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A Cheap, Rugged Tablet Is Your Kid's Next Fixation | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

A Cheap, Rugged Tablet Is Your Kid's Next Fixation | Gadget Lab | Wired.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Forget phablets. Touchscreen Android devices designed expressly for kids with bright colors, durable cases and rubberized surfaces are making a big splash in the tablet space.

 

Tablets certainly are a hot-ticket item. Apple was projected to sell 62 million iPads in 2012, and Android tablet sales were up 177 percent this holiday season. But while some parents are only too happy to share their $500-plus tablets with the kids (or even buy the kiddos iPads of their own), some are opting instead to get a tablet designed specifically for their wee ones’ tiny fingers and eager minds.

 

According to an August Forrester survey of 4,750 adults, 20 percent of tablet-owning parents with kids 6 and under say they let them use their tablet. That number rises to 29 percent among parents with kids older than six. And the gadgets ranked highly on kids’ gotta-have list this holiday season. The iPad took the top spot on kids’ Christmas wish lists in a Nielsen survey of 3,000 U.S. residents aged 6 and over, beating 16 other popular gaming and computing devices. The 13 and up set also favored the iPad over other brand tablets and computers.

 

Kids love tablets, but use them a little differently than we do.

 

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Augmented Reality Redux: From Bearden to Manovich | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist

Augmented Reality Redux: From Bearden to Manovich | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The function of the artist is to organize the facets of life according to his imagination. – Romare Bearden

Although historically built environments were almost always covered with ornament, texts, and images, the phenomenon of the dynamic multimedia information in these environments is new. – Lev Manovich

I’ve always been interested in collage. My Light, Color & Design professor said my undergraduate artwork reminded her of Romare Bearden (and Edward Hopper). There is something more textural and textual about the process of creating collages. The artist chops up, rearranges, mixes and layers images from disparate sources to create one composition. There is also a narrative, ex. Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, the artist’s 1977 series of 20 collages based on episodes from Homer’s epic tale The Odyssey.


For the past five years, I’ve explored and experimented with augmented reality (AR), which the overlaying of digital information on the physical world. In 2011, I made the transition from Second Life (SL) to mobile AR using cultural heritage artifacts. In 2012, I worked with Georgia Tech and the city of Albuquerque on a mobile AR enhanced mural. Around that time I was also toying with the idea of augmented acoustics (see Inception the App).


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Captive virgins, polygamy and sex slaves: What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible | Valerie Tarico | RawStory.com

Captive virgins, polygamy and sex slaves: What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible | Valerie Tarico | RawStory.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Bible believers are beside themselves about the prospect that marriage norms and laws are changing, but let me tell you a secret about Bible believers that I know because I was one. Most don’t actually read their Bibles.

If they did, they would know that the biblical model of sex and marriage has little to do with the one they so loudly defend. Sex in the Bible includes rape, incest, master-slave sexual relations, captive virgins, and more. Of course, just because a story is told in the Bible doesn’t mean it is intended as a model for moral behavior. Does God forbid or command the behavior? Is it punished or rewarded? In the New Testament stories, does Jesus change the rules or leave them alone? By these criteria, the Bible not only describes many forms of sexual relationships (including sexually coercive relationships), it gives them the divine thumbs up.

Not One Man, One Woman

The God of the Bible explicitly endorses polygamy and sexual slavery and coerced marriage of young virgins along with monogamy. In fact, he endorses all three to the point of providing detailed regulations. Based on stories of sex and marriage that God rewards and appears to approve one might add incest to the mix of sexual contact that receives divine sanction.

New Testament Endorses Old Testament

Nowhere does the Bible say, “Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you.” Consent, in the Bible, is not a thing. Furthermore, none of the norms that are endorsed and regulated in the Old Testament law – polygamy, sexual slavery, coerced marriage of young girls—are revised, reversed, or condemned by Jesus. In fact, the writer of Matthew puts these words in the mouth of Jesus:


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Gamification in K-12 Education: Brain Growth, Tenacity, & Rising to the Challenge | Jessica Oaks | Emerging Education Technologies

Gamification in K-12 Education: Brain Growth, Tenacity, & Rising to the Challenge | Jessica Oaks | Emerging Education Technologies | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

“I could not believe how tenacious students were. They would try and try again …”

There’s still some debate about the effectiveness of game-based learning but there is now plenty of proof demonstrating the power of play. The global market for mobile games continues to grow – Newzoo predicts the mobile segment of the overall video game industry will generate $30.3b worldwide in 2015 – as does the market for educational games, which may reach nearly $3b by 2017. But more importantly, research suggests that when students treat learning like a game, they learn faster and retain more.

Teachers in K-12 classrooms have long used play with a purpose to engage students and appear to be adopting mobile gaming as one more classroom tool. The study Empowering Educators: Supporting Student Progress in the Classroom with Digital Games found that 57% of teachers use digital games weekly or more frequently in their curriculums and 18% use them every day.


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How computer science education has changed | Josh Fruhlinger | NetworkWorld

How computer science education has changed | Josh Fruhlinger | NetworkWorld | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In 1950, fifty-one people attended the Summer School on Programme Design for Automatic Digital Computing Machines at Cambridge University. Over the previous decade, engineering and mathematical researchers had developed the first stored-program computers, and figured out how to operate them as they went; the students who came to Cambridge that summer were the first to sign up to specifically learn the art on Cambridge's EDSAC computer.

The students that attended were a varied lot, with a varying goals -- one was actually a salesman for Ferranti, the company that was going to release the first commercial computer the next year, and he spent more time chatting up potential customers than learning how to program. The physical experience of programming was radically different from how we'd understand it today, as this remarkable film illustrates. Still, they are the predecessors of every young person on summer vacation today who's waiting for college -- and their education in computer science -- to start.

With tech changing so quickly, many aspects of these young people's education will be different from those on a similar track just a decade or so ago -- different, in other words, from those who will be their peers and co-workers once they reach the job market. If you're a long-time IT professional, some of what you did in school will look as outdated to these new students as those keypunch EDSAC programming techniques look to you. It's instructive to see what has -- and hasn't -- changed over the decades.


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I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. | Margaret Biser | Vox.com

Up until a few weeks ago, I worked at a historic site in the South that included an old house and a nearby plantation. My job was to lead tours and tell guests about the people who made plantations possible: the slaves.

The site I worked at most frequently had more than 100 enslaved workers associated with it— 27 people serving the household alone, outnumbering the home's three white residents by a factor of nine. Yet many guests who visited the house and took the tour reacted with hostility to hearing a presentation that focused more on the slaves than on the owners.

The first time it happened, I had just finished a tour of the home. People were filing out of their seats, and one man stayed behind to talk to me. He said, "Listen, I just wanted to say that dragging all this slavery stuff up again is bringing down America."

I started to protest, but he interrupted me. "You didn't know. You're young. But America is the greatest country in the world, and these people out there, they'd do anything to make America less great." He was loud and confusing, and I was 22 years old and he seemed like a million feet tall.

Lots of folks who visit historic sites and plantations don't expect to hear too much about slavery while they're there. Their surprise isn't unjustified: Relatively speaking, the move toward inclusive history in museums is fairly recent, and still underway. And as the recent debates over the Confederate flag have shown, as a country we're still working through our response to the horrors of slavery, even a century and a half after the end of the Civil War.

The majority of interactions I had with museum guests were positive, and most visitors I encountered weren't as outwardly angry as that man who confronted me early on. (Though some were. One favorite: a 60-ish guy in a black tank top who, annoyed both at having to wait for a tour and at the fact that the next tour focused on slaves, came back at me with, "Yeah, well, Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, so I guess what goes around comes around!")

Still, I'd often meet visitors who had earnest but deep misunderstandings about the nature of American slavery. These folks were usually, but not always, a little older, and almost invariably white. I was often asked if the slaves there got paid, or (less often) whether they had signed up to work there. You could tell from the questions — and, not less importantly, from the body language — that the people asking were genuinely ignorant of this part of the country's history.


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'Here Come the Videofreex': Film Review | Frank Scheck | The Hollywood Reporter

'Here Come the Videofreex': Film Review | Frank Scheck | The Hollywood Reporter | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Jenny Raskin and Jon Nealon's documentary recounts the story of a pioneering collective of video journalists who were the forerunners of public access television and the modern internet news era.

Thanks to the ubiquitous presence of cell phones, the ability to shoot video footage anywhere and anytime is now taken for granted. But it wasn't always the case, as Jenny Raskin and Jon Nealon's fascinating documentary about a group of early video pioneers illustrates. Recently screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's BAMcinemaFest, "Here Come the Videofreex" should become mandatory viewing in journalism schools.

Largely composed of video footage shot more than four decades ago as well as contemporary interviews with such former members as David Cort, Nancy Cain, Skip Blumberg and others, the film relates how in 1969 several young people banded together to take advantage of Sony's recent invention of portable video cameras.


Dubbing themselves the "Videofreex," they began shooting impromptu news footage. They eventually attracted the attention of Don West, a young CBS news executive, who hired them to cover the counterculture that was largely being ignored by broadcast news organizations. Armed with cameras, the group traveled across the country in a CBS-provided RV.

"They treated us like rock stars," one of the members comments.

They snared the first-ever television interview with Abbie Hoffman during the trial of the Chicago 8, as well as one with Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton who was killed during a raid by the Chicago police just a few weeks later. They also covered the Woodstock music festival, interviewing attendees about such topics as the "bad acid" about which was warned against from the stage.

But their pilot episode was rejected by CBS and West left the network shortly thereafter, either as a result of being fired or resigning — even he's not exactly sure which. The collective managed to smuggle out their tapes and soon resumed their mission, covering such topics as the burgeoning women's movement, anti-war demonstrations and the 1972 Republican convention. They hosted well-attended weekly screenings in their Soho loft.


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Helsinki Guggenheim competition winner revealed | Adam Williams | GizMag.com

Helsinki Guggenheim competition winner revealed | Adam Williams | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last year we reported on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's competition seeking a new Guggenheim museum for Helsinki, Finland. A winner has now been selected: Art in the City, by Paris-based firm Moreau Kusunoki.

Moreau Kusunoki's design comprises nine low volumes and a lighthouse-like tower that's connected to a nearby park via pedestrian footbridge. The building would be clad in locally-sourced charred timber, and would aim to offer an open, welcoming atmosphere. According to Dezeen, Art in the City is expected to cost €130 million (around US$45 million) to construct, and will comprise a total floorspace of roughly 12,100 sq m (130,200 sq ft), and boast 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft) of exhibition space.


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OH: Students learn STEAM at new camp | Sarah Guinn | The Athens Messenger

OH: Students learn STEAM at new camp | Sarah Guinn | The Athens Messenger | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Emmy Thompson and Erika Vigo, both 8, soaked up information they learned all week at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks’ headquarters from touring local plants, building projects start-to-finish and putting the final touches on it with some craft time at Athens’ first-ever STEAM Camp (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), which aimed to expose campers to manufacturing happening here in the region.

STEAM Camp was possible in part by Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as well as the Athens County Commissioners.

“Manufacturing means inventing, creating, and building the tools, vehicles, and machines that will power the future,” Brown said in a news release. “We need talented, imaginative young people to become the next generation of Ohio manufacturers who will turn dreams into reality.”

Commissioner Chris Chmiel drove campers to Quidel to tour the facility as part of the camp, he said, to give them an inside look at the working-world in Athens.

“It was really great,” he said of his day with the campers. “The kids see (local manufacturing) and that’s something they might consider doing in a future job force training. It drives local economic development.”

Emmy and Erika said their favorite part of the camp, falling under the technology part, was learning how to use a 3-D printer, they both said, gleefully. With the press of a button, melted plastic became practical items like a comb, and then the girls printed fun things like cupcakes and minions, they said.


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New Teachers: Preparing, Planning, and Building Support Systems | Edutopia.org

New Teachers: Preparing, Planning, and Building Support Systems | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

To set the stage for a successful first year of teaching, it’s important to do some advance planning and preparation.


We’ve collected a variety of resources to help new teachers start the year off right.


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IN: Ivy Tech at risk of losing workforce training money | Daily Herald

IN: Ivy Tech at risk of losing workforce training money | Daily Herald | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Ivy Tech Community College, with many campus locations in Indiana, is facing an Aug. 1 deadline to show progress in student success as state officials weigh whether to continue using the college system as a provider for workforce training and education programs.

The state funnels millions in federal Workforce Investment Act dollars to residents looking to improve their skills in the job market. Some take the money and go for two-year degrees, such as for a licensed practical nurse, while others attend short-term programs for industry certifications.

Providers are required to meet minimum completion rates set by the State Workforce Innovation Council. Two-year degree programs must graduate at least 28 percent students, while short-term, non-degree programs must achieve a 60 percent completion rate.

Ivy Tech is not meeting those thresholds for some programs, Indiana Department of Workforce Development spokesman Joe Frank told The Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/1dbBmGS ).

Frank said the council is working with Ivy Tech to see if it can come into compliance.

"We have been very clear that we want to put our money where our mouth is. If we are going to put money on training and education programs, you have to have good results," he said.

Ivy Tech is already feeling pressure from lawmakers who have ordered a state review of its programs because of concerns about low graduation rates and declining enrollment. A state report showed fewer than 30 percent of its students complete a certificate or associate degree program within six years.


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The Supreme Court just legalized same-sex marriage across the US | German Lopez | Vox

In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court on June 26 struck down states' same-sex marriage bans, effectively bringing marriage equality to the entire US.

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," Justice Anthony Kennedy, who joined the court's liberals in the majority opinion, wrote. "[The challengers] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The ruling, which five justices supported and four dissented against, means same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, and states will soon have to grant marriage licenses to all same-sex couples. Before the ruling, same-sex marriages were allowed in 37 states and Washington, DC.


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Senators look to close broadband gap for schools with Digital Learning Equity Act | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

Senators look to close broadband gap for schools with Digital Learning Equity Act | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

United States Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) have introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 as a way to improve broadband access and close what they call an education gap for all students.

A key focus of the act is the recognition that access to a broadband Internet connection is an important enabler for students to get access to new personalized learning options made available through online and blended learning.

The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 aims to narrow this growing divide by supporting new methods to ensure students stay connected and extend access to digital learning opportunities when they leave the classroom.

The bill would authorize a program where states and school districts could pilot new approaches to increase home Internet access for students and expand digital learning resources, content, and tools. Participating schools could partner with a host of entities, such as libraries, nonprofits, businesses, or afterschool programs.

It would also direct the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to conduct a national study of the data associated with this growing digital divide, including information on the barriers to students having Internet access at home, how educators are adjusting classroom instruction to cope with this challenge, and how a lack of home Internet access impacts student participation and engagement.

The program would focus on serving rural schools, high-need schools and low-income students.


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In Mainstream Museums, Confronting Colonialism While Curating Native American Art | Sheila Regan | HyperAllergic

In Mainstream Museums, Confronting Colonialism While Curating Native American Art | Sheila Regan | HyperAllergic | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Recent criticism of The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, which closed recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sheds light on the many issues that arise when mainstream museums present Native American art. Weighted down by centuries of misrepresentation, cultural appropriation, and false narratives, encyclopedic institutions still struggle to present Native art in a respectful, honest way.

The Plains Indians show was organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and while it drew praise from the likes of reviewers from the New York Times and other mainstream publications, it was soundly blasted by Native American scholar Joe Horse Capture.

In an article published on Indian Country, Horse Capture writes critically of the show, saying he was asked to contribute to the catalogue, but declined when he found out there were no Native partners in putting together the exhibition.

That a show of that size and scope wouldn’t include Native American curatorial partners is indicative of a museum system that has for centuries seen Indigenous people as subjects. In the United States, where most of the large encyclopedic art museums were formed in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, legacies of putting Native cultures on display are deep-rooted and not so easily given up.


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Texas Board of Education to be headed by a homeschooler | Laura Clawson | Daily Kos

Texas Board of Education to be headed by a homeschooler | Laura Clawson | Daily Kos | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Texas Board of Education creates "policies and standards for Texas public schools." Gov. Greg Abbott's choice to head this body setting policies and standards for Texas public schools is a woman whose own children never attended those public schools—they were homeschooled and then sent to a private high school. But hey, she's a former aide to the state's Republican lieutenant governor.

The problem here seems obvious.

Even Republican State Board member Thomas Ratliff called the move a mistake.

“Public school isn’t for everybody, but when 94 percent of our students in Texas attend public schools I think it ought to be a baseline requirement that the chair of the State Board of Education have at least some experience in that realm, as a parent, teacher, something,” Ratliff argued.

Bahorich's relevant experience, as listed on her LinkedIn profile, includes "founder/director/board member" of Home Ed Plus, which "provides the opportunity for homeschool families and Christian teachers to come together in support of a high quality academic education for homeschooled students." Naturally she's also a huge supporter of charter schools. Basically any way of getting students out of public schools ... the public schools for which she'll play a major role in setting policy.


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Scientists Discover Another Earth! | Gregg Prescott | The Mind Unleashed

Scientists Discover Another Earth! | Gregg Prescott | The Mind Unleashed | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope recently discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star within the habitable zone of our galaxy. Kepler-186f is approximately 500 light-years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation.

The habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks zone, is the region around a star within which planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can support liquid water at their surfaces. While it has been estimated that there are at least 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in our Milky Way Galaxy, this particular discovery is labeled the first Earth-sized planet to be found in the habitable zone of another star.


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GA: Mercer technician fashions fossil replicas with 3-D printer | Jeremy Timmerman | Macon.com

GA: Mercer technician fashions fossil replicas with 3-D printer | Jeremy Timmerman | Macon.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Like the throngs of people who’ve gone to see “Jurassic World,” Mercer University’s Jeremy Barker grew up fascinated with prehistoric animals.

The difference is that Barker, a technician in the engineering school’s electronics lab, is getting to take that interest to another level. He’s partnering with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Bernard Means to create fossil replicas with a 3-D printer.

“It makes my inner 8-year-old very, very happy,” Barker said. “Ever since I was 8, I thought it would be really cool to be an archaeologist, and now I’m working with archaeologists to put stuff into a museum.”

Barker said the project is an extension of work he’s been doing on the side for a few years. While his title involves technology and helping students with projects, he has also studied history.

“I’m really into history, and when I started working here at Mercer about three years ago, I saw an opportunity to combine the two fields. So I started scanning artifacts, whatever I could get my hands on.”

Once he got connected with Means, that effort took off. Means was looking for help creating a skeleton from a bootherium bombifrons, a musk ox from the Pleistocene era, and Barker took on the task.

Means had been working on the skeleton, part of an exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Natural History that also involves a saber-tooth cat, since 2011, and Barker found his work on the Internet. The two exchanged emails, and Barker even went to Means’ lab to see his work in person.


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LA: 10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans Schools Continue to Flounder | Jeff Bryant | AlterNet

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, you can count on seeing a lot of glowing stories about the great education progress made in New Orleans since a natural disaster killed nearly 2,000 people, emptied a beloved city, and gave public school reformers what they always wanted: a “clean slate” to have their way unencumbered by the messiness of school boards, local politics, and the voices of teachers and parents.

It really was the “best thing that could have happened,” to use Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s now infamous quote, if you were a fan of creating something that would have little to no consequence for your family.

You’ll also hear many more politicians and pundits touting the NOLA model of education reform for school districts everywhere else.

You should be very suspicious of this marketing campaign.

Advocates for the NOLA model claim it has gotten “results,” but what passes for results is subject to a mad game of interpreting data in a way to make a case rather than to reveal any real truth.


Reform advocates like to say they’ve created a better system, but it is a system that seems void of democracy and deaf to the voices of teachers, parents, and students who have to live with the system.


And to those people who initially backed the plan for NOLA school reform – but who demurred from becoming blatant propagandists for it – there now appears to be a sense of frustration and disappointment with a realization that there’s a long way to go before this product should go to market.


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American History X-ed: How The Confederate Flag Was Divorced From Slavery & Segregation | Daily Kos

American History X-ed: How The Confederate Flag Was Divorced From Slavery & Segregation | Daily Kos | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

From a physical standpoint, Alexander Stephens made a rather ironic spokesman for the superiority of the white race. Standing 5 feet 7 inches in height, Stephens wasn't terribly short or tall by 19th century American standards, but he possessed a frame more suited to a 12 year old boy than a grown man.


Weighing a shade under 100 lbs soaking wet and perpetually in bad health, Stephens looked like a young Southern Benjamin Button. With his well-worn, yet somehow puckish features and his spindly limbs peeking out from underneath his two-sizes-too-big suits, Stephens truly looked like a man who was aging in reverse—a small child living in a shriveled old man's body.


Upon first encountering him, Abraham Lincoln described Stephens as, “a little slim, pale faced, consumptive man,” but went on to say that whatever physical deficiencies he possessed were more than outweighed by his skills as an orator. “[Stephens] has just concluded the very best speech, of an hour's length, I ever heard”, Lincoln wrote in the winter of 1848. “My old, withered, dry eyes are full of tears yet.”


13 years after Lincoln first heard him speak, Stephens took to the stage at the old Athenaeum in Savannah to deliver a speech that would justify the praise lauded on him in easier days by the newly elected President of the United States and to outline in no uncertain terms the causes and conditions that had led the country to the brink of civil war.


It was March 21st when Stephens spoke—the first full day of a spring that both the speaker and the captive audience filling the Athenaeum beyond capacity surely felt was being mirrored in the birth of their new nation, the Confederate States of America.


When Stephens, who had just been elected as the vice president of this new—yet unrecognized—nation, spoke to the people of Georgia that night, he did so in the uneasy limbo that lay between the formation of the Confederacy and the hostilities at Fort Sumter that would signal the start of the Civil War.


Just 10 days earlier Stephens and other members of the Confederate brain trust had put the final touches on the country's constitution and the newly elected vice president took it upon himself to explain to his people the raison d'etre of the Confederacy. What followed was the now infamous 'Cornerstone Speech'.


The Cornerstone Speech got its name from a line in Stephens's oratory that left no doubt as to why the states of the lower South had seceded. After describing slavery as, “the immediate cause of [this] late rupture and present revolution”, and going on a long diatribe about why Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers were fundamentally wrong in their presumption that the enslavement of African Americans was a moral and political evil that would eventually fade away,


Stephens told the assembled crowd that, “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

There is no ambiguity in such a statement. Just as there is no ambiguity when Mississippi's Declaration of Secession states that, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world” or when Jefferson Davis, in his farewell speech to Congress, proclaims that his home state is leaving the Union because “the theory that all men are created free and equal [has] made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions.”


Any man or woman who endeavors to argue that anything other than slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War is simply engaging in that magical thinking promulgated after the fact by groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy in order to create a narrative that not only lionizes the actions of the Confederate soldier, but serves as a tool to promote the aims of white supremacy.

Today, in the wake of what appears to be a tipping point in the public acceptance of Confederate iconography after the brutal murder of 9 black parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston by a self-avowed white supremacist, there are many who are trying to keep alive the fallacious notion that the Stars and Bars is about anything but the representation of a failed state created out of the desire to maintain the peculiar institution of slavery.


Such a strange notion is based on the idea that the Confederate flag represents some sort of nebulous Southern heritage or inheritance that is miraculously divorced from the ubiquity of slavery in antebellum Southern life. However, even if we grant these modern day Southern patriots the premise that the Confederate flag has nothing to do with mass enslavement of black life that was the impetus for its creation, the argument that the Confederate flag is free from the stain of racism falls apart under the weight of history.


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ESA's Rosetta mission extended by nine months | David Szondy | GizMag.com

ESA's Rosetta mission extended by nine months | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

ESA has announced that its Rosetta comet orbiter mission will be extended by nine months. The unmanned spacecraft that rendezvoused with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year will carry out further observations until September 2016, by which time it will be too far from the Sun to power itself and will land on the comet.

The mission was originally planned to end in December of this year, but on Tuesday the agency decided to continue the mission until the comet has travelled far enough from the Sun that it won't be possible to run the solar-powered spacecraft.

ESA says that the extended mission will allow Rosetta to make observations of the comet before and after its closest approach to the Sun, giving scientists a better knowledge of the activity of 67P by moving the probe closer to the comet as it as it approaches and recedes. This data will be correlated with Earth ground observations, which are difficult and often impossible as a comet comes close to the Sun.


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Best evidence of active lava flows spotted on Venus | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com

Best evidence of active lava flows spotted on Venus | Anthony Wood | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet of active lava flows on Venus. Earlier missions to Venus have shown that the surface bears the unmistakable scarring of fierce, ancient volcanic activity. However, prior to Venus express, no mission had been successful in directly imaging clues to contemporary volcanism. This quirk has baffled scientists for years, as it has long been assumed that Venus hosts an internal heat source, and that heat has to escape somehow.

Venus is often given the moniker "Earth's twin", owing to the fact that it possesses a similar mass and composition to our planet. In reality, the landscape of Venus is scarred and barren, cloaked in a thick, toxic atmosphere that has created a runaway greenhouse effect resulting in a surface temperature of 462° C (864° F).

Previous observations of Venus' atmosphere have obliquely hinted at the presence of active volcanism. For example, a spike in sulphur dioxide levels in Venus' upper atmosphere between 2006 and 2007 seemed to suggest a fierce but brief bout of volcanic activity, the after effects of which gradually subsided over the following five years.


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Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America | David Noise | Psychology Today

Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America | David Noise | Psychology Today | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The tragedy in Charleston last week will no doubt lead to more discussion of several important and recurring issues in American culture—particularly racism and gun violence—but these dialogues are unlikely to bear much fruit until the nation undertakes a serious self-examination. Decrying racism and gun violence is fine, but for too long America’s social dysfunction has continued to intensify as the nation has ignored a key underlying pathology: anti-intellectualism.

America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance, and the evidence is all around us. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter who used race as a basis for hate and mass murder, is just the latest horrific example. Many will correctly blame Roof's actions on America's culture of racism and gun violence, but it's time to realize that such phenomena are directly tied to the nation's culture of ignorance.

In a country where a sitting congressman told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” (link is external) where the chairman of a Senate environmental panel brought a snowball (link is external) into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax, where almost one in three citizens can’t name the vice president (link is external), it is beyond dispute that critical thinking has been abandoned as a cultural value. Our failure as a society to connect the dots, to see that such anti-intellectualism comes with a huge price, could eventually be our downfall.

In considering the senseless loss of nine lives in Charleston, of course racism jumps out as the main issue. But isn’t ignorance at the root of racism? And it’s true that the bloodshed is a reflection of America's violent, gun-crazed culture, but it is only our aversion to reason as a society that has allowed violence to define the culture. Rational public policy, including policies that allow reasonable restraints on gun access, simply isn't possible without an informed, engaged, and rationally thinking public.

Some will point out, correctly, that even educated people can still be racists, but this shouldn’t remove the spotlight from anti-intellectualism. Yes, even intelligent and educated individuals, often due to cultural and institutional influences, can sometimes carry racist biases. But critically thinking individuals recognize racism as wrong and undesirable, even if they aren’t yet able to eliminate every morsel of bias from their own psyches or from social institutions. An anti-intellectual society, however, will have large swaths of people who are motivated by fear, susceptible to tribalism and simplistic explanations, incapable of emotional maturity, and prone to violent solutions. Sound familiar?


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Professional Learning Opportunities and the Teachers They Create | Andrew Marcinek Blog | Edutopia.org

Professional Learning Opportunities and the Teachers They Create | Andrew Marcinek Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Over the past few years, professional learning structures have shifted dramatically. This has been a shift not so much in content or strategies, but rather in overall design of professional learning.

At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession. While most content has remained consistent throughout time, instructional design, educational policy, and classroom tools and structures have been in constant motion. But with all of the demands of the classroom and the limited time in a school calendar, how do we pack all of the resources, strategies, and exemplars into only a handful of professional learning days? The simple answer is that we don't.

Professional learning opportunities should not be treated as if they were a test that we're all cramming for with only minutes left to study. Instead, professional learning should resemble a variety of unique threads that make up the fabric of an educator's professional career. It should be something that we desire and seek out, not dread. In most cases, educators have an innate desire to learn and grow professionally. In essence, this idea is the guiding principle and philosophy that moves education forward: the desire to be a lifelong learner and model the practice for our students so that they can one day emulate this concept.


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Construction of Giant Telescope Pushes on Despite Protests | Mike Wall | Space.com

Construction of Giant Telescope Pushes on Despite Protests | Mike Wall | Space.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The group building a huge telescope on Hawaii's tallest mountain plans to restart construction this week, ending a two-month delay caused by protestors opposed to the ambitious project.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano — work that was halted in April after a series of protests—will resume on Wednesday (June 24), project representatives said in a statement issued over the weekend.

"Our period of inactivity has made us a better organization in the long run," Henry Yang, chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, said in the statement. "We are now comfortable that we can be better stewards and better neighbors during our temporary and limited use of this precious land, which will allow us to explore the heavens and broaden the boundaries of science in the interest of humanity." [The Biggest Telescopes on Earth: How They Measure Up]

Construction of the $1.4 billion TMT began in October near the top of Mauna Kea, which rises 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) into the sky from the Big Island of Hawaii. The TMT will link up 492 small, hexagonal mirrors to form a giant light-collecting surface 98 feet (30 m) wide.

Once complete in the early 2020s, the observatory will return images 10 times sharper than those captured by NASA's iconic Hubble Space Telescope, TMT representatives have said. Astronomers will put the telescope to a number of uses: searching for and characterizing exoplanets, for example, and investigating the nature of mysterious dark matter and dark energy. (Two other huge, ground-based scopes — the Giant Magellan Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope — should come online in Chile at about the same time as TMT, and do similar work.)


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5 Ways to "Remove the Walls" From Your Classroom | Alex Byland Blog | Edutopia.org

5 Ways to "Remove the Walls" From Your Classroom | Alex Byland Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

After the first day of school this year, I couldn't believe my luck! My seventh grade math and science students participated eagerly, worked well in groups, and followed our agreed-upon classroom procedures.


With the deck stacked in my favor, I was sure that this was going to be my best year of teaching thus far. However, after three to four weeks, the on-task behaviors waned across the grade as students seemed to focus more on personal squabbles than their classwork.


Simply put, the students were getting tired of one another. Even when I changed up the seating chart, planned purposeful groups, and taught interactive differentiated lessons, the students' bickering continued to get in the way of their learning. The honeymoon period was officially over!


5 Best Practices

I quickly realized that we needed to approach our classes in a drastically different manner to ensure that this school year would be successful. During collaborative planning, my colleagues and I decided to swap some students for an upcoming lesson to see if altering their routine and separating some conflicting personalities would have a positive behavioral impact.


We were astounded by the results. The students' participation skyrocketed, they interacted appropriately within their new peer groups, and best of all, they mastered the lesson. I asked myself, "Have we just discovered the key to resetting the glorious honeymoon period?"

Over the school year, our students made strong gains as we continued dabbling with purposefully regrouping them across our classes. I've compiled a list of five successful strategies so that you, too, can remove the walls from your classroom and work smarter, not harder, to see more effective results.


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VT: Recess for High School Students | Montpelier High School Blog | Edutopia.org

VT: Recess for High School Students | Montpelier High School Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last year, Montpelier High shifted its schedule to free up 15 minutes -- for recess.


Teachers and students find they are more calm and focused, with a camaraderie that continues into the classroom.


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