Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reply to "I'm a fan of forums"

Although the idea of a forum in classroom is very interesting, I am not sure that it can always work in a classroom environment. It was mentioned in Mark Miller's blog that a long-term project can be introduced to the students, bringing them to communicate to each other and get help from each other. Even though this is a very interesting idea that could bring a lot to the class over time, I am not sure that the students will actually participate actively to the project. It seems that students often participate only if they get points for participating or if there is a penalty for not participating. A good example of this is the blog, forum and wiki sites done in this class. I would be interested to see what percentage of the class would actually participate in a forum if it was for personal interest only.
However, forums can become a great tool for the students if we, as teachers, manage to communicate the value of such a tool and help them become responsible for their own learning. I think students don't need us to teach them how to use forums, blogs, and wikis as much as they need us to give them our passion for learning and to help them become responsible for their own progression in school. If we are able to show them the importance and value of learning strategies and technology, it is possible that forums such as the one described by Mark Miller might actually work without the teachers having to penalize students for not participating.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Computer lab classroom management

In my computer applications in ESL teaching,while talking about classroom management in computer lab, Mark Miller, our teacher, mentioned that it is better to help the student develop their sense of responsability rather that simply control and stop them from having access to mature material or simply to programs disturbing them from doing their work. I really found this approach interesting. Most of the time, teachers simply control the students and block access to certain sites on the internet. If this may work for a certain time, students eventually find a way around the blocking programs. Also, we must realise that the teachers won't always be there to watch and control the students.
When we try to responsabilise the students, we invest on a much longer term. Even though it is much difficult to control the students on short term and that it demands more time with the students, we are investing on their future and making them better human beings. We are teaching them the importance of responsability and of self-control. This will be useful in all their life, in their post-secondary studies and will help them with their work ethics.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Software Industry vs. Software Society: Who Wins in 2020? - Comment on an article by Micheal Tiemann

The article Software Industry vs. Software Society: Who Wins in 2020? by Micheal Tiemann brought me to think about innovations in technology in general. It seems that every time a new technology or an innovation in an existing technology appears, companies threatened by this new technology or innovation do all in their power to take control of the technology or try buy the patents of the technology. At this moment, either the new technology totally disappears from the market or is slowly integrated to the company's old technology, in exchange for a good amount of money. Since these companies have power and money, most independent small companies and technology developpers have difficulty staying in the market. We have all heard the rumors about inventions of different automobile engines using other products than gasoline and how the major gasoline companies have bought the patents to destroy them. Whether this is true or not is not really relevant, however, it seems that, as a general case, once big companies take part in a new technology, this technology either disappears, becomes available at a great cost or takes so much time to come out that it loses all its innovative appeal.
There are many reasons for this and Tiemann presents a few in his article. However, we must realize that it becomes necessary to encourage open-source if we want technology to innovate and if we want to encourage smaller companies to survive and continue to compete by creating new technology. It is often through small companies that innovations in technology has been created and this is why we must continue to encourage open-source softwares as a field of research for technology innovation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Comment on Open-sourced softwares

Although I consider open-sourced softwares such as Firefox to be a great and often better alternative to the usual softwares, I think many people are still afraid of them for different reasons. First of all, even though these softwares are becoming more and more popular, they remain unknown to those who are not familiar with technology and computer software and hardware. Also, a lot of people have had bad experiences and bugs because of viruses and Internet. It becomes very difficult for them to trust softwares that can be found directly on Internet and that are given for free. They feel that there may be something bad going on. I think these are some of the reasons which makes it harder for open-sourced softwares to take a bigger part of the market. What is necessary is education and better understanding of what these softwares are and what advantages they bring to the users.

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