Is Facebook Making Us Into Lazy Friends?

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Image: Public Domain

I have been considering closing my Facebook account for a variety of reasons. I have been telling myself it is because of the company’s dishonesty, trickery, sneakiness, and liberal definition of privacy. They also use aggressive means to try monetizing their business with advertising, gaming, and selling of data, which are all rather obnoxious.

Of course we have control over this product. Although it is free, it is still a product and we are paying for it in some way. If I am in control over this, why am I considering canning the account instead of just ending my relationship with this company that I constantly complain about?

Facebook has become the only way I connect with friends (other than the few that live nearby). It is more than just a product because it is your social life, which is what makes it so brilliant and so dangerous.

So, this morning I realized the real reason I may be so uncomfortable with Facebook; it has allowed me to justify being disengaged from my friends. I don’t have to call, because I see a few things that are going on in their life on Facebook. Plus, I really have not been getting any satisfaction from using it lately. I know that it isn’t in my personality to really reach out to friends over a distance. And those distances have only grown in the last decade following high school graduation. But Facebook has made it worse by making me think it was okay to just settle for a few likes, because that’s what relationships are nowadays. But all relationships (romantic, familial, and friendships) take work.

What do you think? Does Facebook have this effect on friendships and the way we socialize? Is it worth closing altogether and go back to calling people and writing letters?

Rethinking Ed Tech? MIT Blossoms story at Slate

Ed-tech enthusiasts who think they can do an end run around teachers will find that teachers are still the ultimate arbiters of what’s welcome in their classrooms: Witness the interactive “Smart Boards” introduced with such fanfare into America’s schools, now functioning as so many expensive bulletin boards.

Ed-tech proponents who think that technology can “disrupt” or “transform” education on its own would do well to take a lesson from the creators of Blossoms, who call their program’s blend of computers and people a “teaching duet.” Their enthusiasm for the possibilities of technology is matched by an awareness of the limits of human nature.

Read the whole article at Slate.

Influential Games Forgotten by History – Documentary

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I just finished watching the documentary “5 Genre-Defining Video Games Forgotten by History” produced by Rob “Catsman” Welch of Gentleman’s Lunchtime Association. The 52 minute film takes you into the fascinating history of some of the most popular video game genres. It is quite in depth, and the narration is excellent in writing and performance. One of the most unique aspects of the video is how Welch weaves in some history of programming as it relates to games.

The editing and narration are very professional. As a viewer of both traditional documentary and internet video, I am impressed with the way Welch blends both styles to make something engaging and polished. I enjoyed his humor as well. I thought the gimmick he uses, of pretending to have uncovered the original game in a genre, only to then reveal the actual origins as being much older and in places no one has heard of, became more fun as it became more predictable and was a clever technique to organize the film.

“Games Forgotten by History” is well worth watching for anyone looking for an extremely informative look at video game history, packed with footage of retro game play. You can watch it for free on YouTube at the link below.

Watch “5 Genre-Defining Video Games Forgotten by History”

Violence and Video Games: What’s the Connection?

Excerpt from an excellent post. Definitely worth a read:

“Marathon 2 is typical of the violent games used in research.

There is a possible problem with this design. The researchers concluded that the violent nature of Marathon 2 was to blame for the increase in aggressive thoughts and mood, but it might have been that the complex nature of the controls were too much for new players to feel like they could do what they wanted in the game. This could then lead to frustration and a slightly hostile mood. In research parlance, this difference in the control complexity between the games is known as a “confound” because it offers an alternative explanation for the results.

This is exactly the thought that Andrew Przybylski (pronounced “Shuh-Bill-Skee”) and his colleagues (pronounced “colleagues”) had, and it lead them to an interesting study that was just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.5 In that study, they wondered how much frustration over one’s inability to master game controls contributed to aggression, as opposed to the violent content of a game.”

Read the full post at Psychology of a Video Games Blog.

How to Add Tons of New Fonts to Google Drive Documents!

This is a very simple, yet awesome discovery I had recently. I love Google Drive and all of the document features. I really think they are on par with Microsoft Office. By default, Google Drive only gives you a few fonts to choose from, but there are many more that can be revealed. Below is my first Ed Tech video tutorial that shows you how to access the other fonts. This should be the first of many more!