Week 07 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Part 1: Lab – Ethical Research and Best Practices

Interview Questions:

  1. How has the constant growth of technology changed the way students connect with each other and the world?
  2. What communication method through technology is the most efficient? How so?
  3. Did you experience a social change after using a certain technology to communicate?
  4. Before COVID, did you use technology on a daily basis? If so, how often did you use it? If not, why do you decide not to?
  5. Does it replace, or does it aid human beings? How does it affect the quality of our lives?
  6. What social media platforms do you use and why?
  7. How does technology affect our perception of our needs? How does it affect our way of seeing and experiencing the world? (U of I) (Safer App)
  8. To what extent does technology redefine reality? Does it serve to solidify knowledge or relationships?

Interviewees and Survey Distribution Leads:

  1. Daniel Turner – Director – Division of General Studies
  2. Melissa Newel – Director – Undergraduate Affairs/School of Information Sciences
  3. Mirko Janjanin – RSO Leader for National Organization of Business and Engineering
  4. Malik Siddique – RSO Leader for National Organization of Business and Engineering

Reading Response:

PLATO was able to make a big impact on creating a new type of mass communications system in and outside of educational applications. To begin with, this system “consists of a keyset which the student uses to ‘talk’ to the computer and a display screen which the computer uses to ‘talk’ to the student” (Weber). By allowing the system to communicate with a student who is blind, it could potentially change and reshape how many other students with a similar disability can still learn properly. Additionally, “there are over 3,000 authors who generate new lesson material” on the University of Illinois PLATO system (Bitzer). These authors cover many lesson materials involving key subjects such as mathematics and English, and certain courses in the CBE (Computer Based Education for the Handicapped) have been developed to directly or indirectly aid the handicapped. Additionally, to develop tactile speech recognition, PLATO’s auditory disk was used to verbalize words and phrases which were then converted into touch patterns through a sensory aid. The students “learned that ‘new language’ of time-varying vibration patterns” and was then checked by PLATO for feedback and responses (Bitzer). The flexibility of its hardware and adaptability of its software opened new approaches in this area. Another application to PLATO is for teaching people who are blind. This can be made possible because “the computer reads the written text normally displayed on the computer terminal by speaking through a voice synthesizing unit,” making it possible for a blind user to interact with a computer in an efficient way (Bitzer). Lastly, since the PLATO system had a number of extra keys with different functions to control the computer compared to a normal one, a design to enhance PLATO was a seven key device called a Perkins Brailler. It was evident that “with this device, there was no question as to the ability of most students to operate it with ease” (Weber). In designing an educational system, a major portion of the work naturally had to come from the social sciences.

Even though PLATO may not be as efficient as a teacher, “computerized teaching machines should be looked at as tools to alleviate the shortage of teachers for the blind” (Weber). Many online platforms offer education such as Khan Academy, but won’t be much help to a blind student who cannot see the screen display. The major difference between PLATO and other online frameworks is accessibility because students are very limited to options on the PLATO system. Another difference is that since there were many bugs about the system, a student from the hardware-software group who could control the computer through a standard keyset, would watch over the blind student to ensure that the errors could be corrected.

1 thought on “Week 07 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response”

  1. Hey Jason,

    I like your example of the PLATO systems because it focuses on the shortage of teachers for the blind. The online platforms can’t provide these students with audio feedback but they do have audio lectures.

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