has the ability to be my mp3 player, my TV, my GPS, my book, my DVD player, my cell phone, my communication etc. Before laptops, people used paper maps in order to get everywhere. And not only did they have to have one on them whenever they needed it, but the also had to plan out a route, have a map for the right area, and pray there would be no traffic. With my laptop, the computer plans out the fastest or shortest route within seconds, tells me how traffic is, and works for all over the world. Yes I would be able to do this all on a paper map, but my point is who would we when we have the ability to save the time and effort? The same thing applies to cell phones. I use my cell phone to communicate with friends and family, look up things online, do online banking instantly, take pictures/videos, get directions from place to place etc. All of these things were done with home phones, cameras, computers, and GPS before the cell phone existed. Again, why would you want to use four different devices to do the things you can do in one handheld device? It makes thins faster, and more convenient. 

NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING…

All this being said there are defiantly some downsides to the convenience of these devices. The main one being the constant need to have these devices on us and be using them for reasons other than convenience such as Facebook and twitter on cellphones. Also, over the generations, the need/use for these devices is becoming more prominent. For example, when I was a kid I learned how to get around places using a paper map that my dad had taught me to read. When I needed to look up a definition of a word, I would go straight to the dictionary because the internet took to long to load on our dial-up, old computer. Now a days, there are kids out there who haven’t ever used a map or a dictionary, because they have never had to use one growing up; they were taught differently by their parents. Not that this is necessarily a negative thing, it just allows children to rely on these devices more than they should and if they were ever without these devices, they might not know what to do. There are even websites out there giving children steps on how to use their cell phones in class without getting caught.

THE FUTURE

The growth of cell phones, laptops, tablets etc. is only increasing, while the use of these other devices are decreasing. Kids these days spend more time on their devices than they do not on their devices. Yes, this has increased education and the way children learn by giving them faster access to information, but ides it really help them when it is such a large distraction in their lives. Who knows how this steady incline of technology will transform education, in my opinion it can go either way. 

To Pirate or not to Pirate, that is the Question

Almost everyone knows what pirating is, and if they do not for some reason, pirating is when someone illegally copies a program, song, movie, TV show, etc. and distributes it for free or minimal cost. After a developer spends months and months to get to the final product that works, it only makes sense that they receive all the credit/money for the product correct? Unfortunately majority of the world doesn’t see it like that, or at least they do, however they do not do anything about it. Everyone who pirates is aware that what they are doing is illegal and they could potentially go to jail for it, but everyone presumes the usual, “that will not happen to me” mentality and does it anyway. There is even some companies like Hollywood recording companies that have passed the Stop Online Piracy Act to the sentate to alleviate this problem and hopefully put a stop to pirating. There are some pretty obvious pros and cons to pirating music, as well as some not so obvious reasons listed below.

PROS

– Free: Whenever someone is downloading, copying, streaming data it is usually for free and if not it is for a cheap profit of the distributor for their time/effort. For example, buying a $2 burned movie off a guy at the farmers market, or downloading that movie free online. I myself have pirated the odd song here and there and this is the main reason why; I am a student on a limited income, so why not if its available?

– Easy access: Anything pirated you can either use right away by the click of a button, or you have to wait a hour or two while the file downloads. For example, why would you ever choose to drive to a rental store, rent a movie for $5 thats due back the next night if you had the option to stream/download the movie instantly and have it saved on your computer forever? I for one hate having to go to the movie rental store and stand there having to decide in front of literally a store full of option. Much more convenient to chose from the comfort of home.

– Demo item before spending money on something you do not like: Pirating give a person the opportunity to download for cheap/free in order to test out the product before you go sped big money on it. For example, if you needed to purchase an all in one computer program but weren’t sure what one, you can test out each to see how you feel about it first before spending $200 in store blindly.

CONS

– Illegal: the main, and most obvious con to pirating media would be the fact that it is illegal. Copyright laws are put on and software, program, movie, TV show etc to protect the intellectual rights of the creator. These laws however are greatly underestimated and people tend to think “it will not happen to me”, or worse, have been doing it their whole life and consider it a normal moral. I would have to admit, I fall under the category who believes it will not happen to them.

– Spyware and Viruses: when programs, software and media are pirated, it’s usually from an untrusted source and therefore can contain anything from a virus, to a Trojan horse, to spyware. All which can cause serious damage to your computer and files before it’s too late to fix it.

– Quality: When you are downloading a pirated program or file for free, or getting it from someone else, you usually get the quality you pay for, which in this case is crappy quality. This is the main reason why I do not pirate things, when it comes to songs especially, the quality is sub par to say the least; No one likes listening to a staticy song on their iPod.

– Artists rights: When an artist spends months working on a song for example, they defiantly deserve all the credit/revenue from the song. Pirating does save the customers money, however takes those profits away from the artist themselves.

As you can see, there is a fine line among what is okay/ what is legal when it comes to pirated programs and media. It is 100% up to the person pirating to make the decision form here. Do the pros outweigh the cons or visa versa? I personally would have to say the pros beat the cons in a large way. What do you think?

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The World Without Facebook

Facebook, as you all most likely know, is the number one social networking site right now. There are more than 650 million active users on Facebook right now. Since Facebook has only been around since 2004, it has caught the interest mostly of young adults and teenagers who were already on sites such as MySpace. It’s because of this reason that most older adults (ages 40+) feel as if Facebook is all young adults revolve around and nothing good can come of using Facebook. I personally get to witness these thoughts everyday at work, where I work for a telecommunication company selling mostly cellphones, smartphones to be exact. Parents come in every single day to get their teenagers cellphones for emergencies, and when the Facebook on phone question comes up, there is usually always a rant on how useless Facebook is other than sucking up time out of their children’s day, keeping them glued to their phone. This rant however is always followed by the teenager complaining, begging and pleading, followed by the parent caving, giving their children 24/7 access onto Facebook on their cellphone (which is the number one reason they hate Facebook in the first place). Yes, Facebook can be consuming and have negative effects-all of which can be fixed/controlled. However Facebook brings so many positive effects to the world that it would be silly to get rid of it as opposed to controlling ourselves.

Pro’s of Facebook

Facebook is the second most visited website in the world (behind google) having an average 23,023,205,668 page views DAILY! There has got to be a good reason as to why this is, several in fact. First of all, Facebook has greatly improved the way we communicate with people all over the world, either through personal inbox message, instant chat, public wall post, video chat, group chats etc. For example, ten years ago when I was planning my 11th birthday party, I had to go out, buy invites, write in every single one the details of the party, and then distribute them personally to everyone who was invited. Now with Facebook, all you have to do is spend 10 minutes creating a Facebook event and then press send. Facebook also makes it that much easier to stay in contact with long-lost friends. For instance, I have been on two cruises with my family, one in 2004 before Facebook was big, and another one a year after everyone had a Facebook account. Both cruises my sister and I met the best group of teenagers who we had spent the week with, the difference was the first time we went, we had to exchange emails and phone numbers to communicate as opposed to just our names for a Facebook friend request. Now as most of you probably know, email communication gets old and tedious, and phone numbers being almost useless after international fees are applied. Facebook on the other hand is not only free, but keeps the communication rolling when constant updates, status’ and pictures are added almost daily.

In the video we watched for Unit 1 – “The World Without Facebook” it stated that 70% of local businesses use Facebook for marketing. So not only does Facebook make it easier to socialize with people, but also improves marketing and advertising for companies. For example, I love to shop at Aritzia, but usually only stop in when I have a pay check that can afford it. With Facebook now, all you have to do is “like” their page and your constantly subscribed to news, updates on sales, items, and even coupons sometimes! Not only do I get cheaper clothes, but Aritzia attracts more attention into their store, having me buy clothes that I didn’t necessarily need, a win-win situation for both parties. This must constantly boost sales around the world with 650 million users just like me. Without Facebook we’d be going back to the days of spam emails, where you’d have to leaf through the emails you actually wanted (which no one ever liked to read or receive). Facebook gives users the ability to choose what they receive updates on.

Besides all of the stated reasons above, Facebook also gives people (mostly young adults) the ability to determine their own self-identity. Users get to decide what pictures they post, what status updates they post, who gets to see their info, their likes/dislikes etc. This also allows for shy children to socialize with people out of their comfort zone, the security of a computer screen between them. With that, people have the ability to develop “virtual” empathy, which can improve the moods of teenagers everywhere.

Con’s of Facebook

There are several negative aspects of Facebook that numerous people around the world have issues with. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these negative aspect have the ability to, and have spun out of control for many people, where it has ruined their lives. However all of them I truly believe can be controlled by the supervision and help of parents. Things such as inappropriate content, consumed computer usage, and privacy can all be managed by users themselves. In the case of young teens, all can be monitored by their parents and don’t have to be as negative as parents believe them to be.

The main issue parents have with Facebook is the amount of time it consumes in their children’s day, claiming its all their children do after school, during dinner, and before bed, instead of things such as homework and chores, whether it be on the computer or through their phone. Now studies show that people spend more time on Facebook mobile(from their smartphones) more than they are on the actual site through a computer. With that being said, all those parents who rant to me about Facebook on their teenagers phones, then add it for them, are almost doubling the time their children are on Facebook. One easy solution to that con – don’t pay for your children’s addiction to Facebook by giving them 24/7 access. All smartphones allow users to access Facebook in a WiFi area for free, why not give your children moderate access? If your child truly needs Facebook on their phone, let them pay the extra $15/month, see how badly they want it then. If they’re old enough to pay for it themselves, then their old enough to make the decision themselves in my opinion. Now that only controls the amount of Facebook through cellphones, what about the hours kids are logging at home on the computer? Ultimately parents have 100% control of computer usage at home. Even before Facebook was ever popular, my parents always had a time limit per night for how long my sister and I were allowed on the computer, to do anything we wanted after school. If parents don’t want to see their children glued to the computer all night then do something! Limit their ability to be on the computer all night, by putting a time limit on it or getting them involved in other extra curricular activities.

Another con of Facebook is the amount of inappropriate content being posted by teenagers. These days girls are posting pictures of themselves in barley clothes, guys taking pictures doing illegal things and posting them for their friends to see and visa versa. This can be an issue to parents for obvious reasons and it is one of the harder things to control. Only way you can really monitor it is to talk to your child about what you consider appropriate and monitor their page. For example, when I was younger and had MySpace my parents were concerned about this specific issue, their fix: asking to see my page every once and awhile just to see whats been posted and what not. Teenagers post whats allowed, which is almost anything without parental rules/monitoring.

Privacy is a huge Facebook issue with everyone, not just teens and their parents. For example, the video “Identity and Social Networks” portrays the worries about privacy on Facebook, and unfortunately a lot of parents get the impression that that’s what Facebook is like, a webpage filled with all your personal information for the world to see. That however is greatly misconstrued, every single user on Facebook has the ability to block some, if not ALL of their personal information from everyone. For example, users have the ability to control what and who sees each specific piece of information. If users are unaware of this feature, they should be reading up on the Facebook privacy page. With that being said, as long as parents are aware of this and help/verify their children are aware of theism there is %100 privacy through Facebook and nothing to worry about.

In the End…

The world without Facebook is truly hard to imagine nowadays because it is so involved in society into our everyday lives. Because it is so involved in our everyday life, most of us wouldn’t even want to imagine a world without Facebook, parents however, wish for nothing but. There are pro’s and con’s of both sides of course, but if managed, the cons can be turned into pro’s and therefore the world has nothing to lose by Facebook. Every time you think of all the time wasted on Facebook, just think of all the time you also save; By faster communication, sharing ideas, and having everyone linked at the tips of your finger on the keyboard. Here is a link to a similar blog with different ideas. Whats your thoughts on a world without Facebook?