Join us this summer, June 10-12, for a dynamic professional development institute focused on performing arts integration in the classroom. Educators will spend three days at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts working directly with professional artists to learn new skills and ideas for incorporating music, dance and theater into their curricula while addressing Common Core state standards. They will also discover new media-rich resources KQED and PBS, including a new arts video series made specifically for a student audience. Teachers can also earn a $200 stipend or two continuing education units from CSU East Bay for completion of the institute and follow-up assignments.
Artists and educators Kwesi Anku and Kweku Morgan were recently featured on KQED's new arts education video series, and they will be leading a full day of the institute. Check out their interview and then sign up for the institute by visiting http://kqedperformingarts.eventbrite.com/.
Are we doing enough to protect honey bees? How might this environmental issue impact you? What do you think will happen if there are no more honey bees?
Since 2006, honey bees have been dying at an alarming rate. The event, called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has killed about one third of all honey bees within the US.
We depend on honey bees to pollinate crops that we eat every day—apples, cucumbers, blueberries, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, almonds, strawberries, soybeans, watermelon, and more. The bees’ services are estimated to be worth $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually in the US alone.
Researchers have found links to CCD with certain pesticides called neonicotinoids. Last month, nations within the European Union voted a two-year ban on neonicotinoids to protect honey bees.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency came out with a 72-page report on honey bee health determining that pesticides in combination with other factors—including parasitic mites, low genetic diversity in bees, and poor nutrition—are contributing to CCD. Neither organization recommends banning neonicotinoids as the EU has done, but would like beekeepers and growers to collaborate on best practices with use of pesticides.
The US organizations will update an action plan to include priorities in combating CCD over the next 5-10 years.
The Change, a student-produced documentary on immigration
As the immigration reform bill begins to consume lawmakers in Washington in the coming months, students around the country had a head start to debate the issue online. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead Democratic negotiator, explains, "The American people have told us to do two things. One, prevent future flows of illegal immigration, and then come up with a common sense solution for legal immigration. And that's what our bill does."
The bill also makes changes to how foreigners can legally immigrate to the United States going forward. These changes are intended to make the process easier. However, only immigrants who came to the country before Dec. 31, 2011 can apply. To read more about the bill, you can visit to the KQED Do Now #75 prompt.
In Coppell, Texas, students at New Tech High @ Coppell overwhelmingly took over the debate last week in our weekly Do Now discussion. Educators Janelle Bence and Danae Boyd presented the activity to over 136 learners who all made compelling arguments about the issue. The majority of the conversation happened in the comments section of the KQED Do Now blog post. But, students also tweeted rich media that they produced, which consisted mostly of documentary and poetic videos about immigration.
Rookies in Ms. Bence's class debate immigation on KQED Do Now's website.
Should fashion companies like H & M and Zara be responsible for the manufacturing of their clothing even though they don't own the factories? What should be their role? What is the role of the consumer? What is the role of government?
Last week a garment factory building collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, leaving over 500 workers dead. Labor organizers argue that this tragedy could easily have been prevented if factory regulations were put in place to ensure safer working conditions. However, the lack of regulations allows fashion companies to pay less money for the manufacturing of their clothing, making it cheaper for people to buy the products in stores. Should the effort to sell clothing at such a low price justify the hiring of garment factories with poor and dangerous working conditions?
What makes clothing so cheap? U.S. fashion companies design their merchandise in the United States and then outsource the labor in countries like Bangladesh where workers are paid very little to sew the garments. According to Elizabeth Cline in her book Over-Dressed factories like these in Bangladesh pump out what she calls "fast fashion," or clothes made on the cheap by big chains such as H&M, Zara, Esprit, Lee, Wrangler, Nike, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart.
According to Cline, these factories are unregulated. There are power outages six times a day, infrastructure problems, but the labor is so cheap and gives companies a competitive advantage. In China, where 15 million people work in the garment industry, the cost of labor has gone up recently so companies are looking elsewhere to manufacture clothing. But Bangladesh can't keep up with China's infrastructure to produce such a high volume of clothing, so they buckle under the pressure and mistakes happen like a building collapse or a large building fire in November.
Elizabeth Sarmiento is from Honduras and works as a project manager with Valley Verde, a non profit company based in San Jose. The company provides gardens and supplies to low income families, and Elizabeth and her colleagues teach the families about nutrition and growing their own food in a way that yields healthy food while having minimal impact on the environment.
She describes all the different employment options in the environmental studies field. For example, she talks about opportunities in water conservation and water resource management and in landscaping which is a huge field in itself. There is also the option to become an educator in any of these fields.
Elizabeth emphasizes that almost any job can promote sustainability and awareness of environmental impact.
On June 1 & 2, the Bay Area Youth Media Network (BAYMN) in partnership with KQED will present BAYMN FEST, a free two-day interactive showcase of media produced by young folks ages 12-24, hosted at the San Francisco Public Library. Through screenings, workshops, a transmedia gallery, a makerspace, parties and networking opportunities, BAYMN FEST will be a place for young artists to share their work, meet their peers, acquire new tools, make their voices heard—and win cool prizes and media-making tools! It is a unique opportunity for youth, educators and the general public to celebrate the work of talented young media makers. We hope you will join us and be inspired.
We received over 300 youth-produced videos through our call for entries in a variety of categories including Science, Technology, & Innovation; Arts & Expression; and Social Justice & Community Engagement; and we have put together an exciting series of shorts programs that will screen throughout the weekend.
This event is open to the public. For educators, we encourage you to schedule time for your students to come and participate… or if you are out of school for the summer, to organize a group of young folks to attend. This event will be a great opportunity for young folks to connect with their peers who are passionate about making media, and it will give you the chance as an educator to immerse yourself in the youth media movement, network with other educators and even acquire some new skills. This festival is funded by Adobe Youth Voices and The AT&T Foundation.
To attend to this event, you must RSVP here -- www.baymnfest.eventbrite.com Below is a breakdown of the festival schedule, workshop schedule, and film program. Please reserve a spot for one of our workshops by filling out this form. Be sure to reserve spots for any or all of the days. And don't forget about the BAYMN BASH reception on the evening of Saturday, June 1! And it's all FREE!
Biotechnology is a rapidly growing field that uses research tools from biology and chemistry to find solutions to current scientific problems. Some biotechnology professionals look for the genetic basis of disease or factors that affect lifespan. Others focus on solving food shortages, the climate crisis, or criminal investigations.
There is a broad assortment of biotechnology resources to support learning in PBS LearningMedia including this biotechnology collection from WGBH.
Biotechnology Collection Students learn about biotechnology applications, concepts, tools and techniques, and career options with resources in this collection. These resources explore common laboratory techniques used for treating disease and improving diagnosis, and examine the ethical debate over such research. Career profiles demonstrate the multifaceted nature of biotechnology jobs and the wide range of opportunities in this field.
The pedagogy of noncredit is quite different from credit. Because students' attendance may be intermittent, teaching requires lot of repetition and "spiraling up," which can be described as repetition with a slight refocus or increase in difficulty each time a teaching point is covered. In ESL, repetition is not a problem - in fact it's a benefit. Language acquisition must involve repetition, and lots of it. All learning, to be clear, involves repetition, but noncredit builds the concept in. Students are not expected to acquire knowledge after one presentation and then reproduce it on a test. How many times would it take you to learn the correct endings of a Spanish verb? Voy, vas, va, vamos, vais, van. Got that? Or would you need to practice it many times in order to add it to your store of knowledge and experience?
Noncredit instruction fits in nicely with what Diane Larsen-Freeman calls Language as a Dynamic System. The adult human brain is not a vessel to be filled with knowledge; it is a living, changing organism which constantly adjusts and readjusts to new experiences and information (well, maybe not in current American politics, but certainly in language acquisition). Another way of describing it is that language learning is not linear. We are trapped into thinking of learning as linear by the time-focused framing of our traditional educational format, which we know as credit in community colleges and elsewhere. But in fact learning happens fitfully, in leaps and bounds, with fallow periods and moments of revelation (Oh, that's how to conjugate that verb!).
Noncredit lends itself to this non-linear reality in learning by allowing students to sip at the cup of knowledge at their own rate. And now that I've used that metaphor, I hasten to add that they are also acquiring experience and "tools" if you will, which they then incorporate into their own dynamic system. Measurements of this type of complex, highly personal and individual progress baffle folks charged with making education "accountable." How do you measure the student who leaves at Literacy and comes back at Level 3? Credit the school for giving him those tools. But not so fast.
Nearly every student who is in school today will enter the workforce needing skills in media production. From social media to YouTube videos, many industries will require a knowledge of how to leverage online platforms. In the arts classroom, media production is a dynamic way for students to gain these technical skills, while also practicing aesthetic valuing, design thinking, communication, and creative writing. All of these skills can be cultivated through the use of media-making projects. For this reason, student media-making projects are an excellent way to introduce these 21st century proficiencies.
A good, basic-level media project to use with students is a narrated slideshow. The programs used to make one are relatively simple and students can either take their own photos or find properly licensed images on the web in addition to using their own voice to narrate the story. KQED has developed a new tool for educators to assist in the understanding of how to create a slideshow as well as the implementation of such a project in the classroom. Arts-focused slideshows can be used in visual and performing arts classes as a reporting, portfolio, or assessment tool, but they can also be used in other subjects, such as history and social studies, as a tool for understanding culture through art and artifacts.
Two weeks ago, on April 15, two bombs exploded at the finish line during the Boston Marathon, leaving three people dead and injured at least 250. It was a horrific act that brought the nation together in support of the families of the victims as well as the Boston community. As the aftermath unfolded, questions were raised whether this was a terrorist attack or not.
As Howard Koplowitz mentions in his article in the International Business Times, "When he addressed the country around 6:15 p.m. EDT, President Barack Obama was criticized in some circles for not using the words 'terrorism' or 'terror' to describe the explosions that rocked Copley Square during the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon….But just 15 minutes later, the Obama administration said the twin bombings were 'acts of terror.'"
Consequently, this shift in identification of the act raises questions about the way our government defines terrorism. In the 1980s, during the Reagan Administration, journalists and scholars claimed that perhaps the definition of "terrorism" is quite subjective, depending on a person's political point of view. Clarence Page wrote in a Chicago Tribune article in May 1986, "When President Reagan decided to use the term 'freedom fighters' to describe the Nicaraguan contras, he fell into an old word trap. One person`s 'freedom fighter' is someone else`s 'terrorist.'" Page references that both geographic location and ideology factor into the definition of "terrorism."