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With $11M, Quad Learning links community colleges and top universities for cheaper degrees | GigaOM Tech News

With $11M, Quad Learning links community colleges and top universities for cheaper degrees | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In the last year or so, we’ve seen all kinds of online learning startups emerge, from those that focus on a specific set of skills to those that offer massive web classes for free to those that partner with top universities to provide quality degree programs online.

 

On Thursday, Washington, D.C.-based Quad Learning launched with $11 million to bring yet another model into the mix. Founded by Phil Bronner, an education technology investor, and Chris Romer, a former state senator of Colorado, the startup partners with community colleges to offer a web-based platform and curriculum intended to help students more successfully transfer to a four-year college.

 

With tuition rates and debt loads going up, the idea is that a student could complete two years at a community college and then, with Quad Learning’s “American Honors” program, transfer to a top-200 university to finish the last two years of a bachelor’s degree program.

 

“The whole focus is around college affordability,” said Bronner. “We see it as the most cost-effective way to receive a bachelor’s degree.”

 

The startup, which raised funding from New Atlantic Ventures, Swan and Legend Fund, NEA, Comcast Ventures and other institutional investors, says its program can provide the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at 35 to 40 percent of the cost of a traditional four-year program.

 

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Do e-readers really harm sleep? Depends what you call an e-reader | David Meyer | GigaOM Tech News

Do e-readers really harm sleep? Depends what you call an e-reader | David Meyer | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A new study has claimed that light-emitting e-readers “negatively affect sleep, circadian timing and next-morning alertness” when used in the evening. However, those reading the resulting coverage should look into the details before worrying too much.

The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), leading to scary headlines such as: “E-readers ‘damage sleep and health,’ doctors warn” (BBC); “Keep That E-Reader Out of Bed and You’ll Feel Better in the Morning” (Pacific Standard); and “Before Bed, Switch Off The E-Reader And Pick Up A Paperback” (Fast Company).

The key problem with this study and the more alarmist stories that followed, is that when it says “e-reader”, it means “Apple iPad”. An iPad at full brightness, no less. When I hear “e-reader”, I tend to think “dedicated e-reader” – an e-ink device without a backlit screen — rather than a multi-purpose tablet. And there’s a big difference.


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NASA tests gecko tech to pick up and recycle space trash | Eric Mack | GizMag.com

NASA tests gecko tech to pick up and recycle space trash | Eric Mack | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Gripping technology inspired by the force that geckos use to climb even vertical, smooth surfaces has been tested in microgravity. Researchers want to see if it might one day be used to get work done in outer space, and clean up the increasing amount of debris floating in orbit around the Earth.

Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have modified a design (dubbed "gecko grippers") that originated with Stanford's "Stickybot" a few years back. DARPA has also modified the design to create real-life Spiderman-like abilities.

"The system could grapple objects in space that are spinning or tumbling, and would otherwise be hard to target," said Aaron Parness, NASA's principal investigator for the grippers. Parness was in graduate school at Stanford in the program that tested early prototypes of the gripper technology. It was put through over 30,000 "on" and "off" cycles without losing its adhesive strength.


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Apple Pushes Out Automatic Security Update On Macs For The First Time | HuffPost.com

Apple Pushes Out Automatic Security Update On Macs For The First Time | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Apple Inc has pushed out its first-ever automated security update to Macintosh computers to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.

The company pushed out the software on Monday to fix critical security vulnerabilities in a component of its OS X operating system called the network time protocol, or NTP, according to Apple spokesman Bill Evans.NTP is used for synchronizing clocks on computer systems.

The bugs were made public in security bulletins on Friday by the Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Carnegie Mellon identified dozens of technology companies, including Apple, whose products might be vulnerable.


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Utah Stakeholders Contribute to E-Rate Modernization Order Changes | Utah Broadband

Utah Stakeholders Contribute to E-Rate Modernization Order Changes | Utah Broadband | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released an updated Order on its E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries obtain high-speed Internet access.


This new Order modifies the definition of rural, so that a school or library located in an area with a population of less that 25,000 will be considered rural to ensure E-Rate funding in those much needed areas.


This modification to the Order came after petitions for reconsideration and supporting comments were submitting by the Utah Education Network, the Utah Rural Telecom Association and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

The Order also approved a $1.5 billion funding increase for its E-Rate program, which will lift the overall spending cap, which has not been changed since it was set in 1997 from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion a year.

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When Humans Quit Hunting And Gathering, Their Bones Got Wimpy | Nell Greenfield-Boyce | NPR.org

When Humans Quit Hunting And Gathering, Their Bones Got Wimpy | Nell Greenfield-Boyce | NPR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Compared with other primates and our early human ancestors, we modern humans have skeletons that are relatively lightweight — and scientists say that basically may be because we got lazy.

Biological anthropologist Habiba Chirchir and her colleagues at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History were studying the bones of different primates including humans. When they looked at the ends of bones near the joints, where the inside of the bone looks almost like a sponge, they were struck by how much less dense this spongy bone was in humans compared with chimpanzees or orangutans.

"So the next step was, what about the fossil record? When did this feature evolve?" Chirchir wondered.

Their guess was that the less dense bones showed up a couple of million years ago, about when Homo erectus, a kind of proto-human, left Africa. Having lighter bones would have made it a lot easier to travel long distances, Chirchir speculated.

But after examining a bunch of early human fossils, she realized their guess was wrong. "This was absolutely surprising to us," she says. "The change is occurring much later in our history."

The lightweight bones don't appear until about 12,000 years ago. That's right when humans were becoming less physically active because they were leaving their nomadic hunter-gatherer life behind and settling down to pursue agriculture.


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In Worcester, Gov. Patrick praises youth initiative | Samantha Allen | Telegram & Gazette

In Worcester, Gov. Patrick praises youth initiative | Samantha Allen | Telegram & Gazette | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

José Vazquez of Worcester knew only a rough life.

The 21-year-old said growing up, he ran with the "wrong crowd" and got into all sorts of trouble, especially with local police.

"I've been locked up a few times," he said.

Monday morning at the Worcester Youth Center, with Gov. Deval Patrick at his side, Mr. Vazquez was instead the poster child for the success of a 2011 initiative launched by the Patrick administration to keep troubled young men on the right track. The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative — a $22.4 million investment — provides guidance and assistance to participants, most of them with violent histories. Classes for boys and men ages 14 to 24 are offered on topics ranging from carpentry to résumé crafting.

Mr. Vazquez, a new father and a student at Quinsigamond Community College, said he was a participant in the local program and the mentorship he received changed his life.

"One of the outreach coordinators just kept reaching out to me and was persistent. … That was about two years ago," he said. "I've done job readiness programs. I've been able to actually get employed."

"If I didn't have this opportunity at the time ... I don't know where I'd be," he told the crowd that gathered at the youth center on Chandler Street.

Gov. Patrick stressed in a public meeting that the initiative — in partnership with law enforcement program providers and community leaders — saves not only lives, but money for taxpayers through crime reduction.

"This is how we invest right now to make a stronger commonwealth over time," he said. "This initiative was intended to provide the brightest future for our most destructive, most disconnected and most disengaged young people."

SSYI is active in 11 cities with the highest violent crime counts in Massachusetts, including Worcester, Boston, Springfield and Lawrence, as well as Holyoke, which the state listed in 2012 as having one of the highest rates of violent crime in the state. The initiative focuses "strategically" on youths who have a proven risk for criminal behavior, have been a victim of violence or are related to someone who fits those characteristics.


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Facebook drops Microsoft's Bing from Facebook search results | Mary Jo Foley | ZDNet.com

Facebook drops Microsoft's Bing from Facebook search results | Mary Jo Foley | ZDNet.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As first reported by Reuters on December 12, Facebook has stopped showing Microsoft Bing search results within Facebook.

Instead, Facebook is now using its own search technology, which is focused on searching Facebook content, rather than Bing.

Microsoft and Facebook officials have both confirmed the switch has happened and that Facebook is no longer showing Bing Web search results in Facebook search. Microsoft execs have said the two companies will continue to partner in other areas.

Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007. The two companies have worked together on a variety of projects, including advertising initiatives, as well as a deal to incorporate Facebook data into Bing search results.

As of 2013, Facebook was not using Bing to power Facebook's graph search. At that time, Facebook still was using Bing to generate Web search results last year.


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Ireland: Schools send out SOS asking for donations of old computers | Irish Examiner

Ireland: Schools send out SOS asking for donations of old computers | Irish Examiner | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Two teachers have issued an SOS to large firms planning an end-of-year upgrade of their IT systems in a bid to help out schools in need of good quality computers.

Trevor Collins, a teacher at Bandon Grammar School, and his colleague Darren Platts have set up a system to source second-hand computers from big business — and refurbish and donate them to schools.

The Dotie project ( ‘Donating Old Technology In Education’) is expected to make a big difference to schoolchildren in primary schools throughout the West Cork region — by Christmas, five schools in the Bandon area will have received a range of high-quality computer equipment through the project.

The programme hinges on the collection of old computers from large companies which are upgrading their IT systems, refurbishing them and reformatting the hard drives, before donating the equipment to schools who need it.

“We will gladly take monitors, units, keyboards and mice. We ensure that hard drives are cleared and clean as a matter of policy. We distribute the complete units to schools around West Cork. We have started in Bandon where, by Christmas, we will have donated computers to five schools. From there we plan to widen our remit to all of West Cork and to Cork City,” he said, adding that to date the project had collected 82 computers.

The idea of asking local firms and individuals for their old PCs and laptops came from a shortage of ICT equipment in local schools, he explained.


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UK: Lasers shed new light on life aboard the Mary Rose | David Szondy | GizMag.com

UK: Lasers shed new light on life aboard the Mary Rose | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Lasers have been used to analyze the bones of sailors who drowned when the Royal Navy warship the Mary Rose sank in 1545. The new non-destructive technique carried out by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, North London, shows that the men suffered from rickets, shedding new light on nutrition in Tudor England.

On July 19, 1545 Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose sank suddenly under mysterious circumstances. In 1982, the rediscovered ship was raised to the surface in a remarkable feat of underwater archaeology. Because the ship sank so quickly and due to the top deck being fitted with anti-boarding netting, over 400 men went down with her in the waters off Portsmouth. Thanks to the anaerobic conditions in the mud on the sea bottom, the bones of the dead were remarkably well preserved and offer new insights into the medical world of past centuries.


The study was led by Professor Allen Goodship and included the University College London, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Mary Rose Trust. For the study, tibia bones from the Trust were selected that showed characteristic deformities due to rickets – a form of malnutrition caused by a lack of sunlight or vitamin D, which has recently made a reappearance in Britain. These were compared to normal tibia bones supplied by the Vesalius Centre in Bristol.


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ESA carries out asteroid impact drill | David Szondy | GizMag.com

ESA carries out asteroid impact drill | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

If there were any dinosaurs around, they could tell you that an asteroid impact can ruin your whole day. But if we did learn that one was actually going to strike the Earth in a month, what would the authorities do? To find out, the European Space Agency (ESA) held its first ever mock asteroid drill to work on solutions and identify problems in how to handle such a catastrophe.

What the effect of an asteroid hitting the Earth would have depends on a number of factors, such as how big it is, what it's made of, how fast it's traveling, and where it hits. This means that an asteroid could end its career as nothing more dangerous than a shooting star, or it could wipe out all life on Earth.

Needless to say, the folks at ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) program aren't worried too much about either of those extremes, but the ones in between that can and have caused real damage, such as the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, where a 19 m (62 ft), 3,300 ton meteor exploded 25 to 30 km (15 to 19 mi) over Russia with a force of 480 kilotons, injuring 1,500 people and causing millions of roubles of damage.


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The Pygmalion Effect: Communicating High Expectations | Ben Solomon Blog | Edutopia.org

The Pygmalion Effect: Communicating High Expectations | Ben Solomon Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In 1968, two researchers conducted a fascinating study that proved the extent to which teacher expectations influence student performance. Positive expectations influence performance positively, and negative expectations influence performance negatively. In educational circles, this has been termed the Pygmalion Effect, or more colloquially, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What has always intrigued me about this study is specifically what the teachers did to communicate that they believed a certain set of students had "unusual potential for academic growth." The research isn't overly explicit about this, but it indicates that the teachers "may have paid closer attention to the students, and treated them differently in times of difficulty." This begs the following questions:

  • Why can't teachers treat all of their students like this?
  • How do we communicate to students whether we believe in them or not?


Based on my experience coaching AVID schools around the country, there are ways that I've seen teachers communicate to all of their students that they have high expectations. Here are a few practical tips that you can borrow from them:


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Create an Excellence Culture, rewarding small achievements, and accepting your employees failures

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Librarians Are Continuing To Defend Open Access To The Web As A Public Service | Tim Geigner | Techdirt.com

Librarians Are Continuing To Defend Open Access To The Web As A Public Service | Tim Geigner | Techdirt.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Librarians have built up quite a reputation for activism in all the right ways. Whether taking a stand against DRM, expanding libraries' catalogs to include new digital media and art, or embracing indie authors, librarians come off as much more of a hip crowd than you might expect. These stances occasionally put them at odds with some in the community that they serve, perhaps most notably with parents who have pushed for restrictions on internet access within libraries. It gets all the more unfortunate when a subsection of the citizenry sees fit to ramp up the rhetoric against an institution simply attempting to serve the greatest public good. This typically, unfortunately, devolves into the supposed accusation of librarians "defending" the right for visitors to view "pornography."

Take the Orland Park Public Library, a community library in a suburb southwest of Chicago. Last year, self-identified conservative homeschooling mom Megan Fox launched a campaign to get the library to install filters on its computers after she claims to have seen a man looking at pornography in the library’s adult-only computer lab (the library has a separate, filtered computer lab for children). The library board voted on the issue and decided not to install filters, but to require identification for anyone logging on.

Not satisfied, Fox and her supporters continued to hound the board, often resulting in police being called to heated meetings. She filed so many FOIA requests that the library has had to dedicate two full-time employees to respond to them. She accused the library of covering up an incident of someone looking at child pornography, and she forced a re-vote on the issue by having the Public Access Bureau declare a board meeting illegal because it was held on Lincoln’s birthday.

If all of that sounds to you like a big bucket of crazy, you're not alone. Fortunately, the librarians in this case are steadfastly refusing to back down. That isn't always what happens. And, look, there's nothing wrong with being conservative, having a specific set of values, and all the rest. What you can't do, however, is insist that public institutions follow your personal views just because. That isn't how secular government works.


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100 African Cities Destroyed By Europeans: WHY there are seldom historical buildings and monuments in sub-Saharian Africa! | Mawuna Remarque Koutonin | Silicon Africa

100 African Cities Destroyed By Europeans: WHY there are seldom historical buildings and monuments in sub-Saharian Africa! | Mawuna Remarque Koutonin | Silicon Africa | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When tourists visit sub-Saharan Africa, they often wonder “Why there are no historical buildings or monuments?”

The reason is simple. Europeans have destroyed most of them. We have only left drawings and descriptions by travelers who have visited the places before the destructions. In some places, ruins are still visible. Many cities have been abandoned into ruin when Europeans brought exotic diseases (smallpox and influenza) which started spreading and killing people. The ruins of those cities are still hidden. In fact the biggest part of Africa history is still under the ground.

In this post, I’ll share pieces of informations about Africa before the arrival of Europeans, the destroyed cities and lessons we could learn as africans for the future.

The collection of facts regarding the state of african cities before their destruction is done by Robin Walker, a distinguished panafricanist and historian who has written the book ‘When We Ruled’, and by PD Lawton, another great panafricanist, who has an upcoming book titled “African Agenda”.

All quotes and excerpts below are from the books of Robin Walker and PD Lawton. I highly recommend you to buy Walker’s book ‘When We Ruled’ to get a full account of the beauty of the continent before its destruction. You can get more info about PD Lawton work by visiting her blog: AfricanAgenda.net.


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'Sounding smart': End of Year Reflection on STEAM | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist

'Sounding smart': End of Year Reflection on STEAM | Nettrice Gaskins | Musings of a Renegade Futurist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

High school art students are working on their chemistry projects in the STEAM Lab. These students are interested in the Touch Board, a sensor that converts signals from a variety of conductive materials into sound. I had to figure out a way to get them to identify the substances of which conductive material is composed. I worked with them to investigate the material properties of electric paint and the ways in which it interacts with the sensor to create sound. In this video, you can hear me posing questions to the students to engage them.

Inquiry-based learning starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios—rather than simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. In the video above, I guided the students by asking them how the electric paint worked. When the students couldn’t think of an answer I told them that graphite was used: What is graphite and how is it conductive? I gave one student a laptop but one student used her mobile phone to do research and take notes. Another listened and wrote down the answers on paper.

I had prepared myself to ask students questions to probe their thinking processes in order to assess accurately what was happening with the Touch Board, rather than leave them to figure it out on their own. Also, a lot more was going on than meets the eye with the demonstration project I showed them earlier in the term. The paint I used is not regular paint and the interaction through touch to make sound involved more than the paint or the device, itself. How to get them to dig deeper was my challenge.


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The Evolving Face of Santa, As Seen in the Smithsonian's Vast Collections | Saba Naseem | Smithsonian Magazine

The Evolving Face of Santa, As Seen in the Smithsonian's Vast Collections | Saba Naseem | Smithsonian Magazine | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Santa Claus wasn’t always the jovial white-bearded bearer of gifts that we know so well today. In fact, Santa's historical roots in America trace to the 18th-century arrival of Dutch immigrants, who would gather on December 6 to honor the anniversary of Saint Nicholas’ death.

Believed to have been born in modern-day Turkey around 280 A.D., Saint Nicholas devoted his life to philanthropy and kindness, which quickly rendered him a popular legend in European history. His Dutch nickname, Sinterklaas (a short version of Sint Nikolaas) eventually became "Santa Claus."

One of the first American Santas was the plump, jolly fella from Clement Clark Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Later in the 1860s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast popularized Santa in his illustrations for Harper’s Weekly, which he adapted from both Moore’s poem and his German heritage.

As early as the mid-19th century, corporate America saw the need to harness a Father Christmas-style character for seasonal marketing. Department stores like Macy’s and food and drink companies publicized the Santa image in their advertising.


"A standardized visual amalgamation—white, white beard, portly, jolly, wearing an identifiable fur or fur-trimmed uniform—developed through the century," writes George McKay, a professor of cultural studies at England's University of Salford. "It was this image that was most famously exploited by the Coca-Cola Company from the early 1930s on, in the corporate company colors of red and white, as part of its campaign to increase winter sales of its soft drink. It is widely recognized that it is from this long-running campaign that Santa’s place and most familiar representation has been concretized in the contemporary Christmas imaginary."

A search of the archives collections across a number of Smithsonian museums reveals a Santa for every generation.


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TN: Lack of home Internet access hinders students with school-provided iPads | Joan Garrett McClane & Tim Omarzu | Times Free Press

TN: Lack of home Internet access hinders students with school-provided iPads | Joan Garrett McClane & Tim Omarzu | Times Free Press | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Replacing some Hamilton County students' textbooks with iPads was a move intended to boost faltering public education performance.

Tablets were more engaging that their printed predecessors, and they opened up a world wide web of opportunity. Have a question? Just Google it. Plus, they prepared students for the ever-changing work world, in which even jobs flipping hamburgers require an application online.

But school officials say there is one big problem. Many of the students, once home with their brand-new devices, don't have Internet access and likely won't get it.

"For some time now, we've identified ourselves as a technological community," Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith said. Still, he said, "there's going to be lots of kids that don't have access at home."

Roughly 3,380 tablets and laptop computers have been assigned to county school students, covering about 8 percent of the total student population. The devices, funded through grants and foundations, are being tested to assess the value of their broader use.

But school officials are finding that low-income students in particular can't connect at home. Motivated kids find Wi-Fi access by visiting a neighbor's house, business or recreation center, Smith said, but many do not.

In the downtown area, for example, only 7 percent of potential customers subscribe to high-speed broadband Internet. In economically depressed areas such as Alton Park and East Lake, only 15 percent of residents have high-speed Internet, according to EPB.

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The Khoisan Once Were Kings Of The Planet. What Happened? | Diane Cole | NPR.org

The Khoisan Once Were Kings Of The Planet. What Happened? | Diane Cole | NPR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Some 22,000 years ago, they were the largest group of humans on earth: the Khoisan, a tribe of hunter-gatherers in southern Africa.

Today, only about 100,000 Khoisan, who are also known as Bushmen, remain. Stephan C. Schuster, professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has published new research about the tribe, many of whom now live in poverty, their cultural traditions endangered.


We spoke to Schuster about his study and the lives of the Khoisan.


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GA: Hall County teacher builds student a prosthetic hand | Kristen Oliver | GainesvilleTime.com

GA: Hall County teacher builds student a prosthetic hand | Kristen Oliver | GainesvilleTime.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A boy bends his wrist and watches his blue metal fingers curl.

The fifth-grader at Tadmore Elementary School, who was born without some of the fingers on his left hand, received a prosthetic hand Friday that was built by Darrell Skogman, a teacher at Chestatee High School.

Skogman constructed the hand on his own time and dime, using the 3-D printer at the high school.

“I think that’s the cool part, that Darrell has done this all on his own time,” Tadmore Principal Robin Gower said. “It’s not a school thing, it’s just a being-a-wonderful-human-being thing.”

Skogman was first contacted in May by Tadmore psychologist Veronica Humphrey, who got the idea for a 3-D-printed prosthetic from the news.

“I had never done anything like that before, so I told her I would see if I had some students who might be able to take it on over the summer,” Skogman said.

The project proved to be difficult, however. By August, the students had not successfully come up with a plan. That’s when Skogman took on the project himself.

He found enablingthefuture.org, a nonprofit network of volunteers creating “Helping Hands,” or 3-D-printed prosthetic hands specifically for children. He was able to download “the Cyborg Beast” design for the student.

“That was awesome, finding out that there’s a whole community out there,” Skogman said. “With that, it was a lot less about designing it than it was about getting it printed and assembled.”

Skogman worked with Adam Perillo, special-education teacher at Tadmore. Perillo works closely with the student, whose placement in the foster care system means his name cannot be released.

“This has been probably a four-month process,” Perillo said. “He’s been sending me pieces back and forth and I’ve been doing measurements, sending him videos. We’ve had great communication.”

It cost Skogman approximately $50 to purchase a kit for “the Beast,” and another $10 for the plastic materials for printing.

Providing a child with a prosthetic is a new advancement, thanks to 3-D-printing technology.


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Worcester's 'school for gifted' to be located at city's 'most middle class and most white school' | Noah Bombard | MassLive.com

Worcester's 'school for gifted' to be located at city's 'most middle class and most white school' | Noah Bombard | MassLive.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A new academy for about 250 high school students identified as advanced or gifted learners would be located in the city's most middle class and most white school.

That was an observation made by School Committee member Tracy O'Connell Novick Thursday as school committee members had their first real chance to discuss the proposed academy, first mentioned by Superintendent of Schools Melinda Boone in October.

"The most middle class and the most white school seems like an interesting choice," O'Connell Novick was quoted saying in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Boone told the committee last night the decision to locate the academy at the city's Doherty High School was about accessibility.

The school, located on Newton Hill, is right in the middle of the city.

In a presentation to the committee earlier this month, Boone said the target population of the new academy would be "students who have demonstrated exceptional interest in and ability to be successful in a rigorous high school program of studies leading to advanced college readiness."

Boone outlined a timeline for the creation of the new academy that called for a little over $200,000 to be spent in the 2015-2016 school year on planning.

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Media With an Endangered Language Message | Alissa Stern Blog | HuffPost.com

Media With an Endangered Language Message | Alissa Stern Blog | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A light bulb, said media theorist Marshall McLuhan, "creates an environment by its own presence." It enables people to see during times that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. So, too, does media shape society by its very presence. The extent to which an endangered language community has a substantial, and ideally, a digital media presence, is a good indicator of a language's currently vitality and its likelihood of surviving - and perhaps flourishing - going forward.

In this posting, the third in a series on initiatives that can energize endangered languages (note: the first was on school policies, the second on technology), we specifically look at the impact of media on endangered languages and how endangered languages can impact the media.


Here are some examples, feel free to add others in the comments below.


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NASA concept would send astronauts to Venus | Eric Mack | GizMag.com

NASA concept would send astronauts to Venus | Eric Mack | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

For decades, landing on Mars has captivated the imagination of earthlings as the obvious next step in space exploration after landing on the moon, but NASA is also looking into ways to send a manned mission to a more forbidding neighbor – Venus.

Researchers at NASA's Langley facility have developed the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) as a possible means of exploring Earth's nearest planetary neighbor. HAVOC involves sending what is essentially a blimp and two astronauts on a month-long mission to float around the planet's atmosphere.

Exploring Venus is difficult because of the sulfuric acid in its atmosphere, extremely hot surface temperatures that can melt lead (or a European orbiter) and crushing air pressure on the ground as well. Piloting an inflatable vehicle not only avoids all these perilous obstacles, it also makes for a relatively simple way to explore a neighboring planet without the expense and hassle of managing a descent, landing, take-off and ascent.

According to engineers that worked on the HAVOC concept, the astronauts would live and work in a floating habitat attached to the blimp-like vehicle, which would likely be filled with helium to keep it aloft. The engineers figure that in the Venusian atmosphere, the vehicle would be able to keep itself aloft at a target altitude of 50 kilometers.

The HAVOC team claims that Venus is an even better environment for airships than Earth, thanks to its heavy atmosphere.


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MAVEN uncovers secrets of Martian atmosphere loss | David Szondy | GizMag.com

MAVEN uncovers secrets of Martian atmosphere loss | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Mars is regarded as the most Earth-like of the planets in the Solar System, but its atmosphere is only 0.6 percent as dense as Earth's and is constantly leaking what little air it has into space. NASA'S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mars orbiter is providing new insights into the loss of the Martian atmosphere by discovering how the solar winds penetrate to surprisingly low altitudes.

Blessed with its powerful magnetic field, the Earth's atmosphere is protected from the constant blast of light, radiation, and subatomic particles emitted from the Sun. Mars however, is not so fortunate. What little magnetic field it has is extremely weak and patchy, and as the solar winds strike the upper reaches of the atmosphere, they strip it away atom by atom. How this process works is one of the key mysteries for scientists studying the planet.


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Mathematicians Make a Major Discovery About Prime Numbers | Erica Llarreich | WIRED.com

Mathematicians Make a Major Discovery About Prime Numbers | Erica Llarreich | WIRED.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In May 2013, the mathematician Yitang Zhang launched what has proven to be a banner year and a half for the study of prime numbers, those numbers that aren’t divisible by any smaller number except 1.


Zhang, of the University of New Hampshire, showed for the first time that even though primes get increasingly rare as you go further out along the number line, you will never stop finding pairs of primes that are a bounded distance apart — within 70 million, he proved.


Dozens of mathematicians then put their heads together to improve on Zhang’s 70 million bound, bringing it down to 246 — within striking range of the celebrated twin primes conjecture, which posits that there are infinitely many pairs of primes that differ by only 2.

Now, mathematicians have made the first substantial progress in 76 years on the reverse question: How far apart can consecutive primes be? The average spacing between primes approaches infinity as you travel up the number line, but in any finite list of numbers, the biggest prime gap could be much larger than the average. No one has been able to establish how large these gaps can be.

“It’s a very obvious question, one of the first you might ever ask about primes,” said Andrew Granville, a number theorist at the University of Montreal. “But the answer has been more or less stuck for almost 80 years.”

This past August, two different groups of mathematicians released papers proving a long-standing conjecture by the mathematician Paul Erdős about how large prime gaps can get. The two teams have joined forces to strengthen their result on the spacing of primes still further, and expect to release a new paper later this month.


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14 of the Best Media Literacy Resources for 2014 | Edudemic.com

14 of the Best Media Literacy Resources for 2014 | Edudemic.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that children spend an average of seven hours a day consuming various types of media. This data illustrates that society’s voracious appetite for media makes media literacy more important than ever.

How can you teach your students to interact responsibly with the media? The following resources can help you plan thought-provoking lessons on the subject.


The following websites specifically aim to help educators bring media literacy into the classroom. You can use the tools that they offer to plot out meaningful lessons on media literacy for almost any grade.


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Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US | Patricia Williams | The Guardian

Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US | Patricia Williams | The Guardian | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Recently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that "promote the overthrow of the United States government," "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," and/or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.

In fact, I invite you to take on as your summer reading the astonishingly lengthy list of books that have been removed from the Tucson public school system as part of this wholesale elimination of the Mexican-American studies curriculum. The authors and editors include Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa. Even Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Shakespeare's The Tempest received the hatchet.

Trying to explain what was offensive enough to warrant killing the entire curriculum and firing its director, Tucson school board member Michael Hicks stated rather proudly that he was not actually familiar with the curriculum. "I chose not to go to any of their classes," he told Al Madrigal on The Daily Show. "Why even go?" In the same interview, he referred to Rosa Parks as "Rosa Clark."

The situation in Arizona is not an isolated phenomenon. There has been an unfortunate uptick in academic book bannings and firings, made worse by a nationwide disparagement of teachers, teachers' unions and scholarship itself.


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