It is All About a Neighborhood

Final Blog Post- Rosmari Graham

Title: It is All About a Neighborhood

“Can we get the best of both worlds? Can we have a medium that spreads messages to a large audience, but also allows all the members of that audience to engage with one another like a single community?  The answer seems to be No (Shirky, 2002).  Has this changed since the writings of Shirky in April of 2002?  Is it is now possible to spread messages to larger crowd that allows all of the members of that crowd to engage with one another like a single community.  It is all about creating a sense of neighborhood.  This is not a recent development or a new concept based on advances in technology or social media.  One name really explains it all, Mr. Rogers.  Mr. Rodgers created a neighborhood that inspired generations of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, genders and intellectual capabilities.  Continue reading “It is All About a Neighborhood”

A generation of electronic change

McLuhan is right, we live in a world were technology is quickly evolving. Reading our course material and watching the videos’ we see the advances that are being made during McLuhan’s generation which honestly was not that long ago.  Interesting enough, my first job was as a collator in a print shop that still used type setting.  McLuhan believed that the ability to mass produce text was one of the early advances of technology.  It started the movement of information exchange that would permeate the culture of society.  I remember 40 years ago being fascinated by the type setting and the amount of time it would take to produce a four page bulletin.  Each letter set up separately into a word.  Thousands of words.  Then a manual machine that the print maker would crank and it would spit out one side of the page in what was then a mass production.  Then the type setting would be changed and the paper reinserted to print on the other side.  It was truly an art form.

The television came on to the American scene in 1947 and half of all U.S. homes had televisions by 1955. (https://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/History%20of%20Television%20page.htm).  This electronic invention further increased the boom of electric technology and paved the way for mass media information exchange.  McLuhan references John F. Kennedy as the first television president as he was the first president to effectively use television as a medium to carry his message directly to the American people.   This forever changed the face of political messaging and how we would think about elections in the future.

McLuhan predicted the use of an electronic data system, or computer technology way before it was on the minds of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. His early writings and streams of consciousness include language related to this.  We tend to think of the computer as a very new invention but actually, the history of the computer, or rather the foundation for its development, goes back through to 1801.  The following is a link to a brief timeline:  http://www.livescience.com/20718-computer-history.html.  The medium is the message is quite true when we look at all of these advances in technology.  I also agree that with each advance comes some form of effect on our self-image or identification and influences popular culture.  Some of this is positive and some is negative.

What will the future look like? Will our future generations know how to write in cursive?  Will there be books and will they know the feeling of turning a page?  Will we have a daily newspaper?  Will the Publishers Clearing House still exist?  Technology has brought many positive things to our world.  From the days where I worked in a print shop that type set to now as I type this blog post, mechanisms to exchange information just in my lifetime have exploded.  Telephone party lines to the cell phone, passing notes at lunch to blog posts and Facebook, typewriters to personal computers, board games and playing cards to animated video gaming.  Imagine if McLuhn could sit with Norman Mailer today.  What do you think that conversation would look and sound like?  I am thinking it would sound something like this, “I told you so.”  They would probably have new topics to debate such as ensuring that we preserve the past as we move to the future.

Did you know that I am able to get hearing aids that have Bluetooth capability? Monday my ears will not only be able to hear you, they will be able to call you on the phone and potentially send you an email.  Hopefully, you will not hear the music in my head, but if you do, feel free to sing along.

Perhaps in the future my car will talk back to me and also sing along and the sound of my voice describing a scene I want to paint will actually paint a picture on a canvas in my art studio at home.  I hope it understands the color pains gray.

 

SE in a World of Lacking Knowledge

The definition of self-efficacy according to Bandura, simply put, is the belief a person has in their ability to execute behaviors that are necessary to produce certain performance attainments. As I was reading the class information and trying to link it to a current situation or world circumstance, poverty and lack of educational motivation popped into my head.  The material was difficult for me to read.  I am ashamed to admit that fact.  It took me much more time to research the words that I was unfamiliar with only to say to myself after looking them up, “well why didn’t you just say that.”  I am familiar with the concept of self-efficacy.  It is about believing in oneself.  As I read, researched words I was not familiar with, and struggled to find a purpose for the words, I thought to myself of the life of someone living in poverty and their struggle to achieve educationally.

There were many times reading the information that I thought about dropping the course, self-doubting my abilities to complete a master’s degree at this age. I considered the fact that those of you, many of whom are much younger than I, did not seem to struggle with the content.  I contemplated that many of you most likely felt at home using twitter, blogging, creating webpages, etc.  As I struggled, I remembered the children I worked with at my previous place of employment, all of whom were living in poverty and three quarters were struggling in school.  My mind then moved to their parents, who were the children before them.  Generations of families all just trying to stay alive in a concrete jungle of a city and not caring about their “agentic” reality.

Self-efficacy is not necessarily just about an internal control mechanism. A person’s environment, culture, genetics, and experiences all play a role in the successful ability to self-motivate.  Going back to my friends in poverty, let us consider this scenario.  Jake is 15.  He is failing school.  He spends more time in out of school suspension than he does sitting in a classroom.  He is one of six children and lives in a blighted neighborhood that has the second highest crime rate in the City of Erie.  His father is a drug dealer.  Neither his mother nor father graduated from high school.  His older brother is in prison for selling drugs.  His family is well known by the school system and often times he hears references such as “oh you are part of the Smith family.”  Jakes family pressures him to become a part of the family business.  He does not feel that he is smart enough in school.  He does not feel he will succeed.  He eventually quits school and enters the family business.  At 17 he joins his older brother in jail.

Jake felt as if he had a lower level of intelligence than his peers and everyone in his environment actually supported this. Jake actually when tested in prison as part of the educational programming ended up testing as gifted.  If we can learn how to harness the power of teaching self-efficacy, perhaps Jake’s story could be re-written.

Jake’s story reminded me a bit of Josh and his video. I think it would be more interesting to tape the life of real people in their natural environments, not all aspects of it, to see if there is a way we could identify ways to help people like Jake.  I am not sure either situation is something I feel we should be doing.  I am not a fan of reality television.  I actually do not have a television at all.  The best part of Josh’s story, was the beginning and the end to me.  He contributed initially to great advances in technology in the beginning of his careers and in the end, ended up giving back to the people of a nation where he escaped.  I did throughout the movie feel that Josh could have benefited from some therapy and that his life, like Jake, contained some prescriptions from his early experiences, which of course fits in with the social cognitive theories.

Those of you reading this, I do have a challenge for you. These technology lessons will increase my self-efficacy.  I think for those of you who are already familiar with the technologies we are using and discussion should perhaps experience the technology of my generation.  Take a little walk back in time to my first college experience.  I challenge to type a three-page paper on an electric typewriter without a correction tape.  While you do this, I will learn your twitter, blogging and any other form of social media and communication that has occurred since this typing.   Best to all and of course, Peace in your world!