30 November 2010

Digital Revolution: Upgrading Education for Digital Civilization

On Thursday, December 9th from 7-9 p.m. in 3108 JKB at BYU, me and my Digital Civilization classmates will be showcasing our final projects.  Also, we will be serving refreshments.

Come check it out!

Photo credit Andrew DeWitt

29 November 2010


We just had the most fantastic interview with Norbu Jinpa!

We would ask him our questions and he gave long, golden answers.  They blew us away.  I don't know how he managed to give such a great answer to every question, but that's Norbu for you!  He's just that great!

We have about 40 minutes of recorded interview, 15 of which are video chat.  It was a better connection without the video so we disbanded it for most of the interview.

Here's the behind-the-scenes of the interview, the Skype text conversation:

23 November 2010

First Interview

We spoke with Norbu Jinpa last night.  He was in India, we were in Provo.

You can listen to our recording, with all its flaws, on our website.  (That is, as soon as I figure out how to get it there.  Sorry!)

We had some microphone problems, background noise, and no web cam, but I am really happy with what we have so far!  It's Norbu telling us about himself.

I've been thinking about the format for our final project--five minutes we'll present on December 9, 2010.  We need to make every one of those five minutes count.  Parker and Sean suggested that we conduct more complex parts of the interview in text since we had quite a few technical difficulties with this first interview.

22 November 2010

Norbu's Photography

Norbu gave me permission to share some of his photos here.  Hope you like them!

19 November 2010

Facebook and Facetime

What, you may ask, is facetime?

Wade Jacobsen, a BYU student, recently conducted a study in which he found a correlation between the time students spend on Facebook and facetime, or face-to-face interactions.

Initially the researchers suspected that digital media would partially replace offline socializing.  Instead they found that face time increased by 10 to 15 minutes for every hour spent with social media and cell phones.

Jacobsen notes that "unlike when the Internet was relatively new, the friends you have online now are the same set of friends you have in real life."  He believes that "the technology helps students get together and make plans."

At first when I read this study I thought, really?  Only 10 minutes for a full hour of Facebook time?  But then I realized that not only did face time not diminish but it actually increased!

To Establish Rapport

Here's the thing.

I actually feel like Norbu Jinpa is my friend.

Isn't that cool?  Slash great?

I was on Skype today, and I had a bit of a rough moment because I didn't know what to say to Norbu outside of discussing my research.  I've been thinking a lot about what Jay said in his comment on our interview questions.  He said "establishing rapport is a big part of interviewing.  I think you'll want to spend a decent amount of time at the beginning of your interview on the 'tell us about yourself' question and follow-up questions."  I realized that I have been really, really bad about that when talking to Norbu.

17 November 2010

Interview Questions

I've just been revising my group's interview questions so that I can send them to Norbu and I realized that I wrote really awful ones!  My questions were good avenues for inquiry based research but not something I would pose to Norbu.  

I've learned from my Skype conversations that I must be careful when speaking to Norbu.  He is not a native English speaking college student like me and my peers.  We are dealing with language barriers and cultural barriers.  Mike put up a great post about cross cultural communication addressing this issue.  As I read through and simplified our questions, I realized that we have some basic themes that will be the core of our interview.  Here are the 21 revised questions that I've sent to Norbu for review:

Tell us about yourself.  What is your name and what do you do for work?
Tell us about the Tibetan culture. What is it?
How long have Tibetans been in India? 
How have computers and the Internet changed your culture?  Do they create problems?
How do students learn in your community?  How do they learn with computers? 
How has the computer changed the way students learn? 
Are books or computers better for teaching students?
What do you think about your native land, Tibet?
How do you use your computer? 
How do you use your computer to talk with other Tibetans?
Do you use your computer every day? 
Do students use computers every day?
Do teachers use computers or electronic tools in their classrooms?
How many Tibetans have computers?  How many of those computers are connected to the internet?
How do you think your experience in India would be different without computers?
Why are computers important to you? 
How can computers help Tibetans?
If you could tell the world one thing about the Tibetan people, what would you say?

Will these questions transcend the barriers?  What other revisions and questions would be particularly effective?


I chose the telephone because I really want to talk about the cell phone.  The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, believed it "conceivable that cables of telephone wires could be laid underground, or suspended overhead, communicating by branch wires with private dwellings, country houses, shops, manufactories, etc."  His grandiose dreams are realized and surpassed in the cell phone.

13 November 2010

How Did All This Get Here?

My classmate, Shuan Pai, has also been keeping a blog for our digital civilization class.  She's done very well in incorporating historical content into her blogging, particularly in her post on economics.  "What if . . . ," about psychology, is particularly well filled with images and videos.  She incorporates modernism into her review of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock," showing some beautiful self directed learning and even a create lab!  She tied the chicken and egg debate to the religious doubt of the Victorian age.  Her Industrial Revolution post had great content as well.

Several of Shuan's posts indicate that she uses the consume-create-connect model with her digital tools.  In "Neopets" she shares the methods of a neopet creation and her own enjoyment therein.  I really like the Scribd she added into her psychology post!  She has a great blurb for google translate as well, a consume lab (or perhaps connect because of the way she uses it to mentor?) and mentions Pandora.  Shuan gives a great synopsis for Diigo as well, proving that she is consuming information effectively.

One fault I noticed was the length of blog posts--they are quite long, and I usually skimmed the end.  Shuan could make her ideas more accessible by writing more concise posts.  Shuan didn't often address digital culture or computing concepts, but that may be just as well.  Also, I wanted the blog to have some sort of cohesion between posts, and perhaps a bit more variety.  However, altogether, it's very well done!

Progress and Reflection

On the whole, I think I'm doing well.

I've used the historical content to find new ways to think about Tibetans and digital literacy as well as other topics that interest me.  My post "Common Sense" brings modernism, Einstein's theory of relativity, the digital age, and Tibetan cultural preservation into an interesting blend.  In "Freud and His Discontents," I discussed Freud's theories, religion, and, again, Tibetan cultural preservation.  "Future Shock" is a musing on digital revolution, ideas from Darwin's Origin of Species, and Tibetan Buddhism.  Finally, in "Did You Know?" I compared swift technological advances to the diminishing American frontier of the 19th century and wondered if Tibetan students also feel overwhelmed by online information. This was Dr. Burton's challenge to me at the last midterm interview, and I think I've done reasonably well.

12 November 2010

Norbu, Skype, and the Final Project

[2:30:25 AM] Kristen Nicole: Norbu! It's been a while. How are you doing?

Norbu: great

Kristen Nicole: I'm glad to hear it
Kristen Nicole: I have a question for you

Norbu: ya sure

Kristen Nicole: How would you feel about me interviewing you over Skype video?
Kristen Nicole: Not right now but in a week or so

Norbu: its fine but wat purpose

Kristen Nicole: Well, I'm doing a class project about digital literacy in your community in India
Kristen Nicole: I'm not sure yet exactly what questions we'd ask you, but we'd want to make a video to present to our class and post to our website about what we learn about Tibetan digital literacy
Kristen Nicole: Does that make sense?

Norbu: ya but its strange
Norbu: if u interview me..i dont know wat am i gonna say
Norbu: justtt curious

Kristen Nicole: well, if you want, I can send the questions to you in email before the interview

Norbu: ya

Kristen Nicole: and you can let me know if they are any good
Kristen Nicole: and maybe you can even tell me what questions we should be asking instead of the ones we think of
Kristen Nicole: so that you'll know everything before we even start the interview
Kristen Nicole: Okay, let's talk more about his later, shall we? Thanks so much for your help!
Kristen Nicole: I"ll talk to you later

[2:50:09 AM] Norbu: sure

Review: New New Media

Paul Levinson’s New New Media is a succinct, clear synopsis of today’s newest media based on the author's own extensive experience.

Photo credit Krista76

Here are some sections relevant to my research on digital literacy:
  • One of the hallmarks of new new media blogging is that "you sit at your computer and type your words, and those words can tip the world in a better direction, or at least the direction you think best" (47).  That's exactly what Chime Tenzing is doing with his blog The Barking Dog.  In a recent post he writes, 
"Over the past five decades in exile, we led a world of our own and retained all that is lost with the invasion of our country. . . .  Despite all the challenges of our exile life, we still have the 'luxury' to speak about 'our' government, 'our' leadership, 'our' language, 'our' culture, 'our' religion and most prominently, 'our' Dalai Lama!  This is our victory and this is a befitting message to our tormentors.  So let's celebrate this!"  
 Chime Tenzing is blogging to change the world.

Tibetan Exiles Grow Impatient - India

09 November 2010

Game Theory

I am probably too familiar with the Prisoner's Dilemma that Dr. Zappala described in his post.  I've played it several times in high school seminary, each time with disappointing results.  In class today, Dr. Zappala demonstrated the dilemma with two students.  Both students chose to remain silent.  He commented that it was probably because we are nice religious people since that result is highly unusual.  Does that mean that my seminary classes weren't religious?

Not once did my entire seminary class manage to "remain silent" while enacting this Prisoner's Dilemma.  My team always chose to "remain silent."  Why?  Because I believed that was the right thing to do.  I am a woman of principles.  I do not yield to win a silly game.  Yet I found myself on several occasions frustrated to the point that I doubted my actions--it's not fun to be the class doormat. 

The game was meant to teach the law of consecration, particularly why we do not live the law of consecration right now, and that it did well.  How can we live the law of consecration if we cannot risk our own best interests in a seminary game?

So maybe I can analyze this interview that my group is planning to set up for our final group project: Our interviewee can agree or disagree to an interview.  If he consents, we both benefit (2, 2).  If he refuses, we lose but he saves himself some trouble (0, 1).  Either way, if we do not interview, then neither party gains (0, 0).  So, isn't mutual agreement a Nash equilibrium?

I hope he agrees!  I would if I were in his place.

Photo credit Stuck in Customs

03 November 2010

La Technologie

Tomorrow, we'll begin the chapter entitled "les sciences et la technologie" in my French 201 class.  My assignment is to write a paragraph about my relationship with technology.  Mademoiselle Garver posed the question, "La technologie, cause-t-elle plus de problèmes ou de solutions?"  

Joe's owner summarizes some of the pros in "A Logic Named Joe":

If you punch for the weather forecase or who won today's race at Hialeah or who was mistress of the White House durin' Garfield's administration or what is PDQ and R sellin' for today, that comes on the screen . . . .  Also it does math for you, an' keeps books, an' acts as consultin' chemist, physicist, astronomer, an' tea-leaf reader, with a "Advice to the Lovelorn" thrown in.  The only thing it won't do is tell you exactly what your wife meant when she said, "Oh, you think so, do you?" in that peculiar kinda voice.  Logics don't work good on women.  Only on things that make sense.

Logics are all right, though.  They changed civilization, the highbrows tell us.

No one could argue that computers don't have any merit.

Wordle: Text as Art

Wordle: ORCA
My ORCA application in a wordle

So, my wordle turned out really small, but I really like it so you should click on this link and look at it in its proper size. Go ahead, click on it!

Really, do it!

Okay, thanks.

Freud and His Discontents

I mentioned once before that I took AP psychology in high school and thought that some of the things I learned aligned with eternal truths. Here's one example:

Have you ever thought that your dreams come from "unguarded thinking" of your subconscious brain? Sigmund Freud's ideas have become ingrained into modern thought, but this particular theory holds water. Elder Richard G. Scott said that "some bad thoughts come by themselves." This suggests a relationship between the wandering bad thoughts and Mosiah 3:19:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

01 November 2010

Digital Literacy Expanding Borders: A Final Project Proposal

Do you think about the digital renaissance as a worldwide event?  Do you know that advanced technology is transforming developing nations like India as well as developed nations like the United States?