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'Imagine A World Where You Only Have To Go To School Because You Truly Want To' | DMLcentral

'Imagine A World Where You Only Have To Go To School Because You Truly Want To' | DMLcentral | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Lately, I’ve been pleased with the ways digital tools are allowing me to engage and collaborate with the media producers that most challenge my thinking. I had intended to blog about how the comic book Wild Children terrifies and motivates me as an educational researcher. However, through a handful of Twitter exchanges, I, instead, was able to talk with the book’s author, Ales Kot.

 

Last summer, I picked up an unassuming, stand-alone comic book. This is nothing new. I’m still a regular reader of comic books today and the parallels between the serialization of monthly comic books and young adult literature today is striking.

 

In any case, the writer of this new book, Ales Kot, wasn’t yet a name I was familiar with. Typically, I read comic books expecting to be transported to imaginative and playful worlds. However, turning the pages in the comfort of my home, I was instead forced to confront my own assumptions about the current world and the ways we interact with youth. Wild Children details the precipice between imagination and reality, a space where children supersede adult authority and invert expectations about power, learning, and the purpose of schooling. It is a text entrenched in the anarchist Hakim Bey’s concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone.

 

I recently had a chance to conduct an online Q&A with Kot about the background of Wild Children and his other upcoming projects including his newest release, Change. Our conversation focused on the role of education, technology, space, and engagement.

 

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SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 launch scrubbed for third time | GizMag.com

SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 launch scrubbed for third time | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Unfortunately, it wasn't third time's a charm for the SpaceX CRS-3 mission to send an unmanned Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS). In a statement today, SpaceX announced that the Monday launch of the Falcon 9 rocket has been rescheduled until April 18 because of a helium leak in the first stage. However, weather forecasts show conditions around Cape Canaveral deteriorating as the week progresses, so even that date is tentative.


This marks the third attempt to launch the CRS-3 mission and the third time that it has been scrubbed. The first delay was due to a contaminant found in the unpressurized cargo bay of the Dragon cargo ship, and the second occurred when a tracking radar was put out of action by a major malfunction.


The Dragon spacecraft had been scheduled to dock with the Earth-facing port on the Harmony module two days after launch. However, in the run up to Monday’s aborted launch, the ISS suffered a malfunction in an external computer called the Multiplexer/Demultiplexer (MDM). An emergency spacewalk is scheduled to repair this, but it is not clear whether this will cause a further delay for the docking of the cargo ship.


The Dragon spacecraft is carrying 2.5 tons (2.26 tonnes) of experiments and supplies to the ISS, including a new spacesuit and parts to repair the spacesuits already on the station. In addition, the Falcon 9 booster was scheduled to deploy microsatellites as part of the mission.


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UPDATED: For-profit charter celebrates "Teacher Appreciation Week" with compulsory teacher humiliation | DailyKos.com

UPDATED: For-profit charter celebrates "Teacher Appreciation Week" with compulsory teacher humiliation | DailyKos.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Mosaica Education, Inc., a self-described "for-profit education management organization", runs eight different for-profit schools in Michigan:


  • Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac
  • Bay County Public School Academy
  • Bingham Arts Academy
  • Edgewood Elementary School
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Mosaica Online Academy of Michigan
  • Muskegon Heights High School
  • Muskegon Heights Middle School



In fact, the entire Muskegon Heights school system, under the control of an Emergency Manager, is run by Mosaica. They are in the news lately because they've had to secure loans from the state because they are unable to make payroll.



The Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac - a K-10 Mosaica-run charter with roughly 600 students - has an annual fundraiser to bring in revenue to the school. This year, the fundraiser is on May 2nd and is part of what they are calling "Teacher Appreciation Week". It's an Orwellian title given their plans. Here's an email sent to students and parents by the administrators of the Pontiac school on April 2nd:


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Myths of Technology Series: "Technology Will Replace Face-to-Face Interaction" | George Couros Blog

Myths of Technology Series: "Technology Will Replace Face-to-Face Interaction" | George Couros Blog | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A fear for many is that the continuous interactions that we have with one another through technology will replace face-to-face interaction.


Sometimes it seems that we forget our own childhood and that we had many peers that had trouble with interactions before mobile devices were the norm.  Technology did not inhibit them from speaking to others, nor do we need to necessarily think less of someone who may be an introvert.  People have different strengths and some actually thrive in isolation.  Their issue or our issue?


What some teachers have done is use technology to actually give students a voice and options that they didn’t have before.  I thought it was brilliant to see one teacher use Google Forms to do a simple “check-in” with students to give them the opportunity to share what is going on in their lives to ensure that she could help them in any way possible.


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Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact – public hearing on April 17 | Blandin on Broadband

Happy National Library Week! To celebrate I was going to invite my co-working coffee shop friends to shoot me ready reference questions – or maybe just shush a few people, then I found something even better – a public hearing on libraries and broadband.


This is one of those meetings that looks wonky and not top priority – until you consider the role that libraries play in your community in terms of bridging the digital gap. Libraries provide access to computer and broadband (via public computers and often Wi-Fi) and librarians are often the first line of defense for digital literacy.


The FCC has pledged to invest $2 billion in broadband for libraries and schools. And libraries are pilot testing a mashup of spectrum white space broadband access and local WI-FI networks as a way to serve wireless access in a community.  If you want to make sure that your library continues to serve your community to the best of its ability, it makes sense to learn more. (Broadband access in individual Minnesota libraries is not the same!)…


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The Backlash Against New York’s Standardized Tests Is Getting Serious | New York Magazine

The Backlash Against New York’s Standardized Tests Is Getting Serious | New York Magazine | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan may perceive the much ado being made over this year's New York state standardized tests as "drama and noise," but the city's school leaders and their constituents are fighting back.


Today, hundreds of slogan-toting principals, teachers, parents, and students took to the streets to protest what they say are flawed and ambiguous English language and arts tests administered last week to kids as young as third grade. (Math assessments are scheduled for the end of this month.) Elizabeth Phillips, principal of the much-beloved P.S. 321 in Park Slope, sounded a loud post-test alarm last Friday, calling on her school community to show their dissent. Now it's spreading.


Worried Phillips would appear to be a lone voice — and the complaints would be easily overlooked — other principals are now following suit. "I thought, Go Liz, that's great. But what really triggered the rest of us was having [her concerns] dismissed … as representing just a tiny fraction of families affected by the ELA," says Adele Schroeter, the principal of P.S. 59 on East 56th Street, who helped rally colleagues in District 2. "I thought, just because the rest of us aren't demonstrating doesn't mean it's okay."


Monica Berry, the principal at P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side, says she was moved to join in after hearing that dozens of schools were formally mobilizing: "If silence is being interpreted as acceptance, then we needed to say something," she says. "We're the ones who've seen the tests. So it should come from within. We're the ones who know."


Last year's exams, designed by Pearson, which has a $32 million contract with the state and were the first to adhere to Common Core requirements, garnered lots of heat for being overly long, riddled with product placement, and including confounding questions that, to many educators, were "inappropriately difficult."


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OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return spacecraft gets go-ahead | GizMag.com

OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return spacecraft gets go-ahead | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Getting hit by a giant asteroid can ruin your whole day, so the first United States mission to visit an asteroid and return a sample presents a huge challenge. Lockheed Martin has announced that NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has passed a comprehensive technical review, giving the green light for Lockheed to begin building the spacecraft in anticipation of a launch in 2016.


Performed by an independent review board made up of experts from NASA and other organizations, the mission critical design review (CDR) was aimed at validating the detailed design of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, as well as its instruments and the ground system needed to support it. This is a key step if the mission is to meet its scheduled launch date for late 2016.


The goal of OSIRIS-REx is to rendezvous with the near-Earth asteroid Bennu in 2018. Bennu is one of only five B-types that is of suitable size and orbit for rendezvous and sample return. It’s also one of the most likely asteroids to hit Earth in the next few centuries, so taking a close look has an element of self-interest.


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Google may boost search results of sites that use encryption | GigaOM Tech News

Google may boost search results of sites that use encryption | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Google may soon give greater prominence in its search results to websites that use encryption, a move that would indirectly make it more difficult for hackers or governments to track what people do on the internet.


According to the Wall Street Journal, Google executive Matt Cutts suggested at a recent conference that the search giant is considering an algorithmic boost for websites that encrypt data.


Web developers consider Cutts’s public statements to be significant because they telegraph forthcoming changes to the all-important Google rankings, although the story also suggests that Google will not making any changes in favor of encryption anytime soon.


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Monday's Big Space Day: See a Rocket Launch, Mars and Total Lunar Eclipse Online | Space.com

Monday's Big Space Day: See a Rocket Launch, Mars and Total Lunar Eclipse Online | Space.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Monday may be a dream come true for space fans, with a rocket launch, Mars and total lunar eclipse aligned in a truly epic cosmic triple play of live webcasts online.


The events of Space Monday (April 14) begin in the late afternoon, when the private spaceflight company SpaceX will launch a robotic Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station. Once darkness falls, stargazers with clear skies can see Mars at its brightest (the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth since 2008 Monday), followed by a total eclipse of the moon in the overnight hours. Here's how to watch the events live online:


SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft at 4:58 p.m. EDT (2058 GMT) from a pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There will actually be two webcasts of the launch, one by NASA and the other provided by SpaceX. NASA's webcast begins at 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT), while SpaceX's video feed will begin at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT). You can watch both webcasts of the SpaceX Dragon launch on Space.com.


The late afternoon launch will mark SpaceX's third cargo mission for NASA. The company holds a $1.6 billion deal to make 12 such flights. For this flight, Dragon will carry about 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kilograms) of supplies, scientificexperiments and hardware on this run, including two legs for NASA's humanoid Robonaut 2 droid on the space station.


SpaceX also plans to deploy a set of tiny satellites as secondary payloads on the launch, and test a novel reusable rocket technology using the Falcon 9 booster's first stage, which has been outfitted with four large landing legs with the goal of simulating a re-entry maneuver as it falls back to Earth, then a landing maneuver before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.


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SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft at 4:58 p.m.

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Denver, CO: Revolution Against Corporate Education Targets Achilles Heel | Truth-Out.org

Denver, CO: Revolution Against Corporate Education Targets Achilles Heel | Truth-Out.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Late last month, over 100 teachers, students, and parents from across the country gathered in Denver for the United Opt Out National Spring Action, a conference aimed at growing the resistance to corporate education reform and high stakes standardized testing across the nation.


Throughout the weekend, the education activists brainstormed and planned in area-focused work groups, interspersed with talks from, among others, a Finnish teacher and education scholar, a parent turned education activist, and a high school senior. All of it revolved around one central theme: organizing resistance to the global corporate education reform movement.


The event was organized by United Opt Out (UOO), an all-volunteer organization of parents, teachers, and students dedicated to ending the use of high stakes standardized testing in schools by creating organized, large-scale refusal to participate in high stakes testing regimes. UOO originally formed with the intention to increase the number of people “opting out” of high stakes standardized tests – whether parents preventing their students from taking them, students refusing to take them, or teachers refusing to administer them – but it has become much more.


While the opt out strategy remained central, the conference attendees participated in weekend-long discussion groups focused on devising even broader strategies to build a broad-based movement aimed not only at stopping the corporate education reform machine, but at transforming and democratizing public education as a whole. The groups focused on a number of areas from winning back local control of school boards to strengthening teacher unions to educating the broader public about the effects of corporate reform on their communities and their children’s futures. Their aim is nothing short of a revolution in the public education system.


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Educators, activists across the country stood up for public education | Education Votes | NEA.org

Educators, activists across the country stood up for public education | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As teachers and education support professionals advocated for their students on Capitol Hill, educators, parents and community members across 19 states participated in various actions last week in support of public education as part of  the Raise Your Hand for Education campaign to amplify educator voices.


After Oklahoma kicked things off with a historic 25,000-strong rally at the state Capitol on Monday, several other states followed:


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Supreme Court ruling gives wealthy individuals more power in elections | Education Votes | NEA.org

Supreme Court ruling gives wealthy individuals more power in elections | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to fair elections with a decision that will increase the already enormous influence wealthy individuals have over democracy in America.


“America’s working families lost when the Supreme Court’s ruling on McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission effectively removed meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees,” said Dennis Van Roekel, Arizona teacher and NEA president. “The ruling creates yet another loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to political parties, candidates and multi-candidate PACs.”


The issue in the case was whether the First Amendment prohibits reasonable campaign restrictions that placed aggregate limits on the amounts that wealthy individuals can give to candidates, political parties and PACs in federal elections.


An amicus was filed in support of contribution limits, arguing that the current limits preserve the integrity of the election process and don’t significantly infringe on the rights of wealthy individuals who make massive aggregate contributions.


The Supreme Court ruled that the limits were in fact a violation of the First Amendment, and like the Court’s decision in Citizens United— which allowed corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to influence elections—the McCutcheon decision once again equates money with speech, giving a larger voice to the wealthy.


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State of Higher Education: The Unbound Future of America's Colleges | LinkedIn.com

State of Higher Education: The Unbound Future of America's Colleges | LinkedIn.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As demand surges for a college degree around the world, the higher-education enterprise has never been stronger. But the state of the industry that serves the enterprise is broken, particularly in the United States.


For most of the 20th century, the U.S. bragged that it had the best colleges and universities in the world— and rightfully so. Not anymore.


Over the last 30 years, American higher education has lost its way. At the very top, the most elite and prestigious institutions remain the best. But at the colleges and universities attended by most students, costs are spiraling out of control and quality is declining just as increasing international competition demands that higher education be more productive and less expensive.


Only slightly more than 50 percent of American students who enter college leave with a bachelor’s degree. Among wealthy countries, only Italy ranks lower. As the baby boomer generation leaves the workforce, the country risks having successive generations less educated than the ones that preceded them for the first time.


Like another American icon — the auto industry in Detroit— the higher-education industry is beset by hubris, opposition to change, and resistance to accountability. Even the leaders of colleges and universities think we’re in trouble. More than one-third of them say American higher education is headed in the wrong direction.


Change comes very slowly to higher education. Many institutions in the United States were established more than two centuries ago, with a handful dating back to the days before the American Revolution. Tradition is important at these colleges. A confluence of events— flagging state support for public colleges, huge federal budget deficits, and falling household income— now makes it necessary to consider new approaches.


This moment in higher education is ripe for change.


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Sports for the Mind: From PlayStation to Active Learning | Edutopic.org

Sports for the Mind: From PlayStation to Active Learning | Edutopic.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The creative potential of LittleBigPlanet 2 (LBP2) is evident as soon as the PlayStation console is turned on. The game opens with a colorful video that exposes first-time users to an amazing storyline, a host of characters and -- most importantly for teachers -- an endless variety of spaces in which creativity and collaboration are the theme and focus of the gameplay.

The Game of Design Thinking

Though LBP2 was not designed for classrooms, the potential to use it as a creation space is undeniable. The game offers rich opportunities to explore social emotional learning (SEL) concepts, design thinking competencies, and of course digital literacy skills. I used LBP2 in a media arts class that I teach at ChicagoQuest, along with another teacher and collaborator Malcolm Williams. ChicagoQuest, the sister school to the New York City public school Quest to Learn, is a charter school for grades six through nine that serves a largely underprivileged population in Chicago's Near North Side.


My class, which is called Sports for the Mind (SFTM), is a learning space built into Quest schools in which students engage with project-based learning assignments that are focused on design thinking and systems thinking. Students are exposed to a variety of different digital media tools and use their skills to express themselves within the parameters of a given project.


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IL: The Field Museum in Chicago Uses Advanced Technologies to Engage Visitors | Stockhouse

IL: The Field Museum in Chicago Uses Advanced Technologies to Engage Visitors | Stockhouse | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Field Museum in Chicago recently upgraded its Internet service to a 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet connection. The upgraded service gives the iconic natural history and research institution the bandwidth to support interactive technologies that give visitors new ways to explore and engage with its collections, content and exhibits, and helps enhance its business operations.


Located in Chicago's lakefront Museum Campus, the Field Museum has one of the finest natural history collections and is home to premier exhibitions and educational programs. Before the upgrade to Ethernet Dedicated Internet, the museum's entire staff and business applications had to share an Internet connection of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps). The slower speed was adequate but did not transfer data as quickly. With the upgrade to Ethernet Dedicated Internet, the museum's WiFi system now transfers more than 15.5 Terabytes (TB) of data a year to more than 113,000 individual users.


"Museums are expected to continually incorporate new digital technologies and make visitor experiences even more interactive. Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet has helped us meet these challenges by providing a reliable, high-capacity network that we can scale as needed," said Rob Zschernitz, director of technology, The Field Museum. "Further, it gives us the ability to provide a more interactive and immersive experience for our visitors."


With an eye towards the future, The Field Museum has implemented a number of updates to its technology infrastructure to support new applications. For example, it has expanded its core internal network, replaced its storage area network technology -- expanding its data storage capacity to over 120TB (to be further expanded to over 160TB by this summer) -- and expanded and upgraded its virtual server infrastructure. This will not only increase energy efficiency, it will support advanced features, such as server uptime and centralized management.


To enhance the visitor experience, the museum also released a mobile app last fall, which is loaded with exclusive content, experiences and curated tours, according to Zchernitz.


"Through video and sound, museum scientists give visitors greater insight into featured artifacts and specimens," said Zchernitz. "In addition, visitors can use the museum's WiFi to share their favorite tours with friends or create their own tours based on interest or theme. New objects and tours are added on a regular basis, so there is always something new to discover."


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Police Charge High School Student with Disorderly Conduct for Using an iPad to Prove He's Being Bullied | AlterNet.org

Police Charge High School Student with Disorderly Conduct for Using an iPad to Prove He's Being Bullied | AlterNet.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Trigger-warning if you hate incompetent bureaucrats and the abuse of power.


Photography Is Not A Crime has flagged a story out of McDonald, Pennsylvania about a high school student whose attempts to prove he was the victim of bullying ended up landing him in front of a judge and charged with disorderly conduct.


According to reports, a high school sophomore at South Fayette High School had grown so sick of having teachers and administrators look the other way whenever he was being bullied that he decided to record some of the routine abuse with his iPad. When school administrators found this out, they took swift action — against him, not his bullies.


Officials at South Fayette High School allegedly told the student to delete the recording and threatened to have him arrested on charges of felony wiretapping. By the time the police arrived at the school, however, the student had already deleted the file.


But rather than leave it there, the police chose to charge the student for disorderly conduct. About a month later, a judge convicted him. No disciplinary actions have been taken against either the administrators and teachers who ignored the bullying or the bullies themselves.


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How algorithms shape our world | Kevin Slavin | TED Talk

How algorithms shape our world | Kevin Slavin | TED Talk | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it


Kevin Slavin argues that we're living in a world designed for -- and increasingly controlled by -- algorithms.


In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture.


And he warns that we are writing code we can't understand, with implications we can't control.


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Just Say No to Tasering Students and Militarizing Our Schools | Truth-Out.org

Just Say No to Tasering Students and Militarizing Our Schools | Truth-Out.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When The New York Times (NYT) calls the tasering of students as a "disciplinary" measure torture, it is time to take notice that our schools have been infected with the appalling post 9/11 acceptance of harsh interrogation and discipline.


After all, the NYT has long been reluctant to call many abhorrent and internationally illegal measures used by the United States in the wake of 9/11 torture.  The NYT has preferred the euphemism and more publically acceptable term "harsh interrogation techniques."


Therefore, one must take notice when the NYT published an editorial on April 11 entitled, "Torturing Children at School." One can be certain that the NYT, so squeamish about calling waterboarding torture, did not choose that word without much debate, making the implications of the editorial that much more damning and gruesome.


In particular, the NYT editorial board focuses on the practice of tasering even young students in many public schools, sometimes resulting in death:


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Bouncy kangaroo robot is unstoppable | SmartPlanet.com

Bouncy kangaroo robot is unstoppable | SmartPlanet.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Here’s the happiest robot I’ve seen this year! And it’s super efficient, using energy from one hop to power the next.


Festo’s BionicKangaroo recovers the energy when jumping, stores it, and then uses it for the next jump. Elastic springs in each leg stores energy on landing -- just like the tendon in a real kangaroo’s leg -- converting the kinetic (motion) energy of the jump into potential energy. Real kangaroos depend on that ability to store and reuse energy from each landing to hop long distances in the wild -- they’re the only large animals we know of that uses hopping as their primary means of locomotion.


Every year, the Germany-based company comes up with new robots as part of its Bionic Learning Network. The company actually spent two years analyzing kangaroos to recreate its movements. They're not aiming to build a kangaroo robot army; rather, they’re interested in exploring ways of recovering energy in industrial automation, IEEE Spectrum reports, and new ways of combining electronics with pneumatics (technology that’s powered by air or gas under pressure). Some more details about the BionicKangaroo:


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Astronauts to get green thumbs with NASA sending veggie garden to the ISS | GizMag.com

Astronauts to get green thumbs with NASA sending veggie garden to the ISS | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The International Space Station (ISS) may be a remarkable piece of engineering, but it’s so drab that it needs a window box to brighten things up. That isn't possible in the vacuum of space, but NASA is doing the next best thing on Monday as it sends its Vegetable Production System (Veggie) to the space station aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 mission. However, this plant-growing chamber will be more than a horticultural experiment, it's also a bit more culinary as it lets astronauts put fresh salad on the menu.


Space farming has been a staple of science fiction with many novels set in space including a visit to a spaceship’s hydroponic gardens. Given that it’s almost impossible to carry enough food, water, and oxygen to last for a space voyage lasting years, using plants to recycle air and water while providing food seems like a logical alternative. The trick is to figure out exactly how to do so in a weightless environment where the nearest soil is millions of miles away.


Veggie is part of the 2.5 tons of cargo on SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft’s launch scheduled for Monday at 4:58 PM EDT atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Officially designated the Veg-01 experiment, it was developed by Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) in Madison, Wisconsin and uses a chamber designed to grow plants inexpensively using red, blue and green LEDs.


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MA: Cut energy waste and state wins | Boston Herald

MA: Cut energy waste and state wins | Boston Herald | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It is important for Massachusetts to reduce its energy waste because No. 1, it will help save money in the state budget and No. 2, it’s the governor’s responsibility to do that.


As our governor, Deval Patrick needs to reduce expenses in Massachusetts. There are many ways to reduce this waste and to save money in the state budget. State-owned buildings can model what we do in our classroom at Dexter Park Elementary School. We monitor our light use to help stop wasting electricity.


State buildings can open up as many shades as possible because sunlight is free and electricity costs money. Another way shades help to cut down waste is to keep shades closed on cold days to keep heat in. Another idea to reduce waste is to shut building doors to keep heat in or out of individual rooms. Also, in the hot months, use the shades to keep heat out and cooler air in. This cuts down on air conditioner and electricity use.


Above all else, when electronics are not in use, shut them off to cut down on energy waste!


On a small scale, to help our state to “go green” we can recycle old tires that people just throw away so the state can use them to make rubber pipes to replace leaking metal gas pipes. Rubber pipes won’t wear out as easy as the metal ones. This is extraordinary for two reasons. It cleans up our environment, helping us “go green,” and will eventually prevent gas leaks.


We can run tire drives like can drives to collect tires from people who need to dispose of them or just donate them. Other ways we can help our state is to recycle everything possible that is recyclable, which will clean our roads, towns and the state of Massachusetts.


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CT: Students of today are workforce of tomorrow | Jack Condlin | The Stamford Advocate

CT: Students of today are workforce of tomorrow | Jack Condlin | The Stamford Advocate | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The return of J.M. Wright Technical High School to Stamford marks an important milestone for the city, area businesses and most importantly, the students who will seek their education at Wright Tech. Over the last few decades, Stamford has experienced more significant economic development than any other area city, making the need for a forward-thinking trade school in our city a natural fit.


The boom of businesses and residential communities in Stamford has created a significant need for highly skilled tradespeople. With so much demand, many Stamford area businesses have been forced to hire skilled laborers from outside our community and, in some cases, even from out of state, resulting in increased congestion on city infrastructure. Having Wright Tech reopen in Stamford provides the city with the skilled workforce our city urgently needs today and tomorrow.


With the closure of Wright Tech five years ago, an opportunity arose. The state, the Connecticut Technical High School System and the Citizens Advisory Council -- a group dedicated to advocating for the school and its students -- wanted to reopen Wright Tech here in Stamford. The new Wright Tech would serve as the flagship for the entire Connecticut Technical School System and trade schools across the country. Wright Tech would be the technical high school of the future.


In December 2010, an ad-hoc committee was formed by the State Board of Education to develop a plan for the reopening of Wright Tech. I was selected as chairman of the committee and joined by fellow members of the Citizens Advisory Council; Connecticut Technical High School System administrators, faculty and staff; Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele; representatives from Norwalk Community College; and regional legislators.


The committee was tasked with mapping out the future skilled laborer needs of the city of Stamford and matching those needs with a recommended academic program for Wright Tech. With the assistance of numerous consultants, information from the State Department of Labor and the University of Connecticut Economic Forecast Division, the committee was able to ascertain the level of demand for a variety of trade occupations in our area including health care, community services and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).


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OK: Pryor industrial park to open job training site | Tulsa World

OK: Pryor industrial park to open job training site | Tulsa World | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

At Pryor-based manufacturer American Castings, a surge in orders from industrial equipment makers such as John Deere has meant about 50 new hires since the beginning of the year.


But American Castings general manager Michael Fuller said the company could hire 20 more people today — if only it could find them.

“Basically we need good people that are motivated, reliable and show up on time,” Fuller said.


It’s a problem that manufacturing managers have been complaining about for years, accelerated by the rebound from the Great Recession that saw the need for factory workers increase greatly but a disconnect on where to find them.


It’s a problem that employers, industrial park officials and educators think they may have found a solution for.


American Castings is one of 60 companies at the MidAmerica Industrial Park, which employs more than 3,500 people and hosts major companies such as Google, a division of Dupont and locally owned Orchid Paper.


The MidAmerica Industrial Park’s governing board has slotted about $7.4 million to create a workforce and education center on U.S. 69 just south of Pryor. Preliminary plans call for the refurbishment of a vacant 140,000-square-foot factory space just east of the Google server center.


The massive space, once home to a motor home manufacturing firm, will serve as the home for two vocational schools but, most important, as a one-stop shop for young job seekers.


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WI Gov Walker, extreme politicians nationwide and ALEC increase voter restrictions | Education Votes | NEA.org

WI Gov Walker, extreme politicians nationwide and ALEC  increase voter restrictions | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a law last month that prohibits early voting on weekends and limits absentee voting, he and the bill’s sponsors said it will promote uniform voting hours across the state. But others countered that the law targets certain groups of voters, will result in longer lines in urban areas, and is part of national tide of restrictive voting law and rule changes driven by organizations such as the secretive group ALEC and extreme politicians undermining one of the pillars of democracy.


The sweeping restrictions have picked up pace in the past year, with some observers noting that they are designed to tilt the playing field in the 2014 elections and the next presidential race. Since the beginning of 2013, nine states have made it more difficult to vote.


While voter ID requirements are the most common method, the measures vary. They range from prohibiting voters in Florida’s largest county, Dade, from using polling station restrooms no matter how long the wait to vote (more than 200,000 Floridians did not vote in 2012 because of long lines), to allowing election observers in Wisconsin to stand as close as three feet from voters at the table where they check in or register to vote, and eliminating Sunday voting in Ohio, a day when many black churches organize “Souls to the Polls” events in which worshippers went as a group to vote after Sunday services.


Politicians have also restricted access to the polls through laws that eliminate Election Day registration, make it harder for third-party groups to register voters, and restrict the types of identification a voter can use to vote. Those most affected by the restrictions are students, minorities and the urban poor, groups that do not historically vote Republican.


The partisan tenor of the voter restriction movement has become increasingly evident. In Wisconsin, Republican state Senator Dale Schultz said the Republican party was “fiddling with mechanics rather than ideas,” adding, “Making it more difficult for people to vote is not a good sign for a party that wants to attract more people.”


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Who pays on tax day? Not 25 of the nation’s richest corporations | Education Votes | NEA.org

Who pays on tax day? Not 25 of the nation’s richest corporations | Education Votes | NEA.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Everyday Americans pay more in federal income taxes than some of the nation’s most profitable corporations.


Twenty-five Fortune 500 corporations paid nothing in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2012, while working families–some of whom are struggling to stay afloat–filed their taxes every year.


Tax handouts to the 288 Fortune 500 companies that were profitable each of those five years cost the nation $362 billion, according to a recent study by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.


Corporate tax subsidies are part of the reason there is never enough money to pay for critical programs and services that benefit us all–things like universal early childhood education, grants for all hard-working students to access higher education and full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


Because state corporate income taxes are typically based on federal taxable income, state revenues suffer in turn. And that results in cuts to state education budgets that jam students into larger classes with fewer resources and supports, like classroom aides.


For decades, corporate interest groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have worked to stack the deck–in this case the tax code– in favor of the nation’s richest corporations and CEOs at the expense of the middle class. But these top-grossing companies still aren’t satisfied.


“Corporate lobbyists incessantly claim that our corporate tax rate is too high, and that it’s not ‘competitive’ with the rest of the world,” said Robert McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice and lead author of the report.


“Most of the biggest companies aren’t paying anywhere near 35 percent of their profits in taxes and far too many aren’t paying U.S. taxes at all.”


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I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore! | EdUKWest.com

I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore! | EdUKWest.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

OK, so I’m not Howard Beale and this isn’t Network, but the tenor of the current discourse on MOOCs is starting to get absurd. Analysis in The New Republic of a recent survey of 35,000 MOOC students who took at least part of a MOOC offered by the University of Pennsylvania, leveled as a criticism the finding that most students do not view these courses either as a means to a college degree or a new job. Given that none of these courses are accredited, one wonders how a student could possibly use them as a means to a college degree? And while they may exist, I have yet to see a job listing requiring (or even recommending) completion of one of these MOOCs as a qualification.


As I looked at the data, I was struck by several highly encouraging facts. Two-thirds of the students taking the U Penn MOOCS live outside the United States. And while the TNR authors pointed to the survey data to decry the fact that most of the students taking these MOOCs have college degrees, I was surprised to see that fully 20% of the them do not. Just think, 1 in 5 of these students is spending time taking a college course that will get them not a whit closer to obtaining their college degree. Granted, free is surely part of the allure. But time is a scarce resource for all of us. And to think that this many people are voting with their time allocation and their minds is both sobering and inspiring.


The other major criticism that seems to now find itself into many recent MOOC analysis pieces are the extremely low completion rates of many MOOCs – generally in the 5-10% range.


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