Strategy Share: How to Make Simple Videos to Transport Your Students and Transform Their Learning

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Our Strategy Share series features innovative ideas, projects, and approaches from our community of educators. This post was written by Ben Graves after his expedition to Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Education. A lot of us are using digital video to connect with our students during this difficult new reality of distance learning in which we are …

Source: Strategy Share: How to Make Simple Videos to Transport Your Students and Transform Their Learning

“The Half of It”

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LOUISA: 3 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

Writer / director Alice Wu‘s “The Half of It” is precisely the charming tonic we all need right now, considering the current state of the world. This adorable teen rom-com about “the oppression of fitting in” is a feel-good, easy to watch, and easy to like Netflix original film (it premiers on the streaming platform on May 1).

Shy and nerdy student Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) lives in a small town with her dad (Collin Chou). She doesn’t have many friends at school, and she helps keep the lights on by writing grade-A essays for her classmates for $20 a pop. When the sweet lunkhead jock Paul (Daniel Diemer) approaches her for help writing a love note to win over pretty, popular girl Aster (Alexxis Lemire), Ellie at first declines. A change of heart (and $50 later), Ellie and Paul form an unlikely friendship that gets even more complicated when she discovers both she and her new buddy have feelings for the same girl.

Wu has done a knockout job creating a scenario where a girl is searching for love but finds friendship, and her true self, along the way. The relationships feel genuine as does everything else about the movie — except for the overwritten dialogue.

The screenplay is burdened with a string of platitudes that sound as if they were written by a well-read teenager who mopes around a lot and believes they are super profound and intelligent in the ways of the world. I suppose you could say that is an accurate representation of that age group, but it’s constant and annoying as the pensive musings are hurled forth in stale succession. There’s also a weird religious element to the movie (although this is not a faith-based film).

It’s the likeable cast and their terrific chemistry that make the film work. These characters are delightful to spend time with, and their relationships feel authentic. The majority of the film is confident and thoughtful in all the right ways, and the love triangle will keep you guessing until the end.

“The Half of It” is a delightful story of self-exploration that’s hard not to love. It may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

april 2020 – monthly wrap up

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sup! welcome to my monthly wrap up post where i look back and reflect on the shenanigans of life! i would love to hear what you got up to in april too so do stop by in the comments! moments i’m proud of: been posting piano covers quite consistently and had a few features on … Continue reading april 2020 – monthly wrap up

Intro to Vectors VIDEO

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Intro to Vectors

Source: Intro to Vectors VIDEO

Homeland

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I may be away, but my heart is always there.

A place that gave me an identity of who I am.

Land who is dearer to my soul,

Gives me goosebumps when I remember how it got freedom.

Now often I lose my peace and calm,

When I see how politics have manipulated the thoughts of the people since post Independence.

Hunger of power, misguided the subjects only for the vote bank.

Today, when few leaders are trying to put things straight,

It’s hurting many, as the power is losing from there hand.

“Is it always correct to blame government?”

Media have forgotten there ethics.

Today news are not shown to inform  but to create disparities among people.

Where communication is done through social media.

Expressing opinions and thoughts through updates and status.

Creating a net of false presumptions.

When there were no phones and internet

Social interaction was more.

Issues were resolved face to face.

Sad when people express negative about their own nation on social sites.

Letting the whole world know, how miserable your  condition is.

Gaining false sympathy.

Comparing the issues and lifestyle with other countries.

Want to take the privilege of asking questions to those who take social media as a source of expression.

Do you discuss your family matters on social media?

Clash in family issues, siblings problem etc are they too publicly discussed?

No, personal life is not on display.

Than why one forgets nation too is a big family.

Personal issues being sensitive in nature should be carefully handled.

Social media have created a very unhealthy environment.

Creating an over all picture that may not even exists.

Myth for those who believe that expressing things in social media are eye-opening and make things better.

Instead it creates hate , misconceptions and potrays your own motherland negative.

Would be nice if you

Explore your surroundings and people.

Talk to them and clear things where required.

 Remember every person have their own story to tell.

Not every individual choose to display matters like few, to make things more ugly.

 

Goddess Durga

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And last, but not least, our final (optional) prompt! In some past years, I’ve challenged you to write a poem of farewell for our thirtieth day, but this year, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that returns.

At the end of monsoon
on the cusp of autumn
when the last homage is being paid to the ancestors
from the lofty Himalayas she descends
to make earth her abode for nine nights
hail all! The beauteous one
as she comes once again
to bless our lives with her presence
the idols are decorated and the stage set
the invocations and the incantations begin
as everyone gets ready to welcome the righteous one
who slayed the demon to save her devotees
they now throng the pandals to sing her glories
her sojourn on earth is marked with festivities
choicest of foods, dance and drama
she partakes in it all in her regal glory
and then on the tenth day it is time to say farewell
there are tears as well as smiles
when her clay idol is immersed on the tenth day
she departs with the promise of her visit again.

(Durga puja is believed to commemorate Durga’s visit to her natal home with her children. The festival is preceded by Mahalaya, which is believed to mark the start of Durga’s journey to her natal home. Primary celebrations begin on the sixth day, on which the goddess is welcomed with rituals. The festival ends on the tenth day (Vijaya dashami), when devotees embark on a procession carrying the worshipped clay sculpture-idols to a river, or other water body, and immerse them, symbolic of her return to the divine cosmos and her marital home with Shiva in Kailash. She returns next year again.)

How traditional gender narratives can be used to advocate for girls’ and women’s education

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By Emily LeRoux-Rutledge, Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of the West of England

“Education is very important for girls, women and for everyone. Education is the thing that will develop our country, and without education, the country will never go ahead,” declares a voice on community radio, in rural South Sudan. It is the voice of a primary school teacher, urging his community to send its girls to school. His words perfectly encapsulate a socially shared narrative prominent in South Sudan and much of the world: the educated woman narrative, in which a woman who finishes school is expected to earn an income, acquire material security for herself and her family, and work for the development of the country.

“When the girl is educated, it will reduce the level of poverty…” he continues, “Let’s say your daughter gets married for 30 cows, and then an educated one gets married for 150 cows. That means… [the] poverty that was in that family—she reduced that.” Has he misunderstood the point of girls’ education? Not necessarily—he is now drawing on another socially shared narrative in South Sudan: the bride narrative, in which marriage happens through the giving of cows.

South Sudan 3

This example demonstrates but one of the ways in which people in South Sudan are creatively using traditional gender narratives to promote gender and development goals, such as girls’ education. In a recently published study in World Development—which draws on qualitative interviews and focus groups with 94 research participants in three rural South Sudanese communities, as well as hours of community radio content—the findings repeatedly show traditional gender narratives being used in this way, alongside modern ones, to promote gender and development goals, including education.

Why does this matter? In development circles, there’s a tendency to blame traditional gender roles and norms for slow progress towards goals such as girls’ education. The conclusion always seems to be that, for gender and development goals to be realized, traditional gender narratives must be challenged and changed. For example, a recent UNESCO report on South Sudan claims, “[There is] a strong bias against girls’ schooling… [F]emales tend to be viewed as a source of wealth for the family as a result of dowry payments and relocation of the girl to her husband’s family once married.” But, as we’ve just seen, the bride narrative can be used to advocate for girls’ education. So is the narrative really the problem, or the way it is sometimes used?

To put it another way, is there any harm in using traditional gender narratives to support goals such as girls’ education? Perhaps. If inegalitarian gender beliefs are intrinsic to traditional narratives, then perpetuating those narratives might perpetuate gender inequality. But avoiding, or directly opposing traditional narratives risks being ineffective, and ignores the ways in which people on the ground may be creatively deploying them. Scholars who study the ways in which human rights for women are pursued and enacted in local contexts maintain that they must be “vernacularized,” or framed, in terms of existing norms, values and practices. The more successfully this is done, the more traction the ideas get.

South Sudan 2

More importantly, traditional narratives need not be used in isolation. Arguments based on traditional norms, values and practices can exist alongside arguments based on gender equality. As the opening example shows, girls in South Sudan can be encouraged in their education both because it will make them more desirable marriage partners, and because women deserve to take their place alongside men in developing the country. Moreover, if material changes in women’s education levels are actually achieved, then shifts in traditional attitudes, norms and values may follow.

Indeed, traditional narratives are not necessarily static, a mistake that many development practitioners make. They can change over time—especially if they are used to support gender and development goals. In South Sudan, an educated girl used to be less desirable as a marriage partner, but a man must now offer more cows to marry an educated girl. Thus, it may be that the bride narrative in rural South Sudan is taking on a new dimension, which reinforces the value of girls’ education.

This is why the aforementioned World Development article argues there may be value in considering how to harness, rather than reject, traditional narratives in pursuit of goals like girls’ education. It may be time for us to carefully re-evaluate the assumption that traditional narratives are barriers, and critically assess when the use of such narratives is helpful to achieve gender and development goals. Ideally, we should do this without ignoring the possibility that traditional narratives may perpetuate gender inequalities, and without forgetting that transformational arguments, based on gender equality, can be used simultaneously.

South Sudan 1

This strategy can work. It worked for Elizabeth, a South Sudanese women who was extraordinarily determined to get an education as a child—so much so that she even said, “I had to kill myself because my parents wouldn’t let me go to school”. First, she explains her ambition using the educated woman narrative:

“If I continue my education, then I will be educated, and I will be somebody that can help…. Someone who is progressing, someone who is coming up, there are so many things you can do, and so many ways you can help your country.”

However, she persuaded her parents to send her to school using the bride narrative, and is extremely proud of the cows her education brought to her family:

“My husband brought so many cows that my parents were happy…. If I had not reached Primary 7, then the cows that I was married with might have not been brought to my parents. Because I know, so far, if you are educated, then you can bring many cows and so many good things to your parents.”

This raises a final point: that women often legitimately value the identities, roles and norms represented in traditional narratives, which emphasize close family relationships—one of the most important determinants of well-being.

For all of these reasons, it may be time to let go of the idea that traditional narratives are barriers to girls’ and women’s education. Critically harnessing traditional narratives would recognize the fact that traditional narratives are strategic for women, are valued by women, and are currently used to support some of the very gender and development goals that the international development community seeks to achieve.

South Sudan 4

Yet another non-profound saying

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A dog knows more about his environment through scent than humans will ever understand..

 

Seek what you cannot perceive,

strive to learn what you cannot know.

For the spark of knowledge to ignite,

curiosity must grow.

— Joelle LeGendre

Education

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Watch Well

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What are we up to these Quarantine Days?

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How is this quarantine going for everyone? Are we happy? Or clubed with thoughts and emotions? Everyone is going through the same tough situation though. And some are even worse. There are a lot of people outside, who go for daily wages work, without food now. And people who are home with all essentials are not happy with anything around. Few desparately want to go out, meet friends and families, and want to go to job. I know this is so bad for each of us here. Many wedding chapters have been postponed, whereas few took place within a little space.
The major thing that’s happening is misunderstandings and random arguments between spouses. I have been hearing a lot recently, and even today. What not! Even me and my husband went through the same situation a couple of days back. To my thoughts, it is not a big thing to think about it and fight back with your spouse. All of us are stuck in a position where we’re occupied with a lot of thoughts that are actually not necessary. We just face those four walls, look at each other the whole day, and try to go on with time till end of the day. This has more chances of creating madness, anger, and boredom, keeping our mind ideal. It is true they say, “An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop”. We keep giving more volume of thoughts to even the simplest things which is causing all the misunderstanding and unnecessary spat with partner or anybody. This is a time to be together, time to understand each other, being patient with one another, love endlessly. But we all fail at some point. Spend more time face-to-face. Because, this is one agreement myself and my husband are working on. And you know what? It helps! Truly, yes. We keep our phones away, and are practicing this habit of talking to each other on how the day went for both of us; his office work, my day time, some general news. Speaking and sharing helps too much beyond what we expect. Parents, who have children of young age, can spend time with kids and teach them many learnings. Give them little activities, which means not just that are related to academics. It can also be simple household works, helping in the kitchen, a short session in the terrace to get fresh breeze, and teach them physical exercises. Show them there is a lot to perform within this little space. We have so much to do, learn, and keep learning more. Especially housewives, it is not just your kitchen even now. Take care of your body and do something for yourself to build you better. Don’t forget yourselves while taking care of others. Get enough rest, sleep and relax, and stay hydrated. Cleanse your mind and detox your body.
Because, it is important, and you matter the most.
Let’s all try to be stress-free instead of worrying when this will end. Hard times don’t last. Let’s hope for it. We’re coming out of this together.

© Yashica Priya

Homeschooling is Dangerous, Harvard? Come On, Now

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Anna Dusseau | 30th April 2020

Last week was a kick in the nuts. According to the Daily Mail, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet has labelled homeschooling as ‘dangerous’, claiming that it gives parents “authoritarian control” over children. Okaaaaay. I mean, it’s the Daily Mail, so I’m easy like Sunday morning at this point. It was only when her comments went on to say that it’s “always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless”, that I actually laughed out loud. I mean, really? Has she met my kids? And, come to think of it, almost every child I’ve come across so far through homeschooling? I’ve never encountered a more outspoken, confident and downright fearless bunch of kids in my life! And I’ve worked in some fairly tough London academies. Homeschoolers take the absolute biscuit, then dunk it in oatmilk hot chocolate and steadily eyeball you while questioning the ethical packaging of said biscuit. But, the thing is, it remains a kick in the nuts to home educators around the world when such toxic opinions are voiced by people in positions of authority, often highly institutionalised themselves although that’s beside the point. Talk about abuse of power! That’s exactly what you are doing when you write off an entire community of people – who, almost universally, prioritise the well-being of their children above all else – based on your own lack of understanding and misrepresentation of the issue. Silly cow.

Only it’s not really about Lizzy B, or the institution she represents. This is bigger than Harvard, y’all! It’s actually about how we deal with state control and intervention in our freedom of choice. And let me begin by saying that I am aware of some fairly gruesome headline stories of neglect and abuse relating to children who were not attending school. I am using this term because, when you look at these heartbreaking stories, there was certainly no homeschooling going on. My argument here does not erase the suffering of those children, nor is it blind to the fact that such extreme abuse is facilitated when there is little or no contact with the authority figures who would report on such things in a school context. But to brand the entire homeschooling demographic as ‘dangerous’ because of a few very messed up individuals is like, I don’t know, hurling racist abuse at someone on the train because their skin colour is similar to a person you saw in the news recently. It wouldn’t be tolerated in mainstream society and it shouldn’t be respected simply because the ignorance comes from on high. Thank you, Trump, for springing to mind at this point. The whole dialogue represents a knee-jerk reaction to a rapidly growing demographic who buck the norm and know more than the average Joe about the world of education. Which never goes down well. Four hundred years ago, people were regularly persecuted, even executed, for heresy; now our mental landscapes have change and I think we would all agree those people died in vain. It’s different and it’s not so different. Because, by demonising regular homeschooling families rather than tackling the actual problem itself, you are wasting your breath and doing the victims of these awful circumstances no favours at all. Abusers will always find a way to abuse. Homeschooling is just an outlet; not the cause.

“I’ve learnt that the safest path is not always the best path and…that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.”

– Steve Goodier

Because I for one would welcome greater scrutiny of the home educating sector. I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but I feel along with many others that I have nothing to hide and, in fact, the school system has a lot to learn from the homeschool approach and the wonderful effect this has on childhood creativity, motivation, autonomy and well-being. My only concern would be that any form of regulation would be carried out by people who don’t really understand the principles of home education and have neither the time nor inclination to devote to engaging properly with it. I expect this would be the case, especially under the current government. What is easy to overlook, when talking about authoritarian control, is the cumulative effect of being plugged into the state school system for many, many young people. It is relentless and the lack of joined-up thinking turns the screw even tighter. Take the average teenage boy, who wakes up tired in the morning and is barked at for not being ready on time to leave because mum is late for work and dad has to catch the train, when all his body actually needs to do at that point is rest a bit longer because, biologically, he’s growing and that wipes you out. Having been rushed out of the house, this guy arrives at school to find he’s forgotten his homework and is double-checking his bag when he gets another telling off in assembly for disruptive rustling. Sit still. Shut up. An adult is talking now. Feeling a bit hacked off at this point, the same young man arrives at his first class and tries to explain the situation to the teacher, but she is having none of it and instructs him to sit down and stop interrupting. That’s detention for another late homework. And don’t even bother trying to tell me that your parents work late and there’s nobody available to help you with it; excuses, excuses. On the way to the next lesson, he’s caught by the Head of Year checking his phone (probably to see if he can get his dad to call the school and explain the homework situation) so now that’s confiscated and it’s another detention for having a phone in school. “But my mum won’t let me take the bus on my own without one!” “That’s entirely your problem, kid.” Jesus! No wonder so many young people have anger management issues. Sometimes, it’s only the form tutor who actually sits down with a child like this and connects the dots, forming a holistic picture a what their day under the iron fist of blind adult authority feels like. I have been a form tutor many times. So have several of my fellow homeschooling friends and colleagues. We have seen what schools are like and we don’t want that for our own children.

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

– Albert Einstein

If, in fact, this offering from the Daily Mail is, as I suspect, jumping on the bandwagon of COVID-19 crisis schooling rather than actually critiquing the long-established and gentle practice of elective home education, then I think they’ve got a point. The current situation is claustrophobic for even the most solid of family setups and what some children must be witnessing – or even experiencing themselves – at home right now must be traumatic. No wonder the Head of OFSTED, Amanda Spielman, is calling for children to return to school as soon as possible. For many children school is, sadly, an escape from an unhappy home. But actually, the damage of the lockdown runs further than that, as we see news stories submerged by narratives of stressed-out parents struggling to cope with remote working, squabbling siblings and what appears to be an attempt to recreate ‘school’ at home. This certainly does sound like a dangerous environment and one in which countless children oscillate between oppressive daily schedules imposed by parents floundering in an endless stream of communication from the school (some are actually asking students to ‘sign in’ online at 8:30am) followed by the total void of being dropped from the crisis schooling circus and left to their own devices which, in some of the less happy homes I have encountered, means a Golding-esque hierarchy battle between siblings who have become so estranged by the school system that they no longer know how to just hang together and look at a magazine. Some families are coping brilliantly through this time. Some are not. But neither represents homeschooling, so I can’t help but wonder why the only social group that isn’t gagging for the back to school date to be announced is the one being dragged through the headlines.

I am writing this post for all the exceptional home educating families I have met, who I know are too busy homeschooling their children to scrap with the media. The true spirit of home education is born out of a gentle parenting philosophy that takes account of children’s different needs and desires every step of the way. I am as mindful of my son’s fear of large groups as my daughter’s need to try on lipstick and go to her first sleepover. Homeschooling defines normality, rather than deviating from it. And where extreme ideologies or irresponsible approaches to parenting do exist, we must ask ourselves whether banning home education is likely to solve this problem, or simply shift it. I expect, after all, that tyrants and despots went to school once too, just like the rest of us. Respecting homeschooling families goes hand in hand with embracing diversity in society. We cannot apologise for rare cases where individuals who do not represent our values persecute their own children. But what we can say is that we’re a friendly bunch; come and check it out properly, if you’re interested. The door is always open.

smart boy, smart kid, glasses, handsome, little, youth, cool ...

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Is Zen a goal, a gratitude or an attitude?

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Z2020Since my underlying theme for the A to Z this year has been gratitude and aspects of it, Zen seems to be the ultimate objective: where we reach a state of calmness and gratefulness that accepts our life as it is.

It’s particularly pertinent in April 2020 as we come to terms with a different life in social isolation from how we normally fill our days. #Iso-Zen might be our goal. For myself I haven’t found my life to be vastly different from usual other than what might be over-dramatically expressed as a reduction in freedom, to just go out, meet friends, have a coffee, go for dinner or for a drive in the country.

stones-451329_1280

Image from Pixabay by Dweedon1

The A to Z challenge this year has been a great way to use my time productively and has provided a focus for the days. My main outings have been to see my mother in her care home and occasional outings for exercise. Fortunately, Australia’s leaders have worked largely collaboratively and put safety precautions in place quickly, so that most of us do not sit in fear each day. That truly is a cause for gratitude.

Zen teaches that once we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform that situation and lighten up about it. Allen Klein, American author

Zen and Ancestors

There’s no particular way to identify whether my ancestors had reached a zen-like attitude to their lives. Perhaps there’s just the hope that at the end of their lives they were content with what they’d achieved, felt happiness from the ever-expanding family descendants, and were grateful for the joys of their lives. I can only hope they had no great regrets about leaving their homeland or how their lives had turned out. Many had maintained their religious faith which had sustained them over the years.  They’d been determined in achieving their goals and were settled in their locations and had contributed to the growth of our country and their neighbourhoods. I suppose we can call that reaching a state of Zen or contentment.

How do you regard Zen and discover it in your ancestors’ lives?

Well, I believe life is a Zen koan, that is, an unsolvable riddle. But the contemplation of that riddle – even though it cannot be solved – is, in itself, transformative. And if the contemplation is of high enough quality, you can merge with the divine. Tom Robbins, American author.

20170312_113947

A zen garden at San Francisco’s Japanese Gardens. © P Cass 2017

Quotes from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes

The World’s Growing Impatience

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Social[1]Long before the pandemic began, I habitually browsed through a variety of news sources to find out what was happening in the world. As I do so these days, one question keeps replaying in my head…how long can people reasonably be expected to social isolate before they chuck it in order to visit cherished family and friends, or to salvage what’s left of their business? As you all know, millions of folks are missing out on paychecks, medical procedures, visits with ailing family members, and educational prospects.

Here in British Columbia, talk has started about a slow and careful reopening, although we’re still two weeks away from lifting the state of emergency. Our provincial health officer isn’t ready to provide specific dates about starting elective surgeries or re-opening classrooms. It’s worth noting that B.C.’s lockdown hasn’t been as strict as it is in other provinces, and that many of BC’s closures are self-imposed. Still, I sense that people are starting to become really frustrated and even angry about the lack of work and accessibility to services. Here in the Lower Mainland, we are seeing more vehicles on the road than there was two weeks ago, although what this actually means isn’t clear. Maybe people just want to go for a drive. After all, gas is really cheap right now.

As I’ve mentioned before, self-isolation is easier for some than others, depending on circumstances, but is there a line that some will cross before health experts give the all clear?

The day that line is crossed will be different for everyone. Mother’s Day is coming up, as is the Victoria Day long weekend in about three weeks. If the weather is hot and sunny, what will happen then?

Governments aren’t bottomless pits of financial aid. They will run out of money and things will have to re-open—hopefully in a smart, safe way—long before a vaccine is developed. Will the majority of people be back at work this summer? Will the beaches and parks and malls re-open? If so, will the numbers of people allowed in be restricted, and if so, who will regulate those wide open spaces? It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

I don’t know what my own personal line is, but my daughter will give birth sometime in late July. I haven’t seen her in person since March 8th, and although I would never do anything to jeopardize her health, the urge to go see her will become overwhelming as time passes.

Yes, we’re all in this together, but as I’ve seen on the news this week, there are different interpretations of togetherness. Many of us are still doing our best to stay home, remain patient, and see what unfolds. May should prove to be an interesting month.

Online education! but…

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OnlineEducationMy Professional degree requires that I maintain specific hours of CPE (Continuing Professional Education) every year.

Being at home during the lockdown, I’m trying to increase the amount of webinars and online classes I’m attending for CPE purposes.

“INCREASE THE AMOUNT”.. hmm.. this has some consequences….

One of the sessions I registered lately was managed by SheLeadsTech. Of course, I haven’t paid much attention for that then nor did I read the details fully. So, when the virtual conference started, I was embarrassed that I was the only male there!!

Well, I’m grateful to have an opportunity to attend such a valuable session – no body kicked me out because I’m male… AND, thanks to my wife and my daughter for giving me time to explain the situation, i.e, engaging with some beautiful ladies in front of the screen of my laptop! hehehe

Remembering a Geography Education Legend

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Last year, I was considering ways to get some of the “ancestors” of AP Human Geography to the reading.  Alec Murphy was the Professional Development Night speaker at the 2019 APHG reading.  I was hoping to have James Marran address the APHG reading community but he has passed away.  ETS has asked me to share this letter to remember him as a pioneer for the APHG community and geography education.

Marran

 

Source: Remembering a Geography Education Legend

“Bad Education”

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LOUISA: 2.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

A noteworthy performance from Hugh Jackman and a compelling story about a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme work in tandem to make “Bad Education” a watchable, if bland, movie. Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of Long Island school superintendent Frank Tassone (Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney), two education professionals who work tirelessly in a bid to capture the nation’s top spot as the best school in America. Frank and Pam care, and they sometimes care a little too much.

When a high school reporter (Geraldine Viswanathan) uncovers some fishy invoice documents while researching a puff piece on the school, she digs deeper and finds evidence of a financial racket of epic proportions. After the grift comes to light, Frank must devise an elaborate cover-up to protect his school district.

The true story isn’t one of those crazy, “I can’t believe this happened” types of tales. It’s astonishing how much money was actually stolen from the school district, and even more so that the guilty parties could buy into their own excuses. There’s so much lying an corruption going on that the liars actually believe their own truths. The guilty parties have truly defective moral characters because they think they can get away with it, with casual excuses as to why the school district was charged $10,000 for a pair of round trip tickets to London on the Concorde. Janney and Jackman are terrific, and both of their performances get better as the crisis unfolds and they grow more and more unhinged.

The script is dialogue-driven, so don’t expect a thrill a minute true crime story. The film has a small-screen feel, and director Cory Finley‘s storytelling is choppy with irritating narrative inconsistencies (especially when it comes to Tassone’s personal life). It’s a head-scratcher when the movie seems to be trying to make viewers feel sorry for the guilty parties.

“Bad Education” is a decent movie with a good story, just don’t ask me to have any sympathy towards these privileged sociopaths.

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