Final Assignment

Privacy as the Price

2004 is a wonderful year for people, that Mark Zuckerberg launched a website where you can find photos of everyone you know: the Facebook. People are so excited that they can finally peek into other’s world. A facebook “friend” might have seen pictures of you more than your classmates have seen. When you signing up for a certain program, you know that you are selling something to it. But in return, you will find that the Internet will give back more things to you and you are not paying cash. From my perspective, the benefits of modern technology definitely outweigh the disadvantage of losing control of our private information.

First of all, modern technology provides people more opportunities. Modern technologies can help people apply for schools, get jobs, and deal real estate issues. Link In is a website many United States residents use to find jobs. After you put all your information including previous employment experiences, salary expectations, gender, name, e-mail, etc. online, individuals and companies will contact you with plenty of offers. Also, people can now apply for colleges or graduate schools via the internet. All the things applicants have to do are send their essays and materials out with so many privacies that their friends might not even know. After that, they will be home waiting for colleges to tell them whether he/she is the one they are looking for or not. Moreover, people can sell, rent or buy items from clothes to houses online. The phone number you left on Ebay, home address you put online for others to rent, and e-mail address, names, etc. are all privacies that many old people see as the most precious things. However, people can’t make a deal without those information. According to media theorist Douglas Ruskoff, “If the product is free, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” (Alex, 2004) To conclude, the internet provides so many convenience and opportunities for people who are willing to sell their privacies.

However, on safety level, to protect our privacy is a very important thing. If you are afraid of people hacking into your computer, people follow to your apartments, or people track your online surfing histories, it is very important to protect yourself from the Internet world. There are examples that companies lose billions a day because of e-mail stolen and other scary examples. In this case, I am going to give an example which happened to my mother. That day when I got home, I saw my mother crying and screaming. I was so frightened and asked what is going on. She said she received a call from a person who claimed to be my teacher saying I am in the hospital and she has to transfer 10,000 rmb to a certain account. At the time my mother believed it and was about to make the transfer, I got home. We were wondering where that man could possibly get my personal information, and a possible reason is that I posted a twitter saying my phone died and left my home number for emergency. As a result, expose your own personal information online is extremely dangerous which might lead to many troubles.

However, with the currency of privacies, we can get many other things we desire via modern technology. People can find classmates who attend the same class online, people can find your emigrated middle school best friend online, and people can find the other half they are interested in online. First of all, people can make more friends by posting personal information online. Step 1, you have to set up a Facebook (or other social medias) account with your own information so that you can look for people you are interested in. For example, on the first day of school, a boy crushed a girl, but the boy had no idea what kind of person the girl is. What should he do? The first thing he came up in mind is to search the girl’s Facebook, on which the girl has posted her own pictures and shared links she is interested into. Next time they meet, the boy would know how to start a conversation to catch the girl’s attention and interest because he already knew something about the girl. The internet is a good place to find personal information and it helped people to develop relationships as well. When you can make more friends, who care about paying a little privacy? Friendships are relationships which are based on privacy, and emotion sharing. There are also other cases that people get famous and popular by sharing their personal life. For example, Justin Bieber, who was suddenly all over YouTube and has developed to a superstar. He started his career by posting his own singing videos on YouTube, and he succeeds. There are also many people who become famous like fashion bloggers, and those stylists on Instagram. People can find most of the things they desire on the Internet, as long as they are willing to “sell” their privacies.

To conclude, if people are afraid to trade their privacy with the massive opportunities online, they will end up getting nothing compared to others. People also get other rewards for their braveness. From my perspective, I think the benefits of modern technology outweigh the disadvantage of losing control of our privacies, because our privacies are meanwhile, our opportunities.

Portfolio Letter

June 6, 2015

Portfolio Committee

University of California, Davis

Davis, California, 95616

Dear Portfolio Reader:

This portfolio includes a portfolio letter, a summary and response paper, paper 4, and the final assignment paper. I will introduce my own strength and weakness about my writing skills and my assignments in this portfolio letter.

At the beginning of this course, I was doubtful of myself, that whether I can pass this writing class or not as an international student. I did fine on paper 1 which discussed whether digital natives can have real life relationships. Except my reference list was not in APA style which Aylin asked us to do. The reason is that I have been writing reference list in MLA style since high school. As a result, I felt difficult to learn a completely new citing system at the first.

After that, I tried to use APA reference list in my midterm revision. I think I wrote most of my citations correct by following the steps Aylin gave us in class. The writing lab website of Purdue University is really helpful for students like me to study, because the website has different citations for specific kind. If I am confused about which type a source is, I will ask Aylin and she will tell me the way to find its correct kind. However, besides the problem with my reference list, I went off topic both on my midterm exam and on my paper 4 first draft. It never happened before so I asked myself why I would do this and told myself not to do it again. I was painful to rewrite my paper 4, because I had to come up a new thesis statement and idea to address the topic. And as you read my paper 4 in this portfolio later, you will find that I put a lot of work connecting my ideas so that they are coherent. I had to come up a lot of new ideas within three days, so I think paper 4 is the most challenging in this class so far. Fortunately, Aylin told me some important information about my paper and gave some useful advice to help me rewrite the paper. I finished paper 4 evaluating my high school’s technology use with a relieved and grateful heart.

The last but not the least, I’ve done a lot of reading assignments in this class. Even though they are not long articles, they are still relatively heavy for me to read and compare at the same time. But the benefit after practice is obvious: I am now a more mature reader write now. It’s very important to understand the article as well as memorizing the key ideas of it. As long as the knowledge becomes things in my mind, I can use them better to improve the depth in my writings.

I think myself as a more organized writer now. For example, I will list all the elements of an article when I’m summarizing. And I will do summarization of articles to help myself writing essays. Furthermore, before I started writing, I will list an outline for my paper so that I have a structure and I don’t go off the topic. If I pass UWP 23 this them, I think I am well prepared for WLD 57 and other WE classes in UC Davis.

Sincerely,

Evelyn

Paper 4 : Digital Technology in PGA

Evelyn Xu

UWP 23

Paper 4

Digital Technology in PGA

Dear PGA High School Board Members,

As a student who recently graduated from your high school in Beijing, China, I have been asked to evaluate the use of technology in your school last year. In PGA, technology was commonly used in classrooms, dining commons, dormitories, and also in the library. Computers, projectors, and platforms on the internet are all useful technologies that help student’s learning ability. On the other hand, I think the school’s decision to limit the time students spend with digital technologies is a wise educational choice, because cell phones tend to show negative distractions toward students. To keep a phone-free study environment increased interactions between students, and also ensured the quality of classes and also increased student’s attention spans. From my perspective, digital technologies that are used in PGA seem to have more positive impacts on student’s learning ability.

Technologies PGA were using for educational purpose seem to improve student’s learning ability because they improved learning efficiency. Because PGA provides a computer and a projector in every classroom, it’s very convenient for teachers to use the resources. Nearly every teacher in PGA uses PowerPoint for lectures because it has many benefits. Teachers are able to show many other sources rather than merely the textbook by using PowerPoint, which allows teachers to present the lecture in a more clear and interesting way. Furthermore, rather than highlighting sentences on text book, a PowerPoint lecture require students to take notes which leads to a repetition in memorizing main ideas. In this way, using computers to give lectures helps students to understand knowledge easier and to memorize it better. (Weimer, 2012) Also, it’s sometimes essential for students to use computers and other technologies. PGA provides computers labs which contain more than 80 computers for students to use. Because students in PGA all aim to study abroad in college, all these computers really help when preparing for TOEFL. During self study time, teacher would arrange students in different classes to go to computer labs to prepare TOEFL test by taking TPO, a software simulates TOEFL. In this way, students have guaranteed time to prepare for the test without using their own computers, which are difficult to control and might become distractions. Furthermore, technology also improves student’s learning ability in biology class. Microscopes and projectors allow students to observe the teacher, and to study objects by themselves. Without a projector, it’s very hard to see what the teacher is doing especially when a student is sitting in the back rows. In this way, digital technologies have increased the efficiency and productivity of study.

Besides help students learning in class, technology in PGA also supervise students on their study. PGA online platform allows students to access course materials after class, so they can study on themselves. Students can submit work or discuss with classmates after class on the platform and students can finish the exercises or work on the website. Because students are submitting homework to the online platform, teachers can easily manage and record student’s behavior. I also noticed that students tend to do homework more carefully and paid more attention to them because they think they were being supervised by the platform, which is recording all their homework and assignment submissions. There are two things in PGA that is different from high school in the USA. First the all, is the use of cctv (cameras) in PGA. Every classroom has two cameras supervising both the teachers and the students. Even though I’ve been told that they might not be operating, I was still very frightened. The cameras eliminated ideas such as cheating during exams or destroy school property and lying. During the exam, even if the supervisor is not in the classroom, students of PGA wouldn’t act improperly due to their own honesty and the presence of cameras.

However, digital technology also has many negative impacts on student’s learning ability. First of all, digital technologies are big distractions to students when studying. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc, there are so many things on the Internet that students usually spend plenty of their time on. When studying, students are easily disrupted by the temptation of video games, thus forgetting to focus on the classes or learning materials. During self study time in the computer lab, I’ve seen students play CS (a shooting game) secretly so many times and those students didn’t achieve a high grade on the TOEFL test. The fundamental reason is that digital technologies have attracted so much attention which leads to the decrease of efficiency when doing homework. To sum up, high school students are easily disrupted by technologies and are not paying enough attention to work. On the other hand, some students may found video games relaxing during their study, and might relieve their stress by playing some video games. In this way, we can’t say that video games are totally harmful to students. What’s more, computers are also a preparation for student’s future studies. Some educators argue that it’s the school’s responsibility to provide students essential skills for technologies they would use after graduation. (Means, Singh) Every coin has two sides, at the same time we admit its own strength, we have to also admit the disadvantage. But we can still decide which the brighter side is and encourage people to do it. In this case, I think it’s necessary for high schools nowadays to provide technologies on campus as an important resource for students.

The overall consequences of digital technology to students are considered positive because technologies in school really work effective to help teaching and learning. However, high school students are not highly self-controlled population who need more guidance on the use of digital technology which would distract them from work and classes. I think the yellow/pink ticket punishment our school has taken was extremely powerful and effective. As soon as we know that every time we use our phones during class we got a yellow ticket which related to point losing and three yellow tickets are the same as a pink ticket, which relates to probation on class, most students stopped playing cell phones in class. If I were to revise the policy, I would suggest teachers to walk around more during self-study time to ensure that students are really taking practices on the computer instead of doing other things. Certain punishment should be taken if students are found doing impropriate things.

Sincerely

Evelyn Xu

Reference List

 

Barbara Means. Ram Singh. (n.a.) Reasons For Bringing Technology Into Schools.

Technology and Education Reform. Retrieved from

https://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/reasons.html

Maryellen, Weimer. (2012, Augest 1). Does PowerPoint Help or Hinder Learning?       Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/does-powerpoint-help-or-hinder-learning/

Summary and Response

 

Summary:

Video Games and the Depressed Teenager written by Roni Caryn Rabin stated that heavy gamers show the tendency of depression and are need to be taken care of. The author first used two research sources to support his idea directly, and then he referred a professor’s point, which first seems like a rebuttal paragraph but is actually supporting the thesis statement. The first research shows that among 3,000 students in Singapore, who play 31 hours video games per week are more likely to suffer from depression compared to students who play 19 hours per week. The second research investigated 1,000 students in China, and the result indicates that students who use more Internet use are more than twice likely to have mental problems. The two researches supported the idea that video games can cause depression directly by showing the statistics. Next, the author pointed out that an associate professor Dr. Gentile disagreed. Dr. Gentile argues that people who have mental issues are more likely to retreat into games, and then become more depressed. In the conclusion, the author used a quote from Dr Gentile which expressed the idea that video games become a factor that come along with problematic mental health instead of an independent factor.

Response:

I agree to the point that heavy video game players show a drop in grades, but I think depression is not caused by video games.

First of all, I agree to Dr. Gentile’s argument that video game is not the start of depression but a factor comes along with it. I’ve met many friends who play video games and I sometimes play them too. Many of them are very talkative and optimistic instead of unhappy and depressed. When we play together, we all think that video games add fun to our lives and it’s a way of meeting people. As a result, I think people can’t blame depression on playing video games, that the mind of player is the problem. If the player is playing games because he/ she lacks the skill of communicating and socializing, then people should help him/ her developing social skills instead of merely drop the person from video games. I really liked the word Dr. Gentile used ““You can get the flu, and then get pneumonia, which is a different thing, but it kind of came along with the flu, and flu made you at greater risk for it.” It really helped readers understand the idea.