Tuesday, April 16, 2013

News Stories Related to Orwell

As I'm putting together the last few weeks of material for my seniors, an upcoming assignment has them accessing a blog, "Pedablogical,"and looking at some news stories relevant to Orwell and Big Brother. The original post is from March 2011 so I've updated the list a bit, stealing story links and perusing the web to find my own.  So below is a list of some very recent news stories focusing on the use of technology in the name of safety and conveneince.  You be the judge...

1.  Behind the Webcam's Watchful Eye  Online proctoring at universities is becoming more and more prevalent. 

2.  Tracking devices in school badges  Schools in New Mexico insert RIFD chips into student ID badges that can track location of students at any time.

3.  Seattle Clothing Store Runs Without People Shop with your smartphone and robots!

4.  Texas School Requires Locator Chips A judge ruled that a school can require students to wear locator chips while on campus, though one refused.

4.  Computers That See and Watch Over You  Machines are getting more and more advanced in observing and interpreting human behavior.

5.  Birthplace of Big Brother Allows Citizen Surveillance Britain is pushing legislation to allow the goverment to monitor all citizens' online activity.

Convenience or Sacrifice?

Sometimes I hate my gadgets.  As I look at my desk just now, there is the large desktop computer screen, iPad, smartphone, and flatscreen TV surrounding me.  And while I am blessed to have the use of such tools and have come to rely on them, I am annoyed at the same time.  Seems I cannot get away from notifications, calendar alerts, messages, and the glare of red and blue blinking indicator lights.  And my students are all the more obsessed with their screens.  So as we've finished 1984, I came across a slideshow about how technology may be contributing to laziness and lack of social skills, things we've discussed in the past few weeks during class.  It's interesting to see how our daily lives have become dependent on personal devices and information from outside sources in the name of convenience and personal preferences - but at what expense?

How Technology Makes Us Lazy