Posts tagged Tech in the News
8th grade students examined two stories of digital identity occurring this week in Washington state:
Story 1: Two tweens charged with cyberstalking in Facebook incident
An 11-year old and 12-year old are accused of using an ex-friend’s Facebook account to post mean and sexual images and messages. This is a clear instance of posing, which we’ve previously studied as a form of cyberbullying. The 12-year-old student went before a judge today and pled not guilty.
Story 2: A superstar teen loses chance to be featured by the Seattle Times because of distateful tweets
A Seattle journalist was writing an article about a teen who is heading to college after beating the odds and moving to the US from a refugee camp. As part of his research, he took a look at the teen’s Twitter account, which contained lewd language and drug related posts. As a direct result of the tweets, the journalist has decided not to write the story.
8th graders spent time debating the conflict between the teen’s positive actions and negative digital identity. Which is a more accurate depiction of the teen? Do we all have negative aspects of our life that aren’t meant to be recorded forever? What are healthy ways to explore identity without putting everything online?
7th and 8th grade students this week are examining the timeline associated with a recent hacking of Sony’s Playstation Network. The story is evolving daily, as Sony releases information about the incident which may have caused over 77 million customer accounts to be compromised.
Sony’s stock price has dropped as a result of the intrusion, and on Monday they announced that another 25 million older accounts have been hacked as well.
While some students felt this story didn’t pertain to them personally because they don’t have a Playstation Network account, we quickly realized that there are many online locations that have similar databases of customer information.
Here is a list of places that students shop online, places that keep records of our address, name, birthday, credit card numbers, phone numbers, etc:
- iTunes music store
- XBOX Live
- anywhere online that we shop!
Every time we buy from an online location, we are trading the convenience of instant gratification for the risk of losing control of our personal information. Sony is an incredibly unfortunate example.
Since the database breach occurred, Sony had to switch off their Playstation Network until they can fix the security issues. This means that millions of people can’t play games online with friends or buy new games. This results in millions of lost revenue dollars for the company and many angry customers.
Will this problem cause Playstation to lose the console battle with Microsoft? Will people be able to trust Sony with their personal information after such a news story?
6th grade students discussed the possible reasons and outcomes of a T-Mobile USA takeover by AT&T.
The conversation was wide-ranging…some of the topics discussed:
- what is the history of AT&T?
- how would the purchase of T-Mobile help AT&T provide service to it’s users?
- how would T-Mobile’s customers experience the change?
- how do cell phone companies marketing departments claim colors to represent their company?
- why does the US have more than one cell phone technology (CDMA, GSM, etc)?
- what is a monopoly?
- why is competition important for the US?
- what is the electromagnetic spectrum?
7th grade today analyzed a couple of big tech stories:
Facebook begins streaming video – we discussed how brick-and-mortar stores compete with mail or instant download/streaming video services, the death of the DVD, and how many BluRay DVD player owners don’t actually own BluRay DVDs. General consensus was that impulse purchases are most likely to occur when streaming video. Facebook’s approach to streaming video is a little different than Netflix because you can use US currency or Facebook currency. Students point out that once you invest in Facebook currency you are bound to their service – a clever and scary proposition. Also, watching movies in Facebook will drastically increase some people’s Facebook time…this provides more time for Facebook to advertise to the viewer, thus increasing their profits.
Apple announces iPad 2 – we compared the features of Apple’s new offering to the iPad 1 and the iPhone. Students decided this is clearly an evolution, not a revolution. Even though the technology might not be ground breaking, students think that the tablet in general is fairly revolutionary because it is increasing the amount of screen time a person engages in. Tangential conversations turned to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Google’s Android OS.
So much exciting tech in the news lately…8th grade students discussed a few of the stand-out stories of the last week:
Apple becomes a distribution channel for OSX applications – Apple has taken their iTunes model (sell other people’s music and take a bit of money from each sale) and successfully applied it to iPhone apps. Now they are moving ahead and allowing Apple computer owners to do the same thing.
Two stories from CES 2011
Microsoft announces Surface 2.0
Snowboarding goes high tech
7th grade students had their scientific understanding of evolutionary adaptation put to the test in a scary simulation. News reports from around North Seattle were coming in about mysterious happenings surrounding Billings Middle School. We used a Google Map to document the stories, some include newspaper clippings. It seems as though a pattern is emerging…
What type of creature could do such a thing? Biped or quadruped? Herbivore, carnivore or omnivore? Can it swim? Students used facts from the stories to support conclusions about dietary needs, description and origins of the mythical monster. Click on the pushpins below to read more about the incidents.
Just when things couldn’t get any scarier, we found a mystery jawbone in the rain garden while on break! How does this jawline and the teeth present affect our hypotheses already established?
8th grade students examined 2 technology stories, both out of England.
The owner of a company that makes Segway scooters was riding a prototype near his home and fell off a cliff. There are actually quite a few cases of people being injured by this technology – so is it good or bad? After much heated debate, the group came to the decision that it is people and their intentions that project good or bad onto an object.
As Abbey points out, “A rock can’t be good or bad, a rock just is. It’s how someone uses a rock that gives it value.”
Isaac held out with the belief that, while the above is true, there are some objects, such as a nuclear bomb, that are made with the sole purpose of destruction. Therefore, the object itself is bad because it can’t be anything else.
An English girl tried to invite 15 friends to her birthday party using Facebook. When creating the event, she included her cell phone number and addresses. Her invite security settings were not set correctly, and she ended up with thousands of people from all over the world RSVPing to the party. She has had to change her cell phone number and the police are stepping up patrols in the 3,000 person town in which she lives.
Where does the fault lie in this story? 8th graders recognized quickly that Facebook isn’t good or bad, it is it’s use & misuse that cause troubles such as these. Should everyone have access to all technology? Who should monitor whether a 16 year old can drive a car? Should the government make you pass an reflex test to get a Segway? Should parents have to approve all content a minor posts online?
Lots of great conversation but no clear answers. We’ll continue these discussions in coming weeks and relate privacy settings and responsibility to our own digital lives. Stay tuned for more insights…
7th grade is focused on technology in the news. The last few weeks we’ve been following the upcoming iPhone, Facebook privacy updates, and a lawsuit against Google for Street View information.
iPod touch with camera shows up in Vietnam
Apple loses a second 4th gen iPhone, new insights discovered
iPhone Finder Regrets His ‘Mistake’
Police Raid Gizmodo Editor’s House, Confiscate Computers
Google Street View troubles:
Google faces U.S., German probes on data collection
Spirited 7th grade conversation today, as students tracked the latest developments in the case of the iPhone 4G.
We started by tracking Apple’s stock price this year, beginning with the iPad announcement and following through until yesterday’s report that Apple made over 3 billion dollars in the last quarter.
Using Bing’s finance charts and Google’s time-related search results, we mapped increasing share price and product announcements over the last 3 years. We found a clear trend – stock prices rise between the announcement of a new product and it’s actual launch.
Also, we realized that much of the pre-launch marketing around Apple products is free – news outlets and bloggers share stories and compete to scoop each other with rumors and insider (mis)information. This is great news for Apple, since they don’t have to spend all of their money to get the word out.
Now to the rumor of the week – an Apple employee supposedly left a prototype of the new iPhone (to be released this summer) in a California bar. The device was sold to Gizmodo, which has dedicated an entire portion of their site to stories about this gadget. This creates more buzz for Apple as other news outlets report on Gizmodo’s reporting.
Students used Google’s real-time “updates” to monitor how many stories are bouncing around the blogosphere and Twitter channels about this story. While there is a bump in traffic, we don’t think that this story is enough to sustain interest through the summer. What else will Apple tell us about the new product to keep news outlets interested?
Some students wondered if Apple had “lost” the iPhone on purpose to try and get free advertising from bloggers, newspapers, television and radio. Some bloggers suggest that Gizmodo got punked by Apple.
One class had an unexpected find during class today, a webpage that simultaneously searches Google and Bing, displaying results side-by-side. In Firefox, you can actaully set http://www.google-vs-bing.com/ as your default search engine if desired.
The 6th grade spent the period deconstructing the marketing around Apple’s new iPad announcement.
We started with the official video that greets visitors to the Apple website. What does Apple want us to believe about the new device? How do they use music, backgrounds, demonstrations and interviews to convince us?
Next we broke up into groups to figure out if the iPad is a technological evolution or revolution. Every group clearly agrees that this is merely an evolution – as Abe pointed out, “it’s just an iPod Touch that won’t fit in your pocket.”
Could the iPad be a replacement for your home computer?