Friday, January 20, 2012

Will Richardson's "Navigating Social Networks as Learning Tools" Reflection

Richardson's excerpt begins with the story of a young boy who posted a video of himself trying to start a fire with a bow drill. The boy makes a point to ask his viewers to please comment on the video with hints that will help him successfully start a fire. Robertson uses this video to explain to the readers how we now live not only in a read-only world, but in a read and write world. By putting the video out for viewers to respond, he is seeking help from people outside of his physical realm.

Most young people today are active on the internet through Facebook, Twitter, and online blogs. They are continuously editing and adding to their profiles or entries and enabling others to reflect on their on what they are putting out there. Some of these users are displaying their work, like poems, recorded songs, or artwork. Users can enable their viewers to respond to their work, pictures, or posts. But I'm sure most users are posting lightheartedly as a means of communication, like a public text message or email. The Internet's main use by young people is to interact with each other or for entertainment.

Like online profiles, newspapers are now publishing online to encourage readers to not just read, but also to write. Richardson says we should "make technology a part of daily practice"(298) by becoming familiar with the digital world and move away from our "old habits". I agree with Richardson that we should embrace the new technology that is available to us, but remodeling our norms is drastic and in some cases unnecessary.

Richardson makes a point to say that teachers who aren't as experienced with technology should continue to be learners and stay up to date with the online world. I agree that teachers should try and look for useful tools to pull students in, but there is so much available on the internet that the task is not only to find something, but to find something useful.

I agree with Richardson with some points he makes, but I don't always think he's being realistic. Many young Internet browsers are looking for quick answers through Google or Wikipedia. I doubt there are many users who have the drive to teach themselves a new topic from the Internet, or to recognize what is a valid source. As for teachers moving and learning from technology, I try to incorporate a video along with my classes to mix up the delivery of the information, whether it be from YouTube, the Khan Academy or TeacherTube. This incorporation is supplement to their own exploration of the new material.

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