WOK Badge: Memory María Zapata Pérez

Journal Entries

Planning Journal

Today we started our projects for the new badge. Marina and Mallika are in my new group. We have chosen to learn and focus our project on memory as a way of knowing. Our project is going to be an interactive activity and discussion with our class. The purpose of this discussion is to get the class engaged in the essential question we chose, that is, "given the easy accessibility of information, is memory important as a basis of knowledge?".

We want to get our class thinking on this topic and understand the idea that now, children of this generation have less short-term memory than students from previous generations. Our presentation, in my opinion, should implement the idea that technology is an important cause to this issue. Nowadays, children can just look whatever information they need online, rather than learning it. This influences one of the stages of memory storage, encoding. Because the information is always available to them online, they no longer have to encode it into their memory. they do not bother encoding and storing this information because they will have access to it in the blink of an eye without needing to retrieve it from memory. Within the discussion, we intend on sending out two google forms to the class, both asking for them to identify the dates specific events occurred. The first form will allow them to use the Internet and will be conducted the class before our presentation. Then, the day of our presentation, we will ask them to complete a second google form, this time, without the use of the internet.

The purpose of the google forms is to suggest that the current easy accessibility to information limits the knowledge we gain. This is because of a failure to encode information into the short-term storage and later the long-term storage of memory. In fact, articles that we have read as elective readings argued that the Internet is slowly "killing our brains". Our results will most likely suggest that the second google form had poor results compared to our first, reflecting the idea that the students in our class failed to encode the dates asked in the questions. Then, we will proceed to a short class discussion in order to get them thinking about the effect of the Internet and computer-technology for our knowledge based on our memory.

These are some of the questions:

  1. Do you think that students today remember fewer things than students of previous generations, or do you think they simply remember different things?
  2. How do you think technology has changed the way we use our memory?
  3. To what extent would you say a human's memory is like a computer's memory and how would you say it is different?
  4. How do we use memory to gain knowledge?

Essential Question Journal

Our essential question for this presentation is, "Given the easy accessibility of information, is memory important as a basis of knowledge?"

Memory definitely is important as a basis of knowledge. Memory itself is a basis of knowledge since it shapes our individual identities and makes us different from each other. Our experiences are encoded into our brains as memories, and as discussed in other class discussions, experiences help shape us into the people we become. Despite the easy accessibility of information, it cannot be considered knowledge unless we encode it into our brain and are able to recall it. Just because I research when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated (one of our essential questions), does not mean that I know when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. I cannot claim that I know it because in the case that I had no Internet, I would not be able to say when the event happened.

I am personally intrigued in the essential question and this topic since I admire the people who used to live without any technology. I believe they are much more engaged in the world than people today. Nowadays, people can find whatever information they want by several clicks on a screen; however, before, people had to go to a library and read through books in order to find their information. Memory in particular is a fascinating thing that shapes our identity and our knowledge in many different ways. Through this project, I intend on further exploring this aspect and teach it to the class in a more creative way.

Journal 02/17/2017:

Today I learned how to make a Google Form and I also learned that people have a hard time following instructions. We sent out the Google Form with a number of questions where the students had to fill out the dates. They were allowed to use the Internet. When we come back to class on Wednesday to present our project we are going to alter our Quiz instructions to "Write these dates without the use of the Internet". After the quiz we are going to elaborate on the idea of the Google Effect and argue the fact that students in our generation remember fewer things than students in previous generations. I feel like we are sort of prepared for our presentation. Since it is going to be discussion-based with the rest of the class, our presentation will be interactive and will flow the day of. There is not much extra planning that we can do other than the questions that we intend on stating to facilitate our discussion.

The class was intrigued by our quiz and wondered what the purpose of it was. This was a good sign since it suggested that they are not aware as to why we chose this, and many of them relied on the Internet to find their responses. I heard a number of students say, "Oh, I only knew 9/11", and even students who did not know the year 9/11 occurred.

After gathering this information, we now need to know how to elaborate on the points that we want to make. We want to highlight how technology has impacted our knowledge and since we have google as well as all the information in the world at our fingertips, people no longer try to obtain more knowledge or actually attempt to learn new things. This is due to several reasons. First, because people in this generation, honestly, do not care about events or occurrences that are actually relevant. And secondly, because they know that all this information is accessible through google and therefore there is no need to "waste time" trying to learn new things. This is reflected in our society today. People tend to ignore historical events or societal circumstances and their evident importance to the world. In my opinion, if people were more conscious of past events and of their surroundings, the world would most likely be in a much better place than it is right now.

Reflection Journal

I believe our presentation went quite well. We sent out our second google form at the beginning of class to compare the results with the results of our first google form. Our hypothesis was that the results of the second google form should be less than the results of the first google form. This is because the second google form did not grant our classmates with the use of the internet in order to find their answers, they had to recall them from memory. We figured that they would not have encoded the information from the first google form because they were not aware that we would ask them for the answers a second time. Surprisingly, in our results, we could view that to some extent the students had encoded some numbers of the answer correctly, as seen below.

The correct answer was 1636. The students got some digits of the answer correct, which suggests some level of encoding took place.

We also noticed that the students remembered the dates of events that had happened during their lifetime much better than events that had happened before they were born.

All students knew the year Barack Obama became President.
The majority of the students knew the date the Twin Towers were attacked.

For other questions, however, the answers were scattered. These were dates that were not important historical events that could have been learned in history class or dates during their lifetime.

The correct answer was 1960. Despite 3 people answering the question correctly, the rest of the students had scattered responses.

After analyzing our results, we engaged the class in a discussion. We asked the questions described in my planning journal. I enjoyed the discussion in the class. Everyone collaborated in some way towards answering our discussion questions. The discussion was very insightful and it changed my point of view for the following question, "Do you think students today know fewer things or they simply know different things?".

In the discussion, our class discussed the idea that students today know different things. They came to this conclusion because in previous generations they did not have the technology we have today, therefore the extent of their reliability on memory as a source of knowledge was different. They had to know phone numbers, addresses, information from textbooks... Nowadays, technology has facilitated students' lives by granting them with more "storage" space in their brain, getting rid of unnecessary storage such as phone numbers or addresses that are now saved in our phones. In a way, our phone or our computer acts as a separate storage to save our information.

Another student argued that people in the past had to know how to hunt and how to perform other tasks that people today no longer need to know how to do. Unless you are a hunter, students and adults do not need to KNOW how to hunt and can focus their attention on other things.

The discussion was really insightful and helped me develop my ideas and further understand the way memory works in relation to knowledge.

Extension Proposal

Brainstorm Ideas: "Find the Real Logo"

Opinion Journal

I do not think completing the badges in 3 days is a good idea. We barely have enough time to understand the material properly. I also believe we should all complete the same WOK badge at the same time because that way it is easier for both Mr. Morrison and the students to complete the quizzes. If students have not learned the way of knowing some groups choose then they will not be able to understand the material as well as if they had learned and read it themselves. If we all complete the project with the same WOK badge, we will all be on the same page and will understand each others' projects more efficiently.

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