Digital Nation- Frontline

My last official blog post! woohoo! I must say I wasn’t too thrilled about having to create a blog and was overwhelmed with the idea of it. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with it, but the semester is over and I survived. Through this blog I was able to keep up with my fellow classmates and was able to learn about their ideas. This served as a great tool to connect with my classmates as sometimes we didn’t have time in class to do so. 

For our last blog entry we were to view the Frontline documentary, Digital Nation. I watched this documentary very late at night and was very tired but for some reason Chapter 3: South Koreas Craze stuck with me. First and foremost, I wasn’t aware that South Korea basically had internet rehabs. Let me explain, Korean youths have developed to fascination of PC Bangs. PC Bangs are internet cafes, that are open 24 hours. Teenagers flock to these cafes to spend their time playing video games. Kids will stay and play all night, even for days sometimes. So much that, kids have died playing for 50+ hours without food and water.

The argument for a long time has been whether the need to be connect is a disease or simply a phenomenon, but Korea has now recognized it as an addiction. 

I found it to be ironic that South Korea embraced the tech world as a means to get out of their economic struggle and now its becoming a great issue for their youths. I’m glad they interviewed a teenager so that the viewer could get a better understanding of the issue. It seems to be that kids are slacking academically, lacking social skills and developing visual and auditory impairments. 

So, South Korea actually had internet rehabs, which kind of blew my mind for a second. That we would need rehab for something as beneficial as the internet. I guess that’s what happens when people get addicted. Although the idea of getting addicted to the internet is unbelievable, maybe perhaps I don’t know of anyone in my age group that is that glued to technology and social media. The families I know with pre teens are already implementing strategies to limit tech/internet use. 

Although the idea of a camp seems effective, I think that they should run for longer than 2 weeks. 2 weeks is like nothing, by the end of the 10 days kids are still likely to go back to their usual tech use. Do we have anything like this program here in the states??? If so, then thats great. If not, then I hope we never get to that point. 


real life tech use

While observing a first grade class today, one of the students asked if polar bears hibernate. The teacher and volunteers, including myself, weren’t sure about the answer. Since I always have my phone glued on me, I quickly looked it up. No, they don’t, in case you were wondering. Point of the story, I’m so glad my phone was within reach! 

5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class !

I found this article to be biased and redundant The did not mention a single downside to having cell phones in the classroom and presented opinions that we’ve already heard. What I am concerned about is the issue of cheating. I read an article a few months ago about the implications of cheating and I somewhat agree, kids don’t need to know every little detail about every little thing anymore because like we all know they have mobile devices. Kids do however still need to be able to develop independent thoughts, and constantly being connected to their peers and “collaborating” won’t help them their minds advance independently. Also, tests are still important, we can’t forget SOLs and AP exams, during those examinations kids won’t be allowed to go anywhere near their devices….

I found it ironic that Nielsen has observed a double standard with technology use. I say this because in some schools, students have more tech gadgets than the teachers, and if not more than definitely better…

Overall, this was a good, short read to refresh my memory on the need to balance the use of classroom in a classroom. 


Twitter browsing

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These are some articles that I’ve read over the past few weeks. Some I found on Twitter, and some I found in my daily WashingtonPost reading. I wanted to share them and also use Twitter as a way to save the link. The three articles are diverse but of course share the common theme of education. The article I enjoyed reading the most was the blog post by Maanvi Singh; now I get that it has nothing to do with classroom technology but it’s still very amusing and something I hope teens struggling to get through the social annoyances of high school will read one day.

Speak Up, Student Surveys

Project Tomorrows Speak Up Student Survey presents a few questions on how students are using technology inside and outside of the classroom.

  • How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to support schoolwork activities?
  • How are K-12 students currently using digital tools and resources to enable out of school time learning?
  • What are K-12 students’ aspirations for using digital tools and resources within new innovative learning environments?

The study presented some interesting finds that I was already sort of familiar with due to my other readings. This study presented percentages and made differentiations based on gender. Throughout the study it became more obvious that girls were more likely to use technology than boys, regardless of what it was being used for.

There was a greater percentage of high school students using teacher facilitated technology in the classroom and when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.  By the time students reach ninth grade they are more e quipped with the knowledge of using technology in the classroom; programs like blackboard and its usage are more prevalent. They are also more likely to communicate with the their teachers and peers through the use of google, etc. I did not know that students were now able to take exams online and that there was such a high percentage of online test takers. I guess for me the concept is still fairly new, since as a graduate student I have not taken many online exams, but as a teacher I find that it would be very convenient to allow students to have that option.

The study then presented information on student initiated use of technology to support schoolwork, and like I mentioned earlier, girls were more active than boys. The study was using various forms of digital activity to support how much writing a student was doing in general and how that would help them in the classroom. Two examples that stood out to me were; texting with classmates and writing captions on photos. I’m not entirely sure if they were implying that students did those specifically for school use or recreationally, or maybe both but my question is how do either of those help students educationally.  I have found that usually when kids write anything online that aren’t using proper writing skills (ie. Grammatical errors, punctuation, etc.).  

Speak Up also made it a point to study tool preference; tablet vs. mobile device, and I’m glad they did so. “Four out of ten students said that their preferred mobile device to do Internet research, access an online book…. Would be a tablet,” and I completely agree. Not all students, depending on age, have access to a cell phone. Based on my observation, parents are more inclined to give their students tablets than cell phones because of the added cost and responsibility issues. Tablets provide the similar functions of a desktop/laptop but are cheaper and more mobile. They also act like digital readers, allowing students to access their textbooks wherever they go.

 I liked that they provided information on tech and online safety. It put me at ease with trusting kids with social media. I’m glad to know that despite the percentage being low,  kids are becoming more aware of online dangers and are more concerned about what they put on the web. As a teacher it gives me an incentive to promote tech use inside and outside of the classroom. I found this to be an interesting read and am looking forward to their future surveys.