Friday, September 17, 2010

Additional Assignment 1

In Google Squared, I searched Disney Pixar Movies, Teen Shopping Stores and USA Universities.  In WolframAlpha, I  searched for how many hairs were in the human head (90,000 to 150,000), and how many stars were visible to the human eye (7×10^22).  Google squared is a great tool to compare certain items.  If it fits in a category, then you can find it on Google squared. WolframAlpha can be a wonderful tool for those searching for statistical, scientific, or computational values.  Although, one should not expect to find opinions, just facts-which is great if using it to find information to back up your research paper.  I have never heard of Google squared or WolframAlpha before.  But I am ecstatic about both of them! On top of the fact that I can find educational facts, I now have two sites that can help me answer the 999 off-the-wall questions I have every day.  Once I watched the video and researched the populations of India, China, and the U.S., I realized that although China and India is presented to be a smarter and more literate country, they also have a larger population.  If 100% of U.S. citizens could read and only 30% of Indian citizens could read, then they would still have a greater number of literate people than the U.S.  With that said, there is somewhat of a stigma when it comes to the competency of American students.  It is rare to hear that U.S. students scored better than students from other countries.  Stupid in America talks about how Belgian students scored much higher on the same test, than American students. How smart are American High School students? from the blog, Under the Lobster Scope, stated "only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, only 43% of students knew which ocean was on the east coast of the US. And only 27% knew what the two houses of Congress were." Study compares American students with other countries', an article from NY Times, said "The bad news is that students in Singapore and several other Asian countries significantly outperform American students, even those in high-achieving states like Massachusetts, the study found."  Those are just a few examples of those who believe that we are not as smart as the rest of the world.  Statistics of populations, test scores, school curriculum, etc. should all be taken in to account when looking at this argument.  There is still the possibility all of these articles have inflated the truth and left out valuable facts that wouldn't support there argument.  I honestly believe that something  must be wrong or it wouldn't be an issue.  I can't speak for the rest of the country, or even the rest of my school system, but I can say that my high school experience was a joke.  I made A's all through out high school without even looking at a book.  Many foreign exchange students laughed at our curriculum and said we were all stupid if we couldn't make A's, let alone pass.  So I do believe that we are behind to an extent, but it just might be a little exaggerated.

When reading the food for thought article, I was amazed.  I am not sure if my grandmother could use one, but the fact that an illiterate six year old can use it just shows that pretty much anyone can use technology now.  It's no longer enough to know how to use technology, now we are to the point that everyone must understand technology and use it as a tool for the "bigger picture".

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