December 06, 2005

The potential of the Internet for Nonprofit Organizations

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This is the begninning of a paper I am writing for my Nonprofit class...this is just a draft and it is not even finished, yet I thought the ideas were interesting...

November 28, 2005

Envisioning technology through film

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November 21, 2005

Laptop Experiment

A few years ago, my cousin told me that in her middle school they tried a pilot program where everyone in her grade were given laptops for the schoolyear so they could integrate their learning techniques with the goals of the courses. She told me that this program wasn't very successful, maily because it was disorganized the the teachers had a lack of control over the usage of the laptops.

It is surprising that they would try a pilot program such as this on such a young age group, middleschoolers, as opposed to trying it out with high school seniors or in college classrooms. On the other hand, starting at such a young age may help those children get used to the technological pace of society today. I have not heard of any other programs similar to this since then.

I do not believe that programs like this are very realistic, at least for the next few decades. Although wealthier school systems may be able to supply their students with laptops on lend, the majority of schools are already lacking funds to buy necessities such as books and teachers, let alone laptops. In addition, if laptops are to be used in the classroom, teaching programs and student learning aids on the computer must be very structured in order to keep the student on task. There must be accredited standards that go along with the laptop programs if introduced in a school system.

In the future, when the cost of laptops decrease, these laptop programs may prove efficient. Students may eventually be able to learn at home from their laptops (using chat rooms with fellow students and teacher) to create a more centralized learning environment. Student centered learning would still be possible, yet will take on a different form because students will be interacting more online than in person. What do people think about this...having laptops to aid in the learning process?

Social Networking and Social Groups

Monday evenings at 10pm, my friend Amanda and I go to the gym located in the new apartments so we can work out while watching MTV's Laguna Beach. It is interesting that during this time, about 5 or 6 other girls have the same idea. Although we do not know eachother outside of the gym, we have come to know eachother through our weekly Laguna Beach evenings and have become a social network with the commonality of liking the same TV show.

Social networking is the first step to creating and maintaining social groups. Whether you are at school, at work, at a movie, at a party, or at the gym, you are forming conscience and unconscience social groups. These social groups may be strong or weak; usually school and work groups being stronger than groups formed at the movies, at parties, or at the gym. The more frequently you visit and interact at these places, the stronger social bonds tend to be. Without networks, it would be very hard to have social relationships, or any kind of relationships at all. Imagine going to work everyday, not talking to a single person throughout the day, and going home silently to your house. You would have no network and no social life at work.

November 16, 2005

University Hospitals to go Digital

Currently I work at UH in the Pulmonary Office. I was told the other day from one of my coworkers that UH is in the process of transferring their entire system to computers...this means any new patients will have an "e-file" rather than the traditional manilla folders. Now, my job is to transpose the doctors shorthand to something more formal, so I have no idea how this is going to impact my job.

If technology eliminates the need for pens and pencils completely, many jobs are to be lost. There will be no "middle-man" job, instead information will be directly sent to computers automatically by the source. How do you think this will effect the economy? With an increase in more technical jobs and more education necessary, with the digital divide create yet another, deeper separation within the labor force?

November 14, 2005

Ladder of Degrees of Separation

Myself. 0 degrees of separation.

Micheal Phelps (olympic swimmer, butterfly), attended same high school as I did and used to be my friend, 1 degree of separation.

Tom Selleck (actor), my mom's first cousin. 2 degrees of separation.

Nicole Miller (designer), my sister's roomates cousin. 3 degrees of separation.

It is strange how after the 1st degree of separation there is little to no communication between myself and that particular person. Even though we are all "linked," we really do not know as many people as we think we do. So maybe this world isn't as small after all...

November 09, 2005

Got Tattoo?

Yes, there are obvious networks existing everywhere...business ties, social events, family reunions. But what are some less obvious examples of networks?

Tattoos present an individual with the opportunity to express himself through body art. Similar tattoos can convey similar values and beliefs, forming an underlying network of commonality. My sister Katrin has a total of four tattoos, varying in size and color. On her ankle she has an artistic stick figure about 4 inches high, on her arm she has an aboriginal design depicting a skeleton of a dragonfly in black and red hues, on her other arm she has a matisse painting of the human figure, and finally she has a tribal symbol on her forearm. No, she's not a member of a motorcycle gang, but she believes that her tattoos are beautiful works of art and she is proud of them. Often when we go out together, people will stop and ask her what her various tattoos mean. She is always happy to take her time and explain each one. This is a strange metaphor, but it is almost like when senior citizens stop one another and ask about photos of one anothers grandchildren.

Historically, tattoos have been used both negatively and positively to identify similar groups of people. Cults used tattoos to brand their members and to initiate them into their family. Minority groups were often tattooed to further divide them from the community in which they were immersed and discriminated within. These examples both support the idea that groups, who held the same beliefs whether religious or spiritual, were physically identified with tattoos, creating an isolated network of individuals.

Extending this idea to the animal kingdom and research, animals are often tattooed or "tagged" to create a network in which research can take place. Here, each individual can be linked to another animal and a conceptual map of individual interactions can be observed and recorded.

So what is the point of all this tagging and linking? To observe the patterns of interaction? Maybe. But it is my belief that humans are trying to understand the concepts of tagging and linking to create networks because they are fascinated with the idea of simplifying the world around them. By mapping out seemingly random encounters and decisions, humans believe they can unravel the world down to networks until they understand the very fabric of existence, or something very close.

Already, we have computer chips in pets so we can play lost and found when a pet goes astray. We hear of scientists and researchers presenting the idea of placing small computer chips in newborn babies for identification and tracking purposes in the future. Now I am not sure exactly how the data would be compiled and tracked, yet I have a mental image of a large computer displaying a map with small blinking dots, each representing a human being. People would be standing around this giant screen pointing to certain clusters wondering why and how this or that particular network formed. Since when did technology reduce us from being "numbers" to simply just "dots?" I am very interested in further educating myself concerning networks and how they affect society today and in the future.