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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pair this: Time's Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing us with this video

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sandy Hook Scholarship

Educators across the globe have been deeply affected by the tragedy in Sandy Hook. We have seen multiple Tweets and Blogs about how to address violence in our schools. We haves seen parents, military personnel, and police officers camped out at our schools to make our children feel more safe. President Obama released a gun violence statement today before the NRA press conference – people are pointing fingers at the NRA, gun salespersons, even Call of Duty. In all the media blitz, we have forgotten that the families who lost loved ones must find a way to put their lives back together; regardless of whether violent games are to blame, they still lost their children. In memory of those students, Aflac has started a fundraiser to create a scholarship for survivors. Please donate today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TransMedia Projects

This new term has been flying across the internet, from creative to advertising mediums.

So what exactly is a TransMedia project?

A TransMedia project places content on multiple stages, such as Facebook or Twitter, and uses each medium to tell a part of the story. This type of storytelling offers a deeper appreciation for projects because of the varying strengths of these mediums. In this way, viewers often become more engrossed in stories or characters because they can interact with them on Facebook, get live and instant updates via Twitter, and watch new episodes on YouTube. This type of advertising offers strength in its variety; the message is sent to multiple audiences simultaneously and can be altered accordingly.

One new TransMedia project is highly anticipated in the comedy world: I Made America.

Particularly timely in light of the upcoming election, I Made America is a comedy sketch about a few founding fathers stuck in the mire that is our current campaign trail. The fathers have Facebook pages, offering a unique degree of interactivity.

John Adams
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson

Ben Franklin

The characters will also be appearing in various physical locations, taking TransMedia outside the digital world (CAUTION CURSING):

TransMedia projects such as I Made America truly stretch the boundaries of what is considered "digital media"; with multiple aps (Twitter, Facebook, etc) running simultaneously,viewership rises to a whole new level.

Charles Dickens and the publishing industry figured it out early: publishing in installments increases viewership. Perhaps it's the anticipation. The real new territory here is interactivity. Typically as interactivity increases so does the success of the show. Causality may include increased show exposure, increased/diversified feedback from audiences, wider audiences (internet options allow multicultural audiences to access the show), amongst others. The real success lies within increased audience participation: more audience investment often yields more commitment, and for a TV show, this means a dense and long-standing audience base.

Shows such as I Made America serve as interesting test pilots for the future of programing...keep an eye on these guys.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

End foreign oil dependence with our ultimate renewable resource

The abundant elemental resources available to us often go unused (i.e., solar and wind power. Solar panels are too expensive! We could power most of the United States if we covered the entire state of Nevada in solar panels, but the trade-off between a hot shower for every American and thousands of acres of desert is clearly too much to ask Windmills cause visual displeasure apparently larger than gray smog and smoke stacks).

Teachers complain daily of poor performers, American hunger is on the rise (what's worse, as food stamp usage increases, so does its abuse), 1/3 of foster children are abused, juvenile crimes are increasing, the population is at an all time high, and scientists worry about feeding future generations. The idea of eating our own children is simply barbaric, so I have my own modest proposal*:


Crawl, Baby! CRAWL!

Too cruel? Exploiting children to make your clothes cheaper is cruel. Destroying habitats is cruel.

Too illogical? Burning corn when half the world is starving is illogical (not to mention the process to make it into fuel creates pollutants).

Actually, creativity is our ultimate renewable resource. If you can't come up with something more ethical, clean-burning, logical, and renewable than "babies", we really are screwed.

*Created for the purpose of Preventing The Children of Poor People From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and
For Making Them Beneficial to The Public

How the Internet is changing student brains

There has been a great deal of speculation of the years about how the Internet is effecting the next generation of students: does it shorten their attention spans? Do they expect different lesson plans?

While technlogy in the classroom offers new formats for education, not all students are more tech-savvy than their older counterparts, nor do they always prefer to use technology (this is a stereotype of their generation that teachers should avoid).

The implications of technology may extend past new technique or preference, however. Recent studies presented by the BBC found a correlation between a persons' Facebook friends count and the size of the "social", "memory", and "emotional" areas of their brain.

The social impacts of social media may not be suprising.
Dr. Ryota Kanai of University College, London, states, "We have found some interesting brain regions that seem to link to the number of friends we have - both 'real' and 'virtual'."

The "emotional" part of the brain, called the amygdala, is the focus of emotional activity in the brain. While the debate still rages as to its ability to manage "basic" versus "social" emotions, it is still studied as the hub of emotional activity in the brain. The size of the amygdala was shown to be linked to the size and complexity of the persons' real world social networks. This leads to further questions about emotional intelligence (can it be taught? can it be measured? can you increase your emotional intelligence?).

The fact that the internet effects memory may be key in student research. Recently, scientists have found that IQ can change in teenage years, but have not identified the "how" or "why". As social media impact memory, and memory impacts IQ, the need for more long-term internet study is clear; "We cannot escape the ubiquity of the internet and its impact on our lives, yet we understand little of its impact on the brain, which we know is plastic and can change over time," says Dr. Williams, head of Neuroscience at Welcome Trust.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stimulate your classes' creativity

Abstract words are often difficult for students to define. Words like "love" change with time, your experiences, and your context. Many reserachers and educators wonder at the impact the recent anniversary of September 11th and the bleak outlook for the American economy has on current students image of America and patriotism itself.

Depending on how you execute this lesson, this activitiy offers a unique opportunity for students to learn and excersise multiple skills:
-Defining abstract words: Understanding that a word can have multiple meanings (both to themselves and others) and learning how to negotiate words' multiplicity.
-Creativity: Understanding that words do not appear just in letters, but also images. Learning how images impact the viewer.
-Basic letter writing skills (no, they are not a foregon art): Learning how to write a saluatation, introduction, and conclusion (this is also helpful when learning to write a self-narrative and basic paragraph).
-Civic Engagement/Community service: Learning how each person can impact another.
-Self-awareness: Learning a little bit more about themselves and how identity is created.

Opperation Gratitude Lesosn Plan
Before the lesson:
-Order FREE flat rate envelopes (so you don't have to pay for the envelopes, and no matter how much you include you don't pay for weight). Find out how/if your school will reimburse you for postage.
-Decide if you want to include your personal/school email for feedback. This may or may not establish a connection between your class and soldiers stationed abroad.
-One blank envelope per student
-Printed letter explaining the class activity for each envelope. Decide if you want to sign it or have the students sign.
-Find a few video/sound clips of America/Patriotism (suggestion: find a few examples from different time periods to show the class how Patriotism has changed over time).

The day of the lesson.
1. Show the Americanism clips you've chosen.
2. Ask the students what they think an American is. Get them into image mode by asking questions like "what does an American look like?" "What adjectives describe an American?" etc
3. Provide the students with markers, crayons, paper, etc. NO GLITTER. Ask them to draw what an American looks like.

1. Show the Americanism clips you've chosen.
2. Ask the students what "patriotism" means. You will get many answers.
3. Tell the students there are many meanings for this word, and that is okay. Patriotism means a lot of things to a lot of people, and the meaning of this word has changed over time.
4. Explain that not all words have one meaning. Give examples: Love.
5. Have the students draw "love". Choose a few examples to share, expalaining that each option is correct.
6. Now ask the students to draw "patriotism". Explain that these pictures will be sent to soldiers abroad, who are executing their version of "patriotism" through self-sacrifice.
7. Help each student place their picture in the evelope, then place the envelopes in the larger flat rate envelope. Do NOT seal the individual envelopes.
8. After class, mail large envelope to:
Operation Gratitude
17330 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91406

Lesson Extention Ideas
-At the end of the year, ask students if their idea of patriotism has changed
-Keep up correspondance with any soldier who replies

*Operation Gratitude sends letters and care packages to Americans stationed abroad. You can also donate beanie babies and care items. Check out other information on the project here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dress For Success

Dr. Scholl's For Her (they sell those cushy high heel insoles) is sponsoring a $25,000 shoe donation to Dress For Success, a company devoted to providing underprivileged women with business attire.

Women are STILL under-represented in many higher level positions, and worse, STILL make less money than men. In recent news, the Supreme Court threw out the largest sex discrimination case in history this week. Needless to say, this campaign is timely and desperately needed.

You can vote for the shoes you want donated here. However, the shoe selections leave something to be desired. While I believe a woman doesn't have to hide her curves at the office, there is a certain sort of decorum that must be maintained in an office setting. This is important, as there are so many other things working against promoting women (they're too emotional, they'll get knocked up, and other ridiculousness) their dress should not be one of them.

Thus, a short blurb on office dress code for ladies in the summer.
1. No bare shoulders. I know it's warm outside, but the office is not the place for your cute beach wrap. Bring a sweater for the office.
2. No flip flops. EVER. Wear them for the commute and change in the lobby.
3. Dear Dr. Scholl's: Extremely high, strappy, and otherwise loud heels are NOT professional. They don't have to be black, but please no animal print!
4. No revealing tops or slitted skirts.
1. Play with the cute floral patterns of summer. Pair these blouses or skirts with a more quiet jacket, blouse, skirt, etc
2. Open-toe shoes are becoming acceptable in some offices...get that cute pair! Better yet, embrace the new style of flats-they always seem more professional than the GaGa sky-high heels
3. Enjoy your music-with your headphones.

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