Finished my Subway Read

I have been reading Rethinking Popular Culture and Media during my ride to and from work three days a week. I have finally finished it. I can’t recommend it enough. This is one of the best resources I have run across covering media bias, popular culture in the classroom, diversity, social justice, and more. I did not used to mark up my books in college as I read them. One reading would be enough to get me the info I needed. Maybe because I am a bit removed from all of those active brain cells, or more likely because this is such a good resource, I folded pages over, underlined important ideas, and starred resources I wanted to find later. With one reading, this book is dog-eared and annotated.

My next book has a high standard to reach, but my Goodreads to-read list is very long!

Current Events

Better World Flux screen capture

When I taught fifth and sixth grade, I subscribed to IndyKids, a really great resource created by kids for kids. Recently I stumbled upon Youngzine, another youth resource for youths. Both publications address current events head on without avoiding the underlying issues, but they do it in a way that is appropriate for upper elementary and older.

There are a host of other sites that dig into these deeper causal issues. One such site is Better World Flux which allows one to see how various indicators have changed over time and geography.

Also worth checking out:

Bullying Response Critique

I can’t get enough of Rethinking Popular Culture and Media by Rethinking Schools. One of the articles, by Gerald Walton, I read today is a critique of the portrayal of bullying in Glee and by extension and connection the commercialization of the anti-bullying messaging in our culture today.

Walton focuses on how gay bashing is lumped in with other forms of bullying when it should be categorized under sexual harassment. He capably argues this point with ample evidence from the show and from literature about LGBT harassment.

He then states, “The broad representation of bullying in Glee can be tied to the concept’s commodification. Bullying has become useful and profitable for corporations.” (p.218) In the article, Walton provides several resource boxes including one for intervention strategies, books for children, films, and websites.

Toward the end of the article, he asks, “Why do so many school administrators and teachers, real and fictional ones in shows such as Glee, claim their schools are save for children while homophobic harassment remains prominent and obvious. While his focus is on this more narrow topic, I feel the same is true about bullying, cliques, and other aspects of students’ social interactions. Bringing this up runs a bit contrary to the purpose of Walton’s article, but being tasked with presenting on Internet safety, I am attuned to messaging from schools to their parent and public audiences. To really grapple with the many issues that pervade our growing children’s and adolescents’ lives, we have to admit they are there and recognize the scope of them.

My First Digital Magazine Subscription, Almost

Today, after setting the boot order of my drives in the bios to avoid a blank screen on startup, I received an email that my first issue of PC Magazine had been delivered electronically. I use disposable email addresses when signing up for things, so this was sent to and delivered to the email I had set up for PC Magazine. However, when I created a Zinio account, that is the reader that supports the PC Magazine electronic delivery, I used a different email. After much searching, I could not find a way to have my magazine delivered to my account. Grr. I have sent an email to their customer support to figure this out.

Moving my magazine subscriptions to the digital realm is one of the last bastions of paper use I have to attack; my first volley has been less than effective so far.

Starting a New Book

With my focus on reducing entertainment screen time, on changing my diet, and on exercising, I am finding that I am reading again. The most recent book I tossed in my bag for reading on the T during my commute, Rethinking Popular Media and Culture edited by Elizabeth Marshall and Ozlem Sensoy, has been sitting on my pile for quite a while. I am passionate about teaching media literacy, and every publication I have used from the Rethinking Schools organization has been excellent. Already I am hooked on this book after 40 pages. The first section is titled, “Study the Relationship Among Corporations, Youth, and Schooling.”

I think it is imperative for technology teachers to be acutely aware of media literacy issues because they are so embedded in content to which we provide access.

Internet Safety Livebinder: the project so far

I have been steadily compiling this Livebinder of Internet Safety resources and ideas for my presentation in two weeks. It is not finished, but I thought I’d share it with you to see what you think so far.

2012–02–14 Parent Internet Safety Presentation

The Source

 Where do you go to buy…

There are a few places that stand out in my mental bookmarks as the place to go to get a specific thing. Today, I am focusing on getting a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Mintes a Day because I have used it enough to warrant purchasing a copy. So I turn to bookfinder. Bookfinder aggregates offerings from many booksellers into one nice interface and payment system.

If I am looking for cables, I go to Monoprice. There I can find cables and cable accessories for substantially less than any store and less even than Amazon or similar sellers. I have always been pleased with the quality of the items and the speed of shipping, and the cost is so much less that it makes no sense to go anywhere else.

Oh, dear readers, where are your no-brainer-go-to-this-place places to buy things?

eBooks and Adobe

One of the many to do items on my list is figuring out how to get an eBook on the iPad. Yes, many people have done this, but I just had to jump through the hoops to see how it is done. Of course, there are many flavors of eBooks and readers, so this is just one example.
I pointed my browser to the Cambridge City Library page which has a section for Electronic Books. There, three options were presented: Overdrive’s Digital Media Catalog, EBSCO’s eBook Collection, and Project Gutenberg. I know about Project Gutenberg and have even read books from that source, so I thought I’d try something different.
I clicked on Overdrive to see what there was to see. This brought up a catalog of digital media that was imbedded in the Minuteman Catalog. There were three types of media: Adobe EPUB, Kindle, and MP3 audio.  I chose a book that was presented in Adobe EPUB book format because I wanted digital text to read and I had used Kindle before.
I clicked on the information button by the EPUB file to see what I needed to make my borrowing experience successful. It turns out I needed the Overdrive Media Console, so I opened the App Store and downloaded that.
Upon selecting the book, I was prompted to log in to my library account. Afterwards, I was allowed a 7, 14, or 21 day checkout. I chose 7 days and clicked Download. Up came my newly installed Overdrive Media Console which told me I had to have an Adobe ID. I tried a few different variations of what surely was an old ID, but no use. 
I clicked on the link to make a new ID which brought up a browser with the Adobe website ready for my details. I entered them, returned to the Overdrive App, and entered my newly minted Adobe ID in the proper fields. Finally, the book loaded, and I could read it. 
That was a lot of setup for a digital book, but it was free through my local library. Also, I shouldn’t have to do all of that again.

Favorite Sources

I think my most favorite source of new ideas, tech tools, and inspiration is Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog. Some other sources I also draw from, in no particular order:

These are just a few of the feeds in my Ed Tech folder of my reader. There are also folders to Technology, News, Environmental, Parenting, Boston Kids Events, Friends and Family, and Hobbies.
What are your favorite blogs to read?