Writing Tools

The tools I decided to review are Jet Pack and Grammar Byte. Jet Pack is useful in that it checks grammar, spelling, and style. It is very similar to spell check but is useful in places that do not have spell check or their version is not as detailed to add in style as something that it evaluates.Jet pack will also back up your work so it does not get lost. This is a feature that spell check and some other programs do not offer.

Grammar Byte is a site that covers a wide range of potential uses. It provides exercises, videos, lists of terms, online courses, presentations, and they will even review something a give you feedback. It can help with anything to a simple grammar question to teaching you everything you could need to know and testing your knowledge and grading your performance. It is also useful for people of all ages. There is more complex information for adults or people in higher levels of education and there are also things that are useful for the more simple grammar issues that can be used for teaching elementary level  or middle school level students. The website is on the simple side so it is very easy to use and there is little room for confusion while using it. Overall I found both of these tools to be rather useful and pretty easy to use and would recommend to others who need to write frequently.

Net Neutrality Today

Without net neutrality in Portugal, mobile internet is bundled like a cable package

The argument over net neutrality has not only something that we have been covering quite a bit in class but also it has been a world-wide debate in all countries. This article only briefly mentions the U.S. because its main focus is countries that lack net neutrality. The example they use is Portugal. In Portugal the people have to pay for specific packages of apps they would like to use and if they use apps outside of their package they have to pay extra. This is something that we haven’t really spoke about as a class but it is very possible for ISPs to do, clearly since some already have. Imagine only being able to use a certain handful of apps and you have to pay monthly just to have access. Not only does it hurt the people who have to pay for use of otherwise free apps, but it also hurts startups because their apps either aren’t in a package or people just won’t pay the premium to use their app. This decreases the potential for new companies to come into view or have success almost entirely because apps are obviously a large part of people’s lives. Not only do people like apps, but if you think about it almost every successful company created this millennia has an app or started as an app. How can new companies start if no one knows that their app exists.

Comcast and Verizon Want Ajit Pai’s FCC to Block States From Passing Own Internet Laws

While it may seem that the net neutrality scene is currently quiet, I personally have not been hearing much, but there seems to be some work in motion and it is not in favor of net neutrality. The large ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon have been meeting with Ajit Pai who is the head of the FCC. In his time in this role Pai has favored the ISPs so what is going to happen is currently unknown. These meetings were the ISPs’ effort to stop states from making their own internet policies so they would have more freedom from the federal government and state governments couldn’t do anything to stop them. They also spoke about changing the classification that the ISPs fall under. They are currently classified as Title II common carriers which mostly prevents them from censoring their customers content. If the classification is changed then any net neutrality that we have will basically be gone. If these companies are allowed to censor content or “pick a winner” as it is often called then the consumers would face similar issues as the people in Portugal in the above article. They would have a limited amount of options of services that they could use based on what the providers decide. This is why we need to make sure the interest of the people is taken into account. Decisions are about to be made that can change everything and if law makers focus on the corporations the people could really be hurt.

Net Neutrality

The articles I chose were The Net Neutrality Debate in 2 Minutes or Less and Net Neutrality Prevails in Contentious FCC Vote. These articles are similar in that they mostly just state both sides of the argument, who is on each side, and why they choose to support that train of thought. In simple terms this debate is to decide what internet service providers can and cannot do.

Those who support Net Neutrality believe that if we just allowed the internet service providers run free that large corporations would just pay more and basically take over the internet. They say that smaller business would basically lose their online presence because the larger companies would be able to pay for better services and this would take away from smaller companies. This would also allow providers to provide their services at a lower quality to their competitors. This would basically force a monopoly in which ever field is involved. For example if there was no net neutrality a company such as Comcast could reduce the quality of Netflix service on their internet. This would lead to people watching less Netflix and more cable television which means more money for companies like Comcast.

Those who are against Net Neutrality are mostly the large internet service providers and some politicians. They say that if there is net neutrality there would be less investment in the spread of their services and internet quality would decrease. They claim this is because some companies use significantly more internet service than others and if the providers can’t charge them more so they can build a larger fiber optic network then the internet could essentially crumble. The problem with this is the problems that are stated above. With little to no regulations on how these providers provide their service they can do whatever they want or whatever they need to do to increase their profits. They could lower the quality of normal service and then provide a premium option that is no better than what the users use to have. And there is nothing that we as consumers can do because we would not just stop paying for internet. We live in a world that depends on the internet quite heavily and if there were no rules for the providers we would have not option but to accept whatever it is that they decide to. This is why we need neutrality. Not just for the businesses and corporations, but also for the average user.

Is Online Learning The Answer?

In his Ted Talk Ken Robinson touches on the topic of education. He begins with the statement that humans waste their talents because they don’t even know that they have any. He goes on to blame this on education due to its structure. The lower levels essentially condition students for higher college. They never really help students find there natural talents. All of this leads him to the conclusion that education needs to be reformed and treated organically rather than industrially.

Online learning is a viable option to achieve the reformation of education. The regular classroom has hold backs such as limited resources and teachers can’t teach every differently based on there talents, but this could be easily achieved with online learning. Every student’s education could be completely customized for them. And it would allow them to learn however fast or slow they need to. And it could always change as they progress through the education process. This would mean that every person could get the education that is absolutely the best for them and they will live their lives to their full potential and our society would be much better off without the waste of potential.

When speaking of waste i don’t mean purely from a productive point of view. But so many people spend their entire lives hating what they do. If the education system helped people find what they liked to do and what they were best suited to do then more people would not just be working to get to the weekend and would enjoy what they do. In the talk Robinson says that if you tell some people to stop what they do for a living that they would answer with something like I can’t its part of who I am. If more people were this way we would live in a different world.

Digital Search

http://www.gemalto.com/govt/identity/digital-identity-trends (Digital Identity)

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/09/what-is-digital-literacy.html (Digital Literacy)

My Online Presence

Not to my surprise when googling the name Bobby Ryan most of what came up was the professional hockey player Bobby Ryan. Then I went on to search Bob Ryan all that came up was information about the sports writer. I even tried searching Robert Ryan and most of the information that appeared was about an actor in the early to mid 1900’s. I did not find anything connected to me until the third or fourth page when I searched Bobby Ryan I found my high school football hudl page (website for highlights and film). This showed me that I am not an easy person to find through a google search. This is not necessarily any fault of my own it just so happens that I have a relatively common name that some people who are more famous than I am also have. There is not much that I can do at this point in time to surpass these men so for now it seems that if people would like to find information about me they will have to find a different way of going about it.

Digital Identity

These two readings are quite different. Digital Identities is mainly focused on who we are on the internet and how we act. It lists different types of users and explains how they leave their digital footprint. The purpose of this writing is to simply inform. It is looking to inform people of common types of users and is looking to start up a conversation about more types of users. Claim Your Own Domain covered a much wider range of topics. It starts off with a story about how her mother saved all of her meaningful school work in a manila envelope. Then the author leads into how technology is replacing physical work and how students work so often gets lost or deleted by the schools at the end of the semester or after the student graduates. Then Watters brings up personal domains. A place where all the work someone has ever done in one place that can be kept for as long as that person would like to keep it. But Watters does not leave it at that, she continues to explain why it is important for people to claim there own domains so they own a place on the web where they can completely be themselves and customize it however they would like to. This is where the digital identities from the other reading come into play. Now that the students have an outlet they can now create their own digital identity. So that they can have a digital presence that is like no one else’s and contains whatever they like. That is the true purpose of all of this. All the articles on blogs and domains are meant to open peoples eyes to the possibilities they can easily access that they might not have known about. And that is why they are so important, because they increase the awareness and help people reach their technological potential.

Technology Autobiography

Our generation is looked at by others as a group that grew up very reliant on technology. This may be true for some people, but it is not for everyone. In my case I did not use much technology growing up. I had things like ipods and i had a cell phone at a relatively young age but they spent most of their time on a shelf somewhere rather than in use. I would use it from time to time when I remembered that i had it but not very often. My technology use really started to increase probably when I was around twelve years old. That is when my peers started to get their own phones and I would use mine to talk to them, but it is very different now than it was then. At that time I would text to make plans and not much else and I did not spend very much time doing that. Now we obviously still text to make plans, but there is so much more involved. People can and do text for any possible reason at any time of the day. It has turned into another form of entertainment for some. They will text all day and night everyday just to amuse themselves. This is what I believe the majority of technology has turned into. They were created for many different reasons, but now they are all just used when people are bored. Phones for example were meant for people to talk to each other, in their simplest form, but instead people do almost anything other than talk to each other. It is all social media, music and games. I am not saying that this is wrong or that I am not part of the group that uses technology for entertainment. I am only showing how technology and the use of technology has changed in the past ten years. Ten years ago people, mostly adults, used laptops mainly at work and just for work. Now people of all ages use laptops for everything. To watch TV, play games, go on social media, listen to music, etc.. For example before i was working on this is was watching Netflix and playing music through my laptop. I believe this is how the majority of our generation uses our technology.And yes they are still used for work but the ratio of work to fun or entertainment is quite uneven in favor of entertainment. In my personal experience people spend much more time using technology than they did when we were younger myself included. I spend multiple hours a day using technology whether it is doing school work, music or whatever. And with this use I have learned more about technology and that only helps me used it more and use it better. That it one thing about technology once you figure out how one piece of technology works you can use most technology out there. I believe this with the improvement of our technology is what has pulled us into this lifestyle. The more we learn the more we use and are capable of using and than it gets to the point where we use technology almost exclusively. We use it for school now more than pen and paper. It is almost strange because I can remember a time when technology was almost completely banned in school, but now it is used almost exclusively. All of our homework, papers, etc. are all handed in online rather than physical handwritten copies. I can not even think of the last time i hand writ a paper and handed it in.  Technology has changed the way that I function in my day to day life and I think most would agree that it has changed theirs as well.

Social Media Taking Years Out of Our Lives

The common thread between these articles is the fact that social media is taking up more of our day at an increasing rate. This means that we are spending more time on social media than many things that seem or are more important. In these articles it is stated that people will be spending over five years on social media in a life time. Time on social media is ahead of things such as eating and drinking, grooming, and socializing. It is incredible to know that if humans continue on this path that we currently are that more time in our lives will be taken by instagram, snapchat, facebook, etc. than time spent socializing in person.  This first thing that came to my mind is that this can not be true. How is it possible for people to spend more time on social media than with other people? Then I thought about it some more and it soon became apparent that regardless of if we are with other people or not we are constantly on social media. We could spend an hour in the same room as someone and not say more than a few words to them because we are so invested in social media. Even now as I am typing this I stop from time to time to answer a text or a snapchat. It is strange though because it is not like I have this burning desire to be on my phone, but it is at the point where I hear the vibration and look. And that is how most people live today, social media is not even an activity its just part of life and we use it without even thinking about it. This is why it has become so time consuming throughout our lives because it is now part of our lives and not just something to do when you have some free time.

Article Analysis

These articles stress a few similar points. That technology and blogging should be a part of every classroom, students need to be more aware about their digital citizenship, and also why it is important for students to have their own domains and to have control over their work and scholarship. The first article mostly quotes teachers saying why they believe that the students should have domains, the process of the students learning how to use the domains, and why it is important for their students to use the domains.  Their reasoning for why it is important for the students to have a domain is so they have a digital presence other than social media in a form that they have complete control over.  This is because students lack control of most things in their lives. Both of the articles mention how students lack control over their own work that they do for school. If it is pen and paper work once it is handed in it could be never seen again. And if it is turned in online the is no work left once it is graded it just becomes numbers or they may be able to see it during the semester, but once the semester ends the school deletes the work because that’s what they do with the students old work. Both articles push the use of blogs and domains because the students own their domain and own the work that they decide to put on it. They will have everything that they write or create for as long as they would like to keep and make it visible to whoever they want.  The main point of these articles is that students need to have domain access so that they can have control over their work and that once they have the domain they should be able to do what they want to with it and not just writing assignments on a “blog” that only the teacher can see.