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6 Ways to Help Kids Become Quality Readers | Steve Reifman Blog

6 Ways to Help Kids Become Quality Readers | Steve Reifman Blog | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

At the beginning of each school year, I have my students create a series of individual reading goals. We also set the overall class goal of becoming “Quality Readers.” This general goal focuses more on specific habits and dispositions than it does on achieving a certain skill level. As a result, everyone can reach this goal with sustained effort. When children consistently satisfy the following six criteria, we can say that they are truly quality readers.


In my class we have a chart containing these criteria. After reviewing this list over a period of days, we have a special signing ceremony in which the kids add their names, one at a time, to the bottom of the chart as a symbol of their commitment to reach this goal. I highly recommend reviewing this list in class with your students or at home with your children and then asking them to sign. Taking these steps will positively impact their approach to reading. 


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Five ways to keep your student's digital life safe | Christopher Breen | NetworkWorld.com

Five ways to keep your student's digital life safe | Christopher Breen | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As students return to school, technology goes with them. That technology—and the data generated by it—is valuable not simply as a means for getting school work done, but also as entertainment for those brief hours between one assignment and the next. It’s for this reason that it pays to plan for disaster.


With a single massive power burst, storage media that suddenly heads south, or interaction with a light-fingered ne’er-do-well, the technology your student depends on can vanish.


Take these five tips to heart, however, and the loss of a device or data need not be catastrophic.


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Study: Many tribal libraries lack broadband | Julian Hattem | The Hill

Study: Many tribal libraries lack broadband | Julian Hattem | The Hill | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Additionally, just 42 percent of libraries surveyed for the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums’ annual study provided technology training, compared to 90 percent of all public libraries. Just 34 percent of the tribal libraries had a website.


The findings add fuel to the fear of a “digital divide” that prevents people on Native American reservations from benefiting from new technology.


“As community anchor institutions, tribal libraries are often the only source of free access to the Internet and public computers, yet they are struggling to meet an ever-growing demand for more broadband capacity, better equipment and training programs vital to building digitally inclusive communities,” association President Susan Feller said in a statement. 


“This study is a first step in bringing key stakeholders together to efficiently and effectively address the digital divide in Indian country," she added.


The Federal Communications Commission estimates that less than 10 percent of people on tribal lands have high-speed broadband access, as opposed to the nearly two-thirds of people nationwide who have access.


Earlier this year, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Don Young (R-Alaska) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) called for a federal study of tribal communications services and ways that federal, state and local governments can bridge the divide. Lawmakers said that they were “deeply concerned” by the lack of access even to basic phone service, which more than 30 percent of tribal households still lack, they claimed.

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The Research Behind Social and Emotional Learning | Todd Finley Blog | Edutopia.org

The Research Behind Social and Emotional Learning | Todd Finley Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Teaching without implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) is like leading kids without shoes on a trek across the Appalachians. Count on a short trip with lots of whining.


The goals of SEL, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “are to one, promote students’ self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationships, and responsible decision-making skills; and two, improve students’ attitudes and beliefs about self, others, and school.”


Instructors’ reluctance to make space in their curriculum for “touchy-feely SEL stuff” is understandable, as teachers are under pressure to meet content area standards. Additionally, here-today-gone-tomorrow educational initiatives make adoption of anything new a potential waste of time. But SEL is different. It has a track record. Says Steven Elliott, the director of the Learning Sciences Institute at Arizona State University, “A lot of people believe that we just don’t have time for social skills, and yet the data continue to show it’s a great investment.”


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The Harvard Classics: Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks | OpenCulture.com

The Harvard Classics: Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks | OpenCulture.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Every revolutionary age produces its own kind of nostalgia. Faced with the enormous social and economic upheavals at the nineteenth century’s end, learned Victorians like Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold looked to High Church models and played the bishops of Western culture, with a monkish devotion to preserving and transmitting old texts and traditions and turning back to simpler ways of life.


It was in 1909, the nadir of this milieu, before the advent of modernism and world war, that The Harvard Classics took shape.


Compiled by Harvard’s president Charles W. Eliot and called at first Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, the compendium of literature, philosophy, and the sciences, writes Adam Kirsch in Harvard Magazine, served as a “monument from a more humane and confident time” (or so its upper classes believed), and a “time capsule…. In 50 volumes.”


What does the massive collection preserve?

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MA: A guide for parents: New policy gives West Springfield High School students free Chromebook computers, but with strict limits on use | MassLive.com

MA: A guide for parents: New policy gives West Springfield High School students free Chromebook computers, but with strict limits on use | MassLive.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When they arrive for their first day of school this fall, all 1,200 high school students will receive a free Google Chromebook computer, but there are some big caveats and strict limits.


The superintendent's office sent MassLive.com a copy of the seven-page "Acceptable Use Policy" for the laptops. It makes the Chromebooks an integral piece of the learning process, requiring that all students bring the devices to school every day, fully charged.


Some of the goals of the so-called 1:1 Program are for students to "transition from consumers of information to creative producers and owners of knowledge (and) prepare students for an ever-changing world that sees technological advancements happening at a rapid rate," regardless of factors like socioeconomic status.


Funding for the computers was included in the budget for the $107.1 million overhaul of the high school.


The newly approved policy bans illegal media downloading, cyberbullying, making threats and even acts of terrorism.


No one who uses one of these Chromebooks will have any right to privacy on the machine:


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40 maps that explain the Roman Empire | Timothy Lee | Vox.com

40 maps that explain the Roman Empire | Timothy Lee | Vox.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Two thousand years ago, on August 19, 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died. He was Rome's first emperor, having won a civil war more than 40 years earlier that transformed the dysfunctional Roman Republic into an empire.


Under Augustus and his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of relative peace and prosperity. Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire — its rise and fall, its culture and economy, and how it laid the foundations of the modern world.


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LA: Some Sad truths about RSD’s Grad Rate and Dropout numbers | Crazy Crawfish

LA: Some Sad truths about RSD’s Grad Rate and Dropout numbers | Crazy Crawfish | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I have been warning LDOE for years that something fishy is going on with the grad rate across the state. John White, Chas Roemer and Reformers would just have you believe that “raising the bar” and having “higher expectations” for students is the only thing that Louisiana lacks. They ignore decades of history and Louisiana’s extreme poverty as contributing factors.


It’s no coincidence that those who tell poor people poverty is not a factor that impacts academic success come from the most affluent segments of our society. Both Chas Roemer and John White attended some of the most prestigious and expensive private schools in the country and have parents with long entries in Wikipedia. Just average folks, like you and me, ya know? These folks tell us all we need to do is raise our standards, our benchmarks, and “Believe”.


When you operate this way in good faith (let’s pretend that’s what they are doing) you might really think you are making a difference, that only belief and high expectations is all that are needed to overcome poverty, abuse, neglect, dilapidated buildings, disparate funding, corruption, waste, fraud and disabilities. You might ignore facts that deflate the bubble of belief you’ve surrounded yourself in. You might surround yourself with only facts and people that confirm your beliefs.


This is a great psychological device taught to people fighting periodic or clinical depression, but it’s a terrible idea to operate this way when you are in a position of supervising policy, especially policy you’ve defined and are called upon to defend. This is the only explanation I have for why LDOE released some figures that show just how abysmally they have been running RSD and our education system into the ground.


Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for this lapse that led to some real data being released that verifies what I have been saying for years, but it’s really the only explanation I can come up with for why they released it and didn’t notice the full implications of the data they claim drives so many of their decisions.


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Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet | The Atlantic

Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet | The Atlantic | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

All these people are trying to kill email. 


"E-mail is dead, or at least that’s what Silicon Valley is banking on," wrote Businessweek tech reporter Ashlee Vance.


There's the co-founder of Asana, the work software startup. Email has "become a counter-productivity tool,” Justin Rosenstein likes to say


Slack, the superhot work chat tool, likes to brag that they've "saved the world from over 70,000,000 emails" (if you assume that every five Slack messages prevent one email from getting its wings). 


And it's not just entrepreneurs with cloud software to sell. There are the young people, too, especially whatever we call the younger-than-Millennials.


Getting an email address was once a nerdy right of passage for Gen-Xers arriving on college campuses. Now, the kids are waging a war of indifference on poor old email, culling the weak and infirm old-people technology.


One American professor maintained that, to his students, "e-mail was as antiquated as the spellings 'chuse' and 'musick' in the works by Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards." The vice-chancellor of Exeter University claimed, "There is no point in emailing students any more." The youth appear to think there are better, faster, more exciting ways to communicate than stupid email.


Yet, despite all the prognosticators predicting it will—choose the violence level of your metaphor—go out of style, be put out to pasture, or taken out back and shotemail grinds on.


You can't kill email! It's the cockroach of the Internet, and I mean that as a compliment. This resilience is a good thing.


"There isn't much to sending or receiving email and that's sort of the point," observed Aaron Straup Cope, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum's Senior Engineer in Digital and Emerging Media. "The next time someone tells you email is 'dead,' try to imagine the cost of investing in their solution or the cost of giving up all the flexibility that email affords."


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Lebanon: AUB works to increase digital and media literacy across the Arab region | AlBawaba.com

Lebanon: AUB works to increase digital and media literacy across the Arab region | AlBawaba.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In the midst of the war and conflict that submerges the whole Middle East, a group of media academics, students and professionals from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine are meeting to counter the widespread messages of hate, division and destruction and produce digital narratives of hope and unity.

 

The second annual Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut (MDLAB), which runs from August 10 to August 23, aims to advance digital and media literacy within the Arab region by training a generation of academics, students and activists to develop locally rooted media literacy curricula and digital platforms.

 

Speaking about the founding of the academy, Dr. Jad Melki, director of the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut, said: “We started the media and digital literacy academy of Beirut because we felt there is a gap in Arab education. Media literacy has become a staple of education across communication programs around the world, except in the Arab region.”

 

During the two-week academy, which features presentations by leading Arab and international experts, students and academics from the region will have the opportunity to study, engage in, and gain hands-on experience in a variety of subjects and workshops rooted in media and digital literacy.


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Philadelphia can thank PA Governor Corbett for latest education crisis | Education Votes | NEA.org

Philadelphia can thank PA Governor Corbett for latest education crisis | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

With Pennsylvanians casting their ballots in November and his polling numbers on a downward spiral, Gov. Tom Corbett is trying to fool voters.


The governor is trying to cast himself as the “hero” in an education crisis that’s playing out in the state’s largest school district — the School District of Philadelphia. But here’s the part the governor wants voters to forget — he’s the one responsible for creating the crisis.


Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Corbett has cut education funding statewide by more than $1 billion while handing out tax breaks to corporations and those who can more than afford to pay their fair share.


These severe cuts have disproportionately affected the School District of Philadelphia. Philadelphia educates 10 percent of the state’s students but reportedly has endured more than 25 percent of Corbett’s budget cuts. As a result, the district was forced to let go of 3,800 employees last year, including:


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Michigan, Ohio and Florida GOP governors fail to act on rampant charter school abuses | Education Votes | NEA.org

Michigan, Ohio and Florida GOP governors fail to act on rampant charter school abuses | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, corruption, insider dealing, cheating on exams, retaliation against teachers, FBI raids, poor academic performance, and lack of oversight and transparency with taxpayer dollars. These are just some of the troubling descriptions surfacing recently about some charter schools in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico and Connecticut.


While operators of errant charter schools in those states are not alone in their questionable, if not legally suspect, conduct and practices, a common denominator throughout is the inaction of governors such as Michigan’s Rick Snyder, Florida’s Rick Scott and Ohio’s John Kasich to put in place standards and accountability that protect students and taxpayers.


Steve Cook, a former classroom paraprofessional and president of the Michigan Education Association, faults Gov. Snyder and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature for lifting the cap on the number of charter schools without addressing troubling academic and financial irregularities.


“Charter school management companies are notoriously secretive with regard to their financial dealings. Although publicly funded, corporate executives of Michigan charter schools fight the disclosure of even basic financial information,” wrote Cook.


“In a number of charter schools across the state, board members of charters were forced off the board when they demanded financial information from their management company. If a traditional public school district withheld financial information, the state would immediately halt their funding — but not so for charter schools.”


Cook’s editorial came on the heels of a yearlong investigation by the Detroit Free Press into Michigan’ charter schools. Among the newspaper’s findings:


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Classroom, Student Computers Growing In Northwest Arkansas | NWAonline.com

Classroom, Student Computers Growing In Northwest Arkansas | NWAonline.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Students in West Fork, Springdale and Bentonville, Akansas are the latest to join an expansion in classroom technology as the school year begins Monday.


West Fork High School students were being issued new Chromebooks in the days leading up to the start of school.


Bentonville School District recently added 24 classrooms to an expanding list of classrooms equipped with laptops for each child.


Springdale will start the school year with 5,000 Chromebooks spread throughout schools with the goal to buy 20,000 laptops during the next two years to provide a laptop for each student in the district. The district plans to spend a large portion of a $25 million federal grant to buy computers for students and for training teachers and updating the infrastructure, said Clay Hendrix, associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction, innovation and technology.


More Northwest Arkansas schools are moving toward "one-to-one computing," meaning a laptop computer for every student.


Lincoln School District four years ago bought Apple Macintosh equipment for each student in kindergarten through 12th grade. Elkins issued Lenova laptop computers to its high school students last year.


Lester Long, curriculum coordinator for the West Fork School District, said the computers open the world to students, which is why the program is called one-to-world, rather than one-to-one. The district bought 425 Chromebooks for students and teachers. The computers, coupled with infrastructure improvements, cost about $180,000, he said.


"We have to think about how learning occurs in a 21st century classroom," Long said.


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How 'Google Science' could transform academic publishing | Wired UK

How 'Google Science' could transform academic publishing | Wired UK | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Google is allegedly working on a free, open access platform for the research, collaboration and publishing of peer-reviewed scientific journals.


At least, that is apparently what one individual wants us to believe.


Wired.co.uk is in possession of a document, sent anonymously, detailing how "Google Science" would bring together existing services such as Google Docs, Google Plus, YouTube and more to create a platform that challenges the paid-for model of scientific publishing and provides academics with an opportunity to connect with each other more efficiently. The document was allegedly given to a handful of academics in Berlin this week by Google executives -- so says the email sent to this establishment and a number of other sources.


A name appears in one of the screenshots purporting to exhibit Google Science in action -- Dieter Krachtus -- and Wired.co.uk contacted him to find out if the document is in fact false and mocked up. (There's also a smiley winky face somewhere in the presentation, and a typo, so we were not totally sold…) Krachtus has since responded to deny sending Wired.co.uk the document, but reveals that the presentation did in fact belong to a 2011 "Google Science project" he prepared for "a couple of friends and acquaintances at Google". The document, is exactly the same -- bar a date change. 


A Google spokesperson is currently looking into the validity of a burgeoning "Google Science" project, but so far has been unable to find anything and has no comment. Krachtus believes the whole thing is a prank being played on him. But the email and document appear to have been sent to a great number of journalists and industry players. And still, the origins of its sender, remain a mystery.


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20 Things Educators Need To Know About Digital Literacy Skills | Innovation Excellence

20 Things Educators Need To Know About Digital Literacy Skills | Innovation Excellence | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Widely understood to be essential to success in the workplace and modern life, digital literacy is beginning to emerge as a necessary component of curricula across the globe. As current undergraduates have never known a life without the internet, it’s only natural that universities should nurture their familiarity with technology, encouraging its use in teaching and learning. Instructors should also be prepared to offer guidance on what students aren’t as familiar with–turning their technical skills into skills for lifelong learning and employability.


But where does one begin? Teaching digital literacy is about more than just integrating technology into lesson plans; it’s about using technology to understand and enhance modern communication, to locate oneself in digital space, to manage knowledge and experience in the Age of Information.


"Digital literacy isn’t about knowing computers inside and out; it’s about using technology to change the way you think. If critical thinking skills haven’t yet become a part of your students’ digital citizenship, it’s time to rethink your teaching strategy."


These are vague descriptions, as are most of the descriptions you’ll find of digital literacy in blog posts and journal articles online. What teachers need, more than a fancy synopsis of how digital publication affects the meaning of a text, is a practical and applicable guide to helping students think productively about the digital world.


Below are the top do’s and don’ts we’ve come across–in research and in our own experience–when it comes to making students digitally literate.


Literacy specialists at Central Michigan University and the Fordham Graduate School of Education published a report in 2013 entitled “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait” which identified the following practices as harmful to the growth of the movement.


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Google's fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank | Hal Hodson | New Scientist

Google's fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank | Hal Hodson | New Scientist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

GOOGLE is building the largest store of knowledge in human history – and it's doing so without any human help.


Instead, Knowledge Vault autonomously gathers and merges information from across the web into a single base of facts about the world, and the people and objects in it.


The breadth and accuracy of this gathered knowledge is already becoming the foundation of systems that allow robots and smartphones to understand what people ask them. It promises to let Google answer questions like an oracle rather than a search engine, and even to turn a new lens on human history.


Knowledge Vault is a type of "knowledge base" – a system that stores information so that machines as well as people can read it. Where a database deals with numbers, a knowledge base deals with facts. When you type "Where was Madonna born" into Google, for example, the place given is pulled from Google's existing knowledge base.


This existing base, called Knowledge Graph, relies on crowdsourcing to expand its information. But the firm noticed that growth was stalling; humans could only take it so far.


So Google decided it needed to automate the process. It started building the Vault by using an algorithm to automatically pull in information from all over the web, using machine learning to turn the raw data into usable pieces of knowledge.


Knowledge Vault has pulled in 1.6 billion facts to date. Of these, 271 million are rated as "confident facts", to which Google's model ascribes a more than 90 per cent chance of being true. It does this by cross-referencing new facts with what it already knows.


"It's a hugely impressive thing that they are pulling off," says Fabian Suchanek, a data scientist at Télécom ParisTech in France.


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Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com

Cox Pledges $15M by 2016 for Broadband Adoption | Multichannel.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cox Communications President Pat Esser said Tuesday that the company was extending its participation in the Connect2Compete broadband adoption program for another two years.

 

The program offers discounted high-speed broadband to low-income houses with students who qualify for school lunch programs.

 

"Connecting youth to technology is a core value of Cox Communications, and has guided our community investment initiative for decades. But in today's digital economy, the Internet is a critical educational resource for America's youth and their families," said Esser, who was announcing the new commitment at an event at the National Press Club in Washington. "Together with Connect2Compete, we are making great progress in bringing Internet service to more low-income families in the communities we serve."

 

Also scheduled to be in attendance to salute the move were FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and EveryoneOn CEP Zach Leverenz.

 

Esser said the company is making enrollment in the program easier by expanding proof of eligibility to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.


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Layayette, LA: Superintendents say teachers still teaching Common Core | The Advocate

Layayette, LA: Superintendents say teachers still teaching Common Core | The Advocate | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to slam the brakes on Common Core state standards, along with the court challenges to that move, haven’t changed what students are learning in Acadiana classrooms, six school superintendents said Monday.


Teachers are moving forward with lessons aligned to the new learning standards that were fully implemented in the last school year, the school leaders told an Acadiana Press Club forum.


“It hasn’t affected us from an instructional standpoint,” Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson said. “The issue is the assessment that will be given in the spring.”


But because of the conflict, exactly which high-stakes test will be given to students in the spring remains unknown, a major concern for teachers, Henderson said.


Jindal’s opposition to Common Core extends to state testing, trying to block the state Department of Education from moving forward with plans to buy a standardized test linked to the standards. The governor has used his executive power to block the department, whose leadership remains in favor of Common Core, from spending more than $2,000 without administrative approval.


The matter is now a legal battle in Baton Rouge, featuring three separate lawsuits. On Friday, a district judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction requested by 17 legislators who sought to stop the continued implementation of the standards. Parents who filed a lawsuit in support of the standards were in court on Monday.


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The next step is to move from STEM to STEAM | stemtosteam.org

The next step is to move from STEM to STEAM | stemtosteam.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

What is STEAM?


In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.


Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.


We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.


STEM + Art = STEAM


STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.


The objectives of the STEAM movement are to:


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Teach Your Kids to Code: 6 Beginner's Resources for Parents | Matt Davis Blog | Edutopia.org

Teach Your Kids to Code: 6 Beginner's Resources for Parents | Matt Davis Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Introducing computer programming to your kids can be a challenge, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the nuances of code.


Fortunately, in the last few years, a number of apps, software, and guides have been produced that make the often-complex subject of computer coding easy to grasp for young learners. So where to begin?


These are a few resources parents can share with their kids to help them start learning about programming.


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Afrofuturism: Black Presence in Sci-Fi Worlds of Technology, Magic, Fantasy | Blerds | Atlanta Blackstar

Afrofuturism: Black Presence in Sci-Fi Worlds of Technology, Magic, Fantasy | Blerds | Atlanta Blackstar | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The term “futurism” typically calls to mind a forward-looking aesthetic or theme that envisions the prospective future of humanity. If popular speculative/sci-fi media, art, literature, and film are any indication, the images that people typically draw to mind when envisioning the future involve post-apocalyptic aesthetics and landscapes, highly advanced technology, and interplanetary or outerspace travel.


Glaringly absent from these visions of the future, however, are diverse cultures and complicated, intersectional identities. Although creators of speculative fiction have been able to successfully conceive of novel technologies, map out the future of humanity, and envision new worlds in science fictional narratives, traditional sci-fi has, on the whole, failed to transcend the social hierarchy, supremacy, and privilege that plague our present-day realities.


In a traditional speculative world, these narratives replay over and over, where the marginalized are virtually non-existent or play exceptionally minor roles, seemingly due to inferior genetics and an inability to adapt to changing social and environmental conditions.


This is where afrofuturism as a genre, lens, community, and practice becomes important, not as a response or reaction to the lack of representation, but as testament to the fact that not only have Black folk (along with other marginalized groups) already made it into the future, we are, in fact responsible for shaping it.


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Louisiana LEAP Scores Manipulated | Louisiana Educator Blog

Louisiana LEAP Scores Manipulated | Louisiana Educator Blog | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

On June 10 of this year, following release of the 2014 LEAP test scores, I filed a public records request to Superintendent John White as custodian of public records for the LDOE in an effort to find out how student passing scores were determined for the new Common Core aligned tests given this Spring.


This press release from the LDOE had claimed that even though the new Common Core partially aligned tests were more difficult, the percentage of students passing the test (students who scored at the basic or above level) had remained steady.

After more than 2 months of stalling by the LDOE, I received an email from Barry Landry of the LDOE on August 14 providing me with the minimum percentage scores needed for students to pass the ELA and math portions of the 2014 LEAP test for 4th and 8th grades compared to previous years.


The LDOE has still not provided me with the cut percentages for the mastery ratings I requested. Coincidentally, my lawsuit on this violation of the public records law was also filed Thursday, August 14. It is my hope that the court will order John White to also produce the minimum percentage results for the mastery level rating. 


The press release referred to above announced that more students were achieving a level of mastery in ELA and math than the year before. I am anxious to examine the basis for that alleged improvement.


Meanwhile, the suspicions expressed in my post of July 27, have been confirmed.


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How the Web Became Our ‘External Brain,’ and What It Means for Our Kids | Michael Harris Opinion | WIRED.com

How the Web Became Our ‘External Brain,’ and What It Means for Our Kids | Michael Harris Opinion | WIRED.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Recently, my two-year-old nephew Benjamin came across a copy of Vanity Fair abandoned on the floor. His eyes scanned the glossy cover, which shone less fiercely than the iPad he is used to but had a faint luster of its own. I watched his pudgy thumb and index finger pinch together and spread apart on Bradley Cooper’s smiling mug. At last, Benjamin looked over at me, flummoxed and frustrated, as though to say, “This thing’s broken.”


Search YouTube for “baby” and “iPad” and you’ll find clips featuring one-year-olds attempting to manipulate magazine pages and television screens as though they were touch-sensitive displays. These children are one step away from assuming that such technology is a natural, spontaneous part of the material world. They’ll grow up thinking about the internet with the same nonchalance that I hold toward my toaster and teakettle. I can resist all I like, but for Benjamin’s generation resistance is moot. The revolution is already complete.


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The Higher Education Act: An opportunity to get it right | Education Votes | NEA.org

The Higher Education Act: An opportunity to get it right | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) heats up this summer, faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to get their voices heard.


As NEA sees it, the landmark legislation provides a key opportunity for Congress to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all Americans; to enhance teacher preparation programs so that new teachers are fully prepared to teach on day one; and to improve transparency and accountability in higher education, making sure that federal aid dollars go only to colleges and universities with high educational standards.


Your comments and personal stories about college affordability, teacher preparation, and transparency are especially useful and can help NEA advocate for a new HEA that supports students. Did you or do rely on Pell Grants to pay for college? Did a college-access program, like TRIO, make a difference in your life?


To share your story, click here.


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Educators and parents share their stories on the over-use of standardized tests | Education Votes | NEA.org

Educators and parents share their stories on the over-use of standardized tests | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In heavily tested grades, more than a month of instructional time is lost thanks to high-stakes test preparation and administration. Over-testing has forced educators to narrow the curriculum and “teach to the test” in an effort to preserve funding for their schools. But what are the other consequences of this broken accountability system? Check out stories from educators and parents below on the impact they have felt in their own classrooms and communities.


Want to share your own story? Click here to let us know how the overuse of standardized tests are hurting your students, children, and public schools.


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ESA tests new rendezvous system as ATV-5 docks at Space Station | GizMag.com

ESA tests new rendezvous system as ATV-5 docks at Space Station | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The European Space Agency's (ESA) last Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-5, Georges Lemaître, has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). In what the space agency describes as a "flawless demonstration of technology and skill," the unmanned cargo ship autonomously docked itself while supervised by mission control in Toulouse, France and by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov inside the space station.


The fifth and final mission of the European ATV program, ATV-5 approached the ISS in a series of steps over several hours as ESA, NASA, and the station crew carried out a series of safety checks before clearing the spacecraft to proceed. Operating under full automatic control, ATV-5 docked on the aft section of the Russian Zvezda module at 13:30 GMT (3:30 pm CEST) today.


"From 39 km (34 mi) to just 250 m (820 ft) from the Station, ATV navigated itself using relative satnav signals, in which both the Station and ATV compare their positions using GPS," says Jean-Michel Bois, leader of the ESA operations team at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France. "For the final 250 m, ATV navigated using a ‘videometer’ and ‘telegoniometer’, which use laser pulses to calculate the distance and orientation to the Station."


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