Blog Prompt #7 – How to Make Stress Your Friend

Briefly summarize the content of this talk:

This talk, presented by Kelly McGonigal, is about how stress is only bad for us because we believe it is. Based on research, people who are very stressed but believe that the stress is preparing them for something, show no more likelihood to die of stress than people with little stress. She also touched on how a specific hormone, oxytocin, is actually a stress hormone, even though it is the hormone that is released when we are hugged.

Why did you choose this talk?

I chose this talk because I am stressed very often. Especially right now with university applications and exams, I thought it would be a good talk to help me regulate my stress. Little did I know it would tell me to do the exact opposite. As well, topics on neuropsychology generally interest me.

What did you agree with in this talk? Why?

I think it makes complete sense that seeing your stress as your body’s preparation for a difficult task will reduce the negative effects stress can cause.

What did you disagree with in this talk? Why?

I didn’t really disagree with anything in this video. There were clear statistics about the benefit of looking at stress through this perspective, as well as sound reasoning. It also just makes a lot of sense.

What questions do you have after this talk?

My biggest question is what the best method of viewing this perspective on stress is. Whether that means just thinking “this is good for me” every time I feel stressed, or if there is something more definitive I can do. I have tried just thinking this way and is has actually helped!

Would you recommend this talk to a friend? Why or why not?

I would 100% recommend this talk to a friend. Even if they decided not to think that way, it is a very important perspective to  understand about stress. Many of my friends are students who undergo a lot of stress in their lives, and it is so important to find ways to either reduce stress or reduce the negative effects of stress.


Blog Post #6

I watched a movie called “I, Robot” starring Will Smith. It takes place in 2035, in a world where robots are commonly used for assistance.

What technologies are depicted in the show?

The focus of the movie is on humanoid robots that are used to serve the citizens. They are programmed to abide by 3 laws that prevent a robot from harming people, while being able to assist in countless tasks. One of the robots has been created with complete AI, he has the ability to comprehend emotions and even dreams.

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The transportation systems have become completely electric, as well as seeming to use a magnetic system underground to hover. Almost all citizens use their cars on auto drive because of the speeds that the cars can move at, however it is still possible to drive manual as Detective Spooner does.

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How have the technologies changed people/business/society/government choices and behaviors?

Overall the actual jobs have not changed much. The robots are mainly used for roles that “servants” would be used for; cooking, cleaning, running errands, assistance, etc. However the ideology has changed a lot. People do not see the flaws of robots, they have complete faith that there is no danger having a robot in their homes controlled by a company that could have any number of reasons to use the robots wrongly.

Overall, are the technologies portrayed in a positive, negative or neutral fashion? What evidence do you have to support this?

The robots are portrayed extremely negatively. The whole perspective behind the movie is that as useful as AI may be, there will always be ways to corrupt them to be used in a negative way. The robots begin mandating a curfew and killing police and others who are deemed a hazard, and in the end we discover that it was not any of the staff of the company, but the AI system that runs the building who has rewrote the AI systems. The main robot, Sonny, is a positive example of AI, as he helps to destroy the corrupt AI system, but all the other robots reflect the negative impacts of AI.

Would you want to live in this future? Why or why not?

No, I would not want to live in this future. In my opinion, AI should not be developed to its full potential. As helpful as it may be, there is no need for it other than human curiosity. Also, who wants to live in a world where robots take over and try to lock us in our homes? Even though the movie ends with the robots seeming to go down the right path, there would never be a moment where I didn’t question the intentions of the coding behind the robots.





Blog Post #5

Based on the materials presented in class and your own background knowledge and experiences, do you think social media has overall had a more positive or negative impact on the world?

In my opinion, social media has overall had a more positive impact. Although social media has brought along some mental health issues, as discussed in Thalia and Iram’s presentation, it has also allowed people to connect all over the world and share their lives. Some examples from that presentation were depression and loneliness, however social media can also lift these issues, allowing users to talk to others even when they may not be able to in person.

Another huge positive impact social media has had is on the LGBTQ+ community, which was covered by Maria and Mythili. This community did not have many outlets to share their stories and help others feel less alone. When a explosion of members of the community joined YouTube, there was suddenly a place people could go to understand that people under this umbrella are exactly the same.

There are many negative effects that social media has had as well. In my presentation of Facebook and it’s effects on politics, I discussed how filter bubbles have caused us to only see articles and ads that algorithms believe we will like. Because of this, we do not see other opinions any more, causing us to become very closed minded if we do not stay aware of this problem and seek oppositions. As well, Kevin and Payam presented on “big data”, which was about how tons and tons of our information is stored and sold by companies for profit. Social media has definitely given us a loss of security.

Overall, I believe that social media has had a more positive effect. Although there are obvious negative effects, social media has allowed us to expand our intelligence to connect worldwide, allowing humans to do things they have never done before.

Blog Post #4 – Placement

Ms. Gourley’s Placement:

I enjoyed this placement, mainly because I really like Ms. Gourley, and she was my teacher previously so we work well together. It was a relatively simple project, so it wasn’t very exciting, but it was fun to explore new areas of the platforms. The main difficulty was finding ways to implement platforms like Kahn Academy into a civics course because they are all US based.  I do consider the placement a success, because even if Ms. Gourley can’t personally use the platforms, she is now aware of them and how they can help students. I don’t think this project was entirely useful because I didn’t have to learn any new skills, but it was definitely helpful for thinking about new ways to use the platforms. In the future, I would make this a placement for a teacher in any department except for humanities, because there are not a lot of educational online platforms to use in those classes.

Ms. Kerr’s Placement:

I also  enjoyed this placement, once again mainly do to the teacher, and that I like organizing so making a form was fun. It was a fast project that went very smoothly. The only difficulty was that me and Koral are not very familiar with Google Slides, so we didn’t know a lot about extra features. I do think this project was useful, because we were challenged to learn new things about Slides. In the future I would make the setup of the form more complicated, or at least have the students figure out an efficient way to get the form to teachers.

Blog Prompt #3

How successful were you at implementing the strategy or technique? What helped or impeded your success?

I was decently successful at implementing the Pomodoro technique. Although I did miss some days where I could’ve at least completed one round, on the days that I used the technique I got through a lot more work then I normally would. In a normal work session I would work for about 10 minutes, then a 30 minute break, and repeat. With this technique I am working for 25 minutes and then a 5 minute break, at least twice, which obviously adds up to a lot more work time. As well, it really helps to know exactly how much time I am going to be working for in a round, because instead of wondering how much longer there is I know that I will be told when to finish.

One thing that majorly helped me was the use of an app called Forest. One of the presentations in class was on this app. It is useful because you add a tree to your garden if you complete the time, which is only completed if you don’t open any app’s that are decided to be unproductive like Snapchat. If these apps are opened for more than a few seconds, or you end the round early, you add a dead tree to the garden, which makes me feel unaccomplished so it pushes me to finish the session. It also timed my breaks so I could actually relax until my phone buzzed instead of constantly checking the time.

One thing that impeded my success is my job schedule. I work after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I don’t get home until around 9. On those days, I didn’t want to go through 25 minutes of work, and because I didn’t want to have an incomplete session, I didn’t work at all. The real problem there is my procrastination and laziness, but at least my goal wasn’t to procrastinate less (I actually have been procrastinating less with this).

Did the strategy improve your learning or reduce your procrastination? What evidence do you have to support this claim?

This technique greatly improved my learning and even helped with my procrastination a little. I was spending more time doing my work, so I actually absorbed the information I was learning because I wasn’t taking breaks right away. Over the past 2 weeks, my marks on assignments have gone up quite a bit, and I have also been much better at handing in projects on time. It also helped me reduce procrastination because I want to have at least one tree everyday.

Will you continue with the strategy?  Why or why not?

Yes, I am going to continue with the technique. I have actually had the app on my phone for a long time, but wasn’t using it consistently. Now that I am, I fell a lot less stressed because I am not leaving homework to the last minute as much. I also know how important it is to make good habits, and I think this is a very healthy change to be adding to my life.

Blog Prompt #2

The Pomodoro Technique

The pomodoro technique is pretty simple. I will spend 25 minutes studying/working, and once completed I get a 5 minute break. After completing 4 rounds of this, I can take a 20 minute break. After each round is completed, I mark down an X, in order to encourage completing the round. I would like to try this technique because I tend to take longer breaks then the amount of time I work, which is not very efficient. It is important to manage my time properly, and even if I don’t continue to use this method, I think it will help me learn to complete work in better time.


By the time I get home it is usually around 4, and I am not in the mood to start working right away. In order to make sure I am ready to start working, I am going to start the first round right after dinner, at around 5:30. I will make sure not to have my phone near me during the work time, and try and get through at least 2 rounds every day.

End Goal

My end goal is to get into the habit of getting my homework done before relaxing and doing what I want to do. I don’t know that this strategy will work for me, but I do know that I need frequent breaks, so I am hoping this will just encourage me to take shorter breaks.

Critical Moves

  1. No phone while working
  2. Take the break even if I don’t want to
  3. Use willpower to not push off the practice

Shrinking the Change

For the first week I am only going to do one round of the pomodoro technique, and each week after that I will add one more until I have completed 4 rounds. This will help ease into a new habit, as it won’t take up as much time right away.

Tweaking the Environment

I usually sit in my bed when I am doing homework, so I am going to work at my desk when using this method. It will encourage proper work as I won’t be lounging. As well, I will only have my computer by me if I need it for homework, so I am not tempted to watch Netflix.

Blog Prompt #1

Do you feel school is preparing you adequately for your future? Why or why not? 

I do not think that school is preparing me adequately. My schooling gives me the skills I need to prepare myself, in my opinion at least. For instance I am much more capable of doing my own research into how to pay taxes, put they don’t teach it to me directly. As well, the subjects we have are very specific to certain careers. For instance, I am going into animal bio, and while understanding basic numbers in order to work with medication is important, I am never going to have to use my “understanding” of vectors in that career.

How do you personally use technology to learn?

I actually rarely use technology to learn, as I am a kinesthetic learner so I tend to hand write my notes and such. However, I do use google docs and word for homework and writing notes if I need to get them down quickly, before hand writing them later on. I do you music on my phone in order to help me concentrate when doing homework and/or studying, as I get distracted really easily so blocking out random noises helps a lot.

Do classes that use more technology appeal to you? Is it easier for you to learn the content?

I think it depends how the class is using the technology. In classes where we are actually learning to use said technology I am very interested (e.g. ICS, comm tech). However, I find that integrating tech into classrooms tends to make the class move slower, as everyone is trying to learn a new platform, and often, unless the tech has been perfected, there are complications. I find it a lot easier to study off a sheet of paper then off of an Ipad, as I can’t switch to a game when using a piece of paper.

Does it matter to you if a teacher uses technology in class? Why or why not?

I like when teachers have websites in order to access power points and homework, because that makes life a lot easier, but I really don’t find adding the technology to class is very useful unless it is something new and interesting. Interactive games like kahoot can be really fun, but teachers don’t use it often enough to get annoying.

What technology would you like to see teachers use that is not currently being used? Why did you choose that technology?

I think it would be cool to explore more AI content, or even just being introduced to online homework helpers. Especially for subjects like math, a lot of people struggle with knowing how to solve a question right on their own. I found an app that takes a picture of my math question and shows me how to answer it step by step, but I had to find it on my own. Even though it is not a replacement for a teacher, it could make all of our lives a lot easier because we wouldn’t always have to come in at lunch to answer questions.