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A Christmas Wish

As we celebrate this Christmas, let us remember the important gift we have received: unconditional love from The Lord above. More importantly, let us share this love with others. Hold your family and friends close and treat strangers with kindness and charity. Merry Christmas!

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A Light in the Darkness

The earth seems to have dimmed since Friday when 20 innocent souls were ripped from this life too soon. Many of us have cried tears of anguish. Many of us have tried to contain our anger. Many of us have thought about never letting our babies out of our sights again. Most of us are strangers to these poor families, and yet we are not. A collective grief has united us as brothers and sisters. Through this darkness, we have reached out to grasp one another’s hands. And in these acts of kindness, that light slowly returns to chase away the darkness. It is Christ’s light, shining though us. We cannot destroy darkness with guns. We cannot erase it with hate and anger. We can only destroy darkness by letting God’s love flow through us and between us. With God’s love, there is no room for evil and hatred.

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GMUs Forum on the Future of Higher Ed

A couple of weeks ago I trekked down to Virginia to attend a forum on the future of higher education that was being held at George Mason University. I was nervous because I’ve never traveled to a conference alone, but I was determined to go despite my nervousness. I am so glad that I went.

This was unlike any conference I’ve ever attended due to the fact that its very nature was to discuss a movement in education that’s on the cusp. The conference was a two-day event, so luckily my sister-in-law lives only 20 miles away. Another bonus? The conference was free and served delicious food and beverages! Seriously though, I took so much from this experience that I still think about and try to determine my role in this trend.

The first day began with GMUs president delivering an opening speech. His remarks made me truly appreciate his position given his commitment to redefining education. I sat at a table with 3 GMU professors, so I got a bit of inside info on President Cabrera. They revealed that the president is an avid tweeter and so the staff now tweets when they need to communicate with him and anyone else. Pretty cool!

Conversations were had among the forum between the attendees, including guest speakers, panelists and twitter followers who were present or just following along via twitter. It was amazing to be part of this. As one might guess, the major driving force of the forum was GMU, but the discussions could translate into any academic setting, even K12s. The focus was centered around the changing times in education, and there was discussions on what students need, moocs, and how technology is changing the face of education today. Of course the biggest opponents to this step forward were the tenured staff who seemed quite afraid of losing their role in this new environment.

The biggest things I took away from the conference is that education is in for a revolution, a new future of possibilities, and I think it’s about time! If you’d like to check out the Provost’s blog, it has a recap from his perspective. Also, the video of the conference is great if you’re interested. Obviously it is not the same as being there because you’re only getting a view of the events and not your specific questions answered, but there’s so much to gain and conversations around this topic are ongoing.

I’ve been monitoring the backchannel from the forum for the past couple of weeks. There are still conversations happening. It’s exciting to watch the progress and know that I had a front row seat to the start of it all. If you want to check out the stream of conversations, #masonfuture. Also, some interesting people to connect with are: @jeffselingo, very prominent keynote speaker at many ed forums; @cabreraangel, GMU president who is pushing forward to meet the needs of 21st century students; @joshua_r_eyler, professor at GMU; @auerswald. There were so many people with real enthusiasm for education!

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Digital Story Books

Digital Story Books. See how I used StoryKit to create a very important message!

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Digital Story Books

I am so excited about all of the things I have learned this semester in UDSNF12, but this is by far one of my favorite things that I have done! After making a meme using Flickr and a meme generator, I was inspired to create something from that meme. So, I used my iPad and the StoryKit app to make this digital story book.The message I hope my digital story conveys is that learning through social media is extremely important. I hope you enjoy the tale!

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Exploring Web Tools: What? I can use twitter for research?

My tool exploration project involves the use of twitter for research. I have always dreaded teaching research to students, and then trying to get access to the library’s database was always tricky for students to do at home. Twitter is something they understand and use readily. I became interested in this topic when this post came across Google+ a week or so ago, and it tied in so nicely with the focus of my final project as well. In light of this useful information, I decided to try it out myself. I hope that you enjoy my presentation of using twitter for research!

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Copyright

I have never been daunted by copyrights. I guess this is for a couple of reasons. First, nothing in the modern world is completely original. Ancient texts, for instance The Bible, have influenced writers, artists, musicians, etc. for centuries. Even Shakespeare is criticized for “borrowing” plots. So what’s the big deal? Ultimately, it revolves around that incredibly evil thing, money. Oh how I hate money and all that it represents, but that rant is for another time because right now I am discussing copyright.

The other reason that copyright has never intimidated me is because I have never borrowed anything except for in the realm of teaching. I cite sources in my writing and have always taught my students to do the same because that is the accepted format used in research. But I think nothing of photocopying an article from a journal or poem from a book to distribute to my students. But this is acceptable use in the world of copyright infringement.

One lawsuit that has become controversial is Chick-fil-a’s slogan lawsuit with a farmer in Vermont. They are trying to strong-arm him into relinquishing his slogan and URL, Eat More Kale, because it supposedly infringes on their Eat Mor Chik’n slogan. This is absolutely ridiculous! For more information on this story, checkout the following articles:

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20111124/BUSINESS08/111240307/-Eat-More-Kale-trademark-flap-more-complex-than-simple-slogan

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/06/143195033/chicken-vs-kale-vt-artist-fights-chick-fil-a-suit

Also, if you want to checkout Bo Muller-Moore’s website, go to:

http://www.eatmorekale.com/

All in all I don’t like the idea of copyrights, but I understand the purpose in our world. I haven’t ever come across any borrowed material that I questioned the legality of the copyright use. I couldn’t even find one after searching the Internet for hours. The only borrowed material that has ever made me cringe is Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice Baby which was sampled from Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure. Vanilla Ice subsequently had to credit Queen/Bowie for the writing and pay them royalties. For further information on this story, go to:

http://www.benedict.com/Audio/Vanilla/Vanilla.aspx

The website above has some interesting infringement cases from modern genres, including songs and movies.

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