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Week 13 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Reading Response

I. Introduction

a. Background

Ed-tech has been an integral and revolutionary part in modern education. It however, is not a new addition to university curriculum. This research paper will delve into the history of digital learning environments at UofI and the kind of impact they make on modern education.

b. Thesis

University of Illinois has a rich history of Computer Aided Educational environments. There are several aspects that need to be delved into starting from the history of Education technology at the University to the modern day imapact of these learning environments to aid students to study during the COVID pandemic.

Education technology has evolved over the years, the concept of education technology was in fact the initial reason for the creation of a concept of an interconnected network like the internet. Before the internet came into being a research group at the University of Illinois developed a interconnected university network called PLATO.

Education Technology History

PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) originated in the early 1960s as a distributed computer-based learning system at the University of Illinois and was the first generalized computer assisted instruction system. It was developed by a team of many people, initially led by Donald Bitzer. Once PLATO was established, users and developers were able to add more functions. PLATO was a precursor to today’s online world, with a thriving online community which predated today’s social media by decades.

It introduced up many landmark features – Computer-Based Learning, Online Networking, Plasma Flat-Panel Displays, Interactive Touch Screens, etc.

Online Learning Environments

The next major innovation in the ed-tech space after the general networking and internet revolution was with the advent of Online Learning Environments. In 1995, the Web enabled the development of the first learning management systems (LMSs), such as WebCT (which later became Blackboard). LMSs provide an online teaching environment, where content can be loaded and organized, as well as providing ‘spaces’ for learning objectives, student activities, assignment questions, and discussion forums. The first fully online courses (for credit) started to appear in 1995, some using LMSs, others just loading text as PDFs or slides.

DELTA :  Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching & Agency

With the increasing popularity of Online Learning Environments, the university soon realised that the possibilities were limitless to modernize education using technology. With this ideology in mind and an intention to keep innovating in the field. The university introduced the DELTA program.

The Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching, & Agency (DELTA) program focuses on the creation and research of digital environments for learning and teaching. This includes technology-enhanced classrooms, mobile devices, and immersive simulations across a range of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, and history.

II. Body

With a rich history of innovations by the university in the field of Education Technology, there was a big impact in many spheres of education and in the lifestyles of students in general.

a. Data Archives:

i. “an excerpt from the digital archives of a research paper called ‘EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER’. This article talks in detail about the implication of e-learning and how it has played a role in education at the University. This particular screenshot gives us a lot of information about how technology acceptance in education has increased over time. This data is important in understanding our target size for our research.

Use research papers like these to provide important historical and impact content to support the arguments made in my paper.

Will use data from the Interview to talk about common attitude and beliefs towards the imapact of EdTech platforms in education.

b. Data from Interview:

i. “It would not be the same to be honest, especially during COVID. I cannot imagine us being able to study without these platforms. Having these platforms makes it possible to communicate with the instructors and other students remotely. I don’t think discussions, and other kinds of activities could take place without them.”

Use excerpts from the interview to talk about student opinion on the impact of digital learning environments on the educational experience.

d. Survey Data

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Post COVID Impact of Education Technology

The Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing that followed have affected all walks of society, also education. In order to keep education running, educational institutions have had to quickly adapt to the situation. This has resulted in an unprecedented push to online learning. Many, including commercial digital learning platform providers, have rushed to provide their support and ‘solutions’, sometimes for free. The Covid-19 pandemic has therefore also created a sellers’ market in ed-tech. 

I will provide scenarios, and data to show how edtech companies have grown exponentially during the Pandemic. And make an informed analysis of what the future of edtech looks like to me based on the current situation and data.

III. Conclusion

Bring the whole research paper to a well rounded end. Talk about all the final observations and analysis made using all the data presented above. This shall be more detailed once the research paper has been written more in detail.

Week 12 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Lab Reflection

Question

Does an individuals opinion of using edtech platforms change based on how frequently their college/coursework requires them to use it?

Reading Response

Part I

The main idea behind the reading is to inform people about MAPP. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is the local public health authority for the Cities of Champaign and Urbana and Champaign County. This organisation along with the Carle Foundation has used the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP) model, a community-based model that necessitates community engagement at all levels to conduct the Champaign Community Health Assessment (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). It talks about the main points of the model, and steps they had to take to establish it.

The section contains multiple visualizations and all the important points are well divided into subsections and the key points are bulletted for easy and concise reading. The article is written in simple and succint language and does a great job at explaining MAPP and the process revolving around it.

Part II

I. Introduction

a. Background

Ed-tech has been an integral and revolutionary part in modern education. It however, is not a new addition to university curriculum. This research paper will delve into the history of digital learning environments at UofI and the kind of impact they make on modern education.

b. Thesis

University of Illinois has a rich history of Computer Aided Educational environments. There are several aspects that need to be delved into starting from the history of Education technology at the University to the modern day imapact of these learning environments to aid students to study during the COVID pandemic.

II. Body

a. Data Archives:

i. “an excerpt from the digital archives of a research paper called ‘EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER’. This article talks in detail about the implication of e-learning and how it has played a role in education at the University. This particular screenshot gives us a lot of information about how technology acceptance in education has increased over time. This data is important in understanding our target size for our research.

Use research papers like these to provide important historical and impact content to support the arguments made in my paper.

b. Data from Interview:

i. “It would not be the same to be honest, especially during COVID. I cannot imagine us being able to study without these platforms. Having these platforms makes it possible to communicate with the instructors and other students remotely. I don’t think discussions, and other kinds of activities could take place without them.”

Use excerpts from the interview to talk about student opinion on the impact of digital learning environments on the educational experience.

c. Readings

i. The PLATO reading will provide important historical data needed for the survey paper. PLATO was the first educational network that was founded at the University. It was also the building block for the present day internet. This invention was massive, and I will talk about its importance in aiding education at the University.

d. Survey Data

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III. Conclusion

Bring the whole research paper to a well rounded end. Talk about all the final observations and analysis made using all the data presented above. This shall be more detailed once the research paper has been written more in detail.

Week 11 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Question

Does an individuals opinion of using edtech platforms change based on how frequently their college/coursework requires them to use it?

The above pivot tables pivots on the college names and whether the respondents from the respective colleges feel edtech platforms create barriers or make education more accessible. The columns on the other hand are the different edtech platforms that the college respondents suggested they used.

By analyzing the above data we are able to see the colleges that used lesser number of edtech paltforms or were lesser exposed to the capabilities of these environments chose to answer that these platforms create barriers and vice versa. This analysis helps us understand that a persons opinion can be correlated to how frequently they use the technology.

This is a new insight I gained through the survey, because the interview was more focused on how the people used these edtech platforms and because of unseen bias the interviewees were mostly people who were more heavily involved with using edtech platforms.

Reading Response

1. An easy and seamless web browsing experience – a navigation system that can be understood at a glance by anybody who can point and click a mouse.

2. Mosaic makes us consider how the category of person has become a commercial term, leaving us unsure whom to blame, praise, or call to obey the law. Every technology that is developed could be commercialized in some way. The example of Mosaic was a clear example.

3.  Rap Genius – the definitive online community of rap aficionados; one of the fastest growing web sites in Y Combinator’s history; a thriving ecosystem of ideas, artists, and fans. Tech was combined with a musical art form to commercialize and create a bigger community.

4. Rap Genius is said to have a broader mission. Which is: Generalize out to many other categories of text… annotate the world… be the knowledge about the knowledge… create the Internet Talmud.

5. PrairieNet – A Free-Net was a new way for people to communicate with each other online, using the power of the Internet.  This made the internet open source in a way, which was pretty much a game changer.

The key difference is that Mosaic was a technology that although was created to re-design the way people interacted with the internet, it was more of a navigation tool by using the mouse and was incepted with many people looking to commercialize it. On the other hand Rap Genius and PrairieNet were more about building a community and interaction tool rather than creating an internet browsing technology.

Week 10 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

This is a visualization from March, it is a chart depicting how prepared the countries were to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The index was decided based on 6 factors that are mentioned above the chart in the picture.

I re-designed the visualization, the previous chart only showcased the pandemic preparedness index, I changed this uni-axis chart into a 2d axis chart. With the x-axis showing the pandemic preparedness index and the y axis showing the number of covid cases in the respective countries. This was enabled the chart to put forth more information as well as serve its original purpose.

Week 09 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

1b. Transcribe Interview

a. Have you ever used any online learning environments/platforms? If so then which ones and in what capacity? (eg. Student, Educator, Administrator, etc.)

“I am a student rn, so have used quite a few.. Moodle, compass, prairieLearn, and all. The same as you.”

b. How do you think your educational experience would change if you were to shift your studies to completely offline without access to such platforms?

It would not be the same to be honest, especially during COVID. I cannot imagine us being able to study without these platforms. Having these platforms makes it possible to communicate with the instructors and other students remotely. I don’t think discussions, and other kinds of activities could take place without them.

c. What are some offline study experiences that you think cannot be replicated in online study platforms?

I can’t seem to think of any to be honest, the proctoring maybe. The proctoring and doubt clearing on online platforms are no where as good as real life.

d. Are you currently a student, if not what year were you one, and what kind of technology did you use at that time to aid in studies at the University?

yeah I am currently a student.

e. Do you think your attention is better grasped if the class uses interaction technology such as the i-Clicker, etc , why? or do you prefer some other kind of classroom experience.

I think it is. I am much more focused in the class if there are i clicker activities. I need to get the scores you see. Because of that motivation I seem to be more concentrated in the content being taught.

f. Have you ever faced difficulties studying because the course had technology components, if so what were the issues you faced?

Well there are always technical difficulties. Net issues and stuff. But if you mean problems in studying because of technology. I don’t think there was. I would say though, that technology kind of makes the whole study process a little impersonal.

g. What kinds of changes do you imagine in educational technology in the near future?

I totally feel, augmented reality and virtual reality are going to be big in the future of education, for labs and stuff I think. I also feel AI will replace the easy math classes, or the simpler classes I feel.

Reading Response

Part 1

a. There were major criticisms over recent evaluation studies and actively overseeing the academic program’s maintenance and development. 

b. One of the greatest challenges are the long-term instructional participation by faculty and the acknowledgement by student-residents that taking academic chances and exploring new territory are educationally rewarding experiences.

c. There were vulnerabilities in terms of funding and also leadership where the idea of the leaders did not match in sync which caused issues to which direction the hall was headed. We also saw vulnerabilities in DRES where funding was an issue.

Part 2

American universities, certainly including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , are being challenged to maintain and improve the quality of undergraduate education. The challenge has a long history, but our response remains inadequate. This challenge has been trying to be met and now because because the author feels that the UIUC is not the best institution in providing instruction for underclassmen with a high faulty education system. He feels the system has lacked historically and wants to improve the educational experience for the underclassmen.

The issues underclassmen face are for which the solutions could be –

Create a structure within the university complex capable of attracting and organizing the expertise that already exists among the faculty for dealing with undergraduate instructional needs.

Define the needs as they exist on this campus to focus the activities and channel the energies of those who become engaged in coping with our undergraduate instructional problems.

Week 08 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

1b. Schedule and Conduct Interview

I have scheduled a call with Andreas Paul Eberhard Kloeckner to discuss the platform RELATE, and interview him on the questions for the 24th. I have sent emails to the rest of my primary leads and am still waiting to hear back from them.

1c. Developing Survey Questions

a. Which online learning environments/platforms have you used at the University, if any? (Select all that apply)

– RELATE

– Moodle

– Compass2g/ Illinois Compass

– PrairieLearn

– Other (Please Specify)

b. In what capacity have you used these online education platforms?

– Student

– Instructor

– Administrator

c. How do you think your educational experience would change if you were to shift your studies to completely offline without access to such platforms?

– Drastically Worse

– Little Worse

– About the same

– Little Better

– Drastically Better

d. Do you think the complete offline study experience is able to be emulated on these online study platforms?

– Yes

– No (What is it that is missing?)

e. If you are currently and Instructor, name the different technological study environments that you used as a student if any.

– Free Response box

f. Do you believe your attentiveness is improved using technological products like the i-clicker in the study environment?

– Not at all

– Not much

– It’s about the same

– It’s a little better

– By a lot

g. How do you think technology in education is affecting the quality of education being provided?

– Drastically deteriorating

– Making it a little worse

– Not affecting it in any way

– Improving it a little

– Education is better than it ever was

h. Do you think the colleges would be able to function the same during this pandemic without the aid of technology? How?

– Yes [Free Response field]

– No [Free Response field]

1d. Expand Survey Distribution Leads

Cecilia Ding – Chair ACM UIUC

Vibhav Kotriwala – Engineering Student UIUC

Reading Response

My secondary source is an excerpt from the research paper “EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER” by Seohyun Claire Wong. The main idea and goal of the paper revolves around analyzing and to explore technological factors at the learner, instructional design, and system level and examine their effects on the e-learning acceptance and learning outcomes.(Wong). The author through this study is mainly attempting to clear the ambiguity revolving around our understanding of technological factors that are unique in e-learning such as computer anxiety, perceived ease of use, or controllability. (Wong)

The research design and data collection for the project was quite detailed. This research is a cross-sectional study using a quantitative survey to explain the effect of e-learning technological factors on technology acceptance and learning transfer. The quantitative research design was selected for this study because the purpose of the research was to examine the effects and relationships among variables (Creswell, 1994). A written survey was created to measure 14 factors and gather demographic information. All instruments measuring factors in the survey were previously validated in the existing literature. To collect the data, an electronic survey was sent to the target respondents by e-mails. A confirmation factor analysis technique was employed to cross-validate the factors. An inferential statistical analysis method, structural equation modeling, was performed for the hypotheses testing. (Wong)

Wong analyzes several key perspectives in relation to e-learning in this study, these perspectives give me several ideas for my own research study and are quite informative. The different types of topics that are covered include –

– Intention to Use & Actual Use

– Learner Satisfaction

– Perceived Usefulness

– Reliability and Functionality

– Perceived Ease of Use

These generic topic areas are important for my research study as well, as they help gauge the overall impact of e-learning environments on students, instructors and will help better answer my overall research question.

5 Takeaways –

1) research design – Design the research paper, understand the requirements and how you want to answer those requirements.

2) target population and research sample – Understand the exact target population, and ask questions pertinent to them, also analyze how their answers help answer the research questions

3) measurements – Use metrics, and clear data to prove your points.

4) data collection process – Use multiple different kinds of datasets, such as interviews, surveys, statistics, and research studies to further reinforce your findings.

5) Divide and Conquer – Divide the general question into smaller subsets and categories, and try and answer those categories separately. Together they shall answer the general question as a whole.

Week 07 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Drafting Interview Questions

a. Have you ever used any online learning environments/platforms? If so then which ones and in what capacity? (eg. Student, Educator, Administrator, etc.)

b. How do you think your educational experience would change if you were to shift your studies to completely offline without access to such platforms?

c. What are some offline study experiences that you think cannot be replicated in online study platforms?

d. Are you currently a student, if not what year were you one, and what kind of technology did you use at that time to aid in studies at the University?

e. Do you think your attention is better grasped if the class uses interaction technology such as the i-Clicker, etc , why? or do you prefer some other kind of classroom experience.

f. Have you ever faced difficulties studying because the course had technology components, if so what were the issues you faced?

g. What kinds of changes do you imagine in educational technology in the near future?

h. Do you think the COVID pandemic study experience would have been different had there not been educational technologies like Moodle present? How?

i. Do you think technology can completely replace the need for human teaching, do you think it is the right path to move forward in?

For people who are in position to answer questions about specific platforms there will be 2-3 more questions about the platforms.

Identify Interviewees and Survey Distribution Leads

J. Stephen Downie – Assistant Dean for Research at the i-School UIUC

Andreas Paul Eberhard Kloeckner – Assistant Professor at CS@Illinois (Founder of RELATE)

Gabrielle Allen – Associate Dean for Research at DELTA UIUC

Kristen Allen –  Illinois Distributed Museum Coordinator

Reading Response

Applications or design features of PLATO –

a. offering coursework (elementary through university) to UIUC students, local schools, prison inmates, and other universities

b.  The system included a number of features useful for pedagogy, including text overlaying graphics, contextual assessment of free-text answers, depending on the inclusion of keywords, and feedback designed to respond to alternative answers.

c. On a pro grammar instructional system for blind students. The students soon recognized the potential of the PLATO system for this type of study. The hardware used in the conventional PLATO 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.

d. In PLATO IV Plasma Display Screens. The display was a 512×512 bitmap, with both character and vector plotting done by hardwired logic. It included fast vector line drawing capability.

e. An experiment was conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of using toe teaching computer as a medium for involving people in community planning. The research described was conducted using the Platodsyotem at the Computerbased Education Research Laboratory at UIUC.

Differences between PLATO and Modern Educational Technology Services –

a. Mobility – PLATO was a combination of Hardware and Software, it was a big machine that could not be carried everywhere. On the other hand with the advent of smartphones, tablets and laptops, education technology is much more mobile and can be undertaken at convenience anywhere.

b. Accessibility – There were a limited number of devices available and were not accessible to students all the time. On the other hand with personal tech devices and availability of software on all those devices, using tech is much more simpler.

c. Information Scale – Since PLATO was the first of its kind collaborative platform and came at a time when the internet also did not exist, there was limited information available on it, only the amount that was created and stored by the PLATO community. But with the internet, the information reach is much more wide and vast.

Week 06 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

Project Development

Primary Sources –

In order to find out about the history of tech in education I need to find out the roots of how technology environments came in to being this picture sheds some light upon PLATO. The first primary source in my opinion will be this article and picture of PLATO from the 1960s. This article talks about PLATO, I feel this is important in exhibiting the roots of online and technology aided education at the University. Since PLATO was a monumental discovery for the whole world, it is a bigger sense of pride for the University.

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/pa3vvg/the-greatest-computer-network-youve-never-heard-of

This picture talks about how several courses at the University are dependent on Technology for instructional purposes. The article introduces RELATE, a study platform that was created by a Professor at the University to help classes take place more seamlessly. This picture helps answer the question in terms of the need for technology platforms and the article further elaborates on how platforms like RELATE are changing the way studies take place at the University.

Source: https://dailyillini.com/news/2018/04/05/engineering-professor-develops-free-online-course-platform/

Secondary Sources –

In order to answer my question of how technology is aiding education, we need to show how the technology environments have evolved over time. This article from 2013 talks about the introduction of Compass2g at the University. It also sheds some light upon the new features that the platform possesses. This article will be useful in showing the evolution of such digital platforms.

Source: https://dailyillini.com/uncategorized/2013/08/30/moodle-compass-manage-class-readings-quizzes-homework-assignments/

In order to answer the question about the impact and different methods of technology that are used in education we can use this research study by Prof. Wong. This study examines the factors of technology that impact the learner, educators and administration. How these platforms are aiding or affecting education and what kind of a growth we are seeing in online education.

Source: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/108160/WONG-DISSERTATION-2020.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=n

Once we are done scraping through the above resources, I believe reading more into studies and articles where students and educators talk about how their lives have changed with the advent of such technology would be an interesting source to help answer the questions. I also believe we should research more into the impact of online environments like these in time of the COVID pandemic because online education in Today’s era is more important than it ever was. I believe this would be a very crucial part in our study too. I would also like to look into the impact of devices like the I-Clicker in education and how it has helped in attendance and class attention grabbing statistics.

Drafting Interview and Survey Questions

a. Have you ever used any online learning environments/platforms? If so then which ones and in what capacity? (eg. Student, Educator, Administrator, etc.)

b. How do you think your educational experience would change if you were to shift your studies to completely offline without access to such platforms?

c. What are some offline study experiences that you think cannot be replicated in online study platforms?

d. Are you currently a student, if not what year were you one, and what kind of technology did you use at that time to aid in studies at the University?

e. Do you think your attention is better grasped if the class uses interaction technology such as the i-Clicker, etc , why? or do you prefer some other kind of classroom experience.

Reading Response

Three strategies that Foster and the team at BCL used to develop cybernetic practices were –

a. Heuristics – In the spring of 1968, a group of students from a variety of majors approached von Foerster and Brün with a proposal for a course on heuristics—a broadly focused, interdisciplinary survey of how problems are identified and solved, whether by artificial or living systems, by individuals or groups. This helped students be more involved in research in the classroom. (Hutchinson)

b.  Publication of Das GedächtnisThe same year that von Foerster published Das Gedächtnis, MIT mathematician and Macy Conference participant Norbert Wiener published Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, on the science of communication and control. This gave cybernetics the exposure in the education community that it needed. (Anderson)

c. Proposal to National Science Foundation – Von Foerster made a final, ambitious attempt to keep BCL alive by submitting a proposal to the National Science Foundation entitled, “Cognitive Technology: A Citizen–Society Problem Solving Interface.” The proposal drew on campuswide expertise in cognitive theory, educational psychology, linguistics, computer networks, programming, and multimedia. (Hutchinson) This proposal tried to raise enough grants for the BCL to keep it up and running.

Questions –

a. What makes you say Cybernetics is the most important tool to cure the problems of a troubled today?

b. Do you still think Cybernetics is as impactful in the present as it previously was, is there anything you feel needs evolving?

c. Do you think Heuristics is a necessary field that all students should learn? What are your thoughts on learning research in the current world with the advent of advance searching tools of the present?

d. What kind of other research took place at the BCL? Do you think there is still a void that needs to be filled by reviving BCL? What and Why?

Week 05 – Lab Reflection + Reading Response

2 Questions

1. How has the use of technology and ed tech platforms changed the way education is imparted at the University of Illinois?

2. What new methods of education have been introduced with the use of Technology since the non-internet days?

I believe technology has played a pivotal role, and has been among the biggest markers of change in the recent times. Searching through the University of Illinois digital archives can give us several ways in which technology changed the way students study at the University. With the introduction of ed tech platforms like Moodle, Compass and other internet based solutions, I believe we can find several resources for how education took place prior to the invention of such applications.

#1 This screenshot talks about PLATO, the first ever intranet for education at the University of Illinois. PLATO was not only the first ever intranet at the University but also the world. It was a historic achievement that pre-shadowed the internet. This is an important landmark in the use of tech in education. PLATO came into existence in the 1960s

Source: https://distributedmuseum.illinois.edu/exhibit/plato/

#2 This screenshot talks about the timeline of the use of technology at the Undergraduate Library at the university. This timeline is important because it gives us a sense of how tech aided education during the early 1960s. This screenshot is especially interesting because it gives us an exact timeline of what kind of tech was used during that time.

Soruce: https://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/history/tech/history/

#3 The DELTA program was founded to research Digital Environments for Learning at the University of Illinois. This includes technology-enhanced classrooms, mobile devices, and immersive simulations across a range of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, literacy, language, and history. This program was pivotal in introducing several types of technology services at the University.

Source: https://publish.illinois.edu/deltaprogram/

#4 This is an excerpt from the digital archives of a research paper called ‘EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER’. This article talks in detail about the implication of e-learning and how it has played a role in education at the University. This particular screenshot gives us a lot of information about how technology acceptance in education has increased over time. This data is important in understanding our target size for our research.

Source: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/108160/WONG-DISSERTATION-2020.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=n

Reading Response

The author Andrew Yang in his book – The War on Normal People. Talks about the people of United States of America. Yang discusses job displacement and the shrinking of local economies, terming it the “Great Displacement”, which has been “the product of financialization, globalization, and technologization”. He talks about how money, education and privelege has created two different groups of people within the United States of America. One, the rich, educated and privileged which is the minority of people and then the Other, the poor, uneducated class which in his own terms are the ‘Normal’ people of America, the median.

In Chapter three of the book – Who is normal in America. Yang uses personal anecdotes to talk about his realisation about how what he used to think are the normal people of America, i.e people from his circle actually are the privileged class of America. He uses data, statistics, and graphs to show what ‘Normal’ in America truly is. How the ‘Normal’ american is much poor and uneducated than what we might think.

In Chapter four – What we do for a living. Andrew sheds great light through stats and facts about what jobs in America look like, what are the average jobs and the amount a median american makes working those jobs. It was an interesting fact sheet into what kind of work is the Normal American Involved with. A thought provoking line from the book, that made me think about the job market at hand was “Clerical jobs, retail jobs, and food service jobs are the most common jobs in the country. Each category is in grave danger and set to shrink dramatically. Yet they’re not even the ones to worry about most. The single most defining job in the automation story—the one that scares even the most hard-nosed observer—is the number four job category: materials transport, also known as truck driving.”

The last chapter for the reading delved deeply into the lives of Truck Drivers and Factory Workers, one of the biggest jobs that a lot of the Americans work in. It gave facts about how much they earn, what their lifestyle is like and what kind of a life they can afford.

Yang argues that “as technology continues to make many jobs obsolete, the government must take concrete steps to ensure economic stability for residents of the United States,” – Overall statements like these make this an intriguing and eye opening read.