Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Movie Response

I think the examples that this movie explored shed some light on many issues we have explored in class. Wealth and supporting background had a huge impact on how these kids performed in school. Luisa and Travis faced an extra and entirely different set of problems facing them. I think I would be interesting to see how the students of both High schools fared in the long run. That being said the other two students seemed to balance their learning better. I think the other two used technology to expand their learning in general, not just to have a job after high school.

How Luisa and Travis viewed their learning had a huge impact on how they did overall. The current job market of globalized economies, large horizontal business networks, and endlessly evolving technology calls for employees that can learn fast, self correct when needed, and be pro-active in keeping up to date in current technologies and market trends. This new dynamic job market has almost completely replaced the now outdated static model where simply learning one skill well would get you a good steady job. The workers who can adapt to this changing system can not only find jobs easier, but also recover from layoffs and redirect their careers better.

New Tech High is simply a new way to educate students for the old economic model. The school cuts extra curriculars, books, and doesn't address many skills that these students would need every day. The even go so far as to lean on funding from businesses that operate in uncertain markets.

While many ideas that New Tech High employs and tech skills it teaches will help students in the current job market, a balance is needed. Students need to be able to have a balanced background in order to better apply what they have learned to an ever changing job climate

Movie response

The four kids situations varied differently in the "Crossing the Divide" movie we saw. In discussion, we mentioned the 3 industrial revolutions: one of the early 18th century which incorporated the ideas of manifest destiny, and making communication / transportation easy to the west; the industrial revolution of the 19th century which is the typical migration to a factory from the workshop, and then lastly the revolution of the 20th century where transistors were incorporated into daily technology.
It is my view that as we are consistently changing from one "revolution" to another, that your family circumstances can significantly alter what portion of which revolution you are experiencing. As mentioned in class, most of our great grandparents or grandparents probably worked / work in a factory. The stigma is that grandparents are not likely as coherent with computer usage as the younger generation.
I think that if your parents are in a job where they are still in the 2nd revolution (in a factory job or similar) that you are much less likely to have the knowledge of latest revolution. This is directly tied to the fact that the cutting edge technologies (due to supply / demand) are more valuable and thus pay more. Because one's parents are paid more / are using new technology, it is more likely that your exposure would be greater.

I think that this idea relates to Cedra (who went to a public school but had family technological knowledge from her journalist father) vs. Luisa (who needed to work a lot of hours to save up enough money to then buy herself exposure to a computer when her mother didn't have a job where she used / could afford computers).

Family also influenced Travis significantly. His role as a main supporter for the family meant that education could not be the prime focus of his school years. It further affected him because he needed to work to help support the family and didn't have money for college.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Movie Response #1

At the end of the video, I was pretty surprised to see the unfortunate outcomes for Travis and Luisa. I think one of the main issues affecting each student was the amount of family support received. Kep and Sidra seemed to have strong family bonds, where Travis and Luisa seemed to come from families with some internal issues. Kep had a large extended family to rely on for support, and Sidra's family seemed close and financially stable. 

I don't think technology provided a solution for Travis and Luisa because they both hoped to become successful based on their technological skills. To be successful in life a person needs to have a multitude of skills. A person needs to be well-rounded. Sidra planned on using her technological skills for online publishing and editing. Kep planned on pursuing a career in engineering. Travis and Luisa only knew basic technological skills and were not well-rounded students. Travis' high school's main focus was the teaching of technology. Tech High did not really offer any extracurriculars or even a library. Luisa had a full time job and had to help provide for their families. Both of them missed out on opportunities for becoming involved in groups and activities to help them grow as students and people. 

Movie Response #1

It is obvious that many factors other than simply exposure to technology have a part in determining the path of young adults. The first example is wealth. Both Luisa and Travis had experience and training with computers but were stopped from furthering their careers because of the costs. Luisa didn't pass her photoshop exam because she was too busy working at Long John Silvers to provide from her family. Also, Travis couldn't further his career because the costs of college was too much for his family to afford.

I don't feel that technology is a solution in the case of these young adults. The most successful on paper is Cedra who didn't go to Tech high school. I feel that she was more successful because her education didn't focus solely on computers and technology. She grew up around computers and was well rounded in how to use them. This enabled her to use computers to accomplish tasks but not depend on them for an immediate future profession. In Luisa's case, she only focused on learning one program for her future profession. The problem is that in her situation that program (photo-shop 4) will only be used for a limited time and will be replaced by a newer, updated version.

The only outcome that was suprising for me was that Travis didn't end up going to college. I felt that he was interested and determined in learning his craft and computers and eventaully going to college. But the barrier of cost prevented him from furthering his education.

Movie Post #1

There are many different factors that affected the students apart from technology. The biggest, in my opinion is where they come from, which in three out of the four was determined by what their parents did for a living (not the only factor). In the case of Kep, I also believe that where he came from had a huge impact on him. Having seen and experienced what he did would tend to provide you with extra motivation to succeed. Luisa was in an extremely unfortunate situation and it affected much more than her desire to learn and her access to technology. Travis, for me, was the least responsible, he did come from a bad situation but had the same educational opportunity as Kep. Cedra, being dealt the best hand, did a great job of exploiting all opportunities while still having a strong understanding that not everyone is as fortunate.

I do feel that technology provided a varying degree of help to each situation. Kep by far benifited the most from technology. He, also combined with his work ethic, took full advantage of the technological education opportunities provided and succeeded. Technology played a huge part in where he is. Cedra needed technology to get to where she is, but that wasn't the only thing that got her there. Technology did provide her with a solution in helping others, because she was technologically educated she could help others. Luisa was in a situation where I believe that technology hurt her more than helping her. She did not graduate on time because she was still paying her computer off. In the case of Travis, technology did help him some, but in the end he could not take advantage of what was in front of him.

I was not surprised by the outcomes, I really feel bad for Luisa. I dont think Travis will ever go to college and I also think that Cedra will be very successful.

Video Post

I think most of us would agree that going to high school is not intended to just set you up to go into the work place but also to better individuals. That being said I am majoring in Computer Science and I am trying to get a job in this area. You could think of me as one of those individuals in high school building my own computer but i would never want anyone to push a job onto me. I honestly believe that companies like Lotus in this video (and other more recent ones) are acting like lobbyists and forcing individuals to use their software and better them financially. Those that are truly interested in computers will pursue such a degree or job once they graduate and it is not necessary to force people to learn software of companies that are giving these schools millions of dollars.

No one should be forced to enter a single job market and everyone needs to obtain the basic skills that high school offers, after all thats why we put individuals into high school.

Crossing the Divide #1

It is obvious that access to technology or expert teachers is not enough to induce knowledge or success. Externalities and personal issues are important, and one's reaction to these situations and their personal fortitude plays a key role.

Luisa spent time working at a fast food restaurant, so she could own her own computer, and for what. If she would have stayed after school and used the computers in center, she probably would be a super senior. The real issue is that she lives in such poverty that she is working full time as a high school student, which is illegal, and falling into this minimum wage dead end cycle of work screws her out of her future as it does so many like her. A part time job can be liberating and a growing experience, but it should never equal in time what one spends at school because school is a teenager's full time job. Shame on the authorities for allowing Luisa to work so many hours. The sad thing is that she worked so she could have a future, but since nobody stood up to help her and to guide her she will be lucky to have a future. What awaits this girl? A GED? A second smock? It is just sobering how any school or parent could let this happen.

On the other hand, Kep is no better off than Luisa, but he has the support of family, and the right focus that school does come first, and it is the environment of Tech and his family's support that allows him to succeed. Valedvictorian versus at the most a super senior and more likely a drop out because of a mere difference in environment.

Certainly, technology has the power to ameliorate circumstances and give kids opportunities, but what one does with opportunity is a major predictor of success. Travis is a procrastinator, so basically he has brilliance, but he lacks work ethic, and he isn't going to college. He cites financial difficulty, but I hate that excuse. There is plenty of student aid, but maybe the problem is that Travis is also good at procratinating on college applications and financial aid applications. Also, funny that Mr. Valedvictorian is attending CalTech, for I seriously wonder if these kids really know an ounce of information outside of computer programing and graphics design. It seems to me that Tech School dumbs high school down to the level of a stereotypical community college. Having little contact with books, these kids likely lack any real understanding of the origin of print culture. They probably couldn't use a reference volume if they tried. They probably have little prowess as writers outside of technical drudgery, and they probably could tell you very little about social studies, grammar, or science because you don't learn these things through playing on a computer. Basically, these kids learned a technical diploma in four years, so they at best can repeat the same thing for another two, of course with exceptions like engineering, but who thinks Kep will survive his first term paper or that he actually knows how to use a library?
Luckily, Cedra went to a high school that didn't place technical literacy before traditional academia, so she was lucky enough to learn valuable computer skills, but when she is sitting in a classroom at Brown University, it will be certain that she actually has a well rounded education that she can use outside of the computer lab. She isn't the product of some over reaching technocratic movement, but rather, she is a fully educated person.

If it isn't clear by now, I only expected Cedra to matriculate to a true University because of the merit of her technologically enhanced yet traditional education. Call me a snob, but because Cedra could probably do calculus and recite the Bill of Rights, I think she has the right literacy and proficiencies for college and life.

Response 4

In a high school environment, there's more to it than simply receiving a high school diploma.  You learn how to socially communicate between peers and elders, you learn how to prepare for college, and most importantly, you get prepared for the real world.  However, when schools are only teaching you certain skills, teenagers miss out on what it's like to be a teenager.  There re no football games, or dances, or clubs at some of these schools.  The schools in Texas and California have completely different goals and the environment plays a big role in them.

All the schools incorporated technology to some degree, giving the students access to the world. However, when Tech High just prepared students via computer skills, it might affect the jobs they might want to someday obtain. Travis and Kep are very intelligent individuals, but what happens when they don't want to work with computers anymore?  That's all they know how to do because that's all they were taught, core class like science and english were never given to them.  There are hundreds of jobs, and competition is on the rise.  You need to know more than computer skills to succeed.  However, Travis and Kep have an overall advantage because they are very familiar with technology, giving them a step up above someone who never had the opportunity to come in contact with computers. 

I feel like it's a catch 22. With public schools, not everyone is given individual attention on technology.  But they are given many different skills to succeed in life.  With schools like tech high, they are given many technological opportunities, but are they missing out on common knowledge? 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Movie Prompt 1

Althought the outcomes of some of the individuals featured in the film weren't what I expected, after further thought, I determined that they were somewhat representative of society today. As in Luisa's case, many high school graduates are unable to attend college after high school due to financial complications. Often, the family cannot afford to send their child onto college and in such situations, the individual is unable to receive federal aid in most cases. Luisa was stuck in one of these cases. She was forced to work throughout school and it often conflicted with her studying habits. It even prevented her from graduating on time and took away much of the needed study hours that would have helped her on her photoshop exam.
Unfortunately, Travis had many of the same problems. While he was enrolled in the tech school and was considerably successful, he was also forced to balance his schoolwork with being the "man" of the household, adding much unfair pressure. Although Travis was quite driven, he was just not able to spend as much time on his schoolwork as necessary. Also, he was experiencing much of the same financial trouble as Luisa, preventing him from having as many resources and advantages available to him as wealthier families, such as Cedra.
Cedra, growing up in an upper-middle class family with much technological experience, had many advantages over Travis and Luisa. She mentioned that her dad worked for Macintosh Computers and that they had 4 computers in their house. Naturally, this helped her succeed in school by granting her the ability to practice her skills at home. As the movie showed, Cedra went on to Brown College and I believe her access to technology at home greatly aided this achievement. As we saw with Travis and Luisa, they had many more responsibilities to juggle while attending school as well as many less technological resources available to them. Cedra's success was not suprising to me because of her clear advantages over the other two students.
I was a little suprised to see Kep receive Valedictorian, however, it seemed to me that he deserved the award. He seemed to work really hard and had as much support his family could provide for him. However, it seemed like his family had some of the same financial problems as Travis and Luisa, yet, not to as great an extent. I feel like in Kep's case, him attending the Tech school helped him succeed to a greater degree than he would have without it. The school propelled him to success and aided him in receiving a scholarship, allowing him to go onto college, which he maybe wouldn't have had the opportunity to do without enrolling in the Tech school.
Overall, the students' experiences and outcomes from attending the tech school varied, but one common theme seemed to resonate: income level and family health tended to aid in the success of the individual.

Movie Response #4

I agree with Marissa and Jessica on this issue - high school is not simply a place to learn a skill for a job and nothing else. These schools, like Kep and Travis's, aren't high schools. They're technical schools. They don't prepare the students properly - they prepare them in only one skill. While, yes, computers are a way for disadvantaged students to break into a work environment and begin to succeed, I'm worried that with such a small skill set, these students won't continue to succeed.

We've all had students in our classes who were human calculators. Who could just reel off answers to complex math problems with ease. Or maybe they were geniuses at computers, and they were always the ones the teacher relied on to fix whatever technological problem he was having. They graduated valedictorian and went to MIT or Harvard or somewhere else impressive.

And then there's the rest of us. Math homework takes forever, it's not perfect, it's not right. And really, after basketball practice and maybe tutoring or getting coffee with friends, we were all too tired to try for hours anyway, right? But we got it done along with our other homework maybe watched House or the Office too, spent too much time on Facebook and online and went to bed. We passed the classes well enough to get here, so good job, mission accomplished. 

So, in twenty years, who's going to be the number-cruncher who sits in a cubicle and, well, crunches numbers, and who's going to be the manager, president, or CEO? (Hint: Being a CEO requires lots of different skills.) 

But I can see that, for Luisa and Kep and Travis, these skills are being taught as technical skills. They're a way for these students to enter the work force and hopefully make enough money to live comfortably, and that's a beneficial thing. I have absolutely no problem with schools like Tech High - I have no problems with schools that teach car repair or hair styling either. But they're not learning the same skill set at Tech High that students at a traditional school would. These students are not being prepared to "succeed," they're being prepared to make a living (which is fine).

I hate to say it, but it's got to start earlier than school. If students aren't fluent in computers early, it's just not going to be as naturally integrated into their schema. They'll always be behind students like Cedra, who does have an unfair advantage, and has grown up around computers. Even technology intensive schools like Tech High aren't going to make up for the natural fluency that comes with early and frequent use. I think Cedra describes it as "not being scared" of the computers.

In short - computers must be taught in schools. Must. Like the school librarian we watched in the clip in class, students must know how to use search engines efficiently, what to trust and what not to trust, how to deal with changing technology. But teaching only computers will hurt American society more than we can possibly imagine. The strength of the American education lies in showing you how to find answers, not in giving you all the answers for one skill set. The leaders of tomorrow aren't number crunchers, they're the average, middle-of-the-road, well-rounded, social student.

Movie Response - Prompt 1

When I first looked at the outcomes of each of the students I was a little surprised to see what happened to Luisa and Travis. I had expected the film to prove how technology led to success in every one of their lives. But after seeing each outcome and thinking about the different factors, each result seemed fitting to the circumstances and living situations of each student. Their family and financial situations proved to be the issues affecting the students the most. It wasn’t a surprise that Cedra was able to attend college after high school. Financially her family was well off and had four computers in her own household. Her family had no difficulty affording for her to go to college. Luisa on the other hand, is not part of a family that is as financially sound and must work at a local fast food restaurant for a source of income. Her necessity to work prohibits her from graduating high school on time and consumes valued time needed for preparing herself for the Photoshop exam. Similar to Luisa, Travis’ family issues hindered his success in high school and prevented him from entering into college after high school. With no father, at age 18 he is already the man of the household and must take care of his family. Due to this, he is financially unable to afford college. Additionally, Kep due to his achievement of valedictorian receives a great deal of financial aid, allowing him to attend college. Without this scholarship, Kep might not have been able to attend college, especially one as esteemed as Cal Tech.
These results show that technology, although it arguably helped each student’s life, did not provide a solution to family and financial issues. The only one that seemed to benefit greatly from technology was Kep. Receiving valedictorian at Tech High School allowed him to attend a good college that would provide a sound future. Cedra was also able to attend college, but was most attributed to her family’s financial situation. Although she benefited from being raised around technology as her dad’s career involves working with computers, she still wouldn’t have been able to attend college if her family’s economic status was similar to that of Travis or Luisa. Technology was unable to produce an escape from the family and financial issues of the two. Although their new knowledge of technology could prove to be an asset to obtaining a good occupation, a college degree for each of them would have proved to be more beneficial.

Prompt 4

After seeing the stories from the three different schools in the film I felt that the school with the best situation for connecting its students to technology was Cupertino High School. Obviously the school had an advantage being in the silicon valley during a time when everything was starting to focus on the technologies there. Despite the heavy influence of technology in the school, Cupertino from what I saw seemed like a normal School. There was a push to learn how to use the technology, but not such a push that it was the only thing stressed. Students may have found that aspect more interesting than the other traditional studies, but the extra curriculars and normal courses are all still there. If a student in the school is not interested in technology I'm sure there are other outlets for them in the school to find an interest. Being in silicon valley would give access to more cutting edge software and hardware if the school had the partners to fund it. Keeping up to date in area that makes seemingly exponential leaps every year is a difficult task and the location would definitely prove advantageous to Cupertino.

I don't feel that Tech High has the model quite right though. It seems to me that they are forcing their students to throw all their eggs in one basket regardless if they are willing. While they have many opportunities that other high school students may not have, they are also lacking in the traditional high school experience. Focusing on career orientation would take from them in essence one of the final times to just be a kid. No memories from sports teams, or performing arts. For some those are the best times, the best memories. Tech High seems like it would be heavily lacking in the well-roundedness that as competition for college increases becomes the determining factor for many admittances. Tech High although a good experiment would need to expand to include much more than just a technology heavy curriculum to be a useful prep school for students.

The high school in Austin TX although with a not as robust program in technology orientation, they did recognize the value of exposure to the area by opening a few multimedia classes. Whether or not the school will be indefinitely behind in the area of computer education largely depends on whether or not the school has an ambitious figure to set plans in motion to improve the department. The price of baseline personal computers has dropped sharply and schools now days are offered software bundles at steeply reduced prices. I'm sure if someone with enough motivation could move the school to increase the options in their area of computer studies. At the time I'm sure the school was doing as best as it could to at least provide something for the students. The cost of computers was probably a lot more, and a school with heavy gang activity seems like a school that may have other more pressing problems than worrying about how well they stand technology-wise.

Prompt #1

Though technology played a large role in each of the students futures, I think there were other issues that influenced each of them as well. I think two of the main issues that affected each student differently was their family and their financial state.
It was no surprise to me that Cedra graduated from a tech based high school in Cupertino, CA and was going to Brown University. In the film it said her father worked with computers and she has been around them her whole life, having four in her home. Because her family used and was around computers a lot, so was she, so she became more interested in them. Her family was also not hurting financially, so she had the ability to go to college without having to worry about how she could afford it.
I was also not surprised with Travis and his decision to not go on to college. In his family he played the role of a son, brother, and uncle, which kept him busy. Even though he went to New Technology High School, which was ahead in technology use for students, it does not mean that he was ahead financially. Travis did not have the money to go onto school and he could not get others in his family to pay for college for him. I also think that New Technology High School was so focused on getting kids set up for a career and doing internships at younger ages, Travis probably didn't find it necessary to go on to college, since his high school kind of acted as one already.
From what we saw in the film I was somewhat surprised to see that Kep became valedictorian of his class. He worked hard, but I thought Travis tried to work just as hard, he just had bad luck with his final project. Kep's family always seemed behind him, but they did not have a lot of money to help him out. I think he too would have not gone on to college if it wasn't for his scholarship. He is an example of how technology can be used as a solution. If he did not go to New Technology High School he probably wouldn't have gotten a full scholarship to college, which means he may have had to work with his family in their Royal Jelly Doughnuts restaurant until he could make enough money to afford further schooling.
Luisa was some what of a surprise to me as well. She seemed so motivated with trying to learn new things and teach others with what she learned from her multimedia class in her high school, I thought she would have graduated on time and passed her Photoshop exam. If she would have gone to one of the Tech schools she probably would have been able to pass the Photoshop exam, but she still may not have been able to graduate on time. Luisa's main problem seemed to be that she was low income and had to spend so much time working. Even if she had all of the technology experience the other students did, she probably would have ended up like Travis who never went to college because he could not afford it.
Technology is a tool that all of these students used. Even students who had access to technology did not get what they fully wanted. Having a family to help with support and being in a good financial state seem to be two major factors that influenced each of these students outcomes.

Question 1 - movie response

There were many things that influenced and affected these students besides technology.  Some different things that came into play were things such as friends from different school, money, part time jobs, family status, going to college, english and math skills and much more.   I think that technology can help with many of these issues but not all of them.  For example although some of the students friends from other schools would call them computer geeks the students of the Tech High School could show their friends some very beneficial skills.  Also their technology training can sometimes help with money issues but not always.  Like in the case of Kep he earned college scholarships because of his training in technology which allowed him to go on to college.  But sometimes technology cannot help with the money issues that people face.  For example Travis who graduates from the Tech High School was not able to afford to go to college because of his families circumstances.  Also although the Tech High School gave the students many useful skills if often lacked in teaching the students strong skills in english and math which could hinder their future in going to college and in some jobs.  

Some of the stories were excepted and predictable but I was also very surprised by others.  In Lulsa story I was surprised that she did not manage her time more effectively.  The Photoshop exam was very important to her future and yet she did not put enough time into it.  She could of had a very impressive job.  In Cedra's story it was good to see how she plans to use her computer skills in her future at college and a job.  Travis's story was very surprising in the fact that he hadn't tested out his senior project before he went in front of the review board.  I feel like as a student of a tech school he should know that technology can easily go wrong and you must do all necessary precautions before you actually do the project.  Kep story was very inspirational.  He did all he could do and then gained scholarships that helped him with college.  This seems very predictable because with this type of training you could get a step ahead of many students who go to normal public high schools.