Archives for the month of: November, 2012

I changed this, http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/ll_whoradio.html, into a narration from “Tesla’s point of view”.

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When asked who it was who invented the radio, most answer that it was Marconi. That man, however talented, was yet not the first inventor to hold a patent on the radio. And although the priority of the Tesla patent was restored over the Marconi patent by the court in 1943 for their own purposes, the fact of the matter is that many are unaware of my part in the development of the radio. I had been months, perhaps weeks, away from transmitting a signal from my lab to a location fifty miles away when a building fire destroyed my lab and my work. I filed my patent for the radio in 1897 and it was granted to me in 1900. While in England, a man named Marconi was attempting the same thing, using seventeen of my patents in an attempt to transmit radio signals across the English Channel. He tried and failed to get a patent on the radio three years after I had filed mine, but his attempts were blocked because at the time my patent had priority and I was still trying to gain back what data and research I had lost when my lab burned down. Marconi managed in 1901 to transmit and receive signals across the Atlantic Ocean, but I was not concerned at the time. In 1904, however, the U.S Patent office granted Marconi a patent for the invention of the radio; the suspected err here due to financial backing for Marconi in the United States. To this day, Marconi is the one who most believe to be behind the radio’s invention, while it was not him, but I, Nikola Tesla.

 

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In comparison to the original, I think that the ‘narration’ gets you to relate more to Tesla’s troubles and it becomes easier to understand the issues that he had to face when it came to his work on the radio.

 

 

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The first thing I remember learning about Nikola Tesla was about his invention the Tesla Coil. I didn’t exactly know what it was, but I knew that it had something to do with electricity. When I found out that many people were not even aware of that much, let alone knowing the man’s name, I decided to do some research on the scientist to satisfy my curiosity regarding who he really was and why he wasn’t as famous as Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton. What I remember discovering about Tesla even in just my initial findings was extraordinary. He was a brilliant scientist, though perhaps rather crazy as well, but how many scientists are any different? The reason why many don’t know of him is because he was outshined by Thomas Edison, a rival of Tesla’s but in no way his superior. Tesla was brighter and had thousands more revolutionary inventions than Edison, yet Edison is remembered for plenty while Tesla is not. Tesla lived from 1856-1943, yet he thought of the concept of wireless power transmission and experimented with it long before scientists today ever even considered experimenting with the idea. Tesla was so ahead of his time with all of his crazy inventions that I just found him to be fascinating.

1. many don’t know of him is because he was outshined by Thomas Edison
2. Tesla was brighter and had thousands more revolutionary inventions than Edison
3. lived from 1856-1943
4. he thought of the concept of wireless power transmission and experimented with it long before scientists today
5. Tesla was so ahead of his time with all of his crazy inventions > perhaps rather crazy as well

Freewrite: Though all of these points hold great significance 3, 4, and 5 all can be pointed together. I guess the main point is that he isn’t so well remembered because people probably thought he was crazy. Maybe he was but I think what led to this was, as you mentioned, he was experimenting with things way beyond his time and thought to be impossible. The time he lived in, “1856-1943,” had just barely heard of and started to use electricity let alone even fathom the ideas he had already been trying to create. I think this would be a really interesting angle.
I think you’re interested because, like you said, not a lot of people really know about this man, yet he was – I’m assuming – the father of our “new” technology, the cell phones, ipods, etc. that we carry around with us every day.

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I noticed that Tesla was being modest in describing his interest in the topic the book is on and in thanking others for their results that he claims no credit for whatsoever. It was obvious that he was curious, in awe of the science he was speaking of, fascinated by the experiments, and that he found the whole process to be a joy to do. It was clear that he was excited when it came to what he was writing about. At times, he uses visuals, pictures of the pieces of equipment that are used in the experiments he details. Tesla also includes images of various laboratories. From the book, it is clear that he thoroughly enjoys and understands the scientific topic that he is speaking about; alternate currents of high potential and high frequency.

The way that Paul’s chapters are done in comic form make his chapters of the memoirs more involving than Judy’s manage to accomplish. In the comics, the icons of the story are more abstract which allows for easier involvement between the reader and the story. In Paul’s chapter where he and his friend were switching around the signs at school, for example, I found that it was extremely easy to relate to. In particular, I enjoyed the panels where it jumped from showing him and his friend as normal kids into showing the two of them wearing trench coats as if they were from a Bond film. I found that the transformation of the kids depicted their imaginations taking them into a different world and causing their acts of ‘vandalism’ to actually seem rather innocent because they were only playing a game. I was able to relate to the idea of pretending to be someone else in that way. Additionally, when they find themselves in trouble once they are caught messing with the exit sign, their trench coats vanish, indicative of the kids being broken out of their fantasy.

When icons are more abstract, they serve as a way to get the readers involved in what’s on the page. The readers are more easily capable of associating with the abstract images that they are viewing, thus making them more susceptible to the story unfolding before them. When icons are less abstract, readers are communicated to in a fashion where they are supposed to view such images as objects more than before. Even drawings of people become objectified when drawn with more details than the abstract main characters.

 

Until I read McCloud’s discussion about the function of cartoons, I had not thought about how an abstract drawing of a person is far easier to see yourself in than a more detailed image. The role of images, when they are as abstract as a circle with dots and lines inside them, is important to help the audience to fill those shoes of the center of focus. And he’s right, the difference between using an image to describe something and using words to describe that same thing is so huge that it almost seems absurd that a comic artist can sit down and merge those two ways of storytelling into one style in order to depict a story. 

In “The Ride Together”, the brother and sister authors of their memoirs have an interesting style that combines a written narrative with a comic-style narrative, each chapter switching between one of the other. Using narrative and comics together in order to tell a story is a method of storytelling that I found to be rather unique. I had never before witnessed a combination such as this one in a book, as most tend to go either one way or the other, not both. Their style made the story more interesting and easier to delve into, as going from chapter to chapter grants a certain new refreshing feeling throughout the book due to the way the storytelling method switches back and forth.

 

In Judy’s narrative chapters, her strategy is to tell the story from her point of view. She bases her chapters on her memories, they are completely anecdotal. While reflecting on the past, she also seems to incorporate some of her more present day knowledge into her writing, allowing her to make sense of certain things that she may not have understood at the time in the past when her narrative is taking place. These rhetorical strategies help her to convey her story in an interesting light that should take the reader back in time to the moment where her tale is being told. Her first-person narrative helps to make it clear that the story is from no one’s point of view but her own, and puts the reader into her shoes in an attempt to get the reader involved in her memories.

When composing the storify essay, I started by searching for videos and articles that would be relevant to the question I was asking, “What are the ways technology has changed the way students learn and what are the consequences?” I found quite easily through the storify creation page that searching for related topics through the methods they provide is extremely easy. It honestly was not difficult in the slightest to find good and interesting sources that applied to the context of my argument. The only challenge comes when you are trying to discern an interesting, applicable source from a dull, farfetched source. I felt as though it is rewarding to look at the end result that is the storify publication, the combination of videos, articles, pictures, and text in one neat little easily viewable page is a pleasant sight to see. Knowing that a reader can easily view all of the sources that I found with no more than a single click to each one of them makes it that much easier, I think, to comprehend and for the reader to get involved in what I am trying to say with my storify. The setup of storify allows a reader to think for him or herself on a topic such as the one I investigated, hopefully with the added bonus of being able to see what I have gained from the subject and conversely allow him or her to also gain an opinion on the topic. That is, I think, what makes the storify composition satisfying in the end.

                What made composing this essay different from composing other academic essays in other English classes and across the disciplines was nearly everything about the process. Instead of having to search legitimate sources that had to be accessed through the school website’s research section, I was able to find my sources through storify itself. I didn’t have to go tirelessly searching around through various articles and books and other official documents in the vague hope that a single keyword search would find me what I needed, rather I was able to type in a few pointed key terms into storify and there they appeared to me, all the sources that I could possibly require and that related to my topic in the exact way I desired. Composing the storify entry was also different in that using the opinions of real people were possible, such as using twitter posts made by all kinds of people. I have never encountered an academic essay where such sources were allowed to be used, so being able to use the honest musings of real, everyday people was rather fun. Additionally, in other academic essays, I have had to compose the entire thing with solely words, but here, in this storify essay, I was able to use pictures and videos as sorts of breaks in between various paragraphs in order to make it an easier read and to present the evidence right then and there, whereas with a full text essay, the sources are referenced to and presented in list form at the end only. All in all, it was easy to feel as though composing this essay was much easier and more straightforward than attempting to accumulate a large combination of facts for a black and white paper.

                My argument focused on the ways in which technology affects people today and the way in which students are being affected and, by extension, the way that technology is thus affecting the way in which students learn. Is technology helpful, or is it a detriment? My purpose was to make people aware of the way that modern technology has begun to affect people in the world today, and how it can either help or hurt us depending on how it is used. Technology is not by far the only thing that has uses that can either be a blessing or be harmful depending on the way that people choose to use it, in fact, that detail is true when you get right down to thinking about almost anything. Everything, anything, in the universe can either be used for great good or great evil, depending on how the user chooses to wield it. With such an argument, I intended for my audience to be anyone and everyone who has used technology in their lives. Supposing the audience is more suited to be people who understand what it means to be ‘dependent’ on technology, but still, the topic itself can really apply to a broader range of people than that. Anyone who has used technology understands that such devices have great potential, the power lies in how such things are used by the people who have them.

                I chose to start off my storify with a picture. Although it appears simple upon first glance, I actually felt as though it held a strong significance and importance to it. To the average technology user, one glance at the image might give them thoughts that there is nothing out of the ordinary in the picture, just as it was for me. Except, upon further inspection, one begins to realize that this picture, detailing a room filled with empty tables, chairs, and a dozen computers is filled with only one thing, technology. Clearly, the scene provides some evidence of just how important technology has become to us. The image is depicting a learning space, but there are no pencils, no pens, no paper, nothing aside from another computer every few inches or so. With this image, I hoped to convey the meaning of the importance of technology to us in modern day life. Clearly, we know how to use it for the good of learning.

                My next move was to introduce two different articles that both spoke on the role that technology is capable of playing in increasing student performance. Good, solid articles are needed when it comes to establishing an argument that you want people to believe in, and I felt as though these two both served their purpose. As the first article explains, technology can change the way that students learn and the way in which they are taught. Technological devices are an important part of learning that we cannot just toss to the side simply because they have the potential to cause distractions, because just look at all the good that it can do. Students no longer have to stick strictly to textbooks; the internet contains much of the knowledge required for learning. I mean, without the internet, without technology at my disposal, how would I have created the very storify essay that I am writing this reflection on? The sources certainly would not have been so easy to locate and I may have spent hours, days, attempting to locate valid sources to use in my essay. Since I am a student with accessibility to the internet, I have what I need in order to learn about topics such as the way technology helps students learn and as such I am able to detail my input on the matter.

It was an integral part of my argument for me to include the comments of real people as they talk about how technology seems to be affecting them and the lives around them. Hurricane Sandy was a recent threat that many people were concerned about, but I know a lot of people who were more upset by the idea that their power might go out rather than being concerned about lasting damage that the storm might cause. Their concern was placed in the terrifying thought that under the circumstances of losing electricity, they would be without their computers for possibly hours. Technology dependence is a real issue that we have to face, but not one that cannot be helped.

                I mentioned the bit about how much time the average American between eight and eighteen spends using a phone, computer, television, or other electronic device for seven and a half hours per day because it is important to point out how strongly technology affects everyone. For many people, it is probably indeed true that much of that time is not spent learning and is rather being wasted as a distraction via technology. However, such is the case simply because that is how these people are choosing to spend their time. Spending time doing little to nothing on the internet is just another method of passing by free time on a given day, just as how other people use that same time to party and do other things. Being on the internet, using technology like this, is another form of recreation. Wasting endless hours browsing the internet when time is better spent on homework or other work, however, is when situations become a little trickier. Once it gets to that point, that is when using your time wisely comes into play. Study habits need to be reinforced at such times, a person needs to have the will to actually do his or her work and not procrastinate. Having the internet does not change the fact that a person is going to procrastinate from what he or she doesn’t want to do, the only issue here is that the internet makes it so easy to procrastinate. Students need to train themselves in how to use technology to learn when it is required, and not to allow themselves to get distracted when their focus is needed. The video that I posted also touches upon these ideas.

                I thought it important to mention the potential for learning that technology brings forth that we cannot get anywhere else. Inventions in the field of learning create limitless possibilities to make it easier and easier, developing methods of teaching and learning that many of us would probably have never thought possible. Adaptive technologies that adapt to the person doing the learning, learning apps meant specifically for deaf students in order to improve their learning experience. None of this would be possible without technology. These are then examples of the possible greatness that comes with using technology properly.