Buying a new computer for college – Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 School year!

This post is for all undergrad and graduate students for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 school year:

I have had several students ask me about buying a new computer and figured I would post to the group…

When I get a new computer I do one of two things…1) I get one that will last me 2 years or 2) one that will last me 4 years. Obviously the 4 yr one is much more expensive.

So my recommendations…

1. Get a student discount. All of the companies offer them. Now is a great time to get back to school deals (for instance they may throw in an ipad). Be sure to check out the main companies, Dell, ASUS, Apple, etc.

2. Get a minimum of 12GB of Ram. Ram matters. This is the first thing I choose to upgrade on a machine. If you are in a tech field (computer science, instructional technology, video editing, etc) I would really recommend as close to 32GB as you can get.

3. For the normal user, I don’t think you need to upgrade anything else unless you feel inclined to spend more money. Ram is the first thing I upgrade, video card 2nd, processor 3rd. In that order. I don’t worry about hard drive space at all as I use the cloud to store my files. I don’t worry about other features either except for making sure they have enough ports such as an HDMI port. If you are going to major in a tech related field, I would strongly recommend you upgrade the RAM, video card, and then processor.

5. I would get a PC over a Mac. Macs are great and work really well but there are some issues I run into with them in my courses. Either will work though! Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine. Again, Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine.

6. As far as brands, they are all fine for the most part. I prefer Alienware and Dell since that is what I have used over the last few years. I currently have an alienware R17 with max upgrades. I like alienware because they already come with upgraded video cards that you won’t even have an option for with a standard machine. A lot of them are VR Ready. In fact, the only machine in the college of education that runs VR is mine. None of the others will do it. But any brand will be ok as long as you (see #7)

7. Get a warranty. Get a warranty for as long as you want to keep the machine. Its worth it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have went through. I have had Macs die. I have had PC die. Many times. Just get the warranty. I think I have a 4 yr warranty on my current machine.

8. Price – Based on the specs I have provided, you can easily find a low end machine for $550. I don’t think you can find a 12GB ram machine for cheaper. I would recommend you spend $700-$1000 if you want this machine to last 4 years. Obviously, if you are going into a tech major you are going to spend more.

9. Size – This is all preference. Please go to a store and try a few different sizes. Common sizes are 13, 15, and 17 inches. I prefer 17 but some thing that is too big. My wife for example, prefers 13, which I think it too small.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask. – Dr. Pastore

Video

2019 Security Recommendations

My 2019 Annual Security recommendations. These are recommendations I think you should follow to help keep your data and privacy safe online.

Browser: Firefox – Its open source and is the backbone of tor for a reason. I much prefer firefox to any other browser. Chrome is a close second but I do not like that its not open source. I only use Firefox for email and sites where I login otherwise, I use the next site listed as most secure for all of my searching, research, googling, etc. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

Most secure browser: Tor. Tor is designed for those times when you don’t want anyone to see what you are doing. TOR blocks your ISP, the government, etc —humblerise.com. from seeing what you are doing online. It keep everything you are searching very secure. Researchers, journalists, the government, and criminals all use tor when they want their tracks to be private. The bad thing about Tor is that its slow because its rerouting your data and some functions on various websites won’t work. https://www.torproject.org

Mobile Browser – Firefox and Firefox Focus are my preferred go to browsers. I mostly use firefox focus 99% of the time. Focus is really fast and simple. If you want more privacy, there are various tor browsers for the web https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/focus

Security add on for your browser/Adblock – uBlock – works for firefox and chrome and keeps away ads and other nonsense. This helps many pages load faster too. It will also prevent youtube ads. This is my goto addon when I install a new browser. https://www.ublock.org/

VPN – Cyberghost and others like NordVPN. If you are using a program like Kodi to watch TV/Movies you better be using a VPN. I used to solely recommend cyberghost because they were the cheapest quality VPN but now many others have dropped prices and offers sales/discounts. Its so much about which company but rather that you have one. When you use a VPN you entire computer is hidden from your ISP vs tor which just hides the tor browser. A VPN is a must when using public wifi like at a hotel or starbucks. https://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en_US/

Email: Protonmail – Anonymous email. Doesn’t track you. Keep your data/emails private and safe. https://protonmail.com/

Malware/adware – Malwarebytes – its free and very powerful. I use this every few weeks to check my machine. I recommend using this whenever your computer is acting slow/funky. Please consider buying the full version to support them. https://www.malwarebytes.com/

Antivirus – Honestly, windows defender that comes on your machine is probably good enough. Its all I personally use. Now on my wife’s machine I use Avira – Its free! She tends to need extra security! https://www.avira.com/

Firewall – I don’t use a firewall anymore now that windows defender does the job for me. But if I were to need the extra protection, I would use Zonealarm. A firewall is designed to stop all traffic you don’t approve to and from the internet – https://www.zonealarm.com/software/free-firewall/

How much money do Instructional Designers make?

What is the average salary of an instructional designer, trainer, elearning, edtech? What about hourly rates? How much money do Instructional Designers make? What is the salary with no work experience? What is the highest salary?

How popular are eSports?

Are eSports popular? Can you make money off of eSports? Do college offer eSports and gaming scholarships? Are there eSports arenas? These are some of the questions I answer in this video. Here are are some of the numbers and figures I discuss:

Some numbers:

43 billion – How much the movie industry made in 2018. Its also the amount the gaming industry made in America in 2018!

115 million – Highest viewership for a super bowl, ever, in 2015. 98 million – how many views the super bowl had in 2019. These super bowl #s are just to put perspective on gaming viewership since its the highest watched event in america.

99 million – How many people watch the league of legends championship series in 2018. So gaming viewership is near that of the super bowl.

Where can you play?

Arenas. We have arena now in every major city and more are being built. They are huge in other countries but they are coming or here in America!

School. Yep high schools and colleges are forming teams. In fact, you can get a college scholarship for gaming.

What about salary or money?

Top gamers are making 1-4 million dollars per year in salary/winnings. This does not include sponsorship/streaming money o any type of earnings like the supplements given to the top gamers like panax ginseng which helps them to achieve the best in their general health.

DanTDM, a top gaming streamer is estimated to be worth 45 million. So streaming/sponsorships can add significant $$$.

Ninja, a pro fortnite player was paid $1 million dollars to play a new game, Apex Legends, for a ‘few hours’, on release day.

So the money is there.

eSports are growing. Do you play or watch? I do.

How do people learn?

How do people learn? Do we have learning styles? What about learning taxonomies? What happens in our minds when we learn? How do we learn from doing, games, virtual reality?

3D Learning

3D Learning

Please see video for more in-depth explanations: https://youtu.be/NUbf5hi1sP4

To cite this:

Pastore, R. (2019). 3D Learning. Retrieved from http:// http://raypastore.com/wordpress/2019/03/3d-learning/

Link to PDF version: http://raypastore.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/3dLearning-1.pdf

1.0 What is 3D Learning?

  • Theory that expands on prior 2D cognitive theories (i.e. theories that focused on text and images) to explain how we process content to learn in the real world through all domains (psychomotor/affective/cognitive), from games, experience, virtual reality, hand on activities, etc.
  • Its organic – living and changing
  • Research has only begun to scratch the surface

2.0 Background Framework

Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) – Memory Theory/Information Processing

  • Memory has 3 parts – sensory, short term, and long term.
  • Information is first delivered to sensory memory. In this stage the learner decides how to handle the information or its forgotten
  • Short term/Working Memory – This is where information is processed.
  • Long term memory – indefinite storage capacity. Information can be stored here and retrieved for later use in working memory.

Miller (1956) – Working memory capacity

  • Learners can hold 7 concepts, plus or minus 2, in working memory at one time depending on how meaningful they are

Baddeley & Hitch (1974) and Baddeley (2000) – Model of Working Memory

  • Working memory/short term memory has a short duration and is controlled by the central executive. It has 2 channels, one for visual/spatial information and one for verbal information

Paivio (1979) and Paivio (1986) – Dual Coding Theory

Working memory is composed of two channels – verbal and nonverbal (visual). Each channel can function independently or they can work together to use information or store it in long term memory.

Mayer (2001) and Mayer (2005) – Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML)

  • Expands on Baddeley and Paivio’s theories
  • The CTML is based on three assumptions
    • (1) working memory is made up of a dual modality (dual coding) input channel system,
    • (2) there is a limited capacity in working memory, and
    • (3) that learners engage in active processing.

Moreno (2006) – Cognitive Affective Theory of Multimedia Learning

  • The CATML is Based on the following assumptions:
    • independent information
    • processing channels
    • limited working memory capacity and virtually unlimited
    • capacity long-term memory
    • dual coding
    • active Processing
    • affective mediation
    • metacognitive mediation
    • individual differences

3.0 Problem:

  • These are limited in scope – 2D – Only focused on verbal and visual information (*CATML does focus on more but still only hypothesizes that we use verbal and visual channels)
  • We still have people trying to use learning styles and multiple intelligences even though research does not support them because they seem to make ‘sense’ to people
  • How does any of this account for real hands on learning? Gaming? Virtual reality? Where we use other means of learning besides images and words (narration).
  • Much of our learning combines all domains of learning. Psychomotor and affective tasks require cognitive resources (i.e. are using in working memory). The domains of learning are great for instructional strategy development but do not help explain what happens in working memory.

So I started digging…

  • One of the first surprising pieces of information I found was from Baddeley (2012). This really sent me down the rabbit’s hole. “…can other modalities such as smell and taste be added without impacting visual or verbal capacity? Are there separate subsystems for smell and taste?” (p. 23) (Baddeley 2012)
  • Then I started finding things like this from Quak, et al (2015) who says that we tend to look at the way we process information in a stationary fashion, examining 1-2 channels at a time (i.e. text and images) whereas in real life we take on many at a time – hearing, smell, sight, taste, etc.

Then I started to look at the way we work, play games, use our senses…

  • For example, when we play a video game we are using our ears, eyes, and hands. So I started looking at the biology of humans. Specifically focusing on the senses and found that biologists recognize many senses (20-30 or more) such as Visual, Auditory, Haptic/kinesthetic, Olfactory, etc. I was surprised, but yes, we have many other senses. More than the standard 5 many of us learned in grade school. For example, hunger and thirst. Our body has a lot of senses.

And just like that, I realized we have researched some of these other modalities, though that research was rare and scattered. For instance, Jonsson et al (2011, p.1023) state that examining how the senses (i.e. olfactory system) operate in working memory has “received almost no attention in the literature”. Here is a sample of what I found:

  • Andrade and Donaldson (2007) conducted a series of experiments that found that there was a modality specific space in working memory for a learner’s olfactory system. These results were then again confirmed by Jonsson, et. al (2011).
  • Lerch, Cui, Patwardhan, & Visell (2016) conducted an experiment which found that haptic information can be stored in working memory and has its own channel. Seaborn, Riecke & Antle 2010 found similar results.
  • So we have some initial evidence that these senses have their own place in working memory! Now this makes sense. The research is aligned to what we really experience. This explains what is happening in working memory when we learn from games, virtual reality, and in the real world! Now I am excited!

4.0 What I realized is that we have been focusing on a very small piece to a very large puzzle!

3D Learning

  • 3D Learning is a theory that expands on prior 2D cognitive theories (i.e. theories that focused on text and images) to explain how we process content to learn in the real world through all domains (psychomotor/affective/cognitive), from games, from experience, in virtual reality, from hand on activities, etc.
  • Its organic – living and changing
  • Research has only begun to scratch the surface
  • The model:
    • Multiple Input sources
      • Multiple input sources – There are a number of input sources that humans experience. These include vision, hearing, feeling, doing, smelling, tasting and many more
    • Sensory Memory
      • Sensory memory is where we first experience the input and put it into working memory or dismiss it
    • Working Memory
      • Learners have/can process information through a number of channels in working memory (i.e. visual, verbal, haptic/kinesthetic, olfactory, and more)
      • Learners can process multiple channels at the same time (can work together or independently from one another).
      • No matter how many channels we have, we can still only store a limited # of concepts in working memory
      • Training can improve each channel.
      • Learners will have natural strengths and preferences for one channel vs another.
      • Learners can work with prior knowledge from long term memory
    • Long term Memory
      • Long term memory is said to be indefinite

5.0 What’s next…

  • We need to expand the multimedia principles…and probably should be calling them the principles of learning
  • What are the other channels/how many?
    • Olfactory, haptic/kinesthetic, taste, etc. How many do we have?
  • What combinations work best? How many is too many?
    • For example, using our eyes, ears, and hands. Is that too many? How does that impact cognitive load?
  • This is especially crucial to the gaming literature as virtual reality starts to become more common for hands on training

6.0 Sources:

Andrade J. & Donaldson L. (2007). Evidence for an olfactory store in working memory?

Psychologia, 50, 76-89.

Atkinson, R.C., and Shiffrin, R.M.(1968). Human memory: a proposed system and its control processes. Psychol. Learn. Motiv. 2, 89–195.doi:10.1016/s0079- 7421(08)60422-3

Baddeley, A.D., and Hitch, G.(1974).Working memory. Psychol. learn. Motiv. 8, 47–89. doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60452-1

Baddeley, A. (2012). Working Memory: Theories, Models, and Controversies Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2012.63:1-29.

Baddeley, A. (2000). The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(11), 417-423.

Jonsson, F., Moller, P., & Olsson, M. (2011). Olfactory working memory: effects of verbalization. Memory and Cognition, 39, 1023-1032.

Lerch, R., Cui, H., Patwardhan, S., & Visell, Y. (2016). Exploring haptic working memory as a capacity-limited information channel. Presented at the IEEE Haptics Symposium Conference.

Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multimedia learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R., E. (2005). Introduction to multimedia learning. In R. Mayer (Ed.), The cambridge handbook of multimedia (pp. 1-16). NY: Cambridge University Press.

Paivio, A. (1986). Mental representations. New York: Oxford University Press.

Paivio, A. (1971).Imagery and Verbal Processes, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York (Reprinted 1979, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey).

Quak, M., London, R., & Talsma, D. (2015). A multisensory perspective of working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 9, 1-11.

Seaborn, Katie & Riecke, Bernhard & Antle, Alissa. (2010). Exploring the interplay of visual and haptic modalities in a pattern-matching task. Paper presented at the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Haptic Audio Visual Environments and Games

Please see the video for more info: