Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Intriguing, confusing, befuddling, obfuscating even

 (Amazing the vocabulary you can develop from watching X-Files (I know that was 10 years ago...), or even reading Garfield - and yes I do mean the cat, not the works of the past president!  I claim no personal credit - indeed, is this a more-than fitting introduction to the subject in question?)

Copyright is difficult to wrap your head around, even beyond simply, "Is it spelt '...right' or '...write', and is it one word or two?"  These articles were enlightening, and I felt gave me something of a clearer picture - but then I took the quiz  :(

I got that it's not about whether you make money from what you do with the material or not, it's about the originator maintaining ownership/control of their creation; that copyright is apparently NOT all about keeping the product in the creator's clammy little hands but is in fact attempting to balance the invention of 'something new' and the creator's right to benefit from that something, with the right, and benefit to the public at large of having access to that something; that when working in the field of education a lot more latitude for 'right to use' is given, but within certain bounds - the work produced that includes (or even depends upon) the 'borrowed' information or product must be used within a setting devoted to education & instruction, and not be able or permitted to go any further than that restricted circle (ie look out for whether posting to LAN, WAN, or password/unpassword-ed website). 

And yet there is so much fiddly detail as well - as one article amusingly and directly put it:  "If it were not this confusing, how would the lawyers make all their money?"!  It interested me that having read, dredged at times, waded through the other papers (not all heavy, but certainly in places) - the interactive screen with the children sitting at their desks with questions seemed to summarize amazingly well all that I had just read, and it all seemed to make sense.  Of course, without having read all that first I'd have understood far less of what was in those vignette answers. 

As for the quiz:  I have no clue how I was to know, for example, "Use of that TV recording would be deemed 'fair use' because it was within ten days of broadcast" ?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sooooo much more than simply searching!

I found this week's exercises completely fascinating - and I even stumbled into a website that I hope to return to in the future. 

You ask about searching before the MAPping activities?  It involved going to Google - I'm one for finding something I can both get used to and comfortably use, and this was the first one - entering what I was searching for in various combinations until satisfactory results pop up, and the job was done.  Unless the task was college oriented in which case I would search through the library databases and ensure 'peer-reviewed', etc.  Now I see there can be so much more to it - and that 'so much more' is (to a curious mind like mine) additional fascination beyond the material primarily searched for. 

I was already aware to a minor degree of the significance of website extensions - being from England meant that was automatic knowledge, and my email address being a 'hotmail.CO.UK' account highlighted this further.  I have heard since of other country extensions too:  .au (Australia I believe as opposed to Austria), also extensions for Japan, China, Hong Kong, and others.  It seems a little unclear as to whether .co specifically refers to 'company' or 'country'.  I did not know quite how many extensions there were though.  It's certainly useful to know - specifically to know WHAT they mean. 

It was also helpful to read (somewhere in the exercise) that when searching, if you encounter problems, deleting the search request back, one '/' at a time to ultimately the domain name alone, can help provide solutions. 

I was a little startled to discover that, for example, an individual professor at a college who holds his own controversial viewpoint, might have his own page embedded within the 'otherwise'(?) highly reliable college website.  To see both how to spot this, and also how to dig out archived pages that have been removed from ('censored', one might say, out of) the web, was both enlightening and fascinating. 

As for the site I chose, about the cat reactions to bearded men - everything in this exercise to me seemed to point to the site being either genuine or at least harmless.  Multiple links used the site, or pages therein, as examples for exercises in "is the information presented here hoax or true?" vein.  All the searches listed the domain itself high up as included in multiple other sites, followed by several results raising the 'hoax or no?' question. 

And adverts?  Well all this information and these facilities are freely provided, but we all know that's impossible.  Advertisers provide the money the facilitators need!

Oh - the chance to track the history of a website, how busy it is/has been? - again fascinating.  And the discovery that so often the position of a site on a search engine results list has nothing to do with its veracity, reliability, relevance, ... , but is down to merely its hit rate? - just plain, hmm, is 'scary' too strong a word?  Disappointing, certainly. 

Closing remark:  I wish it didn't take me sooooo long to figure out how to add a new blog! :(  Tech issues caused further issues last week, but every new blog I've tried to add has taken me forever to remember/refigure how to do it!

This feels like it's got longer than it needed to, and thus taken longer than it should have, so I'm done now,

'Til next week,

Andy P

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Who Am I? +..." (Assignment forSep11)

So . . . "me"? . . . I'm Andy Pickles.  I was born and raised (far longer ago than it feels like!) in Maidstone, England (part of both the UK and Britain of course), in the county town of "The Garden of England" - the county of Kent. 
I love the picturesque villages, the country lanes (like county roads here but often smaller), and the twisty-turny 'involving' driving experience that zipping through them at - when possible - their speed limit of 60mph.  Big fun. 
However...I also love the hot sunshine; sunshine is not to be take for granted back in 'Blighty', and real heat is a rare commodity.  Mid80s is real good for summer and even then only comes in spells.  Mid90s is a heatwave.  Highest recorded ever was 98.8, til 2003 reached the dizzying heights of 100.6F.
So . . . I have to choose between picturesque with fun driving, or sunny heat.  All y'all wonderful warm Southern folks are winning, it seems  :)
I also love math and always have.  I remember getting a kick out of it at 8, 9, 10yrs old; still enjoyed it when bored sick of school from age 13-18.  For the next decade or so I would always get a buzz from anything math-related, and then I came here.  I fought through my entrance exam (having forgotten all the formulae I had to figure them all out and double-check myself over & over!), got into College Algebra (fearing I wasn't up to jumping in there after so long out), loved it all over again - and shook off the rust real quick  :)
I have throughout my life enjoyed helping others to learn whenever I am able, so when my grades prompted lecturers to approach me about math tutoring I said "Ok" (though nervous because of the sense of responsibility for somebody else's homework being accurately me!?) -- and so was born my desire to teach math at the Junior College level. 
Beyond my desire to help others learn new skills - now with a math focus - everything about this concept of becoming a teacher is new and unheard of to me.  Never considered this before!  As such, detailed thoughts about the use of technology in the classroom have not been big in my mind before now.  However, my own college career thus far has foisted tech on me so I've had to learn, to adapt, to find access (no internet at really, it's true, there are some of us! - have barely even a computer and in fact do almost all my computing work on my smartphone, and believe me: typing an essay on a smartphone (to email to self and print from a computer) is trying on the thumbs!).  Also some school-based software is not compatible with smartphones (frustrating! grrr :(  tsk.).  All in all I'm having mixed feelings and reactions about it all. 
I can see benefits, even if my mindset in this field is very small.  In some classes the presentations have been shown on powerpoint which can be very clear and often more engaging - and facilitates the lecturer emailing these 'notes' so students have access to perfect study material in hardcopy (still my favourite format!).  In math I have been introduced to 'Elmo' - that videocamera/projector machine.  This provided all the advantages of a teacher producing notes for their lecture live and interactively, on a large and/or clearly visible surface, while simultaneously able to share the very same information to a remote location, and providing a hard copy (the sheets they wrote on) at the end, for the possibility of scanning and emailing after the fact. 
However, more sophisticated efforts involving large screens that apparently are supposed to function like an all-in-one computer/large-screen (a giant tablet if you will, as they I understand are touchscreen operated) have hit choppy seas.  Put simply, the technology failed.  It would not run on the day.  This highlights the concerns that dog my mind and have done the more and more the world runs on technology - it strikes me as never infallible, and the tech must never be utterly depended upon, but rather always be an addition, a tool, an enhancement to teaching methods that are less prone to - as often seems with computers - 'their own fickle will'.  Of course not really - but it can seem that way!
My goals and what I hope to learn?  Lots of the tech-y stuff that I don't know now!  I'd like to end up less concerned by all the fancy tricks and toys that computers have now - feeling so out of date since I did - yes I did - computing courses when I was at school.  I guess things have moved on, they can do a lot more, and a lot of what I see as 'clever new stuff' has, in fact, probably become routine over the last 19 years!  I feel so old before my time!  :(

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Wonderful (?) World of Blogging

I sense this class will regularly make me feel like a techless dinosaur.....
Still......I'm not sure if there's anything specific I should put on here right now, but - I guess I now have a blog.  (I wonder if I must remember the whole AndyP-etec424blog thing myself, or just other posters, or if it will be displayed? goes nothing....)