Monday, February 16, 2009

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrant

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants
by Marc Prensky

In Prensky's article he discusses how the new generation of children are unlike any generation of children before. Today's generation is a digital generation "that have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age". Prensky coins the people of older generations who are trying to learn the new digital technologies as "digital immigrants". These "digital immigrants" have a different accent then the digital natives and this causes problems because the skills that the digital natives possess are still foreign to the digital immigrants. The digital immigrants are slower and do tasks step-by-step which causes the digital native to lose interest. Prensky says that "the biggest problem facing education today is that our digital immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language". He suggests that digital immigrant teachers should abandon their traditional ways of teaching and adopt to teaching methods that better suit digital natives. He argues that digital natives learn differently then digital immigrants did because their brains are different. Todays students have a different thinking pattern then digital immigrants. He argues that the old way of memorization and learning new facts with just a paper and pencil is not a sufficient way of learning for digital natives. He suggests teaching digital natives through the use of video games. He argues the success that has been proven through the use of computer aided software.

I think that using video games is a great and fun way to teach people new things. It only raises one question: What happens when you are a faced with a situation in which you are not able to turn something into a video game. Are we not going to be able to learn it?

Media Literacy

When I first googled media literacy I wasn't completely sure what it was. After reading a few articles about it and then discussing it with my group in class I began to understand what it was. We said that media literacy is a critical thinking process that allows us to analyze and evaluate messages and images provided by/for television, internet, magazines, and other forms of media. I also think that media literacy is the ability to see a form of media and be able to see the subliminal messages that are being shown and not get roped in. It is the ability to look past what they want you to see and not get brain washed into their thinking.

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
By Linda Christensen

In Christensen's article she discusses how the cartoons and movies that we watch and adore as children are actually planting racist and sexist thoughts into our minds. Christensen includes a quote from Beverly Tatum "the impact of racism begins early. Even in our preschool years, we are exposed to misinformation about people different from ourselves". She argues that cartoons that look goofy and harmless on the surface actually have negative underlying messages. The quote from Tatum "the stereotypes and world view embedded in the stories become accepted knowledge". As children we do not have experience with different races and cultures so we only know what we see portrayed of them. For instance, Christensen mentions how in the Little Mermaid Ursala is a darker skinned character and is mean and ugly. The exposure we have to stereotypes portrayed in cartoons not only affects how we see other people but also how we see ourself. We only see the thin, perfectly per portioned, beautiful character getting handsome prince. The not so beautiful characters are always the villains or servants in these movies. We in turn want to look like the different princess characters. Christensen also argues that many Disney movies teach young girls that the only goal in life is to find a husband "Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched conditions can be achieved through consumption-in their case new clothes and a new hair style". This is true in most Disney movies. When the princess wears a new gown and gets dressed up she meets "the man of her dreams". They never meet and fall in love when she is wearing ordinary clothing. I think that this has a huge impact on how materialistic and shallow children are. Also in many Disney movies the female character can only be saved by a handsome man. This is teaching young girls the wrong messages about life. In the article Christensen also mentions that it isn't enough to just criticize these cartoons and movies but to do something about it and take action.

I think that Christensen's article really made me think about all the movies that I loved as a child. Thinking back on these classic princess movies I am beginning to realize they may not necessarily have the greatest underlining message. I can completely see the sexism that is apparent throughout these movies. Thinking back I can also see how body image is portrayed in these films. Although I can see what Christensen is saying I still can't imagine banishing these classic movies forever. These Disney movies will always be a part of who I am and I can't say that I will never watch them again or never show them to my children.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager
by Thomas Hines

" The teenage years have been defined as, at once, the best and freest of life and a time of near madness and despair". Hines defines the teenager as "the symbol of Americans' rising aspirations, the repository of hopes, the one who will realize the American dream. And inevitably, the teenager is a disappointment, whose combination of adult capacities and juvenile irresponsibility sows personal heartbreak and social chaos". I agree with Thomas Hines when he says "young people today seem to be in a world of their own" because teenagers today feel that the rules do not apply to them. For instance, the example Hines uses about the teenage girl at the prom. As Hines says 'the young woman was unwilling to admit, even to herself, that her actions had consequences". Teenagers do not think that the rules apply to them. The statistic that Hines reports about in the article that "90 percent of adults said that young people are failing to learn such values as honesty, responsibility, and respect, and two thirds agreed that the next generation will be worse than the last" was surprising to me. As Hines gives examples of the horrible crimes that teenagers commit and teenage pregnancy it makes you wonder if this statistic is really true. Is the next generation really going to be worse then the present one?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

When I was 13...

When I was 13....

I remember being in eighth grade and my friends were my world. I remember getting home from school and talking on the phone and instant messaging with friends until my dad got home. I absolutely loved TRL and used to watch it everyday hoping N*Sync would be number 1!! Going to the mall and the movies with friends were the places to be on a Friday night.

I went to a small private school were there wasn't a lot of diversity. I was extremely sheltered and I think that it caused me to be very judgmental of people.

Thankfully, I have changed a lot since I was thirteen.