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Verizon Foundation App Challenge | BDPA Foundation

Verizon Foundation App Challenge | BDPA Foundation | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge provides the opportunity for middle school and high school students, working with a faculty advisor, to use their STEM concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their school or community. The challenge deadline is January 18, 2013.

 

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Fact-Checking the Smithsonian's Koch-Funded Climate Change Exhibition | Ryan Little | Hyperallergic.com

Fact-Checking the Smithsonian's Koch-Funded Climate Change Exhibition | Ryan Little | Hyperallergic.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last month’s demonstrations outside the National Museum of Natural History might not have prompted the public outcry activists had hoped for, but the claim that David Koch’s relationship to the museum impacts the content of their Human Origins exhibition deserves consideration. It’s difficult to know what specific, subtle influences a wealthy donor and board member might hold over any given organization, but it’s not hard to examine the quality of the work they sponsor.

“The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins” prominently names its $15-million sponsor and National Museum of Natural History board member throughout, lending an unfortunate air of scientific gravitas to the co-owner of energy-and-chemical conglomerate Koch Industries, a man who once claimed contemporary global warming might actually be beneficial to humans.


Koch has held uncanny sway over other public institutions through donations in the past, and he, along with his brother Charles, regularly opposes environmental regulations through funding libertarian advocacy groups. (When asked about the protestors’ scientific objections last month, Linda St. Thomas, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian, denied allegations that the exhibit is misleading and pointed to the Smithsonian’s prior public statements on donors and climate change.)

But it’s the hand of Smithsonian scientist Rick Potts, the exhibition’s curator, that is most apparent. Many, many scientists and researchers contributed to the hall, but Potts, a well-known paleoanthropologist, has been the director of the Museum of Natural History’s Human Origins program since 1985. He clearly speaks for and crafts the display.

At the entrance to the exhibition, below Koch’s large-lettered name, there’s a mission statement: “Travel back 6 million years to discover how our ancestors struggled to survive dramatic climate changes and, in the process, evolved the traits that make us human.”

If you don’t recall your biology teacher talking about the role of climate change in human evolution, you’re not simply forgetting your education. A quick perusal of Wikipedia’s page on evolution or PBS’s online evolution resources won’t net you any mention of climate change as a driving factor (let alone “the” driving factor) of natural selection or human evolution. So how did it become the core tenant of the exhibit?


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Contact temporarily lost withNASA's New Horizons spacecraft | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Contact temporarily lost withNASA's New Horizons spacecraft | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Like a racehorse stumbling at the finish line, NASA's New Horizons deep space probe gave mission control a moment of anxiety on July 4 as communications were temporarily lost. The unmanned nuclear-powered spacecraft, which is only nine days from its historic flyby with the dwarf planet Pluto, lost contact with the Deep Space Network at 1:54 pm EDT and came back online at 3:15 pm.

According to NASA, the anomaly that caused the loss of communications wasn't due to a hardware or software failure, but rather a timing flaw in the spacecraft command sequence that occurred while preparing for the close flyby of Pluto. The probe went into safe mode as it is programmed to do in such an event, and a backup computer reestablished communications with Earth and transmitted telemetry to allow engineers to assess the status of the probe.

The fact that it takes for a radio signal nine hours to reach New Horizons and return is of represents something of a challenge, but mission control is satisfied with the results. New Horizons is expected to return to full operational status on July 7 without any loss to the schedule of scientific studies. NASA stresses that the anomaly is extremely unlikely to occur again.


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The Evens Prize for Media Education 2015 | Evens Foundation

The Evens Prize for Media Education 2015 | Evens Foundation | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Evens Prize for Media Education has been awarded to the Dutch network organization mediawijzer.net for its Media Masters. The Austrian Institute for Critical Digital Culture, Cracked Labs, was awarded the runner-up prize for its online game Data Dealer.

The awards ceremony was held during the Media Meets Literacy conference that the Evens Foundation organized in Warsaw on 21st and 22nd May 2015.

This time the Evens Prize for Media Education focused on an important and omnipresent domain within contemporary media: the social media networks. The title of this prize was “Young People and Social Media: Meeting the Challenges – For projects that contribute to a wiser use of social media”. The aim was to support existing initiatives that contribute to the education of children and adolescents (aged 9-16), directly or through their teachers or parents, so that they use social media in a sensible, constructive and ethical way.


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This Girl Shamed Her Library For Saying She Couldn't Take A 'Boys Only' Robotics Class | Deborah Gross | Distractify

This Girl Shamed Her Library For Saying She Couldn't Take A 'Boys Only' Robotics Class | Deborah Gross | Distractify | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cash Cayen wanted to sign up for a robotics class at Timmins Public Library in Ontario, Canada. When she went to go register, Cash was denied because she is a girl.

The librarian informed Cash that the class was only being offered to boys since "Boys' academic and literacy skills don't improve over the summer break."


Not willing to take 'no' for an answer, Cayen decided to petition the library to include girls in the class:


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World Asteroid Day raises awareness of a deadly menace | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

World Asteroid Day raises awareness of a deadly menace | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

June 30th marked the world's first Asteroid Day – a global awareness campaign designed to promote an understanding of the dangers presented by the rocky bodies, and how best to protect our planet from a potentially catastrophic asteroid impact. Significantly, the campaign was held on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska asteroid strike – an impact that devastated eight hundred square miles of Siberian forest, and served as a powerful indicator of the damage that could be wrought by just one of the 600,000 plus known asteroids whizzing around our solar system.

June saw ESA's six member states participate in a workshop on asteroid impact preparedness in the wake of the February 2013 Chelyabinsk asteroid strike, which caused significant damage to the city. The workshop focused on information distribution and lines of communication between various governmental channels, which would be vital for disseminating safety information to the general public.


"In the event of a threat, we need to clearly establish roles and responsibilities for the impact zone," states Nicolas Bobrinsky, Head of ESA’s Space Situational Awareness program. "Clear planning is the key to improved public safety."


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The Harvard Classics: A Free, Digital Collection | Open Culture

The Harvard Classics: A Free, Digital Collection | Open Culture | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education.


The publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to assemble the right collection of works. The result wasa 51-volume series published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf. Later it would simply be called 'The Harvard Classics'.

You can still buy an old set off of eBay for $399. But, just as easily, you can head to the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg, which have centralized links to every text included in The Harvard Classics (Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, Plutarch’s Lives, the list goes on below). Please note that the previous two links won’t give you access to the actual annotated Harvard Classics texts edited by Eliot himself. But if you want just that, you can always click here and get digital scans of the true Harvard Classics.


Please note that the first two volumes appear at the bottom of the page. And, in case you want to deepen your liberal education yet further, don’t forget to check out our collection 1100 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. Also spend some time with these other resources: 700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices and 630 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free.


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Colorado Court Rules Republican Scheme For Schools Unconstitutional | Reverb Press

Colorado Court Rules Republican Scheme For Schools Unconstitutional | Reverb Press | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Few people outside Douglas County, Colorado, know that the Koch Brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, spent $350,000 on election campaigning to buy control of the school board there in 2013. Most of the money was spent on a campaign claiming the four Republican candidates for school board wanted to protect school “choice.” What choice meant, in this case, was the choice to attend a religion-based school with a state-paid voucher.

The Republican school board members claim they want to create a “world-class” education system, like Finland or Singapore. But they actually want to gut the public school system and spend the voucher money on religious education. This is the Republican idea of “world-class.”

The Republican school board also plans to use competition to improve the schools. Students are rated and only the best can receive vouchers for private schools. Teachers are rated, and some may receive bonuses of $20,000. Even schools are rated, so that some must drop popular but non-commercial subjects, like music and art, to stay on top of the ratings.

But competition has nothing to do with how Finland runs its educational system.The Finns know how to create a world-class educational system. The Republicans don’t, but they do know how to pretend that they’re creating one while gutting the Douglas County school system.


The Colorado State Supreme Court ruled on June 29, 2015, that the Koch-supported Republican plan for Douglas County schools was an unconstitutional scheme to siphon money to religious schools. The School Board promised to take their case to the US Supreme Court. With the Koch Brothers bankrolling them, they certainly have the money to do so.


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The Colonial Roots of Media's Racial Narratives | Juan Gonzalez & Joseph Torres | Fair.org

The Colonial Roots of Media's Racial Narratives | Juan Gonzalez & Joseph Torres | Fair.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

This is an excerpt from 'News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media'. Copyright Juan González and Joseph Torres 2011. Published by Verso Books.


Colonial printers, as we would expect, reported domestic events entirely from the perspective of the European settlers who were their only readers. They did, however, devote considerable space to two groups of non-Europeans who warily coexisted in the New World with the settlers: the Native American tribes and African slaves.

The lone edition of Benjamin Harris’ Publick Occurrences (commonly regarded as the first newspaper in the New World, with a publication date of September 25, 1690), contained five separate news items about the Native population in just three pages of text. In one entry, Harris wrote of two white children apparently kidnapped by “barbarous Indians” who were “lurking about” the town of Chelmsford. In another (the longest article in the newspaper), Harris gave an account of an expedition by the Massachusetts militia and their Mohawk allies against the French in Canada. The Mohawks killed some French prisoners “in a manner too barbarous for any English to approve,” he wrote.

In a related item on the same Canada campaign, Harris counseled his readers that they had “too much confided” in the Mohawks. “If Almighty God will have Canada to be subdu’d without the assistance of those miserable Savages…we shall be glad,” he added. Only one of his reports did not associate the Natives with violence—an item on how the Christianized Indians of Plymouth “have newly appointed a day of Thanksgiving to God.”

Publick Occurrences thus created “the perfect prototype for news coverage of Native Americans by colonial newspapers,” concludes David A. Copeland in an exhaustive analysis of the content of early American newspapers. Years of sporadic fighting over settler incursions on Native lands had already sparked the rise of anti-Indian captivity literature—outlandish tales of rape, infanticide, torture and dismemberment that both disgusted and fascinated the settlers.


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Making Connections Through Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships | Hampton High School Case Study | Edutopia.org

Making Connections Through Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships | Hampton High School Case Study | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Hampton High School creates an environment that promotes lifelong learning through rigor and relevancy. Blending performance-based assessment, data-driven instruction, differentiation, and technology integration, the school's mission is authentic learning for every student.


Hampton High School is located in Hampton Township a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At Hampton, real-world learning is brought into the classroom on a daily basis. Performance-based assessments and a commitment to smart tech integration have led to increased student engagement and academic success. Hampton High School:

  • Consistently outperforms the state in reading, writing, math, and science for the past 5 years
  • U.S. National Blue Ribbon School
  • Has a 99% graduation rate vs. 83% for the state (2014).


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Creative Destruction in Teaching (and the Ongoing Relevance of Teachers) | Don Wettrick Blog | Edutopia.org

Creative Destruction in Teaching (and the Ongoing Relevance of Teachers) | Don Wettrick Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

How safe is your job? Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Freakonomics, posed that question in a recent podcast as they evaluated how technology has "innovated" people out of many automated jobs. These contrarian thinkers discussed how and why many jobs, even entire industries, are disappearing. This phenomena is called creative destruction, a term coined by German sociologist Werner Sombart, who defined it as:

The process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.

And continual innovation is destroying many occupations. Think of how many times a day you deal with computers, rather than live people, to make purchases and pay bills. Reminders of downsizing are all around us.

Then I started to think about, well, my job as an educator.


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The Paragraph On Slavery That Never Made It Into The Declaration Of Independence | Ben Railton | Talking Points Memo

The Paragraph On Slavery That Never Made It Into The Declaration Of Independence | Ben Railton | Talking Points Memo | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As with so many debates in our 21st century moment, the question of race and the Declaration of Independence has become a divided and often overtly partisan one. Those working to highlight and challenge injustice will note that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration and its “All men are created equal” sentiment, was like many of his fellow founders a slave-owner, and moreover one who might well have fathered illegitimate children with one of his slaves. In responses, those looking to defend Jefferson and the nation’s founding ideals will push back on these histories as anachronistic, overly simplistic, exemplifying the worst form of “revisionist history.”

If we push beyond those divided perspectives, however, we can find a trio of more complex intersections of race and the Declaration, historical moments and figures that embody both the limitations and the possibilities of America’s ideals. Each can and should become part of what we remember on the Fourth of July; taken together, they offer a nicely rounded picture of our founding and evolving identity and community.

For one thing, Jefferson did directly engage with slavery in his initial draft of the Declaration. He did so by turning the practice of slavery into one of his litany of critiques of King George:

"He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither … And he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he had deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."

Like so much in the American founding, these lines are at once progressive and racist, admitting the wrongs of slavery but describing the slaves themselves as “obtruding” upon and threatening the lives of the colonists. Not surprisingly, this complex, contradictory paragraph did not survive the Declaration’s communal revisions, and the final document makes no mention of slavery or African Americans.

Yet the absence of race from the final draft of the Declaration did not keep Revolutionary-era African Americans from using the document’s language and ideals for their own political and social purposes. As early as 1777, a group of Massachusetts slaves and their abolitionist allies brought a petition for freedom based directly on the Declaration before the Massachusetts legislature. “Your petitioners … cannot but express their astonishment,” they wrote, “that it has never been considered that every principle from which America has acted in the course of their unhappy difficulties with Great Britain pleads stronger than a thousand arguments in favor of your petitioners.”

When Massachusetts drafted its own state constitution in 1780, that document’s extension of the Declaration’s sentiments added more ammunition to such slave petitions.


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New Oregon law recognizes students and parents are key in developing better assessments | Amanda Litvinov | NEA.org

New Oregon law recognizes students and parents are key in developing better assessments | Amanda Litvinov | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Oregon educators celebrated last week as Gov. Kate Brown signed into law the Student Assessment Bill of Rights (HB 2655), which was crafted to empower students and parents in the learning and assessment process.

Oregon’s new law ensures that students and their families will know the purpose of all standardized assessments, how they will be used, how much class time the tests require, and who will have access to the results.

In some ways, it’s hard to believe that most students and parents don’t have access to that information. But in most states, that is the norm.


All too often, even educators cannot access the results of standardized tests in time to tailor instruction to fill any gaps and increase students’ mastery of the material. Another endless frustration is the amount of classroom instruction time lost to prepping for and administering tests, and the creative lessons and learning activities educators have been forced to eliminate as test demands have grown.


The amount of class time Oregon educators and students have lost to standardized testing has gone from mere hours to several days. Schools across the country require roughly twice the amount of standardized testing they did 2002.


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Workshop on “Money and Sustainability: the Challenge of Sustainable Finance begins at School”scatol8® | scatol8®

Workshop on “Money and Sustainability: the Challenge of Sustainable Finance begins at School”scatol8® | scatol8® | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

This issue of Sustainability is linked to the availability of natural resources for future generations and to the effects of changes brought about by economic activities, in terms of pollution, on environmental quality. These aspects are fundamental when investigating the conditions to ensure sustainability, with intra and intergenerational perspectives, through methods to track material and/or energy flows.


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The key to awesome future robots could be seahorse tails | Eric Mack | GizMag.com

The key to awesome future robots could be seahorse tails | Eric Mack | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The key to better, tougher and more coordinated robots as well as improved surgical procedures, among other advances, could derive their inspiration from an unlikely source – the odd, square tail of the all-around strange seahorse.

While most animal tails are cylindrical in cross-section, the seahorse has a unique, squared tail that not only provides the fish with a tough armor, but also gives it a strong grasp to hold on to things like plants or coral and "fish" for food that floats by its mouth. A paper in the most recent issue of the journal Science lays out some of the virtues of the appendage, which provides potential insight into engineering and robotics applications given its combination of strength and flexibility.

The team has been working on the research for a few years now, and we first took notice of the effort back in 2013.

"We found that this square architecture provides adequate dexterity and a tough resistance to predators, but also that it tends to snap naturally back into place once it’s been twisted and deformed," said co-author Ross Hatton, an assistant engineering professor at Oregon State University. "This could be very useful for robotics applications that need to be strong, but also energy-efficient and able to bend and twist in tight spaces."


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Free Blandin Webinar July 9: Creative Spaces, Creative Places | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Free Blandin Webinar
July 9 at 3:00-4:00
Register!

Does broadband promote creativity? Not alone it doesn’t but it can be an ingredient that spurs or supports a community effort. You also need people to make it happen. In this webinar we’ll hear from people who have promoted creativity in their community at least in some part through technology. We’ll learn about what they are doing, how they started it and what it has meant to the community.

Matthew Marcus and Aaron Deacon on Kansas City Startup Village: A community situated around the first neighborhood to get Google Fiber in KC but built but local entrepreneurs to be fertile ground to grow startups from KC and beyond. They community grew organically as if something was in the air. Hear their story and think about how can we replicate that here.

Fred Underwood on Duluth Maker Space: A sustainable multi-field community workshop for local artists, inventors, experimentors, teachers, learners (Makers!) of all ages. It opened last Fall. They have classes available and just open space with cool tools for folks who want to use them. Imagine a place in your community where makers can meet and collaborate.

A Minnesota library yet to be named. Libraries have been harbors for information, technology and innovation for centuries. Find out how to make the most of your library!


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College-Age Depression Is Increasingly Tied to Helicopter Parenting, Studies Show | Julie Lythcott-Haims | Slate.com

College-Age Depression Is Increasingly Tied to Helicopter Parenting, Studies Show | Julie Lythcott-Haims | Slate.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Excerpted from 'How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success' by Julie Lythcott-Haims, out now from Henry Holt and Co.

Academically overbearing parents are doing great harm. So says Bill Deresiewicz in his groundbreaking 2014 manifesto Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. “[For students] haunted their whole lives by a fear of failure—often, in the first instance, by their parents’ fear of failure,” writes Deresiewicz, “the cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential.”

Those whom Deresiewicz calls “excellent sheep” I call the “existentially impotent.” From 2006 to 2008, I served on Stanford University’s mental health task force, which examined the problem of student depression and proposed ways to teach faculty, staff, and students to better understand, notice, and respond to mental health issues. As dean, I saw a lack of intellectual and emotional freedom—this existential impotence—behind closed doors. The “excellent sheep” were in my office. Often brilliant, always accomplished, these students would sit on my couch holding their fragile, brittle parts together, resigned to the fact that these outwardly successful situations were their miserable lives.

In my years as dean, I heard plenty of stories from college students who believed they had to study science (or medicine, or engineering), just as they’d had to play piano, and do community service for Africa, and, and, and. I talked with kids completely uninterested in the items on their own résumés. Some shrugged off any right to be bothered by their own lack of interest in what they were working on, saying, “My parents know what’s best for me.”


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OK: OU College of Law names first Native American Law Chair | Tulsa Biz & Legal World

OK: OU College of Law names first Native American Law Chair | Tulsa Biz & Legal World | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Dr. Lindsay Robertson has been selected as the first Chickasaw Nation Native American Law Chair at The University of Oklahoma College of Law.

This is the first Native American Law Chair to be held by a permanent faculty member at any law school in the United States.

The appointment will come before the OU Board of Regent’s in September.

“Dr. Robertson is a world-class scholar and teacher in the field of Native American Law,” said Dean Joseph Harroz, Jr. “His work inspires his students, colleagues, national and international scholars, and contributes to the overall prominence of the OU College of Law. We are grateful to the Chickasaw Nation for its generous gift that significantly advances the mission of OU Law.”

Robertson joined the law faculty in 1997. He teaches courses in Federal Indian Law, Comparative and International Indigenous Peoples Law, Constitutional Law and Legal History and serves as Faculty Director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy and Founding Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic.


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Five-Minute Film Festival: Arts Integration Turns STEM to STEAM | Amy Erin Borovoy | Edutopia.org

Five-Minute Film Festival: Arts Integration Turns STEM to STEAM | Amy Erin Borovoy | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

We have all heard the dire statistics about how we're not preparing American kids for the STEM careers of the future -- but there are many who say that a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math alone is not the answer.


What about integrating creativity and the arts as a path to better engagement in, and understanding of, the STEM subjects? Or bring some humanities in, for the (somewhat unfortunate!) acronym SHTEAM?


I've gathered the playlist of videos below to show some of the remarkable programs educators are building around this idea, as well as a few fun project ideas.


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How Jackson Made a Killing in Real Estate | Steve Inskeep | POLITICO Magazine

How Jackson Made a Killing in Real Estate | Steve Inskeep | POLITICO Magazine | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

July 4th comes at a moment of introspection about our history. South Carolina’s leaders are calling to rid their statehouse grounds of the Confederate flag—the Civil War symbol brandished by Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine black people last month in Charleston.

Then there’s the debate over Andrew Jackson, whose portrait decorates the $20 bill. This spring a campaign calling to replace Jackson with a woman gained national attention, and social media erupted with outrage when the Treasury Department chose instead to nudge aside Alexander Hamilton on the $10.

Those two symbols—Jackson’s face and the Confederate flag—have much to do with one another. It’s not merely that both were products of the South. It’s that Jackson built the heart of the South, literally clearing the way for the settlement of part or all of seven Southern states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. Although he was no Confederate (to the contrary, he was a pre-Civil War leader who used all his power to hold the Union together), Jackson was a central figure in shaping the region that finally rebelled in 1861, and that has remained vital to American culture and politics ever since.

Most Americans don’t think of Jackson that way. In popular culture, he’s remembered as the warrior president with the wild hair; the victor of the Battle of New Orleans, where his army repelled British invaders in the War of 1812; and the first common man (not born into wealth and status) to rise to the presidency, which he did in in 1828.

It’s also well known that Jackson was involved in expelling American Indians from their homelands, which is how he made room to create so much of the modern South. But it’s not well understood why Jackson made Indian removal a central theme of his career. Jackson was making space for the spread of white settlers, including those who practiced slavery. And he was enabling real estate development, in which he participated and profited.

One titanic land grab shows how Jackson operated. It was the seizure of the Tennessee River Valley, where the great river bends in what is present-day Alabama. While serving as a U.S. Army general, Jackson wrested control of the valley from Cherokees, and turned it into an explosive real estate opportunity. Jackson and several friends made off with a breathtaking 45,000 acres, colonized the area and even founded a new city. They then established multiple cotton plantations run by enslaved laborers just as cotton prices were reaching record highs. All told, Jackson both created and scored in the greatest real estate bubble in the history of the United States up to that time.

The story of that land grab helps us to see Jackson clearly. He’s sometimes portrayed as an Indian hater, a description that misses his complexity. He could treat Indians and white men equally. During the War of 1812 his army included a regiment of Cherokees, and Jackson promised them pay and benefits equal to white soldiers, “in every respect on the same footing,” as he wrote. After the war, Jackson discovered that the widows of his Cherokee soldiers had never received proper death benefits. He wrote his superiors in Washington insisting that Cherokees “must be placed in the same situation of the wives & children of our soldiers who have fell in battle.”

What motivated him to treat natives unfairly at times was less racism than real estate. He would stop at nothing when he saw an opportunity to advance his financial interest or that of his friends. Land was the way to wealth on the frontier, and that drove Jackson’s elaborate scheme to capture immense Indian lands south and north of the Tennessee River.


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The Declaration of Independence—Except for 'Indian Savages' | Adrian Jawort | Indian Country

The Declaration of Independence—Except for 'Indian Savages' | Adrian Jawort | Indian Country | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The most sacred document wherein the U.S. celebrates its Fourth of July holiday, the Declaration of Independence (DOI), is known for having some of the most revolutionary words in history in regards to the equality of men who at the time had been forever accustomed to having caste-like systems whether it be Empires, noblemen and serfs, or a monarchy rule the American colonialists lived under.

After a brief introduction, the DOI states in the eloquent prose of the Thomas Jefferson,“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Powerful words, indeed, and ones we should hold dear no matter where we are from or live. But if one reads through the document completely – as it's done annually and publicly in countless U.S. locations – it lists “repeated injuries and usurpations” and “tyranny” acts against the colonialists on behalf of King George III of Great Britain.The second paragraph concludes, “To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world,” before a list of 27 sentences listing various trangressions from tax complaints to forced military conscription.

The last of these complaints, however, is one that reads: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Pause right there. Does the most famous document in American history really state “all Men are created equal,” then hypocritically proclaim right afterward its first inhabitants are “merciless Indian savages”?

Yes, it really does, and this founding document was more than just a document written in the context of a bitter conflict. Consider, although Jefferson is most credited for penning this famous document, it was written by a committee of 5 people – including Benjamin Franklin and John Adams – and ratified 86 times by the Continental Congress before becoming official and signed. So this was a carefully mulled over phrase in that Natives would forever be considered “savages” in regards to their future relations with the U.S.

Go figure, in Jefferson's rough draft was a statement he was adamant in having “against King George III for creating and sustaining the slave trade, describing it as 'a cruel war against human nature.'” He was eventually overruled.

So undoubtedly, the future of Natives and their potential role in the U.S. was discussed at length, and the sentiments of them being “Indian savages” not equal with Americans would immediately be put to use in the war's aftermath. Tribes that had fought with the British were naturally assumed as having forfeited all rights of the newly formed country, but even those allied with the U.S. would ultimately receive the same fate in spite of their loyalty.


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Do Androids Dream of Electric Students? | Mary Beth Hertz Blog | Edutopia.org

Do Androids Dream of Electric Students? | Mary Beth Hertz Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When conversation turns to the future of education, undoubtedly someone will mention that, in the future, we won't need teachers because computers and the internet will do the job. Whenever I think of a hypothetical future world, I think of one of my favorite short story authors, Philip K Dick. My mind begins to picture a world where cyborgs masquerade as humans and where people pay to have memories implanted in their brains.

What would it take for the job of a teacher to be eliminated? If cyborgs walked the earth just like you and me, could a cyborg be a teacher? If we could implant memories into our brains, why couldn't we implant knowledge into our brains as well? There is one reason why these things could never happen: the utterly unique qualities of the human brain.


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2,200 Radical Political Posters Digitized: A New Archive | Open Culture

2,200 Radical Political Posters Digitized: A New Archive | Open Culture | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I recently heard someone say his college-bound nephew asked him, “What’s a union?” Whether you love unions, loathe them, or remain indifferent, the fact that an ostensibly educated young person might have such a significant gap in their knowledge should cause concern.


A historic labor conflict, after all, provided the occasion for Ronald Reagan to prove his bona fides to the new conservative movement that swept him into power. His crushing of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) in 1981 set the tone for the ensuing 30 years or so of economic policy, with the labor movement fighting an uphill battle all the way.


Prior to that defining event, unions held sway over politics local and national, and had consolidated power blocks in the American political landscape through decades of struggle against oppressive and dehumanizing working conditions.


In practical terms, unions have stood in the way of capital’s unceasing search for cheap labor and new consumer markets; in social and cultural terms, the politics of labor have represented a formidable ideological challenge to conservatives as well, by way of a vibrant assemblage of anarchists, civil libertarians, anti-colonialists, communists, environmentalists, pacifists, feminists, socialists, etc.


A host of radical isms flourished among organized workers especially in the decades between the 1870s and the 1970s, finding their voice in newsletters, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets, and posters—fragile mediums that do not often weather well the ravages of time.


Thus the advent of digital archives has been a boon for students and historians of workers’ movements and other populist political groundswells. One such archive, the Joseph A. Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan Library, has recently announced the digitization of over 2,200 posters from their collection, a database that spans the globe and the spectrum of leftist political speech and iconography.


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Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world | Hari Kunzru | The Guardian

Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world | Hari Kunzru | The Guardian | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In 1959, if you were walking the sand dunes near Florence, Oregon, you might have encountered a burly, bearded extrovert, striding about in Ray-Ban Aviators and practical army surplus clothing. Frank Herbert, a freelance writer with a feeling for ecology, was researching a magazine story about a US Department of Agriculture programme to stabilise the shifting sands by introducing European beach grass. Pushed by strong winds off the Pacific, the dunes moved eastwards, burying everything in their path. Herbert hired a Cessna light aircraft to survey the scene from the air. “These waves [of sand] can be every bit as devastating as a tidal wave … they’ve even caused deaths,” he wrote in a pitch to his agent. Above all he was intrigued by the idea that it might be possible to engineer an ecosystem, to green a hostile desert landscape.

About to turn 40, Herbert had been a working writer since the age of 19, and his fortunes had always been patchy. After a hard childhood in a small coastal community near Tacoma, Washington, where his pleasures had been fishing and messing about in boats, he’d worked for various regional newspapers in the Pacific northwest and sold short stories to magazines. He’d had a relatively easy war, serving eight months as a naval photographer before receiving a medical discharge. More recently he’d spent a weird interlude in Washington as a speechwriter for a Republican senator. There (his only significant time living on the east coast) he attended the daily Army-McCarthy hearings, watching his distant relative senator Joseph McCarthy root out communism. Herbert was a quintessential product of the libertarian culture of the Pacific coast, self-reliant and distrustful of centralised authority, yet with a mile-wide streak of utopian futurism and a concomitant willingness to experiment. He was also chronically broke. During the period he wrote Dune, his wife Beverly Ann was the main bread-winner, her own writing career sidelined by a job producing advertising copy for department stores.

Soon, Herbert’s research into dunes became research into deserts and desert cultures. It overpowered his article about the heroism of the men of the USDA (proposed title “They Stopped the Moving Sands”) and became two short SF novels, serialised in Analog Science Fact & Fiction, one of the more prestigious genre magazines. Unsatisfied, Herbert industriously reworked his two stories into a single, giant epic. The prevailing publishing wisdom of the time had it that SF readers liked their stories short. Dune (400 pages in its first hardcover edition, almost 900 in the paperback on my desk) was rejected by more than 20 houses before being accepted by Chilton, a Philadelphia operation known for trade and hobby magazines such as Motor Age, Jewelers’ Circular and the no-doubt-diverting Dry Goods Economist.


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More than 7,000 education leaders set to gather in Florida, raise their voice | Felix Perez | NEA.org

More than 7,000 education leaders set to gather in Florida, raise their voice | Felix Perez | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

More than 7,000 primary, secondary and postsecondary educators and education support professionals from every state will gather July 3-6 in Orlando, Florida, to set the course over the next year for the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union of public education professionals.

Billed as “the world’s largest democratic deliberative body,” NEA’s Representative Assembly is where delegates, elected by their peers, determine NEA’s strategic plan and budget, legislative program, and resolutions. Delegates also elect NEA’s executive officers, Executive Committee members, and at-large members of the NEA Board of Directors.

Delegates also direct association activity for the coming year through what are called New Business Items. Last year, they approved a national campaign to reduce the amount of student and instructional time consumed by standardized tests and to implement more effective forms of assessment and accountability.


One of the outcomes of that New Business Item was the “opportunity dashboard,” a means by which to measure and publicize how much access states and districts offer low-income and minority students to the kinds of supports that add up to a great educational experience, including advanced coursework (such as Advanced Placement classes), fully qualified teachers, support personnel (like school psychologists and nurses), high-quality athletic and arts programs, and strong early-learning programs.


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GPO-WEP fix, the Social Security Fairness Act, fights unfair offsets that slash retirement benefits | NEA.org

GPO-WEP fix, the Social Security Fairness Act, fights unfair offsets that slash retirement benefits | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Imagine this. You’ve spent the last 30 years dedicating your life to teaching students Algebra at a local high school. And during those decades in the classroom, to help make ends meet, you’ve worked several part-time jobs—including a 15-year stint as a night auditor at a local hotel. But now, you’re looking forward to retirement—that is, until you learn about a government offset called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which is going to reduce your Social Security check by almost half.

While it sounds like a retirement nightmare, for hundreds of thousands of educators, police officers, fire fighters and other public service employees, it’s a reality. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) reduces public employees’ Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of their public pension — nine out of ten people lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years. WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security — hard-working people lose a significant portion of the benefits they have earned themselves.

What this means, in real terms, is that public servants such as teachers, firefighters and police officers are losing the benefits they earned through a lifetime of public service. Loss of benefits can result from moving from private to public employment and vice versa, or moving between states that have different GPO/WEP or Social Security rules.


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