Our outboard brain

Discussions around the outboard brain were strong around 2007 when wired magazine and others picked up this notion of us now having an outboard brain and outsourcing some of our thinking to a device. The article Your outboard brain knows all was a lively discussion of this issue:

“My point is that the cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we’ve outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.”

It made me think. I love being able to look anything up when I do not know. In that sense I am more informed. My blogging has really contributed to my knowledge but I have just done exactly what the article is talking about. I surprised myself by finding a blog post about the outboard brain on another blog of mine. I had forgotten all about it. The issue is still relevant and David Bowden’s poetry examines the impact of technology on us. There is another poem The inner net which examines our so called connectivity and what the impact of that has been in human terms.

I have ready access to factual information because blogging makes me think and integrate that knowledge into my own database. I’d say technology has contributed well and effectively to my ever growing brain. To ensure this though I make sure I put myself at risk technologically by learning new software, a new OS, a new gadget. Nothing like databases to force a literary brain into chaos and ensure it HAS to learn!! Technology is for me a tool, not a substitute…and I thank this poem for helping me think this through.

Do something differently

Do something differently and do something different. With technology it’s a must because it changes rapidly. You can use your familiar ground to do things differently and you can challenge yourself to do something different. The future isn’t now, it’s tomorrow. You are not the future now , you are in the present but the future will be different and it will mean changing . Technology is a handy way to keep yourself open to change. Change your set up. Change how you do things. Change the order in which you do things. Use your tablet more or less. Try the phone version of something you use on a laptop. Do without your laptop for a week. Use images instead of words. Send a video instead of an email. As you train yourself to change you are investing in your self confidence and skills. You trust yourself to be able to do things differently and believe you can work things out.

1. Use different tools. You could well find something better.
2. Learn a new device or app.
3. Use chat instead of email or vice versa

People who are confident and inventive with technology have a balanced set of skills and approaches. They know how to troubleshoot and they can think of so many ways to problem solve. Experience is a great teacher. As people we always like our way of doing things and the tools and media we use. It doesn’t hurt once in a while to try and do it differently and the way someone else does it. Pay attention to what other people are using and what devices they use and when. If you think they are competent with technology then try it their way and see what you learn. As you work through a process of doing something differently then what are you learning and what are the benefits? Did your change make you feel more or less successful? Did you know how to problem solve? Did you ask for help? How quickly did you adapt to the new way of doing something and what were the benefits for you? Learning by doing is very effective. You do not tend to forget and you stimulate your brain to think differently. You also make use of different skills and don’t just have a set of unrelated thoughts in your head which may or may not come into action. Often, when you are doing something different or differently you will automatically share that experience and therefore gain valuable encouragement or feedback for improvement. It just comes naturally that you share either because you are pleased with what you have done or you are frustrated by it.

Can I put my money where my mouth is? Have I done different things or done things differently?

1.I put Hay Day on my smartphone. I am not one to play games on my phone and had the belief it’s not easy and not good for me. I thought it wouldn’t be as good on a phone. I downloaded the app, logged in, connected my current account on Hay Day via Facebook and then marvelled at how easy it was and how I could spend 10 minutes happily. I was surprised how well it works on the phone and how easily I could play. It’s how I found out about Hay Day. Someone was playing on their phone and I asked about it because I love farm games. It ended up being a really good conversation but I came home that evening and loaded it onto my iPad Air.

2. I have made myself use Instagram all year because I had joined and not really done anything or participated. Most days I am taking photos to put on my account. I have loved it because the community is very positive, creative and artistic. I have got to know some local and not so local people very easily. My photos have been successful and I can look back over the year and see how I have changed and grown and then see what I have achieved.

3.I have been involved in a lot of different social settings and events this year. I came to technology as a teacher. I have a teacher headset. It has been really interesting to see how the real world uses technology because the emphases and uses are quite different . I plan to blog about this.

I want a cube thinking app

cube template I want an interactive cube template for thinking which could also be used for presentations. Presentations are just thinking out loud in public. I want 9 squares on the cube and the option of adding more squares so it could be 4×4 and I want the squares on each face of the cube. Then I want it to be like Rubrik’s cube so that I can twist the cross sections and bisections. If I have sets of ideas on each side of the cube, that gives me the potential to mix and match ideas, challenge my thinking and have a chance to really grow my thoughts. It can look at ideas, theory , practice, images , video links even. I have looked and there is nothing. I have seen some nice Powerpoint templates for cubes which you can animate but they mycubetemplateare not exactly what I want. I found this lovely flower template which I have started to play with and it is really nice but I can’t rotate it and I can’t do the cross section twisting. Imagine looking at characters from a novel or play on each side of the cube. Imagine looking at a book from 6 different angles. Imagine learning vocabulary or gathering specific expressions for a specialised piece of writing. Imagine collecting steam punk ideas. Project building. I could do a lot with an animated cube for thinking. 3D, 21st century, where are you?

Australian Curriculum : Digital Technologies

You may have missed it. ACARA put out a video explaining Digital Technologies in our new Australian curriculum. computational thinkingIt is about giving our students the skills, thinking and tools to comfortably sit in a digital world and understand the implications of that. It is the thinking which is important. ACARA has tried to focus on that and show a way to develop that because if we don’t have students who are hurting their heads with learning and who are not engaged in explicit interaction with technology then we won’t be moving anywhere. To me, Associate Professor Paul Newhouse sums it all up well. We have to be able to collaborate. We have to be able to find digital solutions to problems facing us in workplaces and organisations which are all part of a global movement now. Associate Professor Paul Newhouse is right. We need to engender knowledge, disposition and concepts all of which are readily available and highlighted in our national curriculum. The fact we look at general competencies and put ICT there means ACARA acknowledges technology is there and integral to all we do now.

Brain vs Computer

 

The video is a bit strange at times but the content is interesting. How does a human brain compare with a computer and does it matter? I have never considered computers to be a replacement for me – just an enhancement. They can make lots of things easier and more interesting. I also think when we look at computer capacity and then our brains it helps us to understand that we don’t really make sufficient use of our brains. The comments underneath the video on YouTube are interesting. The video is a good way to think about technology and where it fits in with us and what its purpose might be. One of the commenters comes up with this information to help clarify the comparison between brain and computer:

Brain: 2200000000000000 flops = 2200000000 Megaflops = 2200 Teraflops. Super computer = 8200000000 Megaflops = 8200 Teraflops

Brains do not process information as quickly but brains can do other things like think or is that just executing commands?

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