The Dreaded Upgrade and Reinstall or Personal Mindstorms

by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D.

 

You had a great relationship with your man. You knew his faults, joys, and foibles but despite your great love for him he moved on. A bit of time passed and you are starting a new relationship, but your apartment is still stuffed full of mementos: his shaving kit, the shopping lists, holiday mementos and clothes. It’s time to do a full clean-up. Packing the stuff up and moving it into the basement is no help as you are still holding onto bits of his physical being. As long as that box is in the basement you are holding on to parts of him. Best to pack it up and send the items on their way. The same holds true for uninstalled programs which leave a residue and may interfere and glitch new or updated programs or releases.

Think about your first serious update. For me, it was Windows 10. After hesitating for months, I finally took the plunge and updated. Windows 10 requires new and different interactions. Items are located in different places and might have a different name. A lot of personal time was spent in this new environment exploring, reacquainting myself with features that had moved, plus there were new features too. Oh, how I longed for the look and feel of my old Windows, my former friend.

Then came the notice that Firestorm had updated to a new version that I needed to install to be inworld. Having dealt with Windows 10 and the personal hunt for files that had “disappeared,” I went on the net and did some research before hitting the Firestorm install button. The advice was: Do the uninstall first, clearing your computer of the former version, just like cleaning out your apartment before your new love comes over. Essentially, one creates a clean slate.

On the Phoenix clean Phoenix clean reinstall I was directed to:

Uninstall All Viewers

The steps given below refer to Phoenix specifically, but please do the same for all viewers you currently have installed, to ensure that you have no corrupted data that a new install of Phoenix might pick up.

Windows

You may use the Add/Remove Programs panel to remove Phoenix, or simply delete the entire installation folder. This is typically located C:\Program Files\Phoenix Viewer. You will be left with the folder in the Start menu, however. Which is why it is preferable to uninstall as previously described. This is the way all other Second Life viewers should be uninstalled.

I watched the youtube clips and went ahead. Indeed, I uninstalled and reinstalled but not with the desired results. I could not find Jokaydia Grid any longer. Multiple attempts to regain access were unsuccessful. The underlying assumption is that people in the general population understand tech jargon and have deeper skills sets than reality bears out. According to Sally Bisaccio, my tech guru and independent study advisor at Marlboro College for Graduate and Professional Studies, “there isn’t the support for glitches and malfunctions at a level that people may need. This sometimes leads to frustration, particularly when you unwittingly pursue avenues leading to dead ends – kind of like a rabbit hole.” Sally was right.  By midnight, unable to gain access, I had disintegrated into a frustrated, quivering, angry zombie, experiencing a personal Mindstorm leading me into the vortex of Dantes Circles of Hell, Level 6, the City of Dis,  Satan’s wretched city where one beholds a wide plain surrounded by iron walls and  fields full of distress and terrible torment.

I survived the night and woke up the next morning thinking about technology and  ESL teachers.  ESL teachers preparing to enter the OpenSym Grids for teaching and content delivery enter a fluid and constantly changing landscape of technical requirements and system updates. The worlds and content within are well worth the time spent on mastering inworld adventures but I really recommend having either a natural aptitude for computers, solid knowledge of operating systems or a special computer buddy to whom to turn to. Your best buddy could be your teenager loafing around on the couch watching reruns of Gravity Falls.

Musings on Seymour Papert’s Essay “The Gears of My Childhood” and Vermont’s commitment to implementing PLP’s

Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D.

The Gears of my Childhood, Seymour Papert PDF

How could Seymour Papert’s essay: The Gears of My Childhood inform Vermont’s commitment to implementing Personalized Learning?

Vermont’s implementation of the Flexible Pathway Initiative and PLP’s will require students to meet with teachers to discuss their skills, interests and learning styles and career/college goals. This approach not only aims at the “cognitive aspects of assimilation” but also at the “affective component.” The Gears of my Childhood by Papert describes in detail the author’s personal fascination and intensive childhood involvement with gears. In his essay, Papert speaks to the affective feeling of loving his inquiries and his pleasure in discovery of the”How.”.

PLP’s and Flexible Pathways need to take into account that students entering the teen years need “more voice and choice, in both process and product, and especially platform.” For students to fall in love with learning is something which can not be reduced to purely cognitive terms. Falling in love with learning is intensely personal and idiosyncratic. However, if given a voice students will often rise to the challenge and opportunity.

Teachers:
“The PLP redesign was a real eye-opener in seeing how students would prefer to create their own projects. It reminded me that, when given the right opportunities, students will jump right into a project and take the responsibility for their own learning and achievement.”

“It reminded me that student voice needs to factor in much more than it currently does in our plan. We need to revisit what are our non-negotiables. Can we let students choose the platform? Their goals? Ways of reflecting? Etc.”

As this generation of students in Vermont and globally prepares for their future they must be prepared for a fluid and lifetime assimilation of new technology and models of national and international coexistence. “The rate at which technology changes has reached a dizzying speed, with new tools and platforms emerging constantly. “ Luke Rhinehart wrote: “Man must become comfortable in flowing from one role to another, one set of values to another, one life to another. Men must be free from boundaries, patterns and consistencies in order to be free to think, feel and create in new ways. Men have admired Prometheus and Mars too long; our God must become Proteus.”

Vermont’s PLP model is poised to open new avenues for students to explore their passions, interests, and strengths with guided, flexible paths. “What an individual can learn, and how he learns it, depends on what models he has available. This raises, recursively, the question of how he learned these models. Thus the “laws of learning” must be about how intellectual structures grow out of one another and about how, in the process, they acquire both logical and emotional form.” Papert sees the computer as the “Proteus of machines”, the universal enabler, an instrument flexible enough so that “many children can create something” which assimilates new models of knowledge into their individual styles of learning. However, kindling the spark of “love” for learning and inquiry as the driving force in creating a “genesis of knowledge” is the powerful message of Papert’s essay and the universal message to and for educators.

What Vermont students really think about personal learning plans

Augmented Reality Archives

Bizet’s Carmen: Emancipated Woman or Femme Fatale?

royal-opera-house-sl_001Center for Learning and Living – book your ticket online

 

TIMG_1584-copy_edited-1his multi-media lecture examines Carmen, a major opera character, dismissed by contemporary critics as a “prostitute of the gutter,” “wild animal” and “cynical harlot.” Featuring excerpts of performances, we explore several questions: can Carmen be diagnosed as a Malignant Narcissist or is she the early embodiment of the modern, sexually emancipated woman? Is her lover Don José what psychologists call “narcissistic food”? Is she an appealing predator or a victim? Does the audience experience what Aristotle described as “a purging of the spirit of morbid and base ideas or emotions by witnessing the playing out of such emotions or ideas on stage”?

Thu 2:30-3:45 pm • Sept. 29 • 1 session

Dr. Jasmin B. Cowin holds a Certificate from the Center of Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, lectures widely on psychology and opera as the aural roadway to the unconscious. Fulbright Scholar, University Pathway Facilitator at Education First, on the faculty at Westchester Community College & Teachers College/Columbia University, incoming President, NY Rotary Club No. 6, Host Club of America.

The Age of Technology – A Case for Computer Science as a Core Competency

by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D.

We are the cusp of a new age. The age of technology. Just as the steam engine changed the way mankind moved beyond manual labor and gave rise to the industrial revolution, so computers are changing our world at an exponential pace. This spring, I read Alec Ross’ book “The Industries of the Future” where he discussed what changes are coming in the next ten years, highlighting the best opportunities for progress and explaining why countries thrive or fail.

Think about this: Could you have imagined a self-driving car twenty years ago? Was the profession of a blogger or social network communication specialist born yet? How many people had a cell phone? What functions could that phone perform? How about genome mapping? For our children to be part of this age of technology and find meaningful employment they must be conversant, fluent and comfortable in computer science. Computer science, invention, and integration of Artificial Intelligences will be the driving factors for tomorrow’s industries. I am the best example of the need to stay current. I took a look at where the teaching profession is moving and decided to take a year out of my life to learn as much as a can about computer science, and its integration into my profession. S/he who stands still – falls behind!

In ‘The Industries of the Future’ Ross examines the “specific fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics, cyber security, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the coming impact of digital technology on money and markets.” From my teacher’s perspective working for a University Pathway Program, I  match students with career paths.  The stagnancy and inability to think outside the box are worrisome. I see students looking backward to professions which will not exist in their current form fifteen years from now. While students are adept at using social media, gaming and creating blogs most of them do not have any insight into the “How’s” of the interior lives of computers. Rarely does a student ask: “How does this work?” Even rarer the question: “How do I create my own game, program, etc.?” Students unschooled in computer science are end-users, not innovators. Content such as Computer Science can not be relegated to parental realms, as parents often know even less about the “How?” than their children. For competitiveness in a global environment, computer science is the stepping stone to better careers and lifetime earning opportunities. We, as a country, must provide opportunities to this generation to succeed and pursue their American Dream.

An impossible task? Not at all. Last semester I taught a cohort of business students at EF – Education First analyzing the minuscule country of Estonia, initially famous for its mass choir performances. After the collapse of the Soviet block, Estonia became a free marketplace. The new president and his cabinet were technocrats with ideals. This speck of a country, without natural resources, required all children starting in elementary school to learn to code. This long-term approach to educating the complete student body in computer science and code bore fruit within ten years. Today, Estonia is at the forefront of innovative ideas such as e-residences, innovative computer programming, and e-banking. Men and women are equally represented in all computer fields.

I ask you this: What hinders us to provide such opportunities for our children? Are we so narrow-minded and unable to embrace change? Estonia, a small country at the brink of bankruptcy pulled off a feat like this, investing in the future of their children! Remember – 65% of the jobs of the future are not invented yet! Let’s give our children a chance to be part of this new age of technology by embracing Computer Science as a liberal art, and a core competency necessary for a successful future of not only our children but also of our country.

“The Phoenix Firestorm Project: Virtual Worlds, JokaydiaGrid and Second Life” Teaching ESL in OpenSym Grids

An accepted paper by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D. for the TESOL Conference, November 3rd and 4th, 2016 in Syracuse, New York. I am embarking on a journey of discovery with critical questions in my mind: …

Source: “The Phoenix Firestorm Project: Virtual Worlds, JokaydiaGrid and Second Life” Teaching ESL in OpenSym Grids

“The Phoenix Firestorm Project: Virtual Worlds, JokaydiaGrid and Second Life” Teaching ESL in OpenSym Grids

screenshot-2016-08-10-20-34-17

An accepted paper by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D. for the TESOL Conference, November 3rd and 4th, 2016 in Syracuse, New York.

I am embarking on a journey of discovery with critical questions in my mind:  How does an ESL facilitator put virtual environments to practical use?   The purpose of my paper and presentation encompasses several areas which I will explore in future blogs.  An essential element will be describing and analyzing my experience as the avatar ‘Muse Terpsichore’ in virtual worlds during my online summer “Games and Simulations” course at Marlboro College for Professional and Graduate Studies in Brattleboro, VT.  Another component will focus on describing and comparing the virtual worlds of Jokaydia Grid and Second Life. Immersed in these virtual environments I will investigate their suitability for ESL education with a closer look at areas such as experiential learning, fluency practice, virtual classroom meetings, grammar, and storytelling.  I look forward to an in-depth exploration into content availability and suitability for independent, guided, synchronous and asynchronous student-teacher interaction and collaboration. Finally, I want to examine the difference between the student and administrator view of virtual environments.  How does a virtual world look like to an administrator or student? What set-up work is necessary to stage for a successful learning experience?  What skills does an administrator or student need to successfully implement and engage in a virtual learning component?

I hope you will check in often to read about my ambitious journey into the alternate universes and creative teaching possibilities within virtual worlds.

 

Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Virtual Learning, and Reality

ObenThe last few weeks I spend taking care of my mother, traveling on occasion and exploring virtual worlds and their possibilities in the teaching profession. The goal of the course was to expose us, a group of students at Marlboro College for Graduate and Professional Studies to the relevance of virtual worlds for real-world learning environments.

I would love to say that I aced this course, that it came naturally, that I felt “like a fish in water.”  Nope, this idealized view of myself never materialized.  Instead, I learned how to be humble, ask for help, call 13-year olds on Skype in the US to get lessons on Minecraft mining, called a neighbor’s son to reconfigure my mother’s antiquated router system, and watched hours upon hours of youtube tutorials.

In addition, I WhatsApped my son in Japan to go through the finer points in mining, creating gold, creating signs, power boosts and cry about a dog who drowned in Minecraft. Our mother-son relationship benefitted greatly from this reversed dynamic. Before the course, I saw absolutely no use for his time on the computer watching endless “weird” legos move. However,  in his apps and Skype lessons the amount of detail orientation and real-time work which goes into mining, creating every item through combining different materials, and creating complex structures one forth.  For every question, my son had an online tutorial ready to guide me.  He wrote pages of commands and emailed them for me to try.  I got advice from his friends on “super awesome structures” complete with more tutorials via email. More than that, the collective teen posse cautioned me to “keep totally to the letter of the tutorials”.  All this from a group that never takes a book and reads it from front to back, a group which seems completely laisser faire when it comes to spelling, etc.  I had entered an alternate universe where I became the learner who climbed the mountain….

Only after entering the World of Warcraft did I completely realize how deeply connected these kids are through their online gaming.  They quest together, they form complex teams with characters completing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they problem solve, read and analyze detailed notecards. Before this course, these were realms I had no access to. Now, I understand the process, time commitment, and mindset much better.

There are definitely uses for Minecraft, SL, WoW in the teaching profession.  However, the great challenge is for teachers to first master these realms and then fold this mastery into required subject activities which guide students not only within a virtual world but extend those activities into the real world.