Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The national organization that I am a member of – National Association of School Psychologists, or NASP, has an article called “Tech Corner.” It is written by a past president of the organization, Bill Pfohl, NCSP, who is probably an outstanding school psychologist. However, he is less well equipped to be a technical journalist. Here is his June 2009 article. I will be going through some of his older articles as I go through the backlog of information I have sitting in my office as I prepare for next year.
Are We Too Connected?
As the school year closes, it has caused me to look back on
technology over the year. What I am most struck by is a philosophical
query. Are we becoming too connected? This year
saw headlines of viruses “that will shut down the Internet on
April 1” (Conficker). Young teens were criminally charged for
“sexting” by sending nude self-photos to others on cell phones.
A teen female recently committed suicide after her boyfriend
re-sent her nude pictures to others on his cell phone. A recent
survey on teen Internet use of Facebook yielded that teens reveal
a great deal of risky personal behavior about themselves:
41% on substance abuse, 24% on sex, and 14% on violence.
Well, I was going to cite the study but I just learned that there are a list of banned search terms here at work, including “Facebook” and “sex.” Awesome. The proxy service that I use is also blocked here, by blocking all https traffic. W00t.
Ninety percent of teens have access to the Internet either at
home or school. Cyberbullying is near epidemic as it can replace
hallway confrontations. Facebook wants to sell information
about its members. Members’ protests stopped them.
Colleges and employers are now checking Facebook pages for
clues about admissions/employability. It is amazing what is
found there on Facebook.
Yeah. Amazing. Also, totally cool. And the future of the internet.
Some people are so hooked to their e-mails that a delayed
response brings a tirade (I saw that somewhere) from the
sender that makes me wonder if we are too connected. Our
new President has been a “crackberry addict” (those using
Blackberry devices) for most of his professional life. He protested
loudly when the Secret Service tried to silence him due
to national security. In numerous settings, I have observed
two or more devices sitting in front of an individual, while
they write and wait for the next e-mail, even on airplanes.
New data suggests multitasking is not all it is said to be, as
all tasks get done “less well.” The average person takes up to
20 minutes to refocus after answering an e-mail.
Interesting data. Based on what information?
Apparently this is a “fact.” I found a little information regarding it here. The article itself is:
Rubenstein, J. S., Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E. (2001) Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27 (4). Retreived June 16, 2009, from http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/xhp274763.pdf
Okay, I get that. But still. That’s what we do now.
Students and clients now Google their professor/therapist
before registering for class or seeing them. Is this a balanced
or fair evaluation of a professor/therapist?
No. But that’s the point. We all have opinions based on what we know of anybody or anything. You get personal recommendations, you get advice, assistance, etc. Information that is collected is based on opinions of others. It’s what we do.
Will this new information potentially damage or negatively influence
No more so than any other opinion which “potentially damages or negatively influences their decision.”
Are university training programs supposed
to monitor graduate students’ Facebook or other social networking
pages to see if they are “professional” or represent
the program/university appropriately?
What are the limits?
Do you stop students from talking? I mean, is this even a serious question? The internet is no different from real life. The only change could be anonymity. However, Facebook is not burdened by this limitation.
Do I really need to know how drunk they were at the end
of the semester?
No. If that bothers you, de-friend them. Why are you your student’s friends on Facebook anyway? That seems like a limitation in your choice of friending.
And finally, I have observed—in the men’s
restroom—cell phone use as we do what is supposed to be
private. Females too? I hear: yes.
Okay, I agree with you there. That just needs to stop.
Are you a “tweeter”—using Twitter to keep everyone up
on your every move? Do you follow your favorite celebrity?
Ashton Kucher is the most followed. Do you really care?
Sometimes (I’m not as good as I should be with it… mainly because, like Facebook, it’s blocked everywhere I go.) Kind of. My tech celebrity. And do a degree, yes. But of course, this is not something I obsess about. Or write articles about for newspapers.
As I write this, Time magazine is conducting their annual
Internet survey on who is the most influential person in the
world. Ever hear of “moot” aka Christopher Poole of 4chan
.org? He had over 16 million votes, far outdistancing anyone
else. He is a 21-year-old blogger college student. I had not.
Me either. But, I know what 4chan is and it represents the ability of people to speak out en masse and anonymously against horrible atrocities, such as the Church of Scientology.
A parent recently told me of a cell phone bill for her 14-yearold
son for the month: $560—all texting his friends and girlfriend.
(Now on the unlimited plan.)
Two problems here. Lack of communication to the child (you know that texting costs 20 cents a pop, right? And lack of utilizing the unlimited plan. I’ll let ride the question about the necessity of a cell phone at 14.
He was upset that the parents wanted him to work it off or help pay it.
Yup. The parents didn’t put him on the unlimited plan or have a conversation about it ahead of time.
I see students in college bring laptops to class, not for notes, but to
check Facebook pages or respond to e-mail.
Multi-tasking. Get used to it.
Texting is totally out of control on a college campus. Twitter or texting is used
for cheating too: helping others with exam or quiz questions!
When will the first GRE or LSAT scandal happen?
After they stop letting you take electronic devices into the room. I’m pretty sure that’s a rule. I had to leave my cell phone in the car. And this was about 10 years ago when it was just a phone.
Why, yes, that is correct. Here is the information about what you cannot take into a testing center:
Personal items other than identification documents are not allowed in the testing room. This includes cell phones, PDAs, BlackBerry® devices and any other electronic or photographic devices. You will not have access to your personal items during the test or during breaks. Before the test, you will receive instructions from test center staff regarding where you must deposit personal items. You will be required to follow the procedures set by the test center for storage of your cell phone or any electronic or photographic device you bring to the test center. If you take personal items into the test room, they will be collected by the test center staff. Personal items such as hats, scarves, jackets and outerwear that are taken into the test room are subject to inspection by the test center staff before being admitted to the test room. Failure to comply may result in dismissal from the test and/or cancellation of scores. If you fail to follow the directions of the test center staff, you will not be permitted to take the test. Any violation of this procedure during the test or breaks may result in cancellation of your scores, dismissal from the test center staff or banning from future testing. Test centers and ETS assume no responsibility for personal items or devices that you choose to bring into the test center.
Parents now text their child to come to dinner. I was
“called” to dinner.
It’s a method of communication. I call my children to dinner. It’s hard. They say they can’t hear me. I get a ton of “WHAT?” back in response. If I could text them, I might.
Two 9-year-old friends were texting in
the back seat of the same car … to each other.
I can’t defend that. Although it is quieter than a whisper.
While I have embraced technology readily, I have to ask are the “people to
people” aspects of socialization becoming out of date? Is life
now going to be virtual? I am seeing on my college campus a
push for online courses. I have heard the pros—many—but
the cons also strike me. If I were sitting next to a person at
Starbucks using the free WiFi, would I even know they are in
my class and discussing the topic in real time with me online
and we have much in common? I doubt it.
While I understand the need for “people to people” communication, there are two different places for it to happen. One is online. Another is in person. What’s the difference between knowing people online versus in person? For the most part, there is no physical contact – maybe a handshake – so that’s not it. The method of communication changes from verbal to written but not always – you could watch a Youtube video. So what if you didn’t know that the person sitting next to you was taking the same course as you were?
Also, the wifi at Starbucks is not free. You can get limited access, blah blah blah.
I have little control over these issues but do think, as many
psychologists do, that we are definitely in a new age, similar
to the Industrial Revolution. Do we recognize it? I hear
about how social networking does keep people together and
informed easier and more in real time. Certainly this has advantages.
It is the overwhelming reliance on technology without
the personal face-to-face interaction that strikes me as
the difference in our newfound connectedness. Oh, yes, I do
video Skype with my new granddaughter every Sunday. Overall
my conclusion is we are too connected by technology. I
prefer face-to-face interaction.
Fine. But understand that it is a preference. Your granddaughter – there’s a place where physical contact could be important. Depending on how new, I’m sure it would be nice to hold her or feed her or otherwise interact. But for the most part, we can communicate just fine over text and/or video.
Are all CDs the Same?
My wife bought me a new technology piece that converts LP
(yes, vinyl long play albums) and my audiocassette collections
to CD. (LPs are making a comeback.) The question came
up whether a music CD is the same as a data CD. The new
machine wanted a special music CD to copy to. After some
Internet research, I found that it really does not matter! A few
stand-alone machines may require the specially formatted
CD disks. However, all regular computer CD players (read/
write units) can use any data CD without loss of fidelity. So
you are paying extra for the music CD label but are not gaining
higher audio quality.
I have been consistent in my reluctance to recommend Windows
Vista in this column, as have many in magazines and
tech articles. Vista is frequently referred to as the new Windows
ME—another Microsoft snafu! Vista was bloated, not
compatible with other devices, and took a great deal of memory
to run it—if it ran at all. Microsoft said that it sold over
180 million copies and that 90% were satisfied with the Vista
product. I do wonder about the “spin” to this data. By the end
of this year, Microsoft will release its new operating system,
called Windows 7. The initial reviews are highly positive. It
has the feel and ease of use of Windows XP but can use the
new high powered 64 bit CPUs and new multicore processors.
If you are daring and knowledgeable, you can download
a Beta copy to review for Microsoft. It should be available by
December holidays. If you are thinking about a new computer,
it may be worth the wait.
1) Alright, he’s right about Vista. 2) Any numbers are spun by anybody. On Windows Weekly (a podcast on the TWiT network that I love dearly), Paul Thurrott reviewed the numbers of PCs sold. Basically, you’ve had to purchase Vista if you’ve purchased a PC for the past year or so, since XP has not been offered recently. Just by the virtue of the number of computers sold, that many copies of Vista were sold. 3) Vista has a 64 bit capability as well. 4) This is just a style thing, but “… you can download a Beta copy to review for Microsoft. It should be available by December holidays” just doesn’t work. The beta (no capital b in beta) is available now. The final version will be available by December holidays.
Devices, and Travel
A new directive by the Department of Homeland Security
allows them to confiscate your computer or any other electronic
device without giving a reason at any airport boarding
area or border crossing. There is no obligation to ever give
it back. They can look at the hard drive, transfer all files to
the government’s computers for scanning, or look at stored
e-mails and messages. This is seen by many to be a civil liberty
issue, but the government sees it as a security measure
to prevent terrorism. So iPods, flash drives, cell phones, beepers,
or video or audio tapes can be confiscated at the whim
of the agent. Federal courts have upheld these new directives.
This is another issue to worry about as we travel within and
outside the USA.
This is all the space he gives to this subject? He spends the whole first half of the article talking about the lack of face-to-face and then he drops this in here? Really? This is huge. It’s also ancient news.
Have a great summer! ■
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
<a href="http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.6c9a8a9ebc6ae07eee28aca9501010a0/?vgnextoid=263a584a61c91210VgnVCM1000005e00100aRCRD">Here</a> it reads that 49 states signed on. Guess which state didn't.
Again, W. T. F.
Keith Olbermann has been working on his WTF segment on Countdown (it left a few days ago after the recent abortion doctor murder) so I thought I would give it a quick shot.
I just got a notification in my Google Reader that South Carolina will informally participate with a multi-state coalition to develop national norms for English and Math standards. Sounds awesome - we, as a nation, are having difficulty keeping up with other countries in their education, so let's have national norms.
Governor Sanford is one of 4 governors who refused to co-sign the application with the State Superintendent of Schools, Jim Rex.
In fairness, Governor Sanford is a Republican, Governor Rex is a Democrat; however, this can't be the only state that has this mix and I'm sure that there are more than 4 states where a similar disparity exists.
Governor Sanford, South Carolina is one of the lowest performing states in the nation, depending on the information you solicit. Nearly half of our high school students will drop out rather than receive a high school diploma. Let me understand - you don't believe that we need to make any changes around here?
If I were you, I would be grasping at anything that would help us make our schools better. It is clear, sir, (see how I did that? Just like Keith!) that you are grandstanding for a shot at the White House. You are interfering with children and their learning. This is the wrong place to take a stand, Governor Sanford.
I'll be glad to be rid of you from the state level once you fail out at the national level.
W. T. F.