Art of Being Peace

26 10 2009

Dear Mr. Bustillos,

I got my A because…

Walking in grace is not a natural process without a mindful awareness.  In fact the art of grace is a very conscious effort to draw our intentions into the present.  There is no better practice of prayer than living out your prayers.  Native Americans felt this in their wisdom as they sought not  prayers for rain but to be rain.  Former war child of Sudan, Emmanuel Jal says, “if you think it, then you have done it.”  In the same action of possibility we live in the present with the power to open our world and transcend our thoughts into reality.  What begins is a process of living in the now.  We come to full fill our vision by acting on our vision.   This is not simply an esoteric assumption but a fact.  If you lead your life with the possibility that you can live into your dreams the dreams become reality.  The patience that it takes to recognize the moment of possibility can seem waning at times but a simple reconnection to yourself and your intentions can set the course back into motion.   It is about being the you that you want to be.  It is about being.  It is about you.  We all have this energy that transcends even the most evolved scientists.  Harness the energy and live in the present.  As you do so, your gift to other becomes your light, or energy.  That energy radiates from within and can be contagious… so if you want peace in the world, don’t wait for world leaders to set that for you…become that peace yourself.  Live in gratitude.  Live in the present.  Live for now.

Hear this message from a Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh

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Give the kid your cellphone number!

22 10 2009

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Most people would consider giving students your cell phone number an easy open door for students to enter and mess with your private life.  Why would any teacher in their right mind encourage phone calls from their students?  Isn’t it a little idealist to think that teenagers won’t abuse your privacy?

These questions certainly raise a lot of fear for many.  Those unfamiliar with the practice of increased connectivity see their lives as over whelmed already.  No wonder then that those teachers complain about their contract hours for work and pay, feel no obligation to reach students outside of the normal contract hours.  One teacher recently said, “that’s nice to give up your family and home time to your students, but what’s next, charging for contact time outside of the normal office hours like lawyers do?”

These same fears are what limit the capacity of education to move at the speed of 21st Century professionals in the free market.  Most teachers in fact don’t feel connected what so ever to the free market and this may truthfully be the key.  Teachers are very concerned these days about test scores and a Darwinian way of educating.  This could be seen as market driven but the reality is that this lessens motivation, engagement, and relationships.  In order for education to move into a new paradigm and in order to prepare our students for the work place demand of jobs yet to be created, teachers themselves need to think like those who work in the market.

In the 1990’s increased productivity brought the stock market to new highs.  Whatever, whenever, wherever technologies allowed huge growth to translate into huge profits.  Multitasking and collaborative efforts lead to more transmission of content knowledge and on wider spread platforms.  Increased connectivity leads to better students, with deeper knowledge, and problem solvers ready at all times for any challenge.  President Obama even announced that teaching contact days should be increased and a move to year round schools would benefit students’ nation wide.  This is increased connectivity.  Teachers must learn from this.

Plans to spur learning are already under way.  Across the nation pioneers still exist.  Many of these pioneers are being armed with the latest tools of human gadgetry are displaying these ideas not in the boardroom but in the classroom.  These teachers are realizing the potential of increased literacy based around a new ideal of literacy where media is seen as a guide to open up the ears, eyes, and souls of students.  The written word is considered as valuable as ever.  More important than test scores, students and teachers are working together to build relationships with a shared vision and understanding.  Compassion and open communication are allowing for a new understanding of a Global community based around democracy and user filtered content.  For those teachers willing to think like a businessman, there is a whole world of wealth and knowledge being explored.  When teachers allow students to call them or instant message them about a homework problem, contact time increases, student productivity is ensured, and relationships are fastened.





Scratch…much more than two turntables and a microphone…

19 10 2009

Mike Wiseangst posted this video and comments regarding Scratch and Logo.  The possibilities of Scratch will lead teachers and students to create better, more captivating ideas while learning root problem solving skills.  No longer is scratching something for DJs to do with vinyl records.  Students are already Scratching animations, presentations, prototypes, and games.  Check it out…

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http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/03/scratch-lowers/

http://scratch.mit.edu/





Save the Prize

16 10 2009




Can’t make them passive, can only make them pirates.

16 10 2009

“-they’ve been there before — but they aren’t going to stop creating.”

-Henery Jenkins

“Corporations have a right to keep copyright but they have an interest in releasing it.”

-Henry Jenkins

Convergence culture has no better friend than George Lucas.  Think the relationship of convergence media was good only for pop culture.  Fair use and collaborators are continuing to sell the Lucas trademark Star Wars films in ways that Lucas nor his high paid Hollywood allies ever dreamed.  In return, the fans have gained a generation worth of myths and tales (Jenkins, 2006).  This is a culture where everyone wins.  New and emerging artist take their stab at telling their own tales using the Lucas fantasy.  These new editors and filmmakers, armed with tools like Youtube and today’s wide range of cameras and editing software, now participate with an audience, engaged and interactive.  These are today’s storytellers communicating in creative voice to spread previous fantasies and myths of heroes and villains.  These new films push the original ideas into a new realm of interaction and engagement.  Communities of filmmakers learn from watching each other and furthering their own skills.

DJ’s have understood this since the 70’s when they started sampling beats, scratching records, and using vocals tracks to create what is hip-hop.  The original mash up culture may in fact be hip-hop.  The very nature of the DJ, MC, Break Dancers and graffiti artwork all feed off each other in a participatory fashion.  These elements started in the underground and drove quickly to the top.  Bringing with it, hip-hop inspired millions world wide, gave a voice to people of all types, and made billions of dollars in music sales, concerts, fashion, and film.   Even though people thought hip-hop would be a quick fad, it is here to stay 30 years later.  Suppose we criminalize hip-hop.   Would it go quietly back underground?

If societies are to progress, freedom has to be guarded.  The mind develops a memory of the tales of our time.  Once the tales begin to guide us, they cannot leave the psyche.  In the same way, though copyright exists to protect investment and self-preservation, it should not exist to limit the tales we tell or the way in which we tell them.  Nor will it ever be able to stop the new media entrepreneurs from building on solid foundations.  Collaborators will not be prohibited.   Literacy is advancing.  The forms in which our stories exist are being reinvented everyday.  There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them.  The people are speaking and speaking to audiences like never before.  The evolution of democracy is happening.  Billy Joel put it best, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”

Reference:

Jenkins, Henry.  2006.  Convergence Culture.  New York.  New York University Press.





Wake Up Call!

14 10 2009

With all this talk of Web 2.0 tools, cellphones, and innovative teaching through increased technology, what connections can we draw to the health attributes of increased Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMFs)?  Just went out and bought the latest iPhone?  Looking to stay in touch with the kids with a network family mobile cell plan?  Attempting to bring cellphones in the classroom as a learning tool?  Before you jump to any rash conclusions, think about the biological impacts that EMFs are already playing in our world.  Although there are a lot of folks who still think the jury is still out on this topic, there are many who think cellphones and EMFs are increasing brain tumors and cancers world wide.

With all this information out there, what do you think?  Are we headed towards a new national health care crisis?  Are the effects of EMFs real?  Are we just waiting in purgatory for the final judgment?  Or is this whole thing just the latest scare designed to get us to go back to nature, give up our technologies?  Or even more, is this a ploy to get us to buy new devices to eliminate or filter a possible but not certain threat of cancer?  Should teachers be requiring young kids to use cellphones in class knowing about EMFs?  Should parents give their students cell phones knowing about EMFs?

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Janette: One Mother’s Laments in a Universal Struggle

11 10 2009

The following is a discussion worthy of sharing with you.  The article below is written by a fella peer of mine at Full Sail University.

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