Thursday, August 30, 2007

132 Dazed and Confused!

Message no. 132[Branch from no. 131] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Saturday, January 27, 2007 9:10pm Subject: Re: confused

Hi Michelle, Don't you worry -- confusion is natural in this new environment. And you are not the only one! I'm forcing everybody to rethink terms that we all had comfortably mapped out in our heads -- words like "environment" and "map" and "picture" and "assignment" -- the first stage in this process of understanding environmental psychology is to break down old ideas and associations that were hard fixed. We have to loosen up the playing field, so to speak. In other words, things are never what they seem, and that is intensely uncomfortable and confusing. Sounds like you are suffering from the "ANOME" that I spoke about in a recent discussion. Don't panic!

All of your questions are good, so I will try to answer them for everyone's benefit! (And by the way, there are no dumb questions, nobody sounds dumb -- your job as a student is to ask and ask and ask until you get the clarity you seek! It is up to us -- your shipmates (if you will allow the metaphor) to make everything as clear as we can -- and I expect everybody to work together to explain things, because we each have our own talents for understanding and making clear to others.

If you are trying to create a blog, that is good! Don't worry about getting the pictures or maps in yet. Reassure yourself that you can at the very least post the text in the blog. That is step one. Once you have done that, try to cut and paste some URLs (the http://whatever.whatever) into your text, linking to your Google map, or to other websites. Then, to get pictures in, save your pictures as .jpg (JPEG) format. You also don't have to successfully get pictures of your maps into your blog, you can simply give us the link. Ask Kenisha for how she linked us all to her Google maps without having to attach them as files.

Also, tell us what paint or photo program you are using. That will help us give you "tech support". This is why I ask everybody to tell me what your "computer environment" is. Each computer environment has different "AFFORDANCES" (to use the textbooks jargon). If we know what your computer affordances (and limitations and constraints) are, we can help you navigate in this new world.

Your photos may be in TIFF format, which is huge, or BMP which is really big (PC's like Dell and Toshiba and all those that run Microsoft Windows generally automatically save in those two formats). So you need to tell us what programs (applications) you are trying to use.

You can't go wrong because everyone gets an A for effort, as I explained in an earlier post. If you tell us where you got lost in your environment, we know you were trying out different behaviors to understand and adapt to your environment. We can help bring you back to safety.

The only way anybody can go wrong in this class is by not reporting what they are doing. If you are keeping a "log" of your activities as you read the textbook, as you explore the internet environments, as you explore your real environments, and participate in the discussions, you are doing great!! I mean it!

I can't stress enough how healthy and important confusion is! It means you are reorienting your COGNITIVE MAP of the world.

Now, as for the virtual reality assignment, it is very open ended. I think it would be VERY COOL if you were to analyze the similarities and differences between board games and computer games -- I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!! :) Wow -- we spent our whole lives playing board games, from chutes and ladders all the way to Careers and Monopoly and Risk, and I never thought of them as virtual environments. And yet... wow, Monopoly taught us to think like capitalists and property owners, in Careers I always seemed to choose astronaut or teacher... in Risk I always tried to get everybody else to cooperate for world peace... yes, those environments in playtime were serious simulations that prepared me for who I am today.

Buckminster Fuller, the inventor, designer and visionary (look him up in Wikipedia!) created a board game called "the World Game" to help policy makers, politicians, presidents and scientists map out a path to a sustainable future. This was back in the '60s.

So yeah... take a board game or several board games and wander around those environments and flip through your text book and tell us about what you learn! Fascinating!

Does that help?

And remember -- discussing all these things with your fellow students is the key to success . We have a chat room in WebCT for real time communication, and a white board as well, and you can all email each other.

Thanks for asking!

Your prof.

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