Personal Cyberinfrastruture

So, like most of the rest of the members of ds106, I’ve been watching and reading all about Gardner Campbell and his theories about personal cyberinfrastructure and “the digital facelift”.  Initially, I completely agreed with Campbell’s ideas about integrating the internet into schooling, as it has many things to offer.  I mean, technology is the future, right? Sharing ideas on the internet is a fabulous way to meet people from all over the world who share the same interests and ideas as you, and is a great way to learn about the many things happening in the world.  As Campbell said, the internet used today by colleges and unversities around the country are usually maintained by the professors and other staff members of the colleges. Students can access sites such as Blackboard in order to find their grades, the reading assignments, and occassional to post their ideas about a certain topic being discussed in the class.  Obviously, if students were to use the internet more to share not only their ideas and information on topics in the class, but their ideas and opinions about all kinds of things in the world, learning could be taken to a completely different level. 

Today, as I walked in Combs to listen to the presentation by Campbell, I sat next to my good friend Molly.  We began talking about the article written by Campbell and his video that we watched earlier, and she mentioned something to me (that hopefully she will blog about as well) that made me look at the idea of integrating the internet more into schooling, in a different way.  She was telling me about an article she read in which a mother completely took away all forms of technology from her children.  That’s right, no internet, no texting, no phones, no game boys, no wii, no nothing.  One of her daughters said, “screw this!” and moved in with her father–which is exactly what I would have done in a similar situation.  Where would I be without my cell phone?  No Facebook?  Uhhh, no thanks. Anyway, her other children seemed to take up the challenge (and I mean, I guess they had to considering they were basically being forced into it), and had none of the technology for six months that we take for granted today.  It turns out, one of her daughters drastically increased her grades, and her son fell in love with the saxaphone, deciding to major in music in college. For that family, removing technology obviously helped their education.

I do think that the internet has a negative impact on the learning of today’s students. I have a hard time remembering my life before Facebook.  I constantly think to myself, “Holy crap, I would get done with SO MUCH so FAST if I didn’t have a Facebook…What were college students like in the 90’s when they didn’t have this social network to distract them from all their learnings?” Unfortunately, I don’t know, and I won’t know, because quite frankly, I love Facebook, and will not be getting rid of mine any time soon.  Other than Facebook, their are a ton of other distractions on the internet to keep students from doing the work that they need–YouTube, Tumblr, Google, blah blah blah.  Without the internet, some might say that students would be able to get more of the necessary work done, but I do think that in actuality, internet or no internet, students are going to find something to keep them from doing their schoolwork.  It’s in our blood.  Nobody wants to sit down, conjugate verbs, study osmosis, or write a paper. That’s not fun, and plenty of other things are.

In the end, I do agree with Campbell in the fact the internet would have a huge advantage to students if they had the opportunity to use it more in their classes. Blogging about what’s happening in class, what one’s learning, and generally what’s happening in one’s life is a great way to learn from and to teach others.  It’s been hardly two weeks that I’ve been in this class, and I love reading what others are blogging and learn their opinion on certain topics.  On top of that, it’s a fantastic way to get in contact with your professor. I’ve already used both Twitter and Skype to reach Jim Groom to ask questions about the class.  I think that it is inevitable that more of the internet will be incorporated into schooling, it’s just a question of how long it will take.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 04:48:28

    Wow. Way to pay attention. I know for my English class, using a blog (in this case a wiki) because he has one or two people for every class take extensive notes and then post them for us to read and use to study with for exams and essays and such. I agree with you, basically.


    • scooby
      Jan 21, 2011 @ 04:52:59

      Side question: How did you change your avatar on your blog?


      • Catherine
        Jan 21, 2011 @ 18:38:37

        When I was making my posts, down at the bottom of the dashboard screen there, it asked if I wanted to make an avatar at gravatar, so I clicked that and made a little account there and then uploaded the picture.

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