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NY: UB professors' book guides integration of digital media in classrooms | University at Buffalo News

Two University at Buffalo education professors known for their pioneering work in teacher education and the integration of digital media into public school classrooms, have edited a book celebrating what they call “an essential new literacy” in American schools.

 

“Multimodal Composing in Classrooms: Learning and Teaching for the Digital World” (April, 2012, Routledge) is co-edited by Suzanne M. Miller and Mary B. McVee of the UB Graduate School of Education.  It features case studies from classrooms of all grade levels that serve as exemplary illustrations of how to reach and teach students in a digital world.

 

“In the digital world we rarely read and write print text alone,” says Miller, “so allowing students to learn by writing with video, for instance, opens classrooms up to compelling social, cultural, political and civic digital practices”. Miller, associate professor of learning and instruction at UB, is the founding director of the City Voices, City Visions (CVCV) project, which sponsors an annual student film festival screening digital videos.

 

Contributors to the book include current UB colleagues and former doctoral students now teaching in other institutions. Some of the case studies of successful integration of digital technologies in schools come from CVCV high school classrooms, and others from elementary and teacher education classrooms.

 

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Company That Lets Parents Spy On Their Kids' Computer Usage... Has Database Hacked And Leaked | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Company That Lets Parents Spy On Their Kids' Computer Usage... Has Database Hacked And Leaked | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

There are lots of apps out there for parents spying on their kids computer/smartphone activities -- with the marketing pitch often being about how this will help "keep them safe" or some other such thing. mSpy is one of those companies, advertising right on the front page about how its snooping software can "keep children safe and employees efficient."


It leaves out the bit about making both distrustful, but that's another debate for another day. Brian Krebs recently revealed that a "huge trove of data" had been leaked from mSpy and was being shared around the darkweb. And it exposed not just customer names but "countless emails, text messages, payment and location data" of those children and employees that the company was supposedly making "safe" and "efficient."

mSpy's response? Well, first it was to deny the breach entirely, saying that it was a bogus "predatory" attack:

“There is no data of 400,000 of our customers on the web,” a spokeswoman for the company told the BBC. “We believe to have become a victim of a predatory attack, aimed to take advantage of our estimated commercial achievements.”

And, of course, a day or two later, mSpy actually admitted the truth... which was that of course it had been hacked and had the data leaked.


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New Google Fellowship Pays for Nonprofits to Build Digital Literacy | Rebecca Koenig | Chronicle of Philanthropy

New Google Fellowship Pays for Nonprofits to Build Digital Literacy | Rebecca Koenig | Chronicle of Philanthropy | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Google Fiber and the Nonprofit Technology Network are creating a Digital Inclusion Fellowship to help nonprofits bolster their digital-literacy programs and help the people they serve build basic technology skills.

Sixteen fellows will be selected to work for a year at community organizations in eight cities that have or will soon have access to Google Fiber, a high-speed fibe-roptic Internet service: Atlanta, Austin, Tex. Charlotte, N.C., Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Provo, Utah, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

According to Andrew Bentley, Google Fiber’s digital-inclusion program manager, the program is meant to address all steps required to use the Internet, including cultivating online skills and increasing access to affordable digital devices.

"Digital inclusion is the process of building an environment where all people have the opportunity to get online, especially those in underserved communities," Mr. Bentley said.

The program will especially focus on helping people adopt high-speed Internet in their homes and helping nonprofits build their capacity for technology training.

The Nonprofit Technology Network, which is handling recruitment and placement for the fellowship, is looking for applicants with strong ties to the cities where they’ll be working and five to seven years of experience working with nonprofits or community organizations.


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Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness | PHYS.org

Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness | PHYS.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.


Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks - at which point does the object decide?


Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.


"It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it," said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which governs the world of the very small, and has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.


The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler's original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.


"Quantum physics' predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness," said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.


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2015: U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame | USNews.com

2015: U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame | USNews.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

U.S. News & World Report is pleased to announce the 2015 STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, honored in advance of the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference, which will be held June 29-July 1 in San Diego.


In choosing the honorees, U.S. News sought out leaders who, among other things, have achieved measurable results in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields; challenged established processes and conventional wisdom; inspired a shared vision; and motivated legions of aspiring STEM professionals.


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This app lets students anonymously report bullying and crime | Molly Brown | GeekWire

This app lets students anonymously report bullying and crime | Molly Brown | GeekWire | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A mantra around the country is if you see something, say something. But that might be harder than it sounds in school hallways.

Now, students who may fear retaliation have an anonymous way of reporting devious activity to school officials. As King 5 reports, the app is called Anonymous Alerts, and it lets kids safely share any sort of harmful behavior — be it bullying, drug dealing or a student carrying a weapon — to school officials without fear of becoming a target themselves.

Vashon Island, WA and Manson School Districts have implemented the apps in their schools. Vashon Island school officials told King 5 that “they like the way the app works. They’ve had a fair amount of reports, as well as a few false reports,” but overall are pleased with the system.


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The Corporate Assault on Public Education | Noam Chomsky Opinion | AlterNet.org

The Corporate Assault on Public Education | Noam Chomsky Opinion | AlterNet.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The following is Part II of the transcript of a speech Noam Chomsky delivered in February on "The Common Good." Click here to read Part I.

Let’s turn to the assault on education, one element of the general elite reaction to the civilizing effect of the ‘60s. On the right side of the political spectrum, one striking illustration is an influential memorandum written by Lewis Powell, a corporate lawyer working for the tobacco industry, later appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon. At the other end of the narrow spectrum, there was an important study by the Trilateral Commission, liberal internationalists from the three major state capitalist industrial systems: the US, Europe and Japan. Both provide good insight into why the assault targets the educational system.

Let's start with the Powell memorandum. Its title is, “The Attack on the American Free-Enterprise System." It is interesting not only for the content, but also for the paranoid tone. For those who take for granted the right to rule, anything that gets out of control means that the world is coming to an end, like a spoiled three-year-old. So the rhetoric tends to be inflated and paranoid.

Powell identifies the leading criminals who are destroying the American free-enterprise system: one was Ralph Nader, with his consumer safety campaigns. The other was Herbert Marcuse, preaching Marxism to the young New Leftists who were on the rampage all over, while their “naive victims” dominated the universities and schools, controlled TV and other media, the educated community and virtually the entire government. If you think I am exaggerating, I urge you to read it yourself (pdf). Their takeover of the country, he said, is a dire threat to freedom.That's what it looks like from the standpoint of the Masters, as the nefarious campaigns of Nader and the ‘60s popular movements chipped away very slightly at total domination.

Powell drew the obvious conclusion: “The campuses from which much of this criticism emanates are supported by tax funds generated largely from American business, contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees at universities are overwhelmingly composed of men and women who are leaders in the business system and most of the media, including the national TV systems are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend on profits and the enterprise system on which they survive.”

Therefore, the oppressed business people who have lost all influence should organize and defend themselves instead of idly sitting by while fundamental freedoms are destroyed by the Marxist onslaught from the media, universities and the government. Those are the expression of the concerns elicited by '60s activism at the right end of the mainstream spectrum.

More revealing is the reaction from the opposite extreme, the liberal internationalists, those who staffed the Carter administration, in their study called "The Crisis of Democracy." The crisis that they perceived was that there was too much democracy. The system used to work fine when most of the population was silent, passive, apathetic and obedient. The American rapporteur, Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard, looked back with nostalgia to the good old days when “Truman had been able to govern the country with the cooperation of a relatively small number of Wall Street lawyers and bankers,” so that democracy flourished, with no crisis.

But in the ‘60s, something dangerous happened.


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Illinois high school shrinks its achievement gap for minority students by setting a high bar | PBS News Hour

Illinois high school shrinks its achievement gap for minority students by setting a high bar | PBS News Hour | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

JUDY WOODRUFF: Most high schools offer some amount of advanced placement courses, designed to be more challenging for students, while allowing them to potentially earn college credit.

While more high school students are taking A.P. courses than ever before, the amount of diversity in those classes hasn’t kept pace.

From WTTW in Chicago, Brandis Friedman reports on what one high school is doing to make sure students aren’t left behind.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN, Special correspondent: Students here at Evanston Township High School outside Chicago can take anything from automotive service excellence certification to advanced calculus. They also have their pick of almost 30 advanced placement courses.

Dale Leibforth heads A.P. recruitment.

DALE LEIBFORTH, AP Recruitment and Retention Manager, Evanston Township High School: Portfolio studio, or Latin or — the list goes on. We just added an A.P. government course.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN: Even though it’s a top-rated school, with a diverse student body, until recently, only certain students were picking A.P. courses.

ERIC WITHERSPOON, Superintendent, Evanston Township High School: We have students of color and low-income students terribly underrepresented in advanced placement courses. There’s still a predictability among student achievement in our school district based on race.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN: When Eric Witherspoon became superintendent eight years ago, he noticed that A.P. classrooms were filled with mostly white students, while regular classrooms were filled with mostly minority and often low-income students, who make up 41 percent of the student body.

Witherspoon says he realized students were being tracked into A.P. courses through honors classes based on their eighth grade standardized test performance, while other students were tracked into less rigorous courses.

ERIC WITHERSPOON: It didn’t take rocket scientist to figure out that here we’re getting disparate results, but, in fact, we have a structure that may be even is causing some of those disparate results, but certainly if not causing, certainly not doing anything to change those results.

BRANDIS FRIEDMAN: To bridge that gap, Evanston Township High School started enrolling all incoming freshmen in the honors-level English and history class called humanities.

Eventually, all ninth grade students, except for those reading below grade level, were also enrolled in the honors-level biology, no matter how they performed on their eighth grade standardized test. The school is hoping to implement the same strategy for ninth grade math.


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Charles Benton, educational film distributor, dies at 84 | Bob Goldsborough | Chicago Tribune

Charles Benton, educational film distributor, dies at 84 | Bob Goldsborough | Chicago Tribune | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Charles Benton, the son of a U.S. senator, was a film distributor who lobbied for free speech and civil liberties.

"The flame of the public interest really burned in his breast," said former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael Copps. "He was someone who really believed in democracy and the public interest, and he and I both agreed that communications is at the center of democracy.

"Charles believed that getting broadband out to everyone was not just desirable for democracy but it was really necessary if all our communications networks were going to be online or were going to transition to being online."

Mr. Benton, 84, died of complications from renal cancer Wednesday, April 29, at his Evanston home, said his wife of 62 years, Marjorie.

His father, William, was a U.S. senator for Connecticut from 1949 to 1953 who earlier co-founded the advertising agency Benton & Bowles. His father also was a vice president at the University of Chicago and longtime publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Mr. Benton, who was born in New York, had a peripatetic youth. During the summers, his family would stay in New York and Connecticut, and in the winter, they would live in various homes that they would rent on Chicago's South Side. In the spring, the family would stay in Arizona.

"I always used to tease Charles because of the three schools he attended each year that he never learned to read, but he could pack a suitcase," his wife said.

Mr. Benton graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and received a bachelor's degree in 1953 from Yale University. At Yale, he met his future wife, who had been a student at Connecticut College for Women. The couple married right after graduation and moved to the Chicago area, when he took a job as a production assistant in the educational films division of Encyclopaedia Britannica

In 1960, Mr. Benton marketed Britannica films to schools and libraries in downstate Illinois. Mr. Benton became president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in 1964 and then president of a newly formed education unit in 1966 before deciding to strike off on his own.

He first formed a nonprofit group, the Fund for Media Research, to study educational uses of new media. In 1967, Mr. Benton purchased a film and video distribution company, Films Inc., from Encyclopaedia Britannica's education unit. Mr. Benton was president of Films Inc., which distributed 16mm versions of movies produced by Hollywood studios to schools and institutions, from 1968 until 1997.

"Frankly, Charles' dad didn't see the value of films, and Charles and I loved films," Marjorie Benton said. "And, Charles wanted to work for himself."

Films Inc. was a division of Mr. Benton's broader holding company, Public Media Inc., which grew to become one of the largest distributors of films to the educational and institutional markets. Films Inc.'s Home Vision video label distributed classic and independent films on DVD, while other units of Public Media sold management and training tapes, laser discs, fine and performing arts tapes, and special-interest tapes.


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The Creative Economy: Fine Craft and Craft Education Contribute to Economic Health | Carol Fusaro | Valley News

The Creative Economy: Fine Craft and Craft Education Contribute to Economic Health | Carol Fusaro | Valley News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Creativity and innovation have always been the driving forces behind economic growth. And it is a fact that arts and crafts and culture-related businesses and organizations, known as “creative industries,” provide direct economic benefits to states and communities. They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.

In addition, creative organizations and businesses bring enjoyment and cultural diversity to our cities and towns and help foster community pride. This also helps make our communities more desirable places to live, work and visit.

Here in New Hampshire, one of the oldest and most recognized craft organizations in the country, the League of NH Craftsmen, grew out of efforts during the Great Depression to help people earn a living by making fine crafts. As a result, people from other parts of the country relocated to New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine to explore a career in handmade crafts.


The League continues to create economic opportunities through its fine craft galleries such as the one in Hanover, and the annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury. The galleries sell fine crafts made by artists who have met rigorous standards for excellence. The League of NH Fine Craft Galleries average nearly $2 million in sales each year, and when people purchase a crafted piece, they are supporting area artisans and people working in the gallery.

Along with stimulating the local economy, the work that creative organizations and businesses do fosters new ideas and unlocks the creative potential in each person. Many studies show that human health, innovation and success in business are enhanced when people of all ages spend time engaged in the artistic process, using their hands and building repetitive neural links with the spatial parts of their brain. For example, research shows that students who acquire skills in the visual arts become more social and civic minded and have better academic outcomes.

Michigan State University research shows that many accomplished scientists are likely to be craftspeople.

Exposure to crafts and art plays an important role in nurturing the innovative thinking of science and technology entrepreneurs. A STEM graduate (who studied science, technology, engineering or mathematics) with craft skills is more likely to become an inventor who owns companies and patents.


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Bruno Munari's Children's Books | Smarten-UP.com

Bruno Munari's Children's Books | Smarten-UP.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Bruno Munari (1907 – 1998) was an Italian artist and designer with wide-ranging skills. He worked as a painter, sculptor, and industrial designer; he was a graphic artist and filmmaker, a writer and a poet. Munari believed in the power of simple design to stimulate the imagination.


Bruno Munari had a son, Alberto, who inspired him to begin creating children’s materials. Munari was interested in the interrelationship between games, creativity and childhood. For this reason, he strove to create children’s materials that would support the maintenance of the young mind’s elasticity and point of view.  


Munari did not believe in the inherent value of fantastical stories of princes and princesses, or dragons and monsters; instead, he wanted to create simple stories about people, animals, and plants that awaken the senses. Books with basic story lines and a humorous twist, brought to life by simple, colorful illustrations drawn with clarity and precision.


With this mission in mind, Munari wrote the amazing children’s books pictured below.  In addition, he created other “pre-books,” to inspire  a love of reading in pre-literate minds.  These were stories that could not be communicated with words, that were expressed instead in visual, and tactile terms.  


For these works he won the Andersen award for Best Children’s Author in 1974, a graphic award in the Bologna Fair for the childhood  in 1984, and a Lego award for his exceptional contributions on the development on creativity of children in 1986. 


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Could NASA take CubeSats interplanetary? | David Szondy | GizMag.com

Could NASA take CubeSats interplanetary? | David Szondy | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

CubeSats, tiny satellites about the size of a loaf of bread or smaller, hold the promise of opening space up to low-budget space missions, but currently they're largely restricted to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). To broaden the scope of these pint-sized spacecraft, NASA is developing its CubeSat Application for Planetary Entry Missions (CAPE) concept, which would see the development of miniature space probes that can be sent in fleets on interplanetary missions for multi-point sampling, as opposed to the bus-sized, do-it-all probes that are currently in service.

CAPE is the brainchild of technologist Jaime Esper at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who envisions the interplanetary CubeSat as a pair of modules similar to those used on the crew and cargo ships that service the International Space Station (ISS). These would consist of two modules weighing less than 11 lb (4.9 kg) and measuring 4 in (10 cm) on a side. The first would be a service module to power the craft, and the second a Micro-Re-entry Capsule (MIRCA) for entering the atmosphere of Mars or some other planet or moon under study.

The idea is that the CAPE/MICRA spacecraft would be carried by a mothership, which would eject them before reaching the target planet or moon. The service module would then provide power from solar panels or internal batteries and make its way to its target. Once the journey is complete, the MICRA module would separate and enter the planet's atmosphere, where accelerometers, gyros, thermal and pressure sensors, radiometers, and other sensors would send data back to the mothership.


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Michelle Obama Encourages Oberlin Graduates To Seek Out 'The Most Contentious, Polarized, Gridlocked Places' | Paige Lavender | HuffPost.com

Michelle Obama Encourages Oberlin Graduates To Seek Out 'The Most Contentious, Polarized, Gridlocked Places' | Paige Lavender | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

While receiving an honorary degree at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, on Monday, first lady Michelle Obama encouraged students to get involved in civic life and "run to, and not away from, the noise."

"Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find," Obama said in her address. "Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens –- the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds."

Obama noted there would be challenges in getting involved in civic duty, citing the difficulties faced by activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., President Franklin D. Roosevelt and others.

"Here at Oberlin, most of the time you’re probably surrounded by folks who share your beliefs. But out in the real world, there are plenty of people who think very differently than you do, and they hold their opinions just as passionately," Obama said. "So if you want to change their minds, if you want to work with them to move this country forward, you can’t just shut them out. You have to persuade them, and you have to compromise with them."


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MA: Janet Echelman Builds Ethereal Aerial Sculpture High Above Boston | HiFructose.com

MA: Janet Echelman Builds Ethereal Aerial Sculpture High Above Boston | HiFructose.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Boston based artist Janet Echelmen has created one of her most dramatic works yet, but you won’t find it in any gallery. Her latest aerial sculpture hangs half an acre above Boston’s Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway.


Titled “As If It Were Already Here”, the piece weighs a whopping 2,000 lbs, made of 542,000 knots which Echelmen wove together into a colorful, graceful mesh. Most often her sculptures are lit at night and cast dramatic shadows that give off an unearthly feeling. The effect of the piece illuminated in the sky and dancing in the wind has been compared to a jellyfish or celestial wormhole. Her work sparks the imagination.


This particular work is site-specific; the striped design mimics the now former striped traffic lanes that were removed during Boston’s Big Dig. Three voids in the piece also represent hills that were later raised to create a landfill. As her piece floats over Boston through early October, Echelmen hopes it will inspire people to make these connections between the spaces that surround them.


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LA: How many at-risk students in Lafayette charter schools? | Amanda McElfresh | The Advertiser

LA: How many at-risk students in Lafayette charter schools? | Amanda McElfresh | The Advertiser | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy is expanding its marketing efforts amid questions about whether it is meeting state-mandated targets for enrolling a certain number of at-risk students.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Education declined to answer specific questions about the matter, or whether it is considering taking any action against the school.

According to the department's Bulletin 126, new charter schools must have an at-risk student population percentage equal to the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch in the school's district, or the average of districts from which the charter school's students live.

Those percentages are based on Oct. 1 enrollment counts. State data shows the October 2014 enrollment for Acadiana Renaissance was 675 students. Of those, 30.37 percent were classified as economically disadvantaged. The state average for economically disadvantaged students is 67.54 percent.


As a Type 2 charter school authorized by the state, Acadiana Renaissance can enroll a student from anywhere in Louisiana. Gifford Briggs, secretary of the Lafayette Charter Foundation, said the school has students from several Acadiana parishes, including Lafayette, Iberia, Vermilion and St. Martin.


Barry Landry, a spokesman for the state education department, confirmed that economically disadvantaged students are considered at-risk.


But beyond that, Landry declined to answer a series of specific questions from The Daily Advertiser about Acadiana Renaissance.


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DARPA wants you to verify software flaws by playing games | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

DARPA wants you to verify software flaws by playing games | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Can online gamers perform the sometimes tedious software verification work typically done by professional coding experts?

Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) think so and were so impressed with their first crowdsourced flaw-detecting games, they announced an new round of five games this week designed for improved playability as well as increased software verification effectiveness.

DARPA began the program known as Crowd Sourced Formal Verification (CSFV) in December 2013 and opened the Verigames web portal (http://www.verigames.com/home), which offered five free online formal verification games.

“These games translated players’ actions into program annotations and assisted formal verification experts in generating mathematical proofs to verify the absence of important classes of flaws in software written in the “C” and “Java” programming languages. An initial analysis indicates that non-experts playing CSFV games generated hundreds of thousands of annotations,” DARPA stated.


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CA: SF Mission Youth See Their Future (and Rent) in Tech | J.J. Barrow | MissionLocal.org

CA: SF Mission Youth See Their Future (and Rent) in Tech | J.J. Barrow | MissionLocal.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Four millennials huddled at workstations, bent on solving the mysteries of malfunctioning computers. “We’d have to open it up,” said a young man, stumped by a particularly challenging case.

“Have you Googled it?” one responded. “If you fix it …”

“I’ll be the hero of the day!” he cheered softly, pumping his fists in the air.

At the Mission Techies Academy, local youth have a chance to break into a sector that has transformed the city — a transformation that threatens to displace them if they cannot find their futures within it.

“We need to be earning six figures, living in San Francisco,” said Mercy Mena, the program’s most recent female graduate, while slogging over repair tickets for 10 iMacs from Bryant Elementary School.

“Still, you might not be comfortable,” said her peer and a fellow Missionite, 22-year-old Juan Cardenas, as he searched the web for a ’Toshiba sticky keyboard solution.’

“As long as I can pay my bills, I’m comfortable,” Mena replied.

Leo Sosa, the Mission Economic Development Agency’s technology training coordinator, created Mission Techies to connect and empower “disconnected youth,” primarily Latinos age 17-24, with education and career opportunities in information technology.


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Brain Games Bust? Executive function not a panacea for education ills | Amy Crawford | The Boston Globe

Brain Games Bust? Executive function not a panacea for education ills | Amy Crawford | The Boston Globe | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

One of the hottest topics across the American education system is a set of cognitive skills called executive function. Curriculums based around improving executive function have been deployed in some of the country’s top schools to make their top students even better. And it’s been rolled out in poor schools to help close the yawning achievement gap between underprivileged students and their well-to-do peers.

Some researchers liken executive function to an air traffic control system, which coordinates the thoughts and impulses arriving on the different runways of the brain’s busy airport. It allows us to stay focused in the face of distraction, resist urges, control emotions, and direct our actions toward a goal. Not surprisingly, scientists have found that these abilities are highly correlated with academic performance and success in later life. And executive function also appears to be malleable, meaning it can be strengthened through targeted training exercises.

The prospect is tantalizing: Improve executive function, better reading and math skills should follow. And the pressure is on. The standards movement demands schools, teachers, and curriculums to produce results, close performance gaps, boost achievement, and get more bang for the educational buck.

But despite the promise and the hype — not to mention the many millions of dollars spent — it turns out there isn’t solid evidence that improving executive function actually leads to better grades. That’s the startling finding of a new meta-analysis, published in the journal Review of Educational Research, which looks at 67 studies of school-based programs that target executive function. In fact, this latest research found no support for the idea that improving those skills can lead directly to better test scores in reading or math.


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College kids to the rescue with IT support startup HelloTech | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.ccom

College kids to the rescue with IT support startup HelloTech | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.ccom | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Not that Baby Boomers or Gen X homeowners are clueless about technology, but startup HelloTech is banking on people of a certain age needing a bit of assistance to live the Internet of Things dream.

The West Los Angeles startup this week announced it has added $2 million in venture funding to the $2.5 million it attracted last fall to expand the on-demand, in-home tech support service that it officially rolled out this week in LA.

CEO Richard Wolpert, a 4-time startup founder whose background includes stints as president of Disney Online and chief strategy officer at RealNetworks, says the need for HelloTech has been borne out of the explosion of new and useful home technologies and the decline in retail tech outlets (aside from Best Buy and its Geek Squad) that offer tech installation/support.

HelloTech is vetting and hiring mainly college students to make house calls to help clients hook up everything from wireless stereo systems to video surveillance systems to wireless computer networks. The startup is partnering with product vendors like Sonos, Nest and Linksys, though insists it doesn’t do any hard selling: Tech support is its emphasis.

The top calls so far relate to newfangled wireless issues (speeding up networks, addressing dead spots, connecting printers) and old-fashioned computer issues (slow machines, virus identification).


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NASA's Mars lander gets set for mission to probe planet's depths | Sandrine Ceurstemont | New Scientist

NASA's Mars lander gets set for mission to probe planet's depths | Sandrine Ceurstemont | New Scientist | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

This car-sized lander is being prepared for its mission to Mars. The space vehicle, called InSight, is now being tested by NASA in preparation for its launch in March 2016.

The solar arrays, which open like an umbrella and will power the rover, are deployed in the picture above. The ultra-lightweight design takes up less space when folded than in other similar systems. The same arrays were used on the Phoenix lander that discovered water ice on Mars in 2008.

The upcoming mission will be the first to probe the deep interior structure of the Red Planet, which could give insight into the formation of all rocky planets, including the Earth's.

It will also investigate heat flow and seismic waves on the surface, using a seismometer to detect motion of the Martian ground.

Once the instrument is in position, the circular silver cover will be placed over it as protection.


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AL: A call to curb expansion of Charter Schools in Black Communities | Freddie Allen | Greene County Democrat

Parents, students and advocates for strong neighborhood schools continue to pressure civic leaders to end the expansion of charter and contract schools in Black and Latino communities across the nation.

Jitu Brown, the national director of Journey for Justice Alliance, a coalition of community, youth and parent-led grassroots organizations in 21 cities, said that the fight for public education – which suffers with the expansion of charter and contract schools –is a human and a civil rights issue.

As voices from the community were increasingly drowned out by philanthropic groups seeking wholesale educational reform, the state takeover of schools, corporate charters and appointed school boards have become the status quo, Brown said.

According to Education Week, a magazine published by Editorial Projects in Education, a nonprofit that produces K-12 educational content in print and online, more than 60 percent of philanthropic donations funneled into education young people in the United States went to charter and contract schools in 2010. Less than 25 percent of funding went to those programs about 15 years ago.

“What would actually be revolutionary, brand new, and fresh is if community wisdom was listened to and [corporations] worked with the people who are directly impacted by the institutions that they have to live with everyday,” said Brown.

Brown described two separate and unequal sets of expectations, one for White and middle class children and another, lower set of expectations for Black and Latino children that often influence education policy. Those disparities will continue until society finds the courage to confront them.

“We want what our friends in other communities have, said Brown. “They don’t have contract schools, they don’t have charter schools in middle class White communities they have world-class neighborhood schools.”


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How America is closing its digital divide | Hilary Shelton Op-Ed | The Detroit News

How America is closing its digital divide | Hilary Shelton Op-Ed | The Detroit News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama recently announced a TechHire program that will invest in high-tech job skills training for America’s labor force. Because tech wages continue to rise faster than other sectors, initiatives like this not only help catapult our tech leadership in the 21st century but also help address income inequality. Similarly, the president’s plan to wire 99 percent of our schools with broadband Internet service, will similarly help ensure students – and our future workforce – will have the necessary skills for American preeminence in the 21st century.

And as important as these initiatives are, they are only part of the puzzle. If the U.S. wants to truly be the global tech leader, every American has to have broadband access.

This is no longer an option for Americans, especially for communities of color hardest hit by the recent recession. Eighty percent of all U.S. jobs will require digital fluency within the next 10 years and 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept job applications online. College applications, financial aid, and even registration and classwork itself have all moved online. But today, African-American and Hispanic families lag some 15 points behind whites in broadband adoption.


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TN: EPB and Chattanooga Will Lower Price of Internet for Low Income Students | community broadband networks

TN: EPB and Chattanooga Will Lower Price of Internet for Low Income Students | community broadband networks | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In an effort to extend the benefits of its gigabit network to lower income Chattanooga school kids, Mayor Andy Berke announced that the EPB will soon offer the "Netbridge Student Program."

WDEF reports that children will qualify for the program if they are enrolled in Hamilton County schools and are currently enrolled in the free or reduced price lunch program. Comcast's Internet Essentials uses the same eligibility criteria. Households that qualify will be able to sign up for 100 Mbps service for $26.99 per month. Details are still being discussed.

Last year, Hamilton County schools replaced a number of textbooks with iPads in an attempt to take advantage of Chattanooga's fiber asset to improve student performance. The move revealed a grim reality - that many students' access to that incredible gigabit network (or any network) stopped when they walked out of the school. Educators found that children with Internet access at home made significant strides while those without fell behind. From a December 2014 article on Internet and Chattanooga students:

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.

We spoke with Danna Bailey, Vice President of Corporate Communications from EPB, to get some details on the plan and she confirmed that the program is still in its infancy; officials at EPB plan to have it ready for students by the fall. She told is that the rate of $26.99 is what EPB must pay to bring 100 Mbps to a customer when it is unbundled. The regular rate is $57.99.


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46 Degree Programs Eliminated Across UNC College System | Lamont Cranston | Daily Kos

46 Degree Programs Eliminated Across UNC College System | Lamont Cranston | Daily Kos | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I guess the North Carolina Board of Governors educational planning committee for the University educational system didn't think these programs were important to our education of our young adults, or warranted due to "market forces"...

“We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.”

- Board member Steven Long.

So now our college educational system, of which North Carolin's had been the example and envy of most of the state systems in this country, is under the scrutiny of "market forces".

Want to see which one they eliminated from the main univesity campus of UNC in Chapel Hill?


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Thousands of Scorers Take On the Common-Core Tests | Catherine Gerwertz | EdWeek.org

Thousands of Scorers Take On the Common-Core Tests | Catherine Gerwertz | EdWeek.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It's the middle of spring testing season, and a bevy of accountants, technology geeks, lawyers, unemployed corporate executives—and oh, yes, teachers—are scoring the PARCC exam.

The room has the generic feel of any high-volume office operation: Seated in front of laptop computers at long beige tables, the scorers could be processing insurance claims. Instead, they're pivotal players in the biggest and most controversial student-assessment project in history: the grading of new, federally funded common-core assessments in English/language arts and mathematics.

The PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments aren't the only tests that require hand-scoring, but the sheer scope of the undertaking dwarfs all others. Twelve million students are taking either the PARCC or the Smarter Balanced assessments in 29 states and the District of Columbia this school year. Large portions of the exams are machine-scored, but a key feature that sets them apart from the multiple-choice tests that states typically use—their constructed-response questions and multi-step, complex performance tasks—require real people to evaluate students' answers.

And that means that 42,000 people will be scoring 109 million student responses to questions on the two exams, which were designed by two groups of states—the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC—to gauge mastery of the common core. That unprecedented scoring project is testing the capacity of the assessment industry and fueling debate about what constitutes a good way of measuring student learning.


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Addressing Digital Literacy in a World Where 6 Billion People Are Connected | Social Media Week

Right now, 3 billion individuals in the world are connected to one another via the Internet, mobile communications and social media. 3 billion more will come online by 2022. This means, with just a few clicks or taps, someone in New York can instantly connect with someone in Sydney, and everywhere in between. But, as more and more individuals come online, how is society changing? Will our lives improve? Will we be inspired and equipped to take on more of the world’s biggest problems? What are the challenges the next 3 billion connected citizens will face?

One that we have identified is “digital literacy”. Digital literacy is the knowledge, skills, and behaviors used on a broad range of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs, all of which are seen as network rather than computing devices. For example, if a school in a developing country is equipped with laptops and Internet, what’s next? How do students acquire the skills to understand how to access the tools and information on the web? Just as important as it is for individuals to have access to the hardware, it’s just as necessary to provide context and knowledge for using the technology. If digital literacy is not addressed, we will likely see our world’s innovation, connectivity, and progress severely hindered in many ways.

Technology impacts the way we live, work and create in a connected world, as well as how new ideas, innovations and break-through technologies will lead to meaningful changes in our lives. For technology and humans to progress together, we need the next 3 billion connected individuals to become digitally literate online. If more people can connect, share, and exchange information with each other, this connectivity will positively impact our daily lives, our habits, and our global connection to humanity.

Access and connectivity has led to a democratization in the way we bring ideas to life and creatively collaborate with people regardless of geography, culture, and language. With a new group of digitally literate individuals, the speed at which ideas spread, and perhaps transform the way we work, can come from anyone and anywhere. Digital literacy also allows us to learn from each other, our cultures, the various perspectives, and lessons from how people live, work, and create in our digitally connected world. Digital access is the first step, but digital literacy is next, and it will ease our communications, no longer limiting us by time or distance.


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