Ashley Edmonds

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


In a world with internet access and cliff notes, the amount of reading the average person does is decreasing with each generation. In a 1993 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the largest government-funded national literacy survey to date, stated that the average American reads at an eighth grade reading level. Also, that 25% of Americans will not read a single book within a year. For me I find this very true.

I remember in elementary school when we had such programs such as STAR that would reward kids with prizes for the amount of books they read within the school year. However, even then I could hardly tell you how many I actually finished. For me, starting this habit of only reading part of a book to retain enough information to pass a quiz has followed me into my adult life. To be honest I could not even tell you the last book I actually sat down and read all the way through. Yes, we as students have always had books assigned to us to read, but of course I would procrastinate and end up reading the cliff notes the night before the test. I have always wanted to broaden my interest in books and reading, but I always find myself staring endlessly at the TV or monitor screen. I would really like to work on ending this problem for myself. I feel that if I could make myself set down and read (and finish) I could grow myself greatly as a more intellectual person. But, how do I change a lifestyle of a bad habit, and why is it that over the years we have distanced ourselves from literature?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Into the Future

For many years now the film industry has played fantasy on virtual vision. For example the one I can think of off the top of my head is the Terminator films. In these films director James Cameron introduces the 80’s to “cyborg vision”. This vision is a virtual computer based vision equipped with face recognition and commands. Fast forward 28 years into 2012 this once farfetched vision is more realistic then one might have thought.

Earlier this week information from Google X Lab was leaked the release of the android powered Google Glasses. Essentially these sunglasses will be a virtual interaction with your smartphone. The glasses like Bluetooth will be synced with your phone and will allow the user to interact with their phone with out looking at it. How do Google Glasses work?  The glasses will be equipped with one computerized lens and built in camera. The camera records and assesses what you are looking at and portrays the content on the computerized lens overlaying it on reality. For example, say you are at a historical landmark, the glasses will recognize the landmark and display facts and comments on what you are looking at. For more of a social example, don’t you hate when you run into someone and they obviously know you, but you are not sure who they are or how you know them. Well Google glasses can help, because the glasses have face recognition. It will be able to access your accounts (Facebook) and show you who they are and maybe how you know them. How do you command Google Glasses?  The glasses are operated by head nods and side-to-side motion.
Other Features
  • GPS
  • Apps
  • Motion Sensors 

Wow, who knew this technology would come so soon? Personally this excites me to think how advanced everyday technology has come. However, I can see the cons this product may bring about. Don’t you hate being around someone with a Bluetooth set on and the awkward moment you realize they were never talking to you? Well now you’re going to have that and someone who is head-bobbing coming toward you. (Talk about awkward)  Also, as if our generation is not already dissocialized enough with texting, tweeting, Facebook, and angry birds the Google Glasses take this to a whole new level. Now you can do these things everywhere at anytime. I also could see the threats users could cause. We already can see the issues with texting and driving, but now Google Glasses make this easier and could possibly cause even more of a distraction than before. With that being said, think about the phrase “the government is tracking us”. Well now that your every move will be recorded this could be more true then ever.  As exciting as this new product is I find it just as scary.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is More Better?

Be honest, which do you find more effective, a brief description/ summary or a long drawn out article? Most would choose the brief description. Think about it, when you Google something most people would prefer to read briefly to get a general idea of the topic. So with this being said, why wouldn’t teachers teach students to be able to write briefly and effectively on a topic?

In the article, "Teaching to the Text Message"Andy Selsberg, a teacher at John Jay College, saw the interest in texting as an opportunity to teach his students using Twitter-based learning. “We need to set our sights not lower, but shorter.” Selsberg along side traditional writing lessons also set up projects that would test his students critical thinking. In some projects students were asked to define things in two sentences. One of my favorite projects was where Selsberg asked his students to describe a chalkboard in one to two sentences. One of his students wrote, “A chalkboard is a lot like memory: often jumbled, unorganized and sloppy. Even after it’s erased, there are traces of everything that’s been written on it.” This response is beautiful. I believe that these two sentences were probably more thought out than if assigned an essay on the chalkboard.

I agree with Selsberg’s logic of using less to explain more. I believe setting a required length or word count can take away from an assignment. When setting a length students are more prawn to plagiarize, ramble, or manipulate the true content of the final product. For example, say a teacher assigns a 400 word short essay. Most of the turned in assignments would contain one or even all three of these problems to make the essay seem legit. However, with challenging the students with shorter content students are required to think more about what to write, and could have a better understanding of the topic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social Vs. Traditional Learning

There is no argument that growing up in the digital era, solely dependent on the technological interaction with our peers, that we as students struggle with academic writing. A lot of times when assigned research papers it’s like pulling teeth to write. I become extremely stressed about the assignment and usually procrastinate to avoid the anxiety. However, because we DO live in a digital and social world there are endless possibilities to learning and teaching that can spice up a traditional class.

Recently I read the article “Blogs vs. Term papers” by Matt Richtel. In this article Richtel talks about the stress term papers bring students and teachers and also discusses the arguments (pros/cons) of using a social media based classroom.

In the article I find myself asking “WHAT?!?”. William H. Fitzhugh protests against moving away from rigorous academic writing, and believes the solution is not blogs but more reading. Fitzhugh also proposes what he calls the “page a year” solution: in first grade, a one-page paper using one source; by fifth grade, five pages and five sources. –again WHAT!?   Could you imagine being responsible to write a five page paper with sources before even completing middle school. I do agree that our generation has shied away from reading and extensive writing, but this method might just be a little too extreme.  

Personally I really enjoy this style teaching. (Teaching in a more interactive environment) I believe by using tools that students already use, like blogs, can be an enriching way to teach. I agree that blogging is less stressful. I actually think that having classes with blogs are a refreshing change. - 1.) I do not feel the urge to OD on coffee or wake up wishing I could just have an IV of caffeine. 2.) I learn more with constant feedback on my work. 3.) Students have the chance to be the teacher. – I agree that students should have some scene of academic writing but outside of school when is this relevant to most people. I think Professor Davidson had the right idea by using blogs and teaching students cover letters, business letters, and have them write short stories and essays about their chosen careers.