Month: February 2014

Evolution of writing: from paper to digital

Throughout my class: the future of writing in technology, I have learned many valuable pieces of information about not only writing itself but being a writer. By learning about the history of writing and how it’s been shared, I have learned about the impact writing really has on people. I have also learned about what a writer means and how it has changed over time. What I’ve learned and my opinion on the future of writing and writers can be found in my prezi that I’ve created.

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Twitter as an educational tool!

While browsing through my news feed on twitter, I have noticed a lot of teachers that I have followed, posting incredible articles and ideas that I can use in my future classroom, and I have really enjoyed this part of twitter. I’ve always thought of using Google to come up with creative ideas for my future classroom, but never twitter. I have been told by many teachers that you will find your best ideas from other teachers and their classrooms. Twitter has now opened up a whole new venue for me to find ideas and information on things I can use in my future classroom. One person who’s tweets I was drawn to specifically was Charlotte Murphy, who is a teacher in Dubai. Her tweets are always about using and encouraging creativity and technology in the classroom, which I am a fan of as well. One specific tweet I saw after browsing through her page that I was interested in was one where she posted about an article that discussed different ways to look at intelligence. Many different ways were discussed, and they are all important for a teacher and especially someone like myself who is planning to become a teacher in the near future. It is important for the teacher to understand each child and their intelligence and what in their life has contributed to their intelligence. I have tweeted her, but unfortunately she has not answered me.  This may be because of how busy teachers are on a regular basis, and that’s understandable. I was very happy, however, with the information and ideas I found on her page and many other educator’s pages.

Twitter!! Something I Never Thought About

When it came to Twitter I was never a fan. Many of my friends tried to convince me to get an account and join the world of Twitter, but in my eyes it was just something else to add to my addiction list. When I thought of Twitter it was always just the thought that I can connect with my friends and see what they are up to.

It was not until entering this module of Intro to Writing Arts that I seen what Twitter was “good” for. I had a chance to see how it can benefit me with my future. I began to follow other educators as well as websites that gave me more information about the world and anything about education. For example, I seen a post by We Are Teachers that read:

#PreK to 2 Teachers: Take a dance break and teach #firesafety at the same time with @Stevesongs http://owl.li/u1htP  #edchat #earlyed

As soon as I took a look at this post I was engaged and knew it was something I could use for my future students considering that I want to be an Elementary School teacher. I was able to views lots of profiles from educators or article websites; although I’ve tried to contact a couple of them and they have not responded. I notice that they are posting things all day and may not be able to take the time out contact me back, which is okay.

Without the knowledge that I’ve gained within this classroom about Twitter there is no way I would be able to use these great ideas that others have to include in my classrooms.

Sochi and the Sexism Olympics

In a tweet Yesiris  posted a few days ago, she linked to an article about the screen time between male athletes and female athletes in the Sochi Winter Olypmics. It’s the Olympics! What better way to show off how great every country is by showcasing our most talented athletes in everything they do! Oh wait, except they don’t show us every athlete. While TV’s primetime only lasts for so long during the day, cable networks are stretched for the amount of coverage you can give to each event. That’s all fine and dandy, but in the article, it’s said that men receive almost twice the amount of screen time that women do!

I know what you must be thinking. “But more men probably compete!/Men are more likely to win and bring home medals!/They’re stronger and better suited for sports!/It’s a man’s game!” WEEOOOWEEEOO. That’s my sexist alarm. In 2008, 42% of all athletes were women. That was in 2008. In 2012? 44%. Women brought home 58 medals that year (29 of them were golds!)– which was more than what men ended up winning in London. The gender gap between athletes has gotten much smaller since women were first able to compete in the 1900 Olympics, where only 22 women competed in total.  That’s quite a jump.

But what’s so wrong about the screen time female athletes do receive? Other than it being much less than what men receive (who are not only televised while they’re competing but they also have a higher chance of being interviewed and able to talk about their performance afterward), when women compete, it’s usually in the more “socially acceptable” sports for women – i.e., figure skating. (Which, even then, according to the article, men received 2/3rds of the total screen time for figure skating than women.) But there’s also a problem with the way the commentators react to the women competing. NBC commentators would refer to the women in the skiing halfpipe as “girls”, but all the men would be referred to as “men” or by name. When in regards to other sports women competed in, they were said to be doing that and “all of that while in a Lycra suit, maybe a little bit of makeup—now that is grace under pressure.” As if women’s sole purpose in the Games are to be visually appealing and not kickass and victorious in their sport.

Image credit to Matt’s Gifs

So why the sexism, friends? Why not give half the screen time to women, especially if they make up half the athletes? Why not show off wonderful athletes in their element and focus on their technique, execution and effort put into perfecting it?

Religion and Gender Roles

In Samantha Eyler’s article, “Why I Had to Lose My Religion Before I Could Support Gender Equality”, she talks about how she was taught, as a child, to conform to rigorous gender roles. She, as a woman born into her fundamentalist religion, was to remain quiet and subordinate. That sort of brainwashing worked for her for 16 years. It wasn’t until she went off to college and devoured religion and philosophy courses and other holy books and scriptures, did she realize where her religion went wrong.

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She realized that her personal values and her religion’s morals didn’t line up. Why should she, someone who wanted to be a doctor or a senator, have to remain on the sidelines and do nothing except what her husband wished? Her tale of finding herself and then wanting to find religion all over again is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve been brought up in a strictly Catholic household. In Poland, where my parents are from, religion is the biggest and most important thing in everyone’s lives. At least, in my family. So when my parents came across the Atlantic, they brought their strict morals and guidelines from their religion with them. As a child, I followed along. I didn’t know any better, right? Maybe my faith started to break when I was told by my instructor in CCD that because I was a girl, I couldn’t be a pastor. I wanted to talk about my love for God and the love God had for me to people all the time. I wanted to share the word of God with people, so why shouldn’t I be able to be a pastor?

I started noticing the inequalities in my religion throughout high school but I would never be able to outright call them straight gender inequalities until I came to college myself. It angered me to see my religion treat women, who are just as devout as men, the way that they did. I wouldn’t stand for the hypocrisies I had been spoon fed since I was little. So I called off my religion. I stopped going to church, I stopped praying. I adopted the idea that if I led a good life and did good unto others, then I’d be okay. If I needed to talk to God, or gods or any other higher being, I could and I didn’t have to limit myself to the rituals of the Catholic church. I want to be able to do good in the world not because my religion has told me to, but because it’s the right thing to do.

And it may have torn a rift in my family, but there are much worse things to tear families apart than differing views on a religion or wanting to be treated as an equal.

#tfebt: 5 Types of Friends We Should All Have

According to Shelley Emling’s article on the Huffington Post, there are 5 specific types of friends we should all have:

  • Friends who make an effort.
  • Friends who are genuinely happy when good things happen.
  • Friends who are upbeat.
  • Friends who are up for anything.
  • Friends who are authentic.

I’d like to offer up a revised list.

Friends who make equal or greater efforts to you.

While I agree, friends should make an effort–I feel the need to point out that effort is a two way street. If you are sitting alone at home, alone, wondering why no one is contacting you–you don’t get to say “My friends don’t make an effort” when you are not making an effort.

Friends who are honest with you about their feelings.

Friends shouldn’t have to be happy for you when something good happens. That is a situational issue. What if you and your friend apply for the same job which you both need desperately–are you supposed to be happy for your friend when you are still unemployed? What about if you both like the same boy/girl and s/he asks you out on a date? Is your friend obligated to feel genuinely happy and heart broken?

Friends who accept that you are upset and don’t call you a Debbie Downer.

This was my least favorite part of this article. Everyone is going through something. If you have a friend who is constantly negative, chances are s/he is going through something. Instead of being upset with them for feeling the way they are, you should be a better friend and help them through it.

Friends should be willing to try anything and also accepting of those who are not.

The example the article used was going to the spa where she, her friends, and everyone else would be naked. What if one friend is not comfortable with this? Does that me s/he is not a good friend?

Friends who are authentic.

Yes, absolutely, but part of being authentic is being honest. If your friend is happy for you when you get his/her job, s/he is probably not being honest with you. The same with a friend who is always happy. If they aren’t confiding both the positive and negative aspects of their life with you, how are you friends?

RE: Happy Birthday Colin!

In Arielle’s blog about the recent craze over Colin’s birthday she commented on the benefits of social media.

I have to agree and disagree: social media is not bad for our social habits-it is changing them. No one ever welcomes change with open arms so when events like this where parents used social media to rally a bunch of well-wishers for their, the message is beneficial. But this isn’t the only mass media trend that’s been happening, especially from the parental side of the equation.
Have you heard of shaming? It’s not just embarrassing the kid locally-it’s a national scale. Here, Smosh list 19 of the funniest Kid Shaming images they could find. While some Kid Shaming (and even Pet Shaming) is absolutely adorable, like the young girl to the left who dumped glue and glitter on her younger brother and dog, some parents are using it to shame their older children who do anything ranging from posting inappropriate pictures of themselves on social media to pretending to sell drugs to bullying their peers.

Personally, I think that’s awesome. We are in an age we what we do in say online and in real life can now be preserved. I think it’s a valuable lesson, not in applicable social behavior in person but also being smart online.

Whose Roles Is It Anyway? RE: Redefining Gender Roles

My fellow Blogateer, Arielle, posted about a photographer who decided to play with gender roles in his work. (Arielle’s Article, Original Article). The photographer uses only one model to portray both genders in the photo.

I think the images only work on the more androgynous faces. In the first photo presented, I had to spend some time realizing that both figures in the image were the same model. That time is needed for the message of re-evaluation to come across.  The audience needs to spend time with the picture and not simply glance over the piece if they are to fully comprehend the challenge of “Whose Role Is It Anyway?”

The photos with models who have less androgynous faces make me think more of sexuality and less of gender roles. 

Watson’s A Woman?

I know this is old news, but in one of the more recent adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Lucy Liu (of Charlie’s Angels fame) has taken up the role of Dr. Watson. That is, Doctor Joan Watson.

This is great news! A WOC (woman of color) playing a well known doctor! On American TV. How awesome is that?

Jon Michael Hill plays “Detective Bell” and Lucy Liu is “Joan Watson” in CBS’s Elementary.

I’ll admit, when I first started hearing of the show (which was just after BBC’s Sherlock had just finished it’s British premiere of season 2) I thought it was just us Americans trying to get some ratings off of a popular British TV show.

Then I started hearing about how Liu’s character Joan is a disgraced surgeon, with no military background (as opposed to the canon, where Watson is a former military doctor). Then I started to think that the reason she was disgraced was because the writers thought of her as a woman who doesn’t deserve to be in a highly respected medical position. Because she’s a woman. I really thought this would just end up being fodder for those that actually truly believed women belonged only in the kitchen and not in the operating room.

But then I started watching the show during winter break this past year. And boy golly gee was I super duper wrong about Joan!

In the show, Joan Watson is still a former surgeon. She was discharged after (accidentally) killing a patient under her care. This I suspected. Afterwards, she’s looking for a new job. And so she becomes a sober companion, a person who lives with a recovering drug or alcohol addict, which is exactly how she comes to be at Sherlock Holmes’ door (played by Johnny Lee Miller). In the show, Joan Watson actively chooses to continue making other people’s lives better. She actively chose to become a sober companion because that’s what she thought she’d be good at.

Joan Watson actively calls out misogynistic remarks made by Sherlock and by others in the show. Her surgical past is not just used as a way to confirm Sherlock’s brilliant breakthroughs. Often, there are cases where Sherlock is stumped and it’s Joan herself who finds the connection and solves the murder because she’s the brilliant one too. She’s not just there to further another character’s development. She has her own developments and we see her family and friends and loved ones come by in her life. We see her kind and caring side, as well as her methodical procedural side. She is a true “strong female character”, not because she kicks butt (she actually has little to no martial arts skill, which thankfully defies the “kung fu Asian” character trope, and she doesn’t gain any martial arts or self-defense skills until much later into the show) but because she has many facets to her personality (like real women!) and she has emotions (like real women!) and she changes and develops and makes mistakes (like real women!).

So cheers to the Elementary writers for taking what could have been an awful ploy for ratings (because there’s no ‘bad publicity’) and turned this into one of the best, well-rounded character adaptations I’ve ever seen.