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2nd Annual Kindness Inspires Kindness, Capital Region Style March 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:47 am

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In January of 2013, I came across this incredible idea while parusing the Random Acts of Kindness page on Facebook.  Amy from Making Life Whimsical shared this incredible day that she and her friends put together.  I was able to gather a wonderful group of friends last year, and we carried out the first Kindness Inspires Kindness day.  It was such a wonderful feeling, I wanted to do it again ~ so in January I put another call to arms out, and the planning began for the 2nd Annual Kindness Inspires Kindness event.  We decided that while there were going to be a couple places that we would revisit, we were going to branch out to visit some new ones.  We also decided that we would spread the kindness in 4 counties – Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga.  The outpouring of support and donations was overwhelming!  I try to say it as often as possible, but I am incredibly blessed to have some amazing people in my life ~ with enormous hearts!  This year we had a few new additions to The Giving Crew, too.

 

So, let me tell you about our 2nd Event …

 

One thing we couldn’t resist was the kickoff for the day, a trip to Bob’s Diner.  Bob’s is one of those staples in the Capital Region that you can’t help but love!  We had 5 $10 gift certificates to distribute ~ and Melissa was our very willing delegate.  She stopped to chat with the other customers telling them what we were doing … and all seemed very appreciative, a few came over to us after breakfast to say thanks and wish us a good day.  A very kind soul even ended up contributing toward our bill ~ it was very unexpected, but I guess kindness does inspire kindness.

 

 

Handing out the Gift Certificates at Bob's

Handing out the Gift Certificates at Bob’s

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Bob’s Diner GC’s

Our Day Begins at Bob's Diner

Our Day Begins at Bob’s Diner

 

Kim from our Giving Crew works for the American Heart Association.  They are having the Capital Region Heart Walk on May 10 at The Crossing in Colonie.  She has formed her own team for the event, so we decided to pool cans and bottles and donate them to Kim’s teams fundraising efforts.  We brought them to For Your CANvenience in Latham (just east of the Latham Circle).  As we were unloading our cars, a gentleman pulled up, saw our haul, and decided to donate his cans and bottles to AHA as well.  How nice!  We ended up giving him one of the Dunkin Donuts gift cards we bought as just random giveaways.

 

Do you have time available on May 10?  If so, collect some of your friends, and come to the Capital Region Heart Walk!

 

For Your CANvenience

For Your CANvenience

 

We do not forget about our fury and feathered friends!  This years, we decided this year would would donate items to Hearts Herd.  What is Hearts Herd?  “HeartsHerd Animal Sanctuary is located on 21.75 acres of beautiful property in Buskirk, NY. Tending to a variety of animals who have lost their owners, run their course for their owner’s purpose, or just plain ol’ need love – our Herd continues to grow.”   Last year they were able to place 121 animals in loving homes.  Their hearts continue to grow ~ as they do rescue animals, and do not put them down.   We met Bob today, Bob is a blind dog ~ who became part of Tracy’s (of Hearts Herd) family.  What an adorable little dog, with a sweet disposition.

 

If you are looking for a new addition to your family, please consider Hearts Herd ~ or if you are looking to make a monetary donation or items, please consider Hearts Herd.

 

Hearts Herd

Hearts Herd

The Giving Crew with Tracy of Hearts Herd

The Giving Crew with Tracy of Hearts Herd

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Babies bring promise for the future ~ they are sweet, innocent and a beautiful blessing.  Two babies born today were recipients of our Welcome to the World baskets.  A special shout out goes to Mrs. Shephard, Wendy’s mom and Wendy’s co-workers for knitting and crocheting some beautiful baby afghans, bibs and sweaters!  We brought a baby basket for a boy and a girl.  The baskets included an afghan, a bib, and other baby necessities like wipes, cups and bottles.  As we were standing there talking with the nurse, a brand new baby boy was being wheeled into the nursery.  We asked that our basket be given to him.  (People don’t cross our paths by accident; they are meant to cross our paths for a reason.)

 

Sharing the Kindness at Bellevnue Hospital/Elllis Hospital

Sharing the Kindness at Bellevnue Hospital/Elllis Hospital

 

Sharing some baby baskets

Sharing some baby baskets

 

Baby Basket

Baby Basket

 

Next stop for the day was Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless located on Sheridan Avenue in Albany.  Interfaith Partnership is an organization that serves individuals 18 years and older.  To quote them, they serve the homeless, not the hopeless ~ which is very fitting.  Donations included personal care items, books and food items.  Next time you’re shopping, if you can ~ grab an extra item or two.  Do this a few different times, and then consider bringing a bag to one of your local shelters.  Little things can make a difference.

 

Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless

Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless

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There’s always those “things” that happen.  Back when we started planning the day, I emailed Habitat for Humanity to ask them if we could bring lunch for workers as part of our Kindness event.  I hadn’t heard back from them, so I just let it drop.  Little did I know, Habitat was still going to be part of the day.  As we drove to the Interfaith Partnership, I noticed there was construction going on right next door … yes, it was a Habitat Project.  They are building row houses on Sheridan Avenue.  We left the IP and went to the nearest Dunkin Donuts and bought some boxes of Joe, hot chocolate, donuts and munchkins to deliver to the workers.  There were two student groups working the shift, one from Albany Law School, the other from Rockefeller College/UAlbany … and even though they were breaking for lunch ~ they were extremely happy to have dessert delivered, too.  Over the summer, I decided I will be signing up to work on a Habitat project.  I’ve been wanting to and today sealed that up!

 

Coffee Break delivery for Habitat for Humanity

Coffee Break delivery for Habitat for Humanity

 

Oh, the babies!  More baby baskets and items to be delivered ~ this time in Albany County to Albany Medical Center’s NICU.  In addition to the 4 baby baskets, Wendy’s mom made a few special blankets that are preemie size ~ and others to keep nursing mom and baby warm.  Mrs. Harbour even embroidered our motto ~ Kindness Inspires Kindness … yes, it does indeed!

 

Albany Medical Center NICU

Albany Medical Center NICU

Action Shot ~ bring on the Kindness

Action Shot ~ bring on the Kindness

Baby Blankets

Baby Blankets

Kindness Inspires Kindness Blankets

Kindness Inspires Kindness Blankets

Baby Blankets

Baby Blankets

Baby Blankets

Baby Blankets

 

 

Of course, we do need to Recover and Replenish … a stop to the Recovery Room was best option.

 

Recovery Room, Albany

Recovery Room, Albany

 

And now, it’s time for Bingo with our friends from the Marjorie Doyle Alzheimer’s Center in Cohoes.  We had a really enjoyable time playing Bingo with them!

 

Bingo at Marjorie Doyle

Bingo at Marjorie Doyle

 

Bingo Crew at Marjorie Doyle

Bingo Crew at Marjorie Doyle

 

The Giving Crew decided to share kindness with two local cancer patients ~ with a couple gift baskets of food and some gifts.  There is no kind, polite or sweet way to say this ~ Cancer just purely sucks!  We just wanted them to know, we were thinking about them ~ and maybe brighten their day as they continue their battle.  Keep up the fight!  

 

Gift Basket

Gift Basket

 

Gift basket item with a little trinket from MarEle Boutique Accessories

Gift basket item with a little trinket from MarEle Boutique Accessories

 

Thinking of You Basket

Thinking of You Basket

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Gift basket with a trinket from MarEle Boutique Accessories

 

My Aunt Lonnie used to always say when someone was in the hospital, don’t forget about the nurses.  Bring them a little something to thank them for their loving care ~ and it is something always done when someone is in the hospital.  Though we didn’t have anyone in the hospital, we did want to bring a little cheer to the nurses to brighten their day.  We prepared cookie trays, breakfast goodies, and a little basket with hand lotions, hand sanitizer and chocolate-dipped spoons.  A shout out to Bimbo Bakeries/Freihofer for their generous donation!  Not only were treats provided to the nurses stations, but items were also brought to the Interfaith Partnership.  Lynn and Wendy made some great plates of cookies, too, that were shared.  Lynn’s treats were also given out to a couple random people, including one adorable little girl rockin’ some pretty cool shades when when we were at the NICU.    Last but not least, thanks to my mom for the trays of delicious cookies!

 

Mom's Cookie Trays for the Nurses' Stations

Mom’s Cookie Trays for the Nurses’ Stations

Treats for the Nurses' Stations

Treats for the Nurses’ Stations

 

A little donation to my alma mater, SUNY Empire State College, was something I wanted to include as well.  These donations are put toward student scholarships and student programs during the year.  I recently attended the inauguration ceremony of ESC’s new president, Dr. Hancock. The theme was #reemerge ~ and in so many ways, I feel that students at ESC do just that.  Whether it is to continue on the same career path as we have been but opening opportunities that can come with a degree (or higher degree), or finding a completely different path ~ many of us are re-emerging in ways we may not have originally imagined.

Empire State College

Empire State College

 

Kindness Inspires Kindness is more of an event ~ it didn’t take place just for one day, it’s actually spanning a few days because of schedules and deliveries.  Today, a few of us are heading up to Operation Adopt-a-Soldier.  Last year, we adopted one particular soldier and sent him some soccer gear.  This year, we bought and collected a whole bunch of different items that can be spread out and shared with many more of our brave men and women serving overseas.  We are bringing them personal care items, puzzle books, ear buds, candy, playing cards, cards made from our local schools and a monetary donation to help offset the costs of mailing items to our troops.   God bless our troops and may they return safely!

 

I can’t even begin to describe how in awe I am of what Operation Adopt-a-Soldier does.  They have almost 250 soldiers that have been adopted.  During this time of year, every 2-3 weeks, they mail each soldier their own individual care package.  People bring donations, which hopefully cover the continuous stream of packages being sent out – and then there are fundraising events that raise money to pay the postage costs.  Each package costs about $12 to mail … Starting in the fall, the up the amount of package deliveries to once per week.  Again, I’m awed by what they do, the organization of it ~ and what a kind, loving gesture of thanks to these men and women.

 

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

 

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

 

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

 

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

Operation Adopt-a-Soldier

 

 

Monday was a little heavier heart kind of kindness sharing.  We started off with a delivery of 20 chemo care bags to the Oncology Center in Troy off of Burdett Avenue.  The bags are just meant to be a little pick-me-up for those in their worst battle.  We included tea, candy, some personal care items, puzzle book, ear buds and a journal.  Blessing of better health and days to all that walk through those doors ~ not just for the patients themselves, but their caregivers as well.

 

When we brought the bags in, the normal look of uncertainty was there … who are you, and you are doing what?!  That quickly changed ~ and we were invited in to the office to bring in our goodies.  As we were putting things down, a newly diagnosed patient was there for their first visit.  Another new face of cancer.  We gave the patient one of the bags, and she was very excited ~ the bags we used were so convenient, the patient mentioned they could bring things back and forth to treatments in that.  Imagine, being excited for that … my heart wasn’t quite sure what to do.

 

Chemo Care Bags

Chemo Care Bags

 

The VA Hospital has a new protocol for bringing donations.  We have to go through a special office ~ one that’s open only during the week (keep that in mind if you decide to bring some goodies to them).  For the veterans, we bought a collection of puzzle books and playing cards to be distributed.

 

Donation for VA Hospital

Donation for VA Hospital

 

And then ~ to the Melodies Center, the Children’s Cancer Unit at Albany Medical Center.  There are no words … simply no words …

We will be bringing them puzzle books, puzzles, Play-doh and a couple beautiful handmade blankets my friend, Jean, made.

To repeat what I said earlier ~ may everyone who walks through these doors, have the blessing of better health and better days, for both the patients and their caregivers.  God Bless!  

Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center

Melodies Center at Albany Medical Center

 

Spreading some kindness around the Capital Region this weekend, was a wonderful thing!  There will be more!

 

I saw a posting today in Instagram which I found fitting to close the blog with ~ “Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes it’s the little things that occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”  I have to say, that is a two-way street because that also seems to occupy the biggest part of mine, too.  Not everything needs to cost money.  Maybe one day, you just go and volunteer somewhere, or play bingo with a bunch of residents at a nursing home or Alzheimer’s Center; help an adult through the Literacy Volunteers program; help out at a community garden – Habitat for Humanity – veterans organizations … find or know your passion, and share it with someone else.

 

Thanks for reading!  Until the next time …. The Giving Crew

Anita, Victoria, Adriana, Beth, Melissa, Meg, Wendy, Lynn, Meg & Jenn

 

(Academy of Thank You’s!  Besides The Giving Crew ~ my parents, Bimbo Bakeries, MaryEllen, GB, Mrs. Shephard, Mrs. Harbour, Jean, Danielle, Moscatiello’s, MarEle Boutique Accessories, crafters at NYS Bar Association, Steve, Pam & At Your Service – there are others, I will be adding …)

 

There’s an App for That! January 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:04 pm
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I’m a bit of a techno-geek ~ and I love the convenience of some of the apps I have on my phone.  For anyone who shares the love of technology, here are some that you might want to check out.  In the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, you might find one or two that are useful.

Charity Miles – http://www.charitymiles.org

Do you Run, Walk or Bike?  If so, this is an awesome app to use.  Why?  Because when you do what you are already doing … you have the ability to help a charity.  Based on a philanthropy effort, Charity Miles is able to donate $.25 for each of your miles to the charity you select.  Daily, weekly or monthly – each time, you can select a new charity if you’d like.

Honorable mentions also go to:

Pedometer GPS Pro:  http://sport.com/pedometer_pro.html

Nike+ :  http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/

MarEle Boutique Accessories:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marele-boutique-accessories/id737776925?mt=8

If you like bling and accessories, download MarEle’s app.  MarEle always has great items at affordable prices.  Besides that, every Tuesday they have Party From The Couch (aka PFTC).  PFTC is a benefit for charities both near and far with 15% of the evening sales going to the benefit/charity/cause.  And to round out the hat trick on this app ~ owners Michele and MaryJane are just awesome people.  They listen to customers and take suggestions (even poll us on our likes and dislikes).

MyFitnessPal:  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/mobile/iphone

I’ve used this one and loved it!  It did take some dedication on my end to using it, but it was a great app to use.  Tracks the food you eat and exercise.

Fooducate – http://www.fooducate.com

Haven’t fully tested this one yet, but it has an option to Grade foods you are eating.

(Of course, not to be forgotten – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram … the lifelines.)

What’s your favorite apps, and why?

 

Information Literacy Guide December 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:03 pm
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What is Information Literacy?

Gail Bush describes Information Literacy as being able to access information and then be able to evaluate, judge, synthesize and then use the information for one’s own purposes.  How can this be achieved?  This guide is intended for students in secondary education as they start to build an understanding of research and gathering information, which will aid in their development of higher critical thinking skills.  Information Literacy in the 21st Century is an important skill that is necessary in education and the world of work.  As the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy reports, problem solving is more difficult when people lack access to meaningful information vital to good decision-making and the ability to determine what is viable information, and what is not. 

 
 

Types of Information Literacy?

Literacy was once considered just reading and writing.  The meaning has now become much more broad and covers more than just the printed word.  The ability to develop multiple literacies increases one’s understanding.  (Blair, 2012)  When researching information, one needs to evaluate sources for validity of the information in order to form their own opinion or viewpoint.  This includes evaluation of new media literacies.  Students, as well as adults, are part of participatory environments that have and continue to emerge.  (Pascarella)  One needs to develop skills in the following areas:

 
  • Critical Literacy – Reading and Thinking
  • Media Literacy – Visual and Computer
  • Research – Searching and Evaluating
  • Information Ethics – Copyright and Security/Privacy
 

Why is developing the skill of Information Literacy important?

Individuals may think developing the skill of Information Literacy just pertains to education, particularly higher education.  Developing this skill helps carry on every day tasks and research for one’s persona life as well.

 
  • Shopping
  • Cars
  • Insurance
 

Current Events

Being able to determine accuracy of information that is available is important.  There are instances where fake stories are reported either as a joke or to create a negative image of a person or place.

 
  • Just because it is on the Internet, does that mean it is the truth and accurate?
  • The majority of blogs are written reflecting one’s personal opinion.  Even when there is work cited included, many times these still reflect the person’s view based on what they have read.
  • Are the images that are on the Internet all real? 
  • Have they been altered?
 

Availability of Information

Information is now available anytime and everywhere (with an Internet connection), 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.  Information is available through:

 

Libraries

 
  •  Public Libraries
  • College Libraries

·     Access to Scholarly Articles

·     Access to Scholarly Journals

 

Online Databases

 
  •  Some charge a fee for access to journals
  • Some access is given through a university’s website for their students, employees and alumni
  • Google Scholar
 

Printed Material

 
  • Textbooks
  • Books
 

Websites

When doing research on a topic, one can use a company’s/organization’s website to obtain information.  For example, if doing research on the topic of juvenile diabetes, one might consult the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for statistics and other general information about the disease. 

 

Social Media

Information shared through these venues include current events, pop culture and personal opinion.  If a story is being reported, it is best to see if it is reported via news outlets.  There are instances where false stories are created in blogs and shared to try to sway public opinion about a person or place, but there is no validity to the information.

 
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  •  Twitter
  • Blogger/WordPress or other blogging sites
 

Evaluating Information

 
  • Is the information a reliable source?
  • Is the information based on one’s personal opinion/viewpoint or is it presented by an expert and published in a journal or article database?
 
 
 
 

 

Work Cited:

 

Blair, N.  (2010)  Raising the Bar in Public Libraries: Literacy, Adolescent Development and Young Adult Services

University of Iowa, LIS Journal.  (Accessed, December 12, 2013).  http://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=bsides

 

Bush, G.  Information Literacy in the 21st Century Classroom.  January 26, 2012. 

 

Pascarella, J.  (2008) Confronting the Challenges of Critical Digital Literacy: An Essay Review Critical Constructivism: A Primer.  Educational Studies.  43.  P. 246 – 255

 

Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report, American Library Association, July 24, 2006.

 
 
 
 

Watch what you post November 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:02 pm
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Jenkins states over the past several decades that media literacy advocates have called on schools to, “foster a critical understanding of media as one of the most powerful social, economic, political, and cultural institutions of our era.”  He goes on to say that these skills are essential.  New Media literacies should be viewed as social skills, as a way of interacting within a larger community, and not simply an individualized skills to be used for personal expression.  Along these same lines, McLuhan states that privacy doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in previous time, and that was from an interview he did in 1966.

 

We are at a time in our cultural where individuals need to be trained on the use of media and technology.  Not just how to use it, but when.  Understanding the use of media literacy is not just necessary for younger people and children, but adults as well.  I have heard and read much discussion on one’s Freedom of Speech.  True, this is a Constitutional right in order to be able to have a say.  There are times, that this can bring repercussions though. 

 

In Trottman’s article, she discusses workers being fired for bad-mouthing their employers on social media sites.  Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers are allowed to complain about pay, safety and other working conditions.  The article goes on to describe one firing where a woman called her boss a “scumbag” and an employee of BMW being fired for voicing his displeasure in an upcoming event for the dealership. 

 

Just in this past week, there was an article about a girls’ basketball coach from Idaho.  She posted a photo on Facebook of she and her fiancé (who is also a coach at the same school).  In the photo, they are both in their bathing suits and he is seen grabbing her chest.  It was on Facebook for less than a day and she took it down.  However, as we all know, once the digital trail has been created, one may not know who sees it.  Someone had seen the photo and submitted it to the school.  The school fired her on the basis they felt the photo was inappropriate to have been shared on Facebook.  Oddly, her fiancé kept his coaching position, which is a totally other issue.  McLuhan states that when you put a new medium into play in a given population, all sensory gets shifted and had an affect on the population’s outlook and attitude.  Frankly, the photo was foolishly shared, but not a fireable offense.  It is quite obvious that individuals police social media activity.  


It’s really difficult to figure out who is responsible for the education of critical media literacy.  As I mention above, this is something that is needed for children as well as adults.  Even with privacy settings in place, electronic trails are created. 



Work cited:

 

Allen, S. Idaho High School Fires Coach for Facebook Photo of Boyfriend Grabbing Her Chest.  USAToday (accessed November 9, 2013):  http://www.usatodayhss.com/news/article/idaho-high-school-fires-coach-after-she-posts-a-photo-of-boyfriend-grabbing-her-chest

 

Daily Mail Reporters.  The Facebook photo of a high school basketball coach and her fiancé that got her fired (because he touched her boob).  Mail Online (accessed November 9, 2013). 

 

McLuhan, M.  (1966).  TV as an involving medium.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/television/1966-tv-as-an-involving-medium.php

 

McLuhan, M.  (1968).  Privacy in the electric age.  http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/prophecies/1968-privacy-in-the-electric-age.php

 

Trottman, M.  (2011)  For Angry Employees, Legal Cover for Rants.  The Wall Street Journal.  (accessed November 9, 2013): 

 

Small Businesses with Big Hearts November 4, 2013

Today I sat down and talked with Kristin, the owner of The Cannon Barrel in Watervliet (owner of McIntyre’s Pub in Watervliet, too).  I was making arrangements with her for an upcoming FUNdraising event I am organizing for the American Cancer Society.  When I say she could not be any more accommodating, I really mean, she could not be any more accommodating.  I felt that she had a genuine interest in helping make this event a success.

After I left, I went for a walk, and it got me thinking about the local people ~ the business owners who really are the heart and soul of our communities.  They are bombarded with requests for donations for this fundraiser or that one, and they pull through each and every time.  How do I know?  Because I have had my hand out for prizes and raffles as well as event planning too many times to count ~ and each time, businesses say, “Sure!  Let me help you out.”  Their kindness and generosity is really unmatched in my book.  It’s not to say that big businesses don’t make their contributions, too (because they do) ~ but it’s the small business owners that really go all out.

I also have to give a huge shout out to MarEle Boutique Accessories.  Michele and MaryJane started this business two years ago, and it is so great to see how it has grown and developed!  Every Tuesday evening, they host Party From The Couch from their Facebook Page.  This online shopping event is a benefit for many different fundraisers happening in the area, and beyond.  MarEle donates a portion of the night’s sales to the selected organization.  In addition, they attend fundraising events.  (I am beginning to think they hologram themselves around the Capital District in order to keep up with all the events they attend.)

Don’t wait for Small Business Saturday.  The next time you’re looking for a gift, or in search of a great place to eat and hang out with family and friends support the locals ~ their supporting our communities, too.

Check out some of the businesses I’ve organized events through or have generously given raffle prizes:

(It’s in no way an all-inclusive list, our local community business owners are great!  These are just businesses that have helped me recently or ongoing in my fundraising efforts for local charities and events.)

 

Challenges of a Participatory Culture September 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 3:01 pm
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Marshall McLuhan, a media guru far before his time, talks about The Global Village, long before the days of social media platforms.  The global village took the literary man as an individual and brought us into a tribal group.  He talks about this, and at the time, the electronic devices he was referring to were stationary telephones, radio and televisions.  As a society, we moved from interacting as individuals, obtaining our knowledge through books, to being members of a tribe – a global village of interaction.  From the 1960’s when he shared his view until now, we have seen many changes in the way individuals interact.  We now have mobile devices that can alert us the minute triumph or tragedy happens, no matter where we are.  Even when the electronic age he referred to started growing, there was no way to prepare for the all out openness we are experiencing now.  Through new technologies, we can connect two classrooms from half way around the world with each other to share a common lesson through the use of smart boards and the internet.  But attention needs to be paid to the use of the technologies and media.

 

 

 

Jenkins discusses the need to teach media literacy, and the challenges that are faced in order to do so.  The first is the Participation Gap.  Access to internet is one thing, access to internet with the capability of being able to do the work that is necessary for schooling is another.  I conducted an interview at the beginning of the year for another course to find out about the development of courses and instructional design.  One of the many things that needs to be taken into consideration is the technology which may be affected by the participation gap. (p. 13)  

 

The second challenge, Transparency Problem is one that I should not be surprised with, yet do find surprising.  In Shier’s study (2005) a game was developed based on historic interpretation of the first shot of the American Revolution.  Students took the representation of historical evidence in the game as being authentic.  (p. 16)  The concern lies in the ability of young people to be able to assess the quality of information received.  I had an exchange with a friend today on Facebook on this story:

 
 

When I initially commented of the fakeness of the story, responses came back with stories less and less believable than this initial posting.  But because it was on the internet, and shared by several people, then it must be truth. 

 

The third concern, Ethics Challenge, is an issue where young people creating new modes of expression that are poorly understood by adults.  He also points out the implications of their media and communications practices.  Most notably that the information that is shared maybe initially just for friends and followers can bring unwelcome attention.  (p. 17)  A recent example that comes to mind with me is happening right now in the Capital District.  Over Labor Day weekend, a party was held at a vacated house that is up for sale by a former NFL football player.  Somewhere between 200 – 300 kids illegally entered the home and held a party.  Through a series of Tweets, the teens implicated themselves not only with the text but with visual proof of who was at the party and what was going on.  The ethical norm was non-existent as they not only were breaking and entering, they stole items and did thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. 

 

We have come a long way from the new media that McLuhan referred to, yet we need to be more diligent in not only teaching and understanding the media and the use of them.  Not only do we need to make sure users can understand the operation of the media, but be able to develop critical thinking in regards to determining the validity of what they are reading/viewing.

 
 

References:

 

Jenkins, H.  Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:  Media Education for the 21st Century

 

Marshall McLuhan – The World is a Global Village (CBC TV)

 

Literacies September 22, 2013

When one thinks about literacy, they may make an immediate reference to the basics of words and numbers.  But literacy of the 21st century has expanded to from one’s ability to work with words and numbers to the development of information literacy, digital literacy, computer literacy, social literacy and visual literacy.  One needs to have:

 
 
  • Computer literacy skills in order to navigate through the Internet 
  • Information literacy skills in order to identify, locate, evaluate and effectively use the information 
  • Visual literacy in order to read and decipher visual information such as photos, graphics, charts, etc. 
  • Social Literacy in order to work collaboratively with and engage with others 
  • Digital literacy to be able to read and interpret media, reproduce data and images and evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from the digital environments
 

There are valid arguments on both sides of the literacy debate regarding the use of the Internet.  However, I tend to lean more toward the value that the Internet lends in an education environment.  One particular statement in Rich’s article that resonated with me, and supports my view was Zachary Sims, “The Web is more about a conversation, books are more one-way.” As an avid reader of both the Internet and printed books, I have to agree with him.  Books are more personal.  Whereas information on the Internet does tend to be more of a conversation.  In most cases, sites, blogs, information on the Internet promotes or gives the opportunity for engagement.  One can share, comment, respond and interact based on what they have read. 

 

Rich talks of the traditionalists who feel that digital reading is the equivalence of empty calories.  I don’t agree with this view.  I find that the use of readings on the Internet can have value.  Individuals can gather information via the Internet and decide how this information relates to the issue or problem and then use the information gathered to solve the problem or form an opinion.  It offers the opportunity to gather and share information beyond geographic boundaries, which can also enhance one’s learning.

 

 
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