“Computers are simply a necessary and enjoyable part of life, like food and books. Computers are not everything, they are just an aspect of everything, and not to know this is computer illiteracy, a silly and dangerous ignorance.”
At first, my immediate thought was how can Nelson say that computers are such an essential part of life that it’s just as important as food, which is something as we humans need or else we will die. How can this be? Can we really not survive without computers these days? If you think about it, we probably couldn’t because without them we wouldn’t be able to communicate, research, explore information, etc as fast as we can today. Our lives would not have prospered as far as it has to this day. Computers aided us to invent more advanced technology such as smart phones. However, like Nelson states, computers should not be fully relied on to do everything because they are only a very small aspect that helps makes our lives much easier.
This thought process also correlates with my primary text, Waze. I personally would not be able to live without Waze because it makes driving that much easier and stress free. This application has become a necessary tool for my driving because without it I would not be able to get to unknown destinations. Which led to me thinking how crazy it is that people have now relied on these GPS apps in order to get to places. We depend on them so much that no one really knows how to pinpoint their destination through a plain old map. But then again, this app helps us not waste more time than we need to to make our lives a little less chaotic. Like Nelson said before, these technologies have become part of our lives for the better, but we should know know the difference of how they are not everything, just an aspect of everything.
For my inquiry project, I’m going to be focusing on the app called Waze. For those that have not yet found this wonderful app, I’ll give a quick summary about what exactly it is. Waze is a navigational GPS that not only gets you to places by the quickest route, but also gives you the capability to help inform other users of cops, traffic, hazards and much more. This app also has many other features such as finding a gas station near you, comparing gas prices, a “map chat” room to talk to other users, and a point-system where you earn points for the amount of distances you drive and use the app. Below is a quick video that explains how Waze works (just in case I’m not making any sense).
The reason I chose Waze to be my topic is because I found it fascinating how this app only became successful because of the vast network of drivers using the app. Like the video stated, the more users the app gets, the better it becomes because the more people using it, the more information about traffic, hazards, etc. is stated by the community. This app could not have gotten this popular without its’ ever growing community of users. This then led me to question how they became so popular: was it just by “word of mouth” or advertisement? Also, what problems has this app caused for drivers and cops? Meaning, does this app cause more distractions for the drivers while driving and how does it affect cops’ jobs when this app informs people of their presence to make sure they slow down when passing a hidden cop? There are so many different aspects about this app I could discuss about that I still need to figure out where I am going to go with it, but I feel like this would be an interesting topic to discuss.
When looking back on all the blog posts (although there are not many), unit papers, and other assignments I have done in the span of this semester, I realized my intellectual character has miraculously shown many qualities that I was not aware of in my writings. The intellectual qualities I found in my writings were open-mindedness, curiosity, and metacognitive.
Open-mindedness is an essential skill because in order to have an ethical debate you have to be able to acknowledge the perspective you don’t agree on. By allowing yourself to understand different viewpoints of an argument, you can become well rounded on the debate with still having your own opinions or maybe even change your views on the subject. I know I have this quality because there were many class discussions on articles we read for homework where people voiced their opinions and I was open to listening and considering their ideas that I ended up changing my original viewpoints. Another example of my quality for open-mindedness is my unit 3 paper because in order to write a very well written essay on an ethical contemporary issue, the writer has to consider the opposing viewpoint. In my essay, I provided many viewpoints of those that were not for the topic I was discussing and then immediately made a counter-argument. The reason behind this method is to let my readers know I am not just stating facts about the topic that I think are right, instead I gave my readers two different perspectives to compare to which makes for a stronger argument.
Curiosity is a very important quality to have because without curiosity you won’t be able to explore your imagination or pursue a new idea or thought. Being curious is what has helped me think out of the box when it came to all the unit papers. For example, the first unit paper we had to create a visual aid with our writing and I was basing my topic off of an artwork at the VMFA that had sparked my curiosity. The artwork made me curious as to why the artist chose the objects, colors, shapes, and placement of everything and as I studied the piece more I created my own inferences. With those inferences I created a multimedia book that represented all the parts of the artwork. The final product would have not been created if my curiosity did not stop me in my tracks at the VMFA. Another example of me being curious was the second unit paper because we had freedom to choose the subject that involved technology and I chose to research on Bluetooth; the reason I chose that technology is because when I was bored one day I randomly thought about cars and all the new gadgets we have in them. I then continued wondering the subject and became curious to see if all these gadgets affected people’s driving skills and behold I had my research topic.
Metacognitive is a very critical attribute that you should have because it forces you to notice your own patterns of thinking or help you critique your own thinking. As someone who is a photographer, I have to always look back on my old photographs to critique the areas I need work on and notice the same pattern of mistakes I make. I then learn quickly what I need to fix for my next photo-shoot and execute the photos better than I did the last time, this process pushes me to try harder and come up with new creative ideas. Without the realization of my own patterns I wouldn’t be able to correct my mistakes and move forward as a better photographer and the only reason I notice my patterns is by having the quality of metacognitive.
When us students were given control of the course decision-making process, it was a bit of a chaotic mess because the class seemed very confused in what the topic actually was for the unit. The first time we all sat down to discuss all the steps for the unit, we had many challenges such as too many crickets in the room since no one wanted to speak their minds, and also it seemed like people were just unclear on what we were discussing about. Once we finally got the rhythm of the decision making process, it still took us many several days to finalize every little detail like whether the paper should have a strict structure or what articles to read and so on. I feel like towards the end of the whole process, many of my classmates were getting agitated or very bored of planning because we were taking so many days to discuss everything. I believe people thought it was only going to take at least 3 days or less, instead of 5. By the end of it all, we were all ready to jump in the unit and had a better understanding of all the assignments for the unit.
I feel like the whole process of us planning the entire unit was a good and bad thing. It was a great idea because students got to voice their opinions on what they wanted to do for the unit and we got to choose class assignments that actually intrigued us. It also helped us better understand teamwork with a huge crowd of people which is an important skill to have for our future careers. We also gained a better understanding of the whole unit by discussion every little detail we needed to do. However, there are also some down falls to the planning process, such as that some students aren’t brave enough to speak up for themselves when they don’t like an idea that others are giving, so those students end up stuck with an assignment that they are not interested in and may result in them not caring. Another issue is that we probably spent way too much time on planning instead of executing the assignments and most importantly, the essay because it seemed like we were rushed through everything and had little time to actually have more class discussions on articles and researching for the essay. Another issue was that us students cut around corners meaning we chose certain criteria to make it easier on ourselves, instead of challenging ourselves to go further with the unit, which personally was disappointing. I’m not saying the idea of allowing students to plan a whole unit is a terrible thing, it just has some flaws that could be avoided.
I’m really excited about our final unit 1 “paper” that we found out has a curve ball in the assignment. For this “paper,” we have to include a visual aid which could be a picture, drawing, painting, video and the list just keeps on going. Although most students are freaking out about having way too much freedom for this assignment, I’m overjoyed with all the possibilities I can accomplish with this project. I’m not stressing over this assignment at all, in fact, this project is oddly comfortable for me because I find creating art relaxing and fun. I know most students are worried that they will get penalized for not creating a masterpiece for their visual aid because they believe they don’t have an artistic side; however, I feel like as long as everyone tries their best and tries to think out of the box, they will exceed in creating something they thought they couldn’t achieve. I know I’m hoping to create a book that has a nice blend between pictures and words, almost like Lauren Redniss’ book. In my book, I’m going to be describing my interpretations of an artist’s painting and how their title reflects their piece. In the art piece I chose, I interpreted many different elements on why the painter titled their painting “In the Morning.” These different elements include the color scheme, the objects in the piece and so on. As of now, I’m thinking for each visual for the pages will range from different types of media, such as painting, collaging, drawing, and maybe even photographs. The only concern I have for this project, is trying to sort all of my ideas into one book. I’m worried that I have too many crazy ideas in my head that I will overload myself with work that I cannot accomplish in such a short time. Either way, I’m still really excited to see what I come up with and to see everyone else’s ideas and creativity this upcoming Friday during our mini gallery walk.
This week was very stressful for me in my class UNIV 112 because I struggled a bit with the take home essays. I thought it was difficult trying to write a maximum of 600 words in one paper on such a broad question. I couldn’t figure out which points of the book’s text, images or the essay’s text to highlight in my papers. There were so many details I could have discussed about very extensively in my papers if I was allowed to write more. I believe that was my most difficult obstacle I had to try to overcome and conquer in my essays. Another issue I found while I was writing is that I have trouble not summarizing the story. I know I am supposed to pretend the reader knows everything about the book, but I just can’t get past explaining the book. This problem causes taking up a lot of space when in fact I needed to give more evidence for my argument. Another issue I had was explaining my evidence in a clear manner. I thought I either sounded too vague or just plain out confusing when providing my evidence. Typically this isn’t an issue for me, but this book is not the easiest to convey the evidence without summarizing or sounding awkward. I feel like I stressed over these essays when I didn’t need to since they weren’t worth a lot of points and they also are the first essays we have written for this class so it’s kind of expected to not do so well at first. However, hopefully the time and effort I put into these two assignments will pay off in the end.
This week during class, I found it interesting how laid back the class is; not meaning it’s an easy class. What I mean by laid back, is the fact that I find it very easy for everyone to be able to have class discussions and mini group presentations without the awkward tension or mini heart attacks I usually get when I’m forced to present. As you may have guessed, I am not very comfortable when I have to do group presentations or mini class discussions because I start panicking and immediately freeze up when I’m called on to answer a question or have to get up in front of the class and do a presentation. It’s just not my thing, but for this class, I don’t feel panicked or nervous because everyone else is very friendly and I noticed we all are in the same boat so why should it bother me? It’s great to know that I have a class environment that is very welcoming and not at all judgmental. My professor also does a wonderful job at making it easier for us students to present because he’s not intimidating and he’s a very easy to talk to guy. The class also helps boost everyone’s confidence by clapping for each group’s presentation at the end to congratulate them for getting in front of the class and talking to us; although this act is very tiny, it helps again with the classroom environment being friendly.
My first impression of UNIV 112, was not at all like what I had expected in my mind. I expected to get lectured right away about the syllabus and then quickly get dismissed with our first homework assignment, a dreadful writing prompt that we would all miserably fail because we don’t know the correct format of the essay or your writing preference (okay, maybe I’m just being a little over dramatic, but you get the point; I expected this class to be boring and dreadful). Instead, I was shocked to find the class very fun because the very first thing we did was move the desks into a huge circle and introduce ourselves with one interesting fact about ourselves. Then at the end of the class we were quizzed to see if we could memorize everyone’s names. It was just a very fun and relaxed game to get to know everyone. Another interesting thing we did the first day was watch a short video on YouTube that tricked us all to focus our attention on the number of passes the black shirt team made, which made us not realize the walking moon bear that went across the screen. It shocked most of us when the video was replayed and we noticed the ridiculous moon-walking bear. We then were asked three questions, what is this video about; what is this video really about; what is this video REALLY REALLY about? The purpose of these questions was to get us to dig really deep on why this video was created and, although, none of us formed the correct answer, it helped us discover what this class is really about and what we are expected to do; look and analyze things from different perspectives to come up with a deeper meaning conclusion. For a first day of class, it was pretty entertaining and the opposite of boring.