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Category Archives: Arizona

Former copyboy, Scott Pelley’s optimism in the face of ‘bad information’

Last week, Scott Pelley, anchor of CBS News made some timely observations about the news business. Which, we should not forget is indeed a business. Pelley was awarded the Walter Cronkite award for Excellence in Journalism by the Cronkite School at ASU.

Now I regularly watch his broadcast, so I admire his candor  when he observed that:

“Never in our history have we had so much bad information.”

Let that sink in, against the other platitudes we hear that ‘never in our history have we had so much information at our fingertips’ etc. In 2013, Pelley warned that the media was getting the Big Stories wrong, over and over again. How prescient, considering most media misread the 2016 electorate. They are, after all our filters, and when their filters get trapped in the same gunk, we lose our faith in them.

At the ASU event he went further to warn, “We’re in our digital citadels, unchallenged by ideas. Biased reporting closes minds. Journalism is meant to open them.” Pelley, kicked off his career at age 15, as a ‘copyboy’ at a newspaper in Lubbock, Texas. If you’ve never heard of the job of ‘copyboy’ this person was, to put it nicely, a delivery boy who was given a sheet of butcher paper (on which stories were then written), to deliver it to the sub-editors’ desk.

Like Kelley, Cronkite was also optimistic about delivering the truth, alluring to the movie Network, when he said:

“We’ve got to throw open our windows and shout out these truths” 

Just for larks, here’s Walter Cronkite, as he signed off on March 6th, 1981.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Arizona, ASU, Events, Journalism, Media, Technology, TV

 

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Will ‘Little Free Libraries’ do what eReaders didn’t?

Many years ago, in a neighbour’s store-room down Hildon Place, a few of us stacked our books together and called it a library. When the idea caught, we began issuing hand-made library cards. There was no organization to support us, but there was no shortage of kind old aunts who fed the librarians and patrons well.

So naturally I’ve been fascinated by the ‘Little Free Library‘ movement that’s been cropping up outside homes. The library (as you can see here) looks like a large bird house with a door and a plaque.

But will a little box on the curb spur a new interest in reading? We were hyperventilating with optimism when eReaders took the world by storm almost a decade ago.

A little library with no overdue fines looks quaint, but unlike digital trends, these decidedly analog ‘platforms’ (they are raised boxes, aren’t they?) have the potential to build conversations, and bring communities closer. There are some 40,000 Little Free libraries, to date, according to the website’s FAQs.

Starting one is as simple. Owners are asked to register one’s Library making it searchable online. Borrowers are urged to contribute a book for every book borrowed.

Some young people have launched their LFLs with aplomb, having constructed it out of scrap wood or from an old bookshelf. I could see this trend become almost a hobby, as young readers discover that there is more than one way to enjoy a good book.

  • If you like the idea, follow Little Free Library on Twitter @LtlFreeLibrary
 

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Solar Chili cook-off continues today at Salt River Elementary

Thanks to Anne Patterson of Solavore, for helping me host the solar oven event in my class yesterday and today. I put together this STEM event for 5th and 6th graders as a final year STEM module.

AnneP1A great way to end the year on a high note – focusing on concepts such as insulation, radiation and the greenhouse effect, and letting students taste the end product! I liked how she compared different feeding habits of living creatures – carnivores, herbivores and ‘solavores‘ – to bring home the point about how we consume energy in one form or another. The sun, however is not a ‘consumable’Top 10 Sunnest Countries in that sense since we have an infinite supply of it.

Anne then compared the Top 10 Sunniest Countries, showing how the US has the most number of sunny days, and Arizona tops the list of States as well, with 4015 hours of sunshine a year!

Which is why, within 20 minutes of placing our ovens outside, they reached 250 degrees. One even topped 300 degrees!


Judges_1_SolarSRE

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Thank you to my judges on both days, Annette Williams, Chris McIntire, Erik Haarstad, Joni Andreas and Wayne Sekaquaptewa who braved the chili recipes and the near double-digit heat outside. Today’s judges got to taste some of my Sri Lankan Chili as well.

Finally a big thank you to my colleagues. 6th Grade teachers: Erlinda Allen, Donna Horn, David Crebs, John Emmons. 5th Grade teachers: Maria Enriquez, Bernadette Spencer, Valencia Gorman, and Ashlee Chee for supporting this crazy idea.

 

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Starting a Robotics Program? Check this!

Here’s a video I did with Ruben Gameros, a grad student at State University. It’s about what it takes to start a Robotics program.

This was a hot topic in the STEAM Workshop last December in Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka. We know drones are changing the game in many areas. How about ‘Swarm’ robotics? Watch Ruben explain!

 

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STEM Student Ambassdors to visit Sri Lanka

STEM Ambassadors - Salt River Elementary 2Two students from my school district have been invited to visit Sri Lanka as ‘STEAM Ambassadors‘ in December.

They will represent the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community at two workshops for teachers on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The workshops will be held in Colombo and Kandy.

The students are:

  • Dominique Grey, a sixth-grade student at Salt River Elementary.
  • Haley Smith, a seventh-grade student at Salt River High School.
  • Maria Chavez, the school’s Parent/Community Involvement Specialist, will accompany them, as well as one parent of each of the students.

Listen to the story here, on KJZZ.

 
 

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Ed-Tech grows – and grows up

It might be shocking that while state education budgets shrink, Education Technology or Ed-Tech is on the upswing. Many of them are free, though the full-blown versions are quite affordable. Here are my favorites:

Padlet_SRE_STEM-Night2014Padlet – a collaboration and aggregation tool that feels like a website. What’s even clever isit lets you export that page as an image file, PDF, csv file; you could email it as well. I’ve written about it before here, since I use it as an events page for STEM, robotics, and even to submit a project for a class at a community college.

LinoIT – a canvas, with sticky notes that is a bit like Padlet, but acts like a bulletin board, rather than a website. Perfect for students! For added convenience, you could add a sticky note to your Lino page by emailing it to the page!

Voki – a way to create an avatar that could speak on your behalf, or tell a story!  You could set up a classroom that uses it, or use it to make an announcement! So many uses for this, especially if you want to open up a discussion about animation.

Story Jumper – a simple way to teach students what e-books are like, and more importantly what publishing involves.

PollEverywhere – I love the way it lets you create pop quizzes, to get class responses on the fly. Few schools allow mobile devices in class (mine too) but that’s easily overcome by pushing a link to all computers and have students click on answer choices.

Suddenly Ed-Tech beginning to look like the 2010 all over again, when ‘social’ was the flavor du jour.

(A bit of good news: The global Ed Tech and Smart Classrooms market is expected to grow from $43.27 Billion in 2015 to USD 93.76 Billion in 2020 –an annual growth rate of 16.7%  from 2015 to 2020.)

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Arizona, Ed-Tech, Education

 

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Great reporters don’t wither (when temperature rises)

I’m not talking of reporters coming under fire on dangerous missions. I’m talking about keeping up the communication when all hell breaks loose in front of you, and you’re on camera.

Take a look at how Phoenix-based Fox 10 News reporter Cory McCloskey handled an arguably hot situation. Cory is a weather reporter on the field. Apparently, in this instance in-studio, the weather map went berserk. The data on the map I mean. I won’t give it away – watch!

By chance I met Cory last week, when he came to my school to do a live weather report, and yes, the man has a great sense of humor. (It involves coffee and solar energy, if you’re interested.)

The above video clip (viewed more than 4 million times as of today) is the stuff that ought to be used in Journalism school. I’m sure my friends in Ahwatukee might not laugh so hard, because we folk in the Chandler area were not subject to his satire.

Mr. McCloskey: I wish there was a sub-category in the Pulitzers (under ‘Explanatory Reporting’ maybe?) that is awarded for humor, and not missing a beat.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Arizona, Journalism, Media

 

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