Sunday, December 8, 2013

Integration is Easier

Right now in my personal life classes are ending and reports are due. Well reports were always due and that constantly made it a challenge to juggle assignments, blogging, and personal activities. Sometimes it came down to what was valued as more important.

Do you ever thought to yourself, what is really important? Take for instance academic courses. As I mentioned before, STEM is a program that emphasizes the maths and sciences and people are looking to improve that, hence STEMx/STEM+ (STEM 2.0?). But what about art and writing? What about history?

I had an epiphany in thinking over why science over literature (though I may be wrong). Aren't the visual and literary arts the more creative courses? (Nevermind history...that appears to be just memorization)
Creativity is an integrated process of our lives. We are taught at a young age to be creative in everything we do; to apply ourselves. Therefore I notice that art is simply integrated in design and literature is part of writing reports (and I've done and am stilling doing alot of them).
Math and science however are not as creative as the a fore mentioned topics. They are dealt with a different area of the brain, and they aren't something I would exactly do in my free time. Sometimes I feel like my brain has to switch to a different mode between STEM related classes. They seem like separate topics, that my brain cannot make the connections. It would be so much easier if the professors worked together and made their classes relate to each other.

Hold on... thats it! Why doesn't this happen? Why can't professors work together find ways to connect their courses. Students are struggling to mix study time for each class as separate subjects. If they were more meshed together to create a super subject that builds the topics on one another, this integration would led to a more advanced learning while also becoming less strenuous to student life. That's just a thought.

Now that leads to how STEM+ will actually be applied and if this program will be updated in the future. I also hope that the educational system becomes improved and courses are not individual entities within the academic pyramid and not only do students have correlation within multiple class but critical thinking increases as well.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Hello audience. Throughout these past months I was engaged in learning of a higher and more engaging form of literacy: metaliteracy. Well the course was fine and dandy and actually alot of the learning took place outside of the classroom and it was more of a hands-on thing, very different than traditional learning. By traditional learning I mean "...sit here and listen to the teacher". It was quite a shift that I wasn't all too ready for but I believe the format is much more valuable. The problem is that not all courses and classes are like this.

So here's where STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) comes in and it was the topic of the last MOOC talk I listened to. Like how metaliteracy redefined literacy and offered an upgrade to the methods in which literacy is thought of and taught, the discussion in the MOOC talk focused on applying similar skills to teaching the sciences. Now if there's one thing if anything you should have learned from metaliteracy is cooperation and collaboration of different medium to create a better and more unified form of understanding.

STEM education is very important to drive the modern era into more progressive technologies and the ideal thoughts of the future. (Hopefully one where robots serve us instead of hunting us to extinction). But the teaching methods for STEM require an update, and that's where STEMx (or STEM+) comes in. Nevermind the "2.0" name, like metaliteracy, STEMx is just a redefinition of how one should actually learn STEM. As collaboration of literacies define metaliteracy, why not collaboration of the STEM programs form a unified learning? This can actually be applied for all courses teaching in general. Instead of having classes treated as separate subjects in academics and pieces of an educational degree, why can't parts of teaching system work together and collaborate?

STEM taught as separate courses 
STEMx, the modification of STEM into a single unified course.
This is one of the major things that come to mind when I reflect how metaliteracy and the MOOC system catalyzes learning methods beyond memorization. If courses rely on the unity and integration of each other, the applications of the subject matter become more apparent and that becomes much more valuable than memorizing facts.

Think of it this way: in the current educational system we are taught in parts of what constitutes a major. The classes don't coincide with each other, so as the teaching is separate so is the learning. This isn't particularly useful because the value of each course becomes hidden; the connections aren't made. If the educational system becomes updated and not only students collaborate in learning but teachers collaborate in teaching, a greater understanding can be brought out for the applications in real-world situations. No longer things would be thought in hierarchy, but rather a communication of every subject for a single goal.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Biophilic Designs

So last time I touched upon biophilia and the combination of life and naturalization into technology and modern design. So let's now observe a few examples of organic designs that are meant to give us a feeling of being one with nature:
Modern Natural Bathroom Design Ideas
A Modern Natural Bathroom Design

stunning roof garden, Roof Garden, rooftop gardens, Roof Garden Design, garden plants, Roof Garden pictures, Roof Garden ideas
Roof Garden

Nature within city life

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Everyone loves technology right? Well do you love nature too? This is the topic that was covered in the latest MOOC talk that I listened to. We live in a world where technology overtakes almost every aspect of life. In fact sometimes it becomes a substitute for life itself. What do I mean by this?

Well in this day and age, people are constantly looking at a screen to connect with the world. Their world is the screen. Technology teleports them across physical boundaries and removes the effort to get out there. This is nice to be able to socialize with people across the web, but it isn't the same as a walk in the park or enjoying a coffee together. Or is it?

Surprisingly people have developed ways to imitate life through the computer screen. And instead of going out with your real self, people can go out in their second life. Second Life. This is the name of a popular online game, but its more of a world really. Whatever you can do in real life, Second Life can do too and more.
The amazing world of Second Life
To integrate life into technology...why exactly? Well why do people like to use nature-theme wallpaper. Why are there "organic designs"? To put one view into it: maybe we miss a part of natural life in all the hubbub of the modern world. That's why mom like to put plants in the house. That's why designers adore hardwood floors and wooden furniture. When something has an earthy feeling to it, why is this generally perceived as a positive thing? Are we just feeling something instinctual? Something agreeing to our deep primal urges. Maybe that could be it.

Mother nature doesn't have a metal body made of straight lines and patterns of high order. Instead nature is a bit more uneven, a little less ordered, something about that gives more life to this design.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling. So what is it? Stories told digitally of course! Okay now the obvious and general concept is cleared up let's dive into the specifics. When you think of stories what exactly comes to mind? Elaborate fantasies, structured plot lines, in depth characters? Of course if you want to be fancy and critical and put alot of room for analysis but we don't need all that. Digital stories can be practically anything, actually alot of things can tell stories, its just how one interprets it. I learned about this during a MOOC talk about Digital Storytelling and Metaliteracy.

Stories don't have to be told in many words or use alot of visuals. Like early cave paintings a seemingly simple drawing can spread alot of meaning and story. Like modern art, simple forms can take on a whole lot of meaning, that is if you can see it. 

Now let's back to words; often in school I was taught a certain structure for stories. Beginning, middle, end. 
Now I never liked telling stories due to this structure and also because I am wired into short bursts of thought. And I'm not talking about intellectual ideas, Mostly insignificant little brain bubbles, the kind that don't make much sense or have proper grammar.Who would ever listen to those kind of things? Would you even call it a story or are you expecting a published, reviewed, work from Huffington Post or the like? Well one thing I learned from the MOOC talk about digital storytelling is that there are thousands upon thousands (maybe millions?) of digital stories being published, or should I say posted? And many are posted on a whim.

As you can guess, these stories are told through YouTube, blogs, and let's go so far to mention Facebook and Twitter. Now you may wonder how can a silly ol' tweet be digital storytelling?

I am presenting a thought.., my story.., an idea.., out there. Care to listen? Care to comment? Care to care? Its really not a complex thing. Stories are ideas. Ideas spread through any form or media. The media here is electronic.., digital.., technological.. that's all. Storytelling in a digital format.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Social media at the Forefront of News

Society today is fully integrated with social media and like a school cliché, word and news gets around quickly. Now of course there are already well established news and media in the form of newspapers and television broadcasts, but the papers are slow and who has the time or diligence to constantly watch the news on TV? We have become strongly attached to social media and are constantly looking forward to entertainment. I know I am. So now where we get our news? Well if you're not actively looking for breaking news, you probably are scanning Twitter or Facebook or some other website for something interesting.

I often get my news like this. People would post something interesting they would find, then it would I come across it while scrolling the page. If it is worthy and attractive enough to gain my attention I'll take a closer look at it. Like an outrageous rumor one might hear at school; the juicer, the better. Then it'll spread like wildfire, someone comes across it, shares it, more people see it, and more people share it.
Now the "it"....what is "it"? Be it an actual real life event or something quite silly. I'll leave your imaginations to give yourself examples. But this is something mentioned during a MOOC talk I listened to on the topic of "Media and News Literacy". Often silly things gain more attention than serious news, and whose to say what is the truth? If juicy rumors spread quickly through the school, would fantastic stories overshadow more pressing matters? That is something called the "Tragedy of the Commons".

Friday, November 1, 2013

Multimedias and Multiliteracies

Do you wonder where do the boundaries of different types of literacies reside?
Well before getting to the edges of literacy definitions lets look at actual definitions. Just take a look some of these to get an understanding of each specific literacy: (Click on the image to enlarge)
So yes, there are many types of literacies and very specific defining criteria for some of them.

Alot of what is discussed about metaliteracy involves these kinds of literacies, particularly information literacy, media literacy and visual literacy.

The MOOC talk "Connecting Visual Literacy to Metaliteracy" focuses on the power that visual media has in presenting a message. The incorporation of images and illustration must aid in the message being said. If there is a contradiction with the components of the content then confusion can arise.

Let me put this into a picture:

You see what you have here? Unless the sign wants you to moonwalk, pedestrians may be slightly confused at the image of a man walking right when you must actually go left.
Proper use of media is important. How confusing would it be if the images of restroom signs were switched?
Do I go Left or Right?
So do you follow the words or the pictures? And what someone can't read the words? Imagine the comical sketch we can make of this. But this is what I'm getting at, this is the point of visual literacy; not only how to read them but the proper use of them.