Better phones, Lazier lives?

When scrolling through the technology section in Google news, I came across an article about the update on Apple’s iPhone 5s and Samsung’s Galaxy S4; these phones are coming out later this year and are expected to have high sales. This article caught my attention because of the continuous efforts in improving technology year after year. For example, the iPhone 5 is expected to have a fingerprint sensor for authentication purposes and a better camera that will include both white and yellow LEDs. The Galaxy S4 will also have an updated processor and camera. The newest feature will have an eye tracking that will allow readers to read on their smartphones without using their fingers to scroll. Meaning, when your eyes are at the bottom of the screen, the phone will scroll down for you to continue reading.

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The new features on these smartphones baffle me because of the idea that technology will forever be improving. Not only does technology improve social lives, but also the constant need to compete with other smartphones. There is a combination of drive for competition, but also a consumer’s desire for better technology. However, despite the fact that the phones are high tech, but should we question the motives of these companies to produce features that will improve lives or make individuals lazy?

The eye sensor feature is amazing in how technology has improved, but somehow there is a moment where we have to think to ourselves how this feature really benefits us? If you want to read on you smartphone while walking to your destination, but can’t scroll because your hands are full, well… then don’t walk while on your phone and pay attention to what is really in front of you.Even when you’re siting, what’s the harm in using your fingers to scroll. Many will disagree with me. I may be pessimistic about the advancement on this particular phone, but I want the competition between phones to be based on features that will actually be beneficial. For example, the iPhone 5s will have a fingerprint sensor that will actually prevent strangers from hacking into your phone. I am not being bias between the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4, but I just want to emphasize the fact that technology should have features that will also positively contribute to individual lives.

Auditory versus Visual

For the past week of working on my podcast project, a thought came to me about the topic of audio and how it pertains to individuals in relation to visual learners. People identify themselves as either auditory learners or visual learners. There is belief that there is a distinct difference between the two in which people tend to choose one from the other based on their experiences in school or from their work experience. I have often subjected myself in identifying myself as a visual learner. For example, in class I need professors to present pictures or videos in order for me to have a better understanding of the subject matter in class.

However, when reading the article “Think You’re An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It’s Unlikely,” I was surprised by the research that has been conducted in finding the difference between auditory learners and visual learners and how different teaching styles have affected students. In this article, psychologist, Dan Willingham at the University of Virginia, have found studies that there is no scientific evidence that supports that idea that auditory learning is better than the visual learning or vice versa. He says the learning process is more about the idea of how information is presented that will boost students’ attention; therefore, by maintaining students’ attention, they will learn better.

auditory&visual

Now that I think about it, I identify myself as a visual learner because of the way the information is presented to me that grabs my attention. In my experience, audio has always been the weakest link making me pay more attention. Therefore, when referring to the Podcast Project, I had a difficult time in trying to think of ways that will make it interesting to my listeners. In relation to the new digital age, there is technology that enables audio to sound more interesting in ways that will make listeners want to listen. By mixing voice with music and sound effects, the podcast project turned into a fun project in how I can mix all these aspects that will make it worthy of listening – in trying to make it unique. In today’s society, technology has made it possible for not only for myself, but for other students for having more options in how to learn in classrooms.

Is Facebook, really, a distraction?

There is a distinct argument of whether or not Facebook is a distraction to the 1 billion users worldwide. Because of the high usage of this social networking site, the terms, “facebookers” and “facebooking” have come about in the effect that Facebook has engrossed users to be active members in connecting with other people. There is a concern that too many people are captivated by the social networking site because of the easy access to the personal lives of friends, or in some cases, “friends.” However, despite the constant need for people to stay connected, the real concern is whether or not Facebook is a distraction to everyone’s daily lives.

From what I see around campus, the majority of students are logged onto Facebook from their laptops, smartphones, or the computers at the computer lab. The idea that Facebook is considered a distraction is because Facebook allows people to escape the real world and enter into a cyber-world where they have the easy access to socialize with people on the web. There is an obsession of staying connected with friends because of the numerous photos that people are tagged in or the quirky statuses that are posted on one’s wall. The obsession goes as deep as to having four hundred and something friends, in which all these people aren’t even considered friends. It’s the idea of just staying connected and having a network that spans to regions that doesn’t even pertain to one individual.  People want to have the ability that they can be in a world where they’re able to socialize with everyone through this mechanism.

But because of this idea, does this consider Facebook to be a distraction that causes individuals to exclude the outside world? In my opinion, Facebook is not the only mechanism that inhibits people’s ability to focus on main tasks. Before the age of Facebook, there were numerous things that were considered distractions, such as television, sports, hobbies, video games, and etc. For example, when a student is not logged onto Facebook, the television is turned on because of the need to distract oneself from doing homework. I think television is just as significant as Facebook because they serve the same purpose. There are so many other factors that contribute to misguiding oneself from doing the necessary tasks, and in this case, studying and doing homework for class. Facebook is taken into account that there is a new age of technology, aka the digital age, that enables Facebook to be the primary factor of distracting people because of its efficiency that allows people to log on from anywhere they choose. Sooner or later, Facebook will no longer be the topic of discussion. There will always be a new age where one is “distracted” because it’s a never ending cycle of whether or not we can come to terms in how people run their daily lives.

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Straddling Both Worlds

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Just a few weeks ago, I took a short ride to my local Barnes & Noble Bookstore. I’ve been going to this Barnes ever since I moved to my hometown some fifteen years ago. Walking through these aisles of book shelves puts a smile on my face. Nowadays, when I go this this nostalgic place, I’ve entered into a world where no one knows that paperback still exists – a desolate and empty store with no one there but me and the store clerks. Now that the digital age as blossomed, the first thing I see when I walk into any Barnes & Noble Bookstore is a rectangular table which displays two or three nooks and next to them are various colors of Nook cases. This is what my favorite store has come to. As a college student, I do not own a Nook, in which I find these devices difficult to use upon my fingers. I’d rather touch a book and feel what it has to offer. I guess you can say that nothing gives me greater joy than holding a paperback in my two hands.

I am a student of only twenty years of age, but can I still be considered a child of the book in this digital age that has encompassed me? Is it possible to straddle both worlds?

In my experience so far, there are difficulties of how to perceive and accept both concepts of the past to present. It seems nowadays that the digital age has been forced upon us because of societal expectations from our friends and our peers who surround us every day. As college students, we are pressured into the notion that purchasing books at a bookstore can be a hassle as opposed to purchasing books from the comfort of our homes in which we can digitally view these books. Not only has the digital age prove to allow comfort and accessibility, it has also disrupt the physical action of those who want to purchase books at a store. For example, in my 18th Century Literature class, we are required to purchase a specific book in a specific edition. The local bookstore did not order enough of these books because of the assumption that most students will digitally purchase it. Therefore, everyone was not able to read and be prepared in class because everyone was not able to buy a copy. The digital age seems to conflict with those who are still a child of the book because it is difficult to hold on to both worlds.

Being a child of the book does not exclude oneself from the digital age, but instead, adds another layer of how we view ourselves in another world that we are not familiar with. It is possible to straddle both worlds because it can be a learning process. I am still an advocate of physically going to a bookstore to purchase a book so I can have the satisfaction of holding a paperback. However, I understand that the digital age has its effects on people and their decisions. By still believing in being a child of the book, not only has it effected my decisions as a student, but it has also enabled me to better understand that this generation is growing in a way that is meant to help us better understand who we are as a person in the digital age.