Saturday, October 12, 2013

EDUC 7718 Week #6

1.   Conversation, discussion, presentation.    What are they and how do they appear in your professional life?    If you were to diagram the power relationships in each of them,  what would the diagrams look like?     Which are technology-enhanced and which technology impeded?   Is there anything about the current status and role of these in your present professional situation that you would like to change? (Transcript for the answer can be found below the "additional comments.")

Here's my ScreenChomp video!

2.  Feedback.    Please describe what sort of feedback you want from me.   I am trying to challenge your thinking with the comment feature running throughout the text, but that forces you into Google docs.-- a limitation, ----while the global comments features in the other formats don’t seem detailed enough to me.   Maybe it’s my age: I am missing the private conversations before after and during  face to face classes.  What are your thoughts and suggestions?

I miss conversations, though I would likely not engage you in conversation often. There is usually a line of students waiting to talk to you. The nice part about before- and after-class conversations is that we can eavesdrop and maybe learn something vicariously. The group I work with often sends emails, so conversations DO happen, just not in your earshot.

Your comments in the "lecture" part of the assignment are somewhat aligned with my internal response to the readings. I skim the assignment, do the readings, then closely read the assignment before I answer the response questions. If I'm confused, it is easy to print the assignment from Google Docs.

This may be a lame answer, but I'm comfortable with any feedback that you'd like to give. When I first saw the your comments on the rubrick, I felt the need to respond to them, then realized you were giving me feedback. Now that I "get it," I look forward to the comments.

Why I chose ScreenChomp:
I REALLY wanted to use the animation program, Xtranormal, to reflect the robots in chapters 6 and 7 of Alone Together, but the free program is no longer available. I decided that using Screenchomp, though not as effective, would stretch my presentation comfort zone. I also needed a diagram, and I can draw with this program. Screenchomp has limitations. You can't re-do anything without starting from the beginning.* Enjoy my Domo drawings.

Additional comments about the readings:
After reading chapters 6 & 7, I had to look at Paro, the nursing home pet, and Domo and Kismet from MIT. The MIT robots looked less appealing than Sherry Turkle described them in Alone Together.  She used such emotional language.  I pictured much more sophisticated robots! 
Pia Lindeman's grief study was fascinating. I watched some of her work on YouTube as well.  Again, I didn't really understand it until I saw it. In a way, we truly are programmed by biology and culture.  We learn how to show grief by watching others grieve. "You're the best," and fist bumping are new programs youth have created to express thanks and welcome.
Chapter 8 surprised me.  I knew about World of Warcraft, but had never heard of Second Life.  I can't imagine having enough time to devote to learning how to maneuver and make new worlds. In front of a cozy fire, I discussed with my husband the story about Pete having a "wife" in Second Life, and how he feels it completes him.  He said, "That's infidelity." I argued that Pete had no intentions of meeting the "wife." He insisted it was still cheating. If taking time away from your marriage to be with someone/something else is infidelity, much of what we do online could be considered so.  (I just realized I used the word discussion.  It was focused like a discussion but had the structure of a conversation.)
"We have always found ways to escape from ourselves." (160) My escape was reading.  Today, kids are online. Sadly, being constantly connected gives us no time to sit, reflect and relish our escape!

*I will not share my first draft of Screenchomp due to a "noise" my husband inadvertantly made across the room from where I was taping. Sigh.


Question #1 Transcript

Conversation, discussion, presentation. 

Conversation is informal talk.  Usually, I think of it as face-to-face or on the telephone, but I’ve had meaningful online conversations with people I know well.  Staff converse with each other anywhere they can. Students do the same.  Staff members chat with students informally at lunch, clubs, and sports.

Discussion focuses on something specific.  It can be vocal and reciprocal or it can be written.  At school, classroom teachers lead discussions with students, Administrators have discussions with staff and students, and teachers discuss curriculum, strategies, and students with each other.

Presentation is one-sided, instructing a group of people. Administrators roll out new initiatives, the Union presents our new contract, and teachers present lessons to students.

If I had to diagram the power relationships in each of these, I would make Presentation a one-directional arrow. Presentation expects an attentive audience absorbing words from the sage on the stage.

Discussions are focused on specific topics and are led by an individual or group. The audience is expected to provide input, therefore I would make Discussion a triangle.  Discussion is multidirectional, but one entity is in charge.  

Conversations put the participants on equal footing, therefore giving almost-equal power to all.  Social status and conversational skill can skew the power balance, but, overall, I would make Conversation an inclusive circle.

Presentations are technology-enhanced.  I enjoy watching TED talks.  Technology, specifically the Internet, makes it possible for me to experience TED talks. I especially enjoy the talks that include visual material.  I learn more.  When reading Chapter 8 of Alone Together, I had to look up Second Life. Watching clips of the virtual world enhanced my experience.  I watched Second Life creator Philip Rosedale’s TED talk, “Life in Second Life.” The screen shots from the game made the presentation more meaningful.

Discussions can be technology-enhanced.  Because discussions focus on a specific topic, technology can be used to give examples and confirm discussion points.  Facial expressions on Google hang-outs and facetime can positively impact a discussion.  A discussion can last over a period of time if all parties are agreeable, so using social technology like email or instant messaging can work. This allows for revision and refinement before hitting the send button.

I would say that conversations can go either way.  Face-to-face conversation where all are engaged is wonderful.  Telephones and Facetime can also work well.  Technology like email or instant messaging can cause misunderstandings because irony and inflection don’t translate well in a quickly-typed response.

Technology can impede any type of communication.  Inappropriate sound levels, cell phone distraction, and faulty equipment can happen anytime… anywhere.

In my present professional situation, Presentation is still king.  Some teachers have played around with blogging and Responders, but their comfort level is still Presentation. The Common Core expects more from students than information regurgitation, but testing is still the way of the education world.  I would like to see technology used to facilitate discussion.  Face-to-face discussion focuses on the teacher.  Online discussion through tools like blogs and collaborative writing, allow for thoughtful responses from students who are usually too timid to participate.


  1. WOW I loved your ScreenChomp. It was a great overview of some of the key concepts that we are learning about this week. It really appealed to my own visual learning style...thank you!

  2. I always find a new tool to try when I look at your posts! Thanks for sharing. I love the diagrams and drawings!