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Ga. schools lay unequal foundations for college | San Francisco Chronicle

Dixie Edalgo and Allyson Reyer both graduated first in their class in Georgia public schools. Both now attend in-state public colleges.

 

But for these valedictorians, the road to college was dramatically different. Reyer, 18, graduated from Sprayberry High in Cobb County with a 4.578 grade point average and 39 hours of college credit through advanced placement courses. In her first year at The University of Georgia, she's already a sophomore.

 

Edalgo, 19, graduated from Wilcox High in the South Georgia town of Rochelle, where budget cuts forced a four-day week, advanced placement courses are not offered and an estimated two-thirds of students don't have Internet access at home. She graduated with a 4.0 but seldom had homework, and is now struggling with math as a freshman at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, where a 2.0 - a low C average - is required for entry.

 

The paths of these top students illustrate the uneven preparation for college provided by Georgia schools. The challenges of rural districts have been a long-standing concern, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis focused on college readiness. It found that rural students are more likely to need remedial help in college and to score lower on the SAT, a predictor of college success.

 

Reyer's Sprayberry is an academically average suburban high school with abundant resources, while Edalgo's Wilcox is typical of schools, often in rural areas, where students have less access to rigorous academic tracks considered good preparation for college.

 

"Sometimes I wonder to myself how I would have done at a school with people like that," Edalgo said of valedictorians from schools like Sprayberry. "I would have had to push myself harder."

Most agree that money and location play a role in the disparities between Georgia schools. The AJC analysis specifically shows:

 

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What a quarter-century of Internet growth looks like, underwater | WashPost.com

What a quarter-century of Internet growth looks like, underwater | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As folks in the industry like to say, the Internet is a network of networks. To help get Web traffic from here to Britain or China, you need lots of companies with lots of money to build lots of wires to carry that data. And all those fiber optic cables run across the ocean floor, where they have to survive cold, currents, pressure and the occasional snagging by passing vessels or damage by earthquake.


Since 1989, the world has built 5.3 million miles' worth of underwater cabling. By 2017, we're expected to have completed nearly 850 separate cables across the globe. Two of these are partly owned by some of the biggest Internet companies in the world, Facebook and Google. The marketing firm Builtvisible took all this public data and turned it into an interactive map (not to mention a, well, deep history of underwater Internet cables). Here's what 25 years of Internet development looks like, in 1 GIF. (And here, by the way, is how you fix a damaged underwater cable.)


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WA educators deliver 325,000-plus voter signatures to lower class size | Education Votes | NEA.org

WA educators deliver 325,000-plus voter signatures to lower class size | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Washington Secretary of State got a very special delivery last week: petitions signed by more than 325,000 voters to reduce class sizes in K-12 public schools across the state. Thirty students—the size of the average class in a Washington school—helped deliver the boxes on July 2.


Washington currently ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to the number of students per class.


Reducing class size is one of few evidence-based reforms known to increase student achievement.  That’s why Class Size Counts and the Washington Education Association are leading the push to get Initiative 1351 on the ballot so that voters can have their say on the issue this fall. If the initiative passes, the legislature will be required to provide proper funding to reduce class sizes in public schools over a four-year period.


Desi Saylors, a middle school science teacher and mother of two, was a dedicated signature gatherer and advocate for I-1351.


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Colorado educator wins election over big-money “reformer” | Education Votes | NEA.org

Colorado educator wins election over big-money “reformer” | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Sometimes good ideas and passionate people really can win elections against candidates who cater to their big-money donors first and students second.


Val Flores—a long-time educator  with 43 years of experience in public education—won in the Democratic primary for the Colorado State Board of Education District 1 seat recently, despite running against a candidate who raised more money and received corporate endorsements.


“We have a large amount of work to do to bring our public school system up to the levels of excellence necessary for the twenty first century,” said Flores. “We can get there by studying and applying the best practices available, by including our communities in the conversation about the education process, and by holding true to the values of a free public education system for all.”


Flores ran against Taggert Hansen, a candidate endorsed by so-called education “reformers” who have been pushing for policies that undermine public schools. Hansen received significant contributions from Education Reform Now, an organization funded by the Walton Family Foundation, one of many corporations funding legislative efforts to privatize education.


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The FCC is overhauling how it subsidizes WiFi for schools and libraries | WashPost.com

The FCC is overhauling how it subsidizes WiFi for schools and libraries | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Regulators have just approved a big package of federal aid for schools and libraries so that they can upgrade their WiFi networks, as part of a larger effort to modernize the way educators connect their charges to the Web.


In a 3-2 vote along party lines Friday, the FCC greenlit a plan to spend $2 billion over the next two years on subsidies for internal networks. The move also begins a process to phase out some subsidies under the federal program, known as E-Rate, for services and equipment that are on the decline, such as pagers and dial-up Internet service.


"No responsible business would stick with an IT plan developed in 1998," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "We owe the same rigorous self-examination to our schools and libraries."


The original plan called for spending $5 billion on WiFi over five years, in line with a push by the Obama administration to bring next-gen broadband and WiFi to 99 percent of students over the same period. Those funds would have partly come from savings as a result of transitioning away from supporting legacy technologies.


The proposal would also have eliminated an existing requirement that E-Rate funds be spent first on broadband services before being applied to WiFi. In past years, the cost of broadband service meant that money was rarely left over for upgrading WiFi connections.


But the FCC's proposal was ultimately scaled back late Thursday amid Republican objections that the E-Rate program can't afford the changes. The final proposal's two-year, $2 billion commitment accounts for the money the FCC has already set aside for WiFi upgrades, but it does not commit the FCC to funding WiFi upgrades at that same rate for the following three years.


Earlier this week, talks broke down between the commission's Democrats, some of whom want the program dramatically expanded, and its Republicans, who've warned that the $5 billion-over-five-years plan would eat into funding for broadband subsidies.


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Transparent touchscreen display can be used on both sides | GizMag.com

Transparent touchscreen display can be used on both sides | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You've probably seen TV shows in which groups of characters – usually forensic investigators – view data on large transparent touchscreen displays. Well, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have taken that concept a step further. Their TransWall is not only transparent, but it can also receive input and display content on either side of its screen, plus it's capable of haptic feedback.


The system is housed within a T-shaped frame that also incorporates two overhead-mounted projectors, which project visuals onto either side of the screen. That screen is made up of two sheets of plexiglass, with a clear holographic film sandwiched between them. Bordering those sheets are two rectangular infra-red touch sensor frames, one on either side. A surface transducer is also mounted in the plexiglass above the frames, plus microphones are integrated into each of them.


When users on either side touch the plexiglass, the location and movements of their fingertip are detected by the frame on that side. That information is sent to a computer, which accordingly alters the images being projected onto that face of the holographic film. This means that users can draw lines, flip pages, select objects, and perform all the usual touchscreen functions.


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21st Century Literacy: New Initiative Makes the Case that Learning to Code is for Everyone | Berkman Center

Many people view computer programming as a narrow, technical activity appropriate for only a small segment of the population. But, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from MIT’s Media Lab, the University of California’s Digital Media and Learning (DML) Research Hub, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society is seeking to change that.


With a recently awarded $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the researchers aim to engage a broader range of young people in computer programming by building on their interests in areas such as music, dance and sports.


“Coding is the new literacy,” said Mitchel Resnick, professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab and director of the Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten research group. “To thrive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to design, create and express themselves with digital technologies.”


The new initiative extends the Lifelong Kindergarten group’s Scratch programming language, which enables young people to code their own interactive stories, games and animations. To ease the transition into coding, the MIT team is developing a series of interest-based “microworlds” — specialized coding environments designed to connect with young people’s interests. For example, those interested in dancing could use a microworld to program musical beats and the movement of dancing characters on the screen.


“The most powerful and effective learning happens when young people pursue personal interests and passions,” said Mimi Ito, research director of the DML Hub, which is based at UC Irvine. As part of the three-year NSF grant project, Ito and her team will conduct ethnographic research studies examining what types of technical and social support enable youth from diverse backgrounds to become engaged in learning to code.


The initiative will offer a variety of online activities and events that will help youth see coding as relevant to their interests and useful in a wide range of fields, from animation to zoology. In addition, the team at Harvard’s Berkman Center will investigate policies and practices designed to protect young people’s privacy and safety online, while opening new opportunities for learning.


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FCC's Pai: E-Rate Proposal Would Slash Connectivity Funding | Multichannel.com

FCC's Pai: E-Rate Proposal Would Slash Connectivity Funding | Multichannel.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says the way he adds it up, Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed revamp of E-rate funding to boost wireless access come out of current connectivity funds, depriving schools of the "flexibility to meet local needs."

 

That came in a statement on the eve of the FCC's planned vote on the proposal, which Pai has already given a failing grade.

 

"By slashing funds available for Internet connectivity," he said, "the program will likely provide many American students with “Wi-Fi to nowhere.”

 

Here is how Commissioner Pai crunched the numbers:


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Another Study Suggests Acting Immorally In Video Games Actually Makes Players More Moral | Techdirt.com

Another Study Suggests Acting Immorally In Video Games Actually Makes Players More Moral | Techdirt.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As the evolution of video games as a major entertainment medium marches on, you would expect to see more and more studies done as to their effects. And, since the chief topic among those having this conversation seems to center around the effect of violence in games, that's where much of the focus of these studies is going to go.


Now, we've already discussed one study that linked violent video games and the so-called Macbeth Effect, in which the gamer feels the need to cleanse themselves of the wrong-doing with a conversely benevolent action. That study was important because it demonstrated that the effect of violent games might have the opposite effect of the all-to-prevalent theory that virtual violence begets real-life violence.

A recent study appears to boil this down even further, indicating that instead of feeling any kind of desensitizing effect, immoral actions taken in video games produce a more sensitive, compassionate person.


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What 4 teachers told Obama over lunch | Justin Minkel Blog | WashPost.com

What 4 teachers told Obama over lunch | Justin Minkel Blog | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

President Obama sat down this week for lunch at the White House with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and four teachers to talk about education, teaching and school reform.


What the teachers said to Obama is explained in the following post by Justin Minkel, the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, a board member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and a member of the Center for Teaching Quality’s Collaboratory. He writes two blogs, Teaching for Triumph and Career Teacher. Follow him on Twitter:  @JustinMinkel


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Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths | John McCarthy | Edutopia.org

Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths | John McCarthy | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In third grade, my daughter struggled with problems like 36 x 12, and she knew her multiplication facts. Fortunately, her math tutor recognized what was needed, and introduced the Lattice Method. My daughter rediscovered her confidence.


As educators, we know that learning is not one size fits all. Yet differentiated instruction (DI) remains elusive as a major part of formal planning. Myths about DI persist despite work by respected advocates such as Carol Tomlinson, Susan Allan, Rick Wormeli, and Gayle Gregory. What follows are prominent misperceptions expressed about DI, presented here so that we can separate myth from truth.


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Tuna Knobs turns tablets into mobile DJ stations | GizMag.com

Tuna Knobs turns tablets into mobile DJ stations | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

With just about every aspect of music production going digital, one budding DJ is looking to march to the beat of his own drum. Samuel Verburg joined forces with Dutch design firm Tweetonig aiming to mix not just perfectly matched beats, but a bit of old with a little bit of new. The result is Tuna Knobs, physical controls that work on any capacitive touchscreen to bring tactile feedback to music making applications.

The idea for Tuna Knobs arose when Verburg discovered the music production capabilities of the iPad at the behest of a colleague. After some time experimenting with apps such as virtual midi controller TouchOSC, Verburg concluded that the experience just wasn't quite the same. This led him to team up with Tweetonig to explore how these these apps might be improved by integrating the touch and feel of conventional DJ hardware.


"It is basically a stylus," John Tillema, product developer at Tweetonig, tells Gizmag. "The biggest problem was actually getting the footprint large enough so that every device recognize it as being a finger print. That, combined with getting the right feeling, made it a nice engineering challenge."


The team has now arrived at a prototype it hopes will offer a new kind of experience for musicians. A clear acrylic base is fixed to the touchscreen with a suction cap. Placed correctly to align with the virtual knobs on-screen, a conductive rubber grip combines with a conductive surface on the underside to transform a real-life turning movement into an in-app touch command.


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Gauging Public Support for Education Spending | Conor Williams | EdCentral.org

Gauging Public Support for Education Spending | Conor Williams | EdCentral.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I attended First Focus’ annual Children’s Budget Summit this week to hear about the latest federal budget trendlines affecting programs that serve children. The accompanying report is full of interesting information on the United States’ budget priorities.


Across all programs, inflation-adjusted federal spending on children declined by 13.6 percent from 2010 to 2014. Education is down 15.1 percent, and early childhood spending 6.2 percent over the same time period.


These are sobering statistics, especially since, as we noted earlier this year in Subprime Learning, public awareness of the importance of the early years is higher now than ever before. Even though we know that investing in kids markedly improves their long-term life outcomes and saves public money, our representatives in Washington have been steadily cutting back on programs that support children.


Public opinion on early education is as clear as the research. At the event, First Focus announced polling that shows 84 percent of Americans want us to act now to improve conditions for kids. And that sort of overwhelming support isn’t an anomaly—it tracks previous polling.


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School Is Over for the Summer. So Is the Era of Majority White U.S. Public Schools | NationalJournal.com

School Is Over for the Summer. So Is the Era of Majority White U.S. Public Schools | NationalJournal.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The 2013-14 school year has drawn to a close in most U.S. school districts, and with it the final period in which white students composed a majority of the nation's K-12 public school population. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation's public school students.


The change marks far more than a statistical blip.

 

Broader demographic trends indicate that the new student majority, a collection of what have long been thought of as minority groups, will grow. In just three years, Latino students alone will make up nearly 28 percent of the nation's student population, predict data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Latino student population growth combined with a slow but steady decline in the number of white children attending public schools will transform the country's schools.


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How to unfollow, mute or ignore people on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more | GigaOM Ed Tech News

How to unfollow, mute or ignore people on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more | GigaOM Ed Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a picture of your friend’s new baby or your Aunt’s incessant updates about the weather in smalltown America, there are certain people in your social-media feeds that you’d like to just tune out for a bit (even just temporarily).


Social networks seem to be listening and have been rolling out features to help users regain a little bit of control of their social feeds without ruffling the feathers of any friends. The problem is each network has its own definition of tuning out someone, not to mention its own terminology.


To help you out, I combed some of the most popular social networks and muted/blocked/ignored/unfollowed everyone and everything I could. For a quick look, see our chart below. But we also have step-by-step pictures and an easy-to-follow guide for each network to make it easy to mute away.


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Charter school educators unionize to stand strong for students | Education Votes | NEA.org

Charter school educators unionize to stand strong for students | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

“Being united helps teachers to become stronger advocates for our students. We will strive to provide them with the necessary tools they need to become successful global learners prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.”


That’s according to Ana Maria Libunao, an educator who works at Los Angeles’ Apple Academy Charter Public Schools, which has recently voted to unionize. Apple Academy Charter Schools serve K-through-5 students and has two campuses.


Educators at the school are excited to know that establishing a formal and collective voice will allow them to speak louder for students.


"I want to know my ideas, concerns and involvement will be valued when doing what is best for my students socially, academically, and emotionally,” said Elise Sargent, in an open letter to the community from the Apple Academy staff about why educators at the school decided to form a union."


Nationwide, out of the estimated 6,004 charter schools operating in the United States, approximately 12 percent of them are unionized, but that number is growing—thanks in large part to the growth of charter school management companies.


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FCC Approves Controversial $2 Billion School Wi-Fi Plan | Re/Code.net

FCC Approves Controversial $2 Billion School Wi-Fi Plan | Re/Code.net | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Schools will soon be able to apply for grants from a $2 billion fund to help pay for Wi-Fi networks in schools under a plan approved Friday by federal regulators.


The Federal Communications Commission voted to set aside funds for Wi-Fi services over the objections of some schools and teachers unions, which wanted the agency to do much more. The National PTA and teachers unions wanted the FCC to increase the size of the so-called E-Rate fund to help cover the costs of Internet access to more schools. Demand has grown as more schools have tried to improve their Internet access, but funding hasn’t kept pace, they noted.


“Because of what we do today, 10 million kids will be connected next year who otherwise wouldn’t. That’s something to be proud of,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Friday.


Although the agency is setting aside up to $2 billion for Wi-Fi networks to be spent over the next two years, it assumes — but doesn’t guarantee — funding for those networks in future years. It also didn’t propose increasing the size of the program, although it asked for comments on doing that. Wheeler said it would “be a mistake to simply add money to a program that was set in the 20th century,” but the agency should continue looking at broader funding issues.


“I hope that going forward we will have the courage to fix this,” Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, regarding the limited funding available for schools and libraries. “I hope going forward we will be bold. Because this is not just a matter of getting schools and libraries connected — it’s a matter of our global competitiveness.”


The FCC said the cost of the program would be covered by unused funds and administrative cost-cutting. After internal discussion, the agency decided to continue to prioritize requests for Internet access to schools over requests for Wi-Fi.


The E-Rate program is part of the Universal Service Fund, a government subsidy program funded by a monthly fee on phone bills. It is mostly used to help cover the costs of providing telecommunications services in rural areas. The fund was started in 1996 and has grown over the years, even though E-Rate funding was capped at $2.25 billion annually 16 years ago and hasn’t been adjusted for inflation.


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Engine failure foils ISEE-3 recovery effort | GizMag.com

Engine failure foils ISEE-3 recovery effort | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The private effort to recover the 35-year old ISEE-3 spacecraft has ended in apparent failure. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Keith Cowing of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project said that though the group had been able to establish radio contact with the unmanned probe, it was unsuccessful in getting the engines to fire properly. This means it will not be able to make the planned course correction and the craft will head back into deep space.


Supported by a US$160,000 crowdfunding effort, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project was given permission by NASA to take control of the deactivated comet explorer as it passed close to Earth earlier this year. According to the Project, the team was able to establish contact with the spacecraft using the Arecibo Radio observatory in Puerto Rico in May and since then has been carrying out a series of diagnostics and spin tests.


On July 8, the Project attempted to test fire the engine needed to send ISEE-3 on its new course, and, though the first firing was a partial success, the second and third attempts failed. The team says that the most likely reason is that there wasn't enough nitrogen to pressurize the fuel tanks. They are currently crowdsourcing the problem to determine whether the nitrogen has simply run out or it has dissolved in the hydrazine used in the propulsion system.


Though the Project believes that there is a slim chance of sending the spacecraft on a different mission than originally planned, at the moment the most likely scenario is that the ISEE-3 will head back into deep space until contact is once again lost or the Project shuts the craft down again.

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Source: FCC Chair Has Votes to Pass E-Rate Reform | Multichannel.com

Source: FCC Chair Has Votes to Pass E-Rate Reform | Multichannel.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has secured enough votes to pass his proposed E-rate reforms at today's meeting, according to an agency official speaking on background. that will almost certainly be on a straight party line vote.

 

E-rate is the Universal Service Fund subsidy that goes to provide advanced telecommunications to schools and libraries.

 

In the wake of concerns from the Hill and elsewhere about the migration of E-rate funding to wireless broadband and its impact on funding of traditional broadband connectivity, the order is now said to include a "safety valve" that makes sure that support for that basic service is not eroded by Wi-Fi demand.

 

The commission will seek comment on long-term funding for the program, and include an evaluation of the Wi-Fi migration as part of that long-term review.


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The Network Structure of Jewish Texts | Science Blogs | WIRED

The Network Structure of Jewish Texts | Science Blogs | WIRED | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Scholarship is a conversation between individuals and across the generations. And this conversation can often be mapped. We can look at who cites who in the scientific literature or we can look at who collaborates with each other. We can also look at annotations, because in this long conversation, scholars can have comments on each others’ work.


This is a particularly appropriate method when it comes to Jewish texts. Many of these texts not only cite each other, but comment upon them, a sort of citation on steroids. For example, there is the Mishnah, part of the Oral Law in Judaism. Each section of Mishnah is in turn commented upon by the Gemara, and together these two things make up the Talmud. And there are medieval rabbis who in turn comment on the Talmud, as well as each other. And so on and so forth. With each text of course referencing and annotating the Bible. Ultimately, classical Jewish literature is one that is steeped in annotation and reference. It is the quintessential network.


Sefaria, is an open source database of Jewish texts and recently, Liz Shayne of UC Santa Barbara attempted to extract the relationships between the texts found there—annotations, allusions, and such—and visualize them.


Unfortunately, Sefaria is very much a work-in-progress, so conclusions are likely to early to be drawn, but here is a quick visualization that Shayne performed of the complete network of more than 100,000 nodes and 87,000 links. (see above)


Here is the meaning of the colors, along with some interpretation:


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Hong Kong: Want your bilingual kids to get ahead? Teach them a third language: computer code | SCMP.com

Hong Kong: Want your bilingual kids to get ahead? Teach them a third language: computer code | SCMP.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Whether or not they dazzle in final exams, students are expected to be numerate and literate, preferably at least in two languages (English and Chinese for most youngsters here). They may soon have to add a third language if they are to get ahead in the 21st century: code.


Computer programming, or machine language, code defines much of modern society. It drives all those apps which many rely on everyday to communicate, do business and navigate the world, and policy makers in developed countries have been working on ways to ensure that youngsters speak code.


In Hong Kong, some efforts have begun to instil code literacy. Ray Cheung Chak-chun, an assistant professor at the City University Apps Lab, has been running a series of workshops called "We Can Code", to teach secondary school students the ins and outs of creating mobile apps. At the same time, British entrepreneur David Greenwood started Code Club HK, a volunteer-run network to promote coding among children aged from nine to 11 at after-school activities.


That is far from adequate if Hong Kong is to realise its dreams of being a tech hub, let alone keep apace with global practices.


"I won't say Hong Kong is behind the rest of the world. But to become a leader, you need to do more than enough," says Yat Siu, founder and CEO of web-technology company Outblaze.


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DIY shop SparkFun now offers a cloud for your connected device data | GigaOM Tech News

DIY shop SparkFun now offers a cloud for your connected device data | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

SparkFun, the Boulder, Colo. company that sells DIY projects and boards, and even helps with fulfilling the orders from crowdfunding campaigns, has built a cloud service and an open-source project designed to get data online. The company laid out the new service, called data.sparkfun.com in blog post Thursday, and it also released code it calls Phant (as in elephant, the pachyderm that never forgets) so people who don’t want to use the service can still upload their data to their own servers.


With this offering it is becoming crystal clear that if you’re going to offer hardware to people building connected devices, you’re also going to have to offer a service to get that data online, where developers can then play with it. I was reminded of the Dweet.io and Freeboard projects by Big Labs while reading SparkFun CEO’s Nate Seidle’s description of the data service:


"See the simplistic beauty here? All you have to do is string a bunch of sensor data together from whatever hardware you’re using and throw a link out into the world. Phant never forgets them. And almost any embedded device can stick a bunch of strings and variables together!<br />"


However, like many of the toolsets associated with the DIYers out there and even products like Electric Imp that offer both hardware and cloud, there’s still a level of expertise or comfort with physical tinkering and software required. The barrier is much lower, and clearly efforts like this are bringing more people and ideas into the connected device universe, but I’m curious how large this market is.


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Hero hacks: 14 Raspberry Pi projects primed for IT | NetworkWorld.com

Hero hacks: 14 Raspberry Pi projects primed for IT | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You have to hand it to Eben Upton and crew for the Raspberry Pi. This single-board design, aimed at making computers inexpensive enough to bring computer science to the poorest of schools, has kicked off a revolution not just in education, but in tapping computing power to interact with the environment around us. And along the way, this $35 computer has proved to have significant value in traditional IT and business contexts.


The following DIY projects just scratch the surface of how you can hack the Raspberry Pi, and its Arduino cousin, into an effective workplace tool. A few I've yet to build myself, but they are modifications of previous projects I have built. Consider it a catalog of battle-tested possibilities.


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Cloud brings thunder and lightning inside your home | GizMag.com

Cloud brings thunder and lightning inside your home | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cloud, by New Zealand-based designer Richard Clarkson, is an interactive lamp designed to mimic a thundercloud. It brings the outside inside, providing an audiovisual show that looks and sounds like thunder and lightning ... but thankfully rain isn't included in the package.


Powered by an Arduino microcontroller, Cloud is able to react to motion by automatically adjusting the color and brightness of lighting. There are also alternate modes for those who need a break from having a thundercloud in their home. For instance, Cloud can be turned into a nightlight or used to stream music via any Bluetooth-compatible device.


The Cloud itself is made hypoallergenic fiberfill that is felted to a sponge casing to form a frame. The frame holds within it the lighting system and speakers used to make Cloud look and sound like a real thundercloud ... just one that's hanging from your ceiling rather than growing ominously outside your window.


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How college remediation rates are distorted — and why | WashPost.com

How college remediation rates are distorted — and why | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Are a large percentage of high school graduates so unprepared for college when they get there that they have to take remedial courses to catch up? School reformers like to say so, and throw out big percentages of students who are said to need remediation.


But where do these figures come from, and are they accurate? Award-winning Prinicipal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York looks at this issue in the following post.


Burris has been exposing the problems with New York’s botched school reform effort for a long time on this blog. (You can read some of her work here, herehere,  here, and here.) She previously wrote about remediation rates here. She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010,  tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.


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Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children's Executive Functioning | EdWeek.org

Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children's Executive Functioning | EdWeek.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When children spend more time in structured activities, they get worse at working toward goals, making decisions, and regulating their behavior, according to a new study.


Instead, kids might learn more when they have the responsibility to decide for themselves what they're going to do with their time. Psychologists at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver studied the schedules of 70 six-year olds, and they found that the kids who spent more time in less-structured activities had more highly-developed self-directed executive function.


Self-directed executive function develops mostly during childhood, the researchers write, and it includes any mental processes that help us work toward achieving goals—like planning, decision making, manipulating information, switching between tasks, and inhibiting unwanted thoughts and feelings. It is an early indicator of school readiness and academic performance, according to previous research cited in the study, and it even predicts success into adulthood. Children with higher executive function will be healthier, wealthier, and more socially stable throughout their lives.


The researchers asked parents to record the activities of their six-year-olds for a week, and then they measured how much time each child spent in structured and less-structured activities. The researchers define structured activities as anything organized and supervised by adults—like music lessons or community service. For an activity to be less-structured, the child must be in charge of deciding what to do and figuring out how to do it. All forms of free play counted as less-structured activities.


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