RSS

FInal

This semester has really helped me greatly as a writer. At first, I thought it wasn’t helping me much, but I have done much better this semester than I did in my previous writing classes from high school and from ENGL 1010. After doing the 2500-3000 word essay, I realized that I am a lot more focused on writing than I used to be. In the past, it was easy for me to drift away and do any thing I could possibly think of doing besides writing my papers. Also, after writing the 2500-3000 word essay, I came to realize what I was capable of doing. I never thought that I would successfully be able to write an 8 page paper. I used to struggle with trying to get 4 pages for a paper. Another reason why I know I’ve done much better this semester is because of the feedback I was given. The feedback helped me focus on the parts of my paper that needed improvement and thus helping me focus on those areas as I write my other papers.

Before this semester, I was rather adequate at my persuasive writing. I know that I’ve improved a lot this semester, since I have more confidence in writing persuasive papers now. This semester I noticded that I tend to use the passive voice many times in all of my writing. It is as if it comes second nature to me, since I can be a very passive person at times. After a couple of papers this semester, I caught on to the fact that I can now pick up on the times when I use the passive voice when I proofread my papers. It took a while for it to sink in though, since on almost all of my feedback, I was charged with using the passive voice. Also, in my previous writing classes, I always had trouble connecting all of the ideas on my paper together. By focusing on the feedback given from my midterm, I’ve grown in this aspect of my writing. When I allowed other people to proofread my papers, they said that everything flowed together to them. Hopefully so. I would like to say that the structure of my writing has improved also. The ideas that I include in my papers are more organized now than they used to be. One last thing that I know I’ve improved in doing is analyzing articles and forming my own point of view. Previously, I would read articles and have no idea what my position on the argument would be.

This semester, I know I’ve accomplished a lot, but of course there are still areas that can recieve a little more improvement. I know that I can really focus on providing an exceptional amount of evidence for the claims I make. The more evidence for my arguments the better. I don’t usually have a hard time looking at arguments from the opposing point of view, but I sometimes forget to consider counter arguments in my papers. I could also improve on my singletasking. After reading Widrich’s article, I tried to use his strategies. A couple of times I have been successful, but I want to be able to apply his strategies every time I write, or do any work. I want to stay focused on my assignments and I know if I start now, it will be much easier for me once I start working a job in my career field.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Origins of Life… Who Knows?

Evolution, creationism, and intelligent design. What are they, and how exactly are they different from each other? Evolution is the belief that all living things come from one common ancestor and that all populations change through time. Evolutionists believe that the earth has evolved over billions of years, and that basically the process of evolution is the means for all the diversity of life that we see. Creationism, on the other hand, is viewing the development of earth and its inhabitants from a literal interpretation of the Genesis account in the Bible. It is the belief that everything we see was created within six, twenty-four hour days. There is no room for evolution in this belief and it is prominently motivated by religious beliefs. Intelligent design can fall on both sides of the spectrum. It is basically the belief that a higher being is the start of all creation. Some people that believe in intelligent design can believe in evolution by believing that a higher being created the beginning of life and set the wheels in motion for evolution to occur. A person doesn’t have to be a Christian or even spiritual to believe in intelligent design. Creationism can fall into the category of intelligent design since Creationists believe in a higher being creating everything. With these different belief systems, how should schools decide how to teach life’s beginning and its continual process? Considering the varying lawsuits and successful outcomes of scientific innovation from each individual’s different belief, anything mentioning how life originated should not be discussed in the school systems.

There are a couple of differing opinions of how the origins of life should be taught in America. Three opinions are by Bill Nye, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and Ken Ham. Bill Nye believes that “teaching creationism in science class as an alternative to evolution is inappropriate.” In his interview with The Huffington Post, Nye proposes that “Creationism provides no insight into nature whatsoever.” He says that creation scientists “cannot predict anything, and cannot provide satisfactory answers about the past.” The NSTA, which also believes that evolution should be taught in schools, states that policy makers “should not mandate the teachings of “creation science” or related concepts, such as “intelligent design,” “abrupt appearance,” and “arguments against evolution.” Similar to Bill Nye’s opinion, in the NSTA position statement it says that the beliefs mentioned “cannot be tested, modified, or rejected by scientific means and thus cannot be a part of the processes of science.” According to the NSTA, the claims by ones that believe in a higher being “have been evaluated and discredited based on scientific evidence” and that “creation science and other claims do not lead to new discoveries of scientific knowledge.” Concluding their position statement, the NSTA says that policies requiring teachers to provide a disclaimer after teaching evolution may result in “de-emphasis or omission of evolution” and that the public will “only be further confused about the nature of scientific theories. Furthermore, if students learn less about evolution, science literacy itself will suffer,” since evolution is a unifying concept for the natural world.

Opposing the view of Bill Nye and the NSTA is creationist Ken Ham. In chapter 3 of his book The New Answers Book 3, Ken Ham reveals his belief that creation doesn’t have to be mandated in schools because he thinks that it will “likely be taught poorly (and possibly mockingly)” by teachers that don’t believe the Bible’s account, but he also believes that “whenever permissible, evolutionary ideas should be taught—but warts and all. There are many inconsistencies within the evolutionary framework and many disagreements about how to interpret the evidence. When appropriate, point out that many scientists, both creationists and evolutionists, do not believe that Darwinian evolution is adequate for explaining the existence of life on earth.”

After considering the three differing opinions, the decision of how the origin of life should be taught in schools can still be perplexing. With Bill Nye and the NSTA virtually on the same page in their opinions, the two battling opinions are whether evolution should be taught as a “well-established” truth, or if it should be taught “warts and all.” Understanding both positions, Bill Nye and the NSTA’s declaration that creationism has no viable explanations and cannot be tested is erroneous. Though, scientifically, creationist cannot prove God’s hand in creating everything that we can see, they can provide viable evidence for a young earth that would debunk the evolution belief of the earth being around 3.45 billion years old. Some evidence in favor of a young earth, for example, are examinations of the soil layers, the unreliability of radiometric dating and other dating methods, and the fossil evidence pointing toward a global flood. Knowing that creationism can, in fact, have viable explanations and tests for a young earth leaves Ken Ham’s opinion more suitable. Though his opinion makes more sense, it can’t be mandated in all schools, and teaching flaws along with evolution can start more controversy than is already evident. The best possible way to accompany each opinion would be to agree that the study of origins should be left to individual study instead of it being mandated in the school systems. Since students aren’t really taught in depth the means by which evolutionist get their conclusions in schools, they shouldn’t be taught it at all. A student, for example, will be able to understand gene mutations, atom formation, natural selection, and many other science related topics without trying to figure out how it came into existence.

Because of the different opinions regarding the matter, there have also been numerous lawsuits between creationists and evolutionary ideas. One, for example, is a lawsuit filed against Kansas to block new science standards. According to an article written by John Hanna titled “Anti-evolution group sues to block Kansas science standards,” the group Citizens for Objective Public Learning sued Kansas because they believe the new science standard promotes atheism and is in direct conflict with religious freedom expressed in the First Amendment. With the new standard, students will be taught evolution and climate change all throughout grade school, and evolution would be taught as being “well-established.” Citizens for Objective Public Education, along with some other Christian parents and two taxpayers from the Kansas City-area community of Lake Quivira filed the lawsuit believing that the new standard should not be passed, and that if the standard is inevitable, anything taught regarding the origins of life should be left until high school where thought out information can be implemented. Overall, it is believed by Joseph Rosenau, who is the programs and policy director for the Oakland, Calif. – based National Center for Science Education, that the lawsuit is “silly,” and that “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.” According to Steven Case, who is director of the University of Kansas’ science education center, “previous court rulings suggest that the new lawsuit won’t hold up.”

It is quite obvious that creationists are in the minority when it comes to how evolution should be taught in schools. Lawsuits such as this one against Kansas are most likely lost. With curriculum requiring knowledge for evolutionist thinking, standards being passed by Kansas have to take place. John Calvert, who is one of the taxpayers joined with Citizens for Objective Public Learning believes that “the state’s job is simply to say to students, how life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it.” Though he has not been getting much attention from the legal community, his stance is most logical. Neither creation scientists nor evolution scientists can adequately explain the origins of the earth without some sense of faith, since things always have to have a beginning and nothing “abruptly appears.” The very first organism that started all of life had to “abruptly come,” or had to have been in existence for all of eternity. If teaching evolution or anything regarding the origin of life was not mandated at all, a more in depth focus on science topics and/or theories that students can observe or that have been observed can be applied in the classrooms.

A lot of times, in an attempt to make a way for creation and evolution to come to a common ground in learning environments, creationists try to claim that evolution is “just a theory.” In the article “Let’s Stick to Facts on Evolutionary Theory” by Carl Safina there is a recap of Nicholas Wade’s response to U.S Senator Mark Rubio’s answer regarding the age of the earth. Mark Rubio said “Whether the earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.” In response to Rubio’s statement, Wade says that scientists should just admit to evolution being a “theory.” Wade’s remedy for the situation is for scientists to acknowledge that evolution is a theory to satisfy the creationists, and that creationists should not object to evolution being taught as a theory, as it is. After recapping Wade’s thoughts, Carl Safina addresses the misconception of what “theory” means in the science world. According to Safina, most people think that a theory is an untested hunch, but in science a theory is a hypothesis that is tested and confirmed repeatedly, and all of the confirmations create a body of knowledge useful for predicting events. Safina then compares the theory of evolution to music theory. He notes that if a child were to sit at a piano for the first time and played some of the keys together, he/she would notice that some keys harmonize and some are dissonant. Eventually, the child would be able to know how keys sound before he/she plays them. “This predictive sense of theory is the same way scientists use the word,” says Safina. Overall, Safina believes that evolution is just as scientifically proven as any other theory and that there is nothing to “concede.”

Many creationists use “theory” in the wrong context when applying it to the theory of evolution. They don’t understand that when they say that “evolution is just a theory,” they are really saying that it is explained adequately through the evidence we have acquired. Instead of saying that evolution is “just a theory,” creationists should say that it is only a hypothesis, since in essence that is what they really believe. There are two problems according to Answers in Genesis that are erroneous in calling evolution a theory. One is that evolutionists, of course, cannot directly observe the past and how it started, and the other is that the tests performed to become evidence for evolution can have alternate explanations that are valid. But either way, calling the theory of evolution “just a theory” is definitely not going to create a common ground for believers in evolution and creationists. A better way to create a common ground would be to elevate creationism to being a justifiable scientific theory. Creationists can use the same evidence that evolutionists use, without creating a contradiction to the Biblical account of creation. Since creationists have to effectively explain events like the global flood and how man’s fall has affected the world that we live in, they do have to go a step further though. The interpretation of the Bible by Creationists does not contradict the evidence that has been found today. Though creation can be considered a theory using the same standards as evolution, it is more than likely not going to be taught as one in schools, and it shouldn’t. So the best conclusion would be to not teach evolution at all.

If evolution wasn’t taught at all in schools, would it change the ever advancing knowledge in the science realm? The successful outcomes of creation scientists and evolution scientists attest to the fact that it shouldn’t matter whether evolution is taught or not. A lot of times, creationists are considered to be gravely misinformed because they don’t believe in evolution, since evolution is a unifying theme within different sciences. That’s not the case though. There are plenty of creation scientists that have made successful predictions regarding the age of the earth and that have made inventions that benefit us greatly today. An article on Answersingenesis.org gives a few predictions that were confirmed and pointed toward a young earth as the Bible does. One prediction that was mentioned in the article was a model that Horace Lamb made over 100 years ago regarding the earth, large moons, and other planets’ magnetic field slowly decaying. Physicist D. Russell Humphreys’ created a theory based off of this model in 1984 that would explain the strength of the magnetic fields. After testing, based on the current rate of decay, if the universe was only 20,000 years old, life would not have been able to sustain because of how strong the magnetic field would have been. According to the article, Lamb and Humphreys’ theories “can be used to determine how much the magnetic field of an astronomical object should decay after 6,000 years at the present decay rate.” Humphreys’ theory successfully measured the magnetic fields of 1984 and anticipated the measurements of Uranus’s (1986) and Neptune’s (1990) magnetic field correctly. In another article on Answersingenesis.org titled “Super-Scientist Slams Society’s Spiritual Sickness!” Dr. Raymond V. Damadian is acknowledged for the invention of the MRI. It’s hard for anyone to think that people like Dr. Damadian, physicist Humphrey and Lamb are misinformed in the scientific field for not believing in evolution. These men are obviously well trained and are able to be successful all while believing in a young earth. These are just two of the many instances of successful creation science works. Other famous scientists that don’t believe in evolution are Sir Isaac Newton with his vast amount of knowledge, John Mann who developed a biological solution for cactus that was spreading uncontrollably, and Louis Pasteur who discovered the small living organisms that make milk sour. These men also contradict the NSTA’s position that creationists “do not lead to new discoveries and scientific knowledge.”

As most know, there are also many successful evolution scientists. One for example is chemist Otto Hahn, who discovered nuclear fission. Hahn discovered Meothorium, and the mother substance of radium, ionium, which we can now use for radiation treatment. He also worked on chemical warfare for WWI and after the war he focused on radioactive elements in chemistry. The discoveries made by Hahn and Lise Meitner, can be acknowledged for how atomic bombs were able to be made and used. Along with Hahn, another famous evolutionist is Jacques Monod, who was “a French biologist who contributed greatly to the understanding of the Lac operon as a regulator of gene transcription in cells, suggested the existence of mRNA molecules in the process of protein synthesis, and further contributed to the field of enzymology.”

When thought out, one can realize that the knowledge that creationists acquire is just as vast as the knowledge acquired by evolutionists. They are both obviously able to successfully make predictions and inventions. The lawsuits that have taken place are revealed to be ineffective and irrelevant and so have the teachings on figuring out how everything started. Since the teaching of evolution holds so much controversy and is not the only valid explanation for the origins of life, the school system should not hold evolution higher than others explanations and place it as a requirement for individuals to believe and test on in the school system. Whether someone believes in evolution or creation has no effect on how successful they are scientifically.

Works Cited

Hanna, John. “Anti-evolution Group Sues to Block Kansas Science Standards.” CJOnline.com. The Topeka Capital-Journal, 26 Sept. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

Safina, Carl. “Let’s Stick to Facts on Evolutionary Theory.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 03 Dec. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.

Successful Predictions by Creation Scientists.” Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Damadian, Raymond. “Super-Scientist Slams Society’s Spiritual Sickness!” – Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, 01 June 1994. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.

Stenovec, Timothy. “Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ Talks Creationism Critique, Religion, Education (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

Ham, Ken, and Roger Patterson. “The New Answers Book 3.” Should Christians Be Pushing to Have Creation Taught in Government Schools? Answersingenesis.org, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

“NSTA Position Statement.” National Science Teachers Association. NSTA.org, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

Pettinger, Tejvan R. “Otto Hahn.” Biography. Biography Online, n.d. Web. 24 April 2014.

“Famous Creation Scientists.” – Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, 01 Oct. 1982. Web. 24 April 2014.

Lamont, Ann. “Great Creation Scientists: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895).” Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, 01 Dec. 1991. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.

“The 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time.” Brainz. Brainz.org, n.d. Web. 04 May 2014.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Origins of Life

There has been much debate over the years as to how and when life began. The two battling ideas of how life began are evolution and creationism. Though both can have some compelling evidence, deciding whether evolution, creationism, or both should be taught in schools is perplexing. A recent debate with Bill Nye and Ken Ham with the topic “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” expounds on reasons each side gives as to whether creationist explanations are able to withstand scientific ideas. Around the world today in most classrooms, evolution is the only teaching that is considered valid. Without any other lessons on how evolution could be wrong, academic suppression for those who believe in a creator is brought up. The opposite effective also avails in times when schools are not allowed to teach anything non-biblical regarding the origins of life as Tennessee did in 1925. It seems as if the choice between whether creationism or evolution should be taught in school is always going to be debated. With that being said, should schools accommodate for creationist evidence in the teachings of biology when discussing how life began?

If all of someone’s life he/she was taught one thing, and within just a day, everything he/she was taught was refuted by a completely different idea, what should he/she do? Regarding creationism and evolution, one is taught one or the other when growing up. Whichever one is believed, the thought of having a counter argument available can leave one wondering what the truth is. To get answers, it is important for both arguments to be portrayed equally.

Whether the schools can come to a common ground on teaching evolution and creationism is a blur. With close minded thinking, it is difficult to have a fair ground. Bill Nye, for example, believes that “Teaching creationism in science class as an alternative to evolution is inappropriate.” In his interview with The Huffington Post, Nye proposes that “Creationism provides no insight into nature whatsoever.” Creationist Ken Ham takes a different approach when discussing how creation can be taught in schools. In chapter 3 of his book The New Answers Book 3, Ken Ham reveals his belief that creation doesn’t have to be mandated in schools because he thinks that it will “likely be taught poorly (and possibly mockingly)” by teachers that don’t believe the Bible’s account, but he also believes that “whenever permissible, evolutionary ideas should be taught—but warts and all. There are many inconsistencies within the evolutionary framework and many disagreements about how to interpret the evidence. When appropriate, point out that many scientists, both creationists and evolutionists, do not believe that Darwinian evolution is adequate for explaining the existence of life on earth.” The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) disagrees with Ken Ham though. In their position statement, the NSTA believes that “the public will only be further confused about the nature of scientific theories” if teachings against evolution are brought into the classroom.

In my stance, I agree with Ken Ham. Creationism shouldn’t be taught in schools, but at least any explanations against evolution can be taught. Students can be more confused about the nature of science if evolution is the only thing taught in schools, because there are still valid explanations regarding creationism. There are things that are unexplained within both positions on the origins of life because of humans’ lack of knowledge, so teaching alternative explanations and evidence against evolution that can be considered valid wouldn’t cause any harm. Knowing the things that have not yet been explained adequately by evolutionists can help students come to their own decisions for what is factual with any of the evidence given.

Works Cited

Stenovec, Timothy. “Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ Talks Creationism Critique, Religion, Education (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW).” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
Ham, Ken, and Roger Patterson. “The New Answers Book 3.” Should Christians Be Pushing to Have Creation Taught in Government Schools? Answersingenesis.org, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
“NSTA Position Statement.” National Science Teachers Association. NSTA.org, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Annotated Bibliography

http://www.grisda.org/origins/05061.htm
Roth, Ariel A. “Closed Minds and Academic Freedom.” Geoscience Research Institute 5(2): 61-62 (1978).

In the article “Closed Minds and Academic Freedom,” Ariel A. Roth proposes the struggle of being able to have an open mind when discussing creation and evolution. Roth makes it known that the theory of evolution is taught in schools as though it is the only reasonable truth. These teachings, of course, make creationists feel as if their reasoning is not valid. Roth also points out that the opposite has also happened. In 1925 any non-biblical views of origin were prohibited in Tennessee. Roth promotes academic freedom as a means to have the truth since both sides can have a close minded approach to what should be taught in schools.

This article places a couple of points I wish to make in my argument. I understand that everyone is not a believer in a higher being, but I believed that evolution shouldn’t be taught as the only way of the origins of life. Though I am closed minded when it comes to whether evolution is true, Roth helped me realize that when it comes to teaching, an open mind and academic freedom should be in consideration as a means for students to make their own conclusions for what is true.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/hasnt-evolution-been-proven

White, A. J. Monty. “Hasn’t Evolution Been Proven True?” – Answers in Genesis. Answersingenesis.org, 10
Jan. 2008. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

In the article “Hasn’t Evolution Been Proven True?” by A. J. Monty White, there are points given as to why evolution can be doubtful. White is a Christian creationist and believes that the Bible does not teach evolution. White points out the lack of demonstrable evidence within Stellar Evolution (the Big Bang), Chemical Evolution (The origin of life), and Biological Evolution. He also brings into consideration the fossil record’s “missing links,” or transitional forms.
This article, in its entirety, has a lot of valuable information. I don’t believe that Biblical studies/accounts need to be taught, but the explanations against what evolution says should be. I plan to use this article in my argument as something schools can implement in their teaching when students are studying biology or history from the beginning.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Sherry Turkle Reading Response

In her speech, “Connected, but alone?” Sherry Turkle’s basically says that technology changes who we are. Turkle believes that this is troubling because it affects the way we interact with each other and ourselves. Overall, technology is ruining real interactions. She gives a couple examples of the negative effects that technology has such as a 50-year old man not interacting with his work colleagues, an 18 year old who desires to someday have real conversations, and a mother who has lost a child being comforted by a robot in the shape of a baby seal. Turkle gives the notion that technology can take the place of human connection and our own solitude. People don’t know how to be alone, which is important for kids while they are maturing. Not knowing how to be alone leaves people lonely, always searching to fill the void. Turkle doesn’t believe that it’s too late to refocus technology. Some first steps Turkle says are to “start thinking of solitude as a good thing. Make room for it. Find ways to demonstrate this as a value to your children. Create sacred spaces at home –the kitchen, the dining room –and reclaim them for conversation. Do the same thing at work. At work, we’re so busy communicating that we often don’t have time to think, we don’t have time to talk, about the things that really matter. Change that. Most important, we all really need to listen to each other, including to the boring bits. Because it’s when we stumble or hesitate or lose our words that we reveal ourselves to each other.” In conclusion she says that we should focus on how we can use technology to lead us back to our real lives.

I have to agree whole heartedly with what Sherry Turkle says. I’ve witnessed the things she has said within my own life and in the lives of others. I, personally, wasn’t allowed to have any social media networks until I was 14, and I wasn’t allowed to have a phone until I was 15 years old. I am a naturally quiet person, and an extreme introvert. Before I started using technology I had to actually have real interactions with people, and after having those conversations I always took time to stay to myself and relax, think about life, and to recharge, I guess you can say. After the 5-6 years of me using technology all the time, the way I interacted with people certainly changed. I enjoyed not having to be around people just to interact with them. I could stay in the comfort of my own room and have “conversations” with people. I could edit and delete my words so that it could be just right and I could talk to people whenever I wanted, just like the “Goldilocks’ effect” mentioned by Turkle. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized how much technology has affected me negatively. I hardly talked to people in person about the things that mattered most to me in life. Listening to people’s problems has never been difficult for me, but giving them a comforting reply started to become difficult. I wanted to make sure I said things perfectly and I was afraid of making things worse because I can edit my sayings in real time. I realized that I used to send all of my feelings through text. Also I realized that social media took over all of my “me time.” Technology became my safe haven, but left me uncertain of who I was. When I had nothing else to do, I would stay on social media for hours, and it took the place of me thinking about my life and my recharging time. I can’t imagine how my life would be if I grew up using technology. I would probably have zero communication skills. I believe that Turkle gives some pretty convincing evidence since it applies so much to everyone that uses technology from their work, to classes, to their everyday lives. As I agree with Turkle’s speech in regards to my own life, I believe the effects can be even more negative towards extroverts. With social media, extroverts have instant listeners, as Turkle mentions, and through my own observation, they tend to have a more sense of loneliness when people are not around to interact with them. Technology helps them attempt to fill the void of loneliness and it doesn’t benefit them in regards of learning how to be alone. I think this was a great read and there’s not much I can think of opposing her article besides the ones that she already mentions.

Works Cited

Turkle, Sherry. “Sherry Turkle:Connected, but Alone?” Sherry Turkle: Connected, but Alone? N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How Should People Escape Multitasking?

During this day and age, multitasking is hard to escape. With social media, blogs, smart phones, etc., it is easy to fall into the temptation of having many things running at the same time, frequently switching back and forth between the different activities. After reading articles by Leo Widrich and Jill Adams and with some common knowledge, one can come to the conclusion that multitasking has negative effects. Knowing that multitasking has negative effects, what is the best way to get rid of the bad habit? Widrich’s article “What Multitasking Does to Our Brain” and Adams’s “Make Learning Matter for the Multitasking Generation” both give some good insight on ways to deal with multitasking struggles. Though they both give good insight, Widrich’s article is best written for the average adult and his practical ways can be followed at different times rather than just in a classroom setting as Adams’s strategies offer.

At the start of his article “What Multitasking Does to Our Brain,” Widrich reveals the obvious idea that multitasking is bad for people to do. According to the studies that Widrich looked into, though people know that multitasking is bad for them, they can’t help but do it because it makes the feel as if they are accomplishing a lot. Other research also explained what happens to the brain when a person multitasks. Multitasking splits the brain and frantically switches back and forth between different activities. According to Widrich’s article “people that multitask are in fact a lot worse at filtering irrelevant information and also perform significantly worse at switching between tasks compared to singletaskers.” After explaining the research that he did, Widrich speaks of three strategies he uses to successfully singletask. The first strategy he reveals is to have one single tab open when online. When working on the computer, he focuses solely on the work under that one tab, and when he finishes, he closes the tab and opens a different one to work on. The second strategy that Widrich mentions is to have an evening planning routine. He says that without doing this daily, the first strategy would basically be impossible. Widrich plans his activities for the day and talks about how he is going to perform each activity with a friend. By doing this, he basically already knows when and how he will accomplish his work, keeping him focused. The last strategy Widrich gives is to switch work places at least once a day. Completely moving, instead of just taking a small break, helped Widrich to increase his productivity and his focus on singletasking.

While Widrich’s article is more geared toward the average adult, Jill Adams’s “Make Learning Matter for the Multitasking Generation” focuses on how middle school instructors can challenge their students to “slow down and critically examine the text or task at hand.” Just as Widrich’s article points out, Adams’s article reveals what happens in the brain when multitasking and the negative effects of multitasking. Her article notes that multitasking can cause parts of the brain to be less active and that could impair development. Since studies/activities aren’t done with focus when multitasking, people that multitask won’t fully learn things. Adams gives many strategies that teachers can apply so that their students can learn while living in the “multitasking generation.” Some of these strategies include virtual realities, blogs and wikis, and online discussions. Virtual realities give students the ability to dwell in the text and therefore help students know/understand more than they can from just reading text. The online discussions seemed to be more helpful to students also by helping them focus their thoughts on what to say. Adams’s article also instructs teachers to “challenge students to spend more time thinking critically about reading and writing in a variety of formats and through a variety of texts, literacies, and technologies. Some ways this was suggested to be implemented was through Socratic seminars and graphic novels. With Socratic seminars, students are able to mold good discussion skills. “It forces students to pause long enough to think and go beyond surface meaning, which usually does not occur to students as they multitask.” Graphic novels are considered for use because they “provide opportunities for students to develop critical thinking and visual literacy skills.” Adams’s article also briefly talks about critiquing websites. Many students fail to analyze the content on some webpages so it is encouraged for the instructor to teach on how to analyze them. In one activity done, “students critically examined sites and contemplated choices made (language, graphics, sound, layout), the effects of these choices, the target audience, and what is not on the page and why. The last thing talked about in Adams’s article is multigenre writing. With multigenre writing, the students have to actually think of which genres to use and how they can flow together. In conclusion, the article says that “the phenomenon of youth multitasking is not going away” and that instructors should stay on track with the different technologies students are using so that they can effectively be used in a learning environment.

After reading and understanding both Widrich and Adams’s articles, I still rest on Widrich’s strategies being the best way to abolish the negative effects multitasking can have. Though many of the strategies suggested in Adams’s article obviously worked for a lot of the students, multitasking was not directly dealt with. By saying “the phenomenon of youth multitasking is not going away,” Adams’s article suggests that multitasking is inevitable amongst this group and that the best way to cope is to teach them how to multitask proficiently. I don’t believe that Adams’s article was teaching students how to singletask within techniological environments, but how to better use those emvironments while learning.The strategies given only helped students slow their thinking down and contemplate the choices they make, which is good in a sense, but not as great as blatant singletasking can be. I can “slow down and critically examine” my response for an online discussion, for example, and still switch back to Facebook from time to time while I’m doing it. Though I would be thinking of a profound thing to say, all of my focus wouldn’t be solely on my response. Widrich doesn’t have as many suggestions as Adams’s article does, but each strategy given is easy to do and can be effective in our day to day activities. His strategies can help people stay completely focused, which would result in them producing their best work. His three singletasking methods, if applied by the middle school students in Adams’s article, can help them at their present state and for future use in any job they may acquire, which makes Widrich’s article the way people should escape multitasking.

Works Cited

Adams, Jill. “Making Learning Matter for the Multitasking Generation.” Middle School Journal 43 N3 (Jan 2012):           6-12.
Widrich, Leo. “What Multitasking Is Doing to Our Brain.” The Buffer Blog Productivity Life Hacks Writing User             Experience Customer Happiness and Business. Buffer, 26 June 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Midterm Essay

Ever since middle school, I’ve been doing some type of writing assignment. I’ve done different types of writing such as narratives, expository essays, research papers, and a couple others. Though I took Pre-AP and AP (advanced placement) English classes during middle and high school, I was never able to receive higher than a C+ on any of my writings. I was able to catch most of the minor grammatical errors usually made, but I had trouble connecting and elaborating on ideas. Even though I know I still l have a little trouble in this area, I was able to overcome greatly and I received my first A on a paper last semester.

Overall, I don’t think I’ve grown much as a writer this semester. The only area I believe I’ve grown slightly is in presenting my argument, but I feel as if my arguments are still rather weak. Also, I used to think that I was the worst summarizer in all of eternity, but the feedback given to me helped me realize that I wasn’t too bad at summarizing.

For the rest of the semester I plan to try my best to connect my entire paper. I really need to start setting aside time for myself to actually sit down for an extended period of time to focus on my writing. After reading the multitasking articles, I understand why my brain feels like it is on overload. I’m trying to do too many things at one time, and I know that if I just sit and focus on my ideas, they can be more precise.

Speaking of having precise ideas, my major is Speech Pathology and Audiology and I found out that it is very important for my writings to be precise and clear so that it could be understood by everyone. With this major I will have to write evaluations, diagnostic reports, therapy plans, case notes, progress reports, and discharge reports that will be read by an audience of differing people. If my writing isn’t precise and easy to understand, some people in my audience might end up misinterpreting something I’ve said. Most of the writings I will conduct are formal writings, with the exception of case notes. Even though case notes are the most informal of the writings, it is recommended to write them formally also, just in-case doctors are looking at them. Having case notes too informal will reflect my professionalism negatively. Overall, I just need to make sure I stay professional and competent when it comes to relaying information to different people.

To achieve my goals as a writer during the remainder of this semester and my life, I know that I need to take any feedback I receive to heart and actually apply it. Without application, I know that I will never improve. Also, I know that I need to start letting more people proof read my assignments. I tend to write at the last minute and thus leaving no room for peer review and any needed alterations. I would like to eventually learn to proof read my own papers effectively. I know a strategy that you, Mr. Havard, give is to just take maybe a couple days break from my paper and read it again. That seems like it would be helpful. I hope to achieve this goal successfully and  that this class will help me overcome any challenges I may have.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
Rob Ingenloff

English Comp II-Living Online

journalist4truth

...exposing corruption, implanting ideas, and starting a revolution!

ccrook12014

Living Online from England

An Online World

Information, discussions, and debates about Living Online

bobokarol

Knowing something more about me.

Heyyyt

English Comp 1020

inpinklivingonline

Living Online

squirrel girl

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

matwell1

living online

ENGL 1020

A blog about... ENGL 1020 (surprise, surprise).

danielcox123

English 1020 Class

kolaskyonline

The pros and cons of living online.

Water World

AUM English Living Online

thelegendofwriting

English 1020, here I come.

reason2whylivingonline

My thoughts on living online.