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Columbia to Host New Media in Education Conference

Posted by Rachel Evans on
Columbia to Host New Media in Education Conference
Columbia to Host New Media in Education Conference

Columbia to Host New Media in Education Conference

A free, all day conference will be hosted by Columbia University’s Morningside Campus on Friday, February 1. The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be completely free and open to the public. You can register by visiting this link nme2013.eventbrite.com. The event, in the Faculty House at Columbia University Morningside Campus is being put on by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. Those attending will likely include people from Columbia University, their technology higher education colleagues and the general public interested in the conference topic.

Columbia speakers and others are going to talk about things that affect education and technology, including online learning, digital publishing, and social media. The topic of how new media can bolster educational initiatives will also be on tap.

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Democrats and Republicans on Education: Examining Some Similarities

Posted by Rachel Evans on
Democrats and Republicans on Education: Examining Some Similarities
Democrats and Republicans on Education: Examining Some Similarities

Democrats and Republicans on Education: Examining Some Similarities

As the debate regarding whether or not the Republican and Democratic parties are more alike than different rages on, political pundits and private citizens in search of an answer have turned to the educational arena in an attempt to discern whether or not the two groups are ideologically aligned. While much legislation for various projects and purposes has been submitted by members of both camps, two of the most compelling acts as of late are Governor Georgia Deal’s decision to cut funding for the HOPE scholarship and President Barack Obama’s legislation limiting the amount of Pell Grant money college students can receive. An even cursory examination of this activity sends to lend credence to the notion that both parties have a proclivity for eliding the needs of individuals in need of an education to climb the socioeconomic latter. Let’s examine both cases briefly.

As many Georgians know, Republican conservative Governor Nathan Deal recently revamped the HOPE scholarship after a lack in revenue from the Georgia lottery put funding for the educational program in jeopardy. While the scholarship used to provide full university funding for students who maintained a 3.0 during high school, the revenue shortage from the loterry resulted in Deal changing the scholarship structure into a two-tier system comprised of the Zell Miller Scholarship and a new form of the old HOPE program. With the Zell Miller Scholarship, students must have a 3.7 GPA and score a 1200 on the SAT in order to qualify for total college tuition funding. Its counterpart, the new HOPE scholarship, requires that students maintain a 3.0 as before. Yet this branch of the scholarship will cover only 90% of tuition as opposed to the full funding provided in the past. These changes are problematic on many levels, especially since socioeconomic status is tied to how students perform academically. Deal’s changes to the HOPE program mean that many people who were already more likely to have substantive wealth and access to a quality education will be receiving more money and acceptance into institutions of higher learning. On the other hand, their poorer counterparts will likely lose their opportunity to attain the money necessary to fund their education, thereby perpetuating the cycles of poverty put in place by their uneducated parents. Upon considering Deal’s changes to the HOPE scholarship then, it appears that he is at least somewhat unconcerned about devising solutions for problems indigenously connected to the poverty that results from-and is perpetuated by-a lack of education.

Individuals who argue that the Democrats have a better record of educating the poor than the Republicans may be surprised to note that President Barack Obama was responsible for cutting Pell Grant funding by 33%. According to Obama’s new plan, Pell Grants will be rewarded for 12-rather than 18-semesters. The cuts were reportedly first discovered by Dallas college students who received e-mails regarding the changes. Put in perpetuity by the Consolidated Appropriations Act that President Obama signed into law on December 23, 2011, the federal measure limiting Pell Grant funding took effect on July 1, 2012. These cuts will negatively affect many groups, but its primary victims will be the lower income an at-risk students who may have to scramble for funds to make up for the loss. What makes Obama’s role in imposing these educational limitations on students who need substantive funding particularly problematic is that he did not mention the fact that he was approving the legislation during his campaign. Finally, the fact that the Republican plan for the Pell Grant would have involved deeper cuts than those put in place by the Democrats does not negate the negative impact that the latter party has exacted through the legislation.

As made evident by juxtaposing Deal’s HOPE fund cuts and Obama’s Pell Grant slashing, members of both the Republican and Democratic parties have a proclivity for problematizing the ability of the poor to attain a quality education through government assistance. Whether this is an acceptable way for politicians to govern should be left to informed and thinking citizens, but in a nation where legislators don’t make education a priority, the general populace may not possess the aforementioned attributes to the degree that most would like.

Blogging

AntWorks Space Age Ant Farm: Educational & Entertaining

Posted by Rachel Evans on
AntWorks Space Age Ant Farm: Educational & Entertaining

AntWorks Space Age Ant Farm: Educational & Entertaining

AntWorks Space Age Ant Farm: Educational & Entertaining

The AntWorks Ant Farm Space Age Ant Habitat is an incredible, highly educational eco-based item that can be used to teach children about how ants live. Studying them in the wild isn’t always the best way to go about learning about ants; you never know when they are going to be active and most of the action is happening underground. Thanks to AntWorks you can see exactly what these amazing creatures are up to. Unlike ant farms that are made up of dirt, the Space Age Ant Habitat contains a clear, non-toxic silicone based gel. The ants tunnel and dig through it as they prepare the colony for habitation.

How is this educational? It can allow children to see exactly how ants work together for the greater good of their community. Since most ants have a lifespan of about six months, you won’t have to worry about replacing all that often. You will have to find an ant colony to harvest your ants; there are none included with the kit and unlike the Uncle Milton Ant Farm, you can not send away for them. There are sites that sell this ant farm and then send you ants but they are not connected with AntWorks. Most sites that sell ants are going to have Harvester Ants; they are social creatures that are very hard workers so you will see a lot of action in your ant farm.

You do not have to feed your ants or provide them with water; the silicone gel that they are tunneling through is what they consume. It is suggested that you remove the lid from time to time to allow fresh air inside it. We also drop about 20 sugar crystals in the ant farm as a little treat for them. The ants do all the work including removing waste, expired ants and pieces of silicone that may have broken off. It is amazing to see what they can do in a 24 hour period. If you have a digital camera you can set it up in a fixed position and take a photograph of it every day or several times a day. You can upload the photos and see how much progress they have made.

Some hints for a successful Space Age Ant Habitat:
1. Do not place it in direct sunlight as it could super heat and kill the ants.
2. Do not shake the habitat or move it around a lot, it disturbs the ants and their navigation skills.
3. Do not add new ants to the habitat until they have all died off. They will more than likely be from different colonies and that could cause a fight.

You can get the AntWorks Illuminated Combination Ant Farm in three colors; green, blue or red. Of the three the blue is the one that I like best, it is a lot easier on your eyes if you plan on studying the ants for a long period of time. You can get the ant farm for $19.99 or the Illuminated Combination Ant Farm for $29.99; that has an under deck light up module that lets you watch them at night or when you don’t want to have an overhead light on. It isn’t all that bright but it is enough to light up the entire any farm and surrounding area.

If you are interested in this ant farm you can order it directly from AntWorks at their website (www.antworksonline.com).