Oscars literacy


For educators that address media literacy in the classroom, Super Bowl advertisements are the Super Bowl of resources.

But the Oscars Awards on Sunday night opened a whole new realm of possibilities.

Sure, everyone was talking about the misannouncement at the end of the show or the routines that Jimmy Kimmel’s had throughout the show.  Or the political message from Asghar Farhadi who did not attend the awards.

If you didn’t have snacks falling from the ceiling of the room that you were in, you might have left the room to grab your own.  In that case, you may have missed some of the commercials that were played.  They were full of opportunities for analysis on content and message just like you would expect from the traditional Super Bowl advertisements.

Thanks to YouTube, we have them easily available for use and analysis.

Carry: Cadillac 2017 Oscars Commercial

Audible Oscars Commercial: Zachary Quinto – “1984”

What If Millie Dresselhaus, Female Scientist, Was Treated Like A Celebrity – GE

For A World of Understanding | World of Hyatt

TV Commercial | The Truth Is Hard | The New York Times

A huge collection of YouTube videos showing many segments from the show are available here.

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OTR Links 02/28/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Signal strength


Just a warning that this might be something that:

  • you may already know
  • you don’t care
  • it goes beyond “it just works” and makes quantitative interesting (at least to me)

First of all, I’d like to point out that I didn’t start out looking to learn/relearn this.

I actually stumbled into it reading a story for some other information.  The story was “Review: eero Wi-Fi is a solid option for Apple’s outgoing AirPort“.  Darn.  I like my currently working AirPort.  Oh well, time and technology move on…

The story was interesting and might have had more relevance if I lived in a mansion and wanted to have wireless extended everywhere.  As I type this, I’m sitting right under my AirPort and if I opened the curtains here and in the rec room, I could see my other chair where I do what passes for remote computing these days.

Anyway, the article itself was interesting and, when I win the lottery, it might have a practical purpose for me.

What was interesting and sparked my learning (or relearning in this case) was the section that talks about the strength of the signal.

There was a time when that was important and I knew all that.  Sadly, I had forgotten.

But I was curious enough to continue.

These days, I’m lazy enough not to dig into that.  Like most people, I suspect, I use the little WIFI indicator to show signal strength as a divining rod.  The more little bars, the stronger the signal.  It gets me through the day and as long as there is a bar or two, I can connect and Play Words with Friends and write the occasional blog post.  Life is good.

Now I’m curious though – how good?

I go to take a look at what networks are available to me.  There’s the three that I’m broadcasting from my AirPort – two at 2.4GHz and 1 at 5GHz.  Why?  On a regular day, there are only two of us connected.  So, the answer is “because I can”.

I can also see the two networks that my one neighbour is broadcasting in his house.  They’re weak and they’re protected anyway.  The neighbour on the other side doesn’t have internet access so there’s nothing visible.  Depending upon the day, I can see the network from two houses over.  It’s really weak and protected.  We’re all good on this street; no unprotected wireless.

So, I come back to my own.  Where on the quality scale shown above am I?

I should be really good.  This computer is less than a metre from the AirPort.  I open a terminal and check.

I probably didn’t need to black out the AirPort details – if you come over, just ask for the password and I’ll give it to you.

The confirming key to me though is the signal strength.  In the scale above, that is “high quality”.  Life is indeed good.

If I get ambitious, I might just walk about and see what happens to the signal strength in various locations.

If I get really ambitious, I may dig into the other statistics to see what they are telling me.

As you would suspect, there are all kinds of browser extensions that let you investigate as well.  Utilities like WIFI Analyzer are very interesting.

I’m thinking that this would be a good learning experience for students. Perhaps it would help them with better placement of their access point at home.  In the original article, the author mapped out the various locations within his house.  Wouldn’t it be a neat exercise to have students map out the entire school?  Are there any dead spots that need to be reported to the support department for addressing?

In case of practicality, I know that there have been venues where I question the signal strength or I see more than one access point broadcasting under the same name.  This bit of information should give me a little more information to make an informed decision.

Unless I forget it again.

More related reading:

OTR Links 02/27/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Whatever happened to …


… acid rain?

Thanks to an anonymous contribution to the Padlet for this idea.

I had to have a quick smile when I read this.  Acid rain a concern in the 90s?

As a high school student of the 70s, it was of high concern then as well.  I can recall the concern for lakes in Northern parts of Ontario (and Canada).  We heard of the term “dead lakes” and “dead rivers” caused by acid rain.  It was a time to point blame at anything that put byproducts into the atmosphere.  I can recall concerns about Lake Huron (a short distance from home) and the paint job on your car being affected.

In school, it was lessons that put pH into perspective for me.  Before that, I worked at the local public swimming pool and testing the water was a regular task that we did and recorded at least three times a day.  Even more when there was a great deal of sunlight and warm temperature.  We measured for both chlorine content and the pH of the water.  It wasn’t only until later when I took the Royal Life Saving Society’s Award of Merit and Distinction courses, that I really understood the total implications of pH in pool water.  In the early days, we just attributed it to the little kids who were swimmers.  (if you know what I mean)

You could see the effect of pH when people would leave the water.  From our perspective, we tried to keep the pH somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6.  It was a practical way to understand the difference between acidity and alkalinity.  

Thankfully, we learned so much about acid rain in secondary school science and, in particular, chemistry.  It was amazing what we could do with experiments and just a drop of this or a drop of that.  We had living things to experiment with (plants) and studied the varying affects of pH on them.

While we learned a bit about the concepts, society bit the bigger bullet.  I think back at those days and remember:

  • we filled our cars with leaded gasoline that was largely free of taxes – $2 would fill up my pickup truck
  • I know it was an older truck – 1959 Chevrolet – but fuel mileage was never a concern
  • outside of town, we had the garbage dump which burned the garbage after garbage collection
  • I can remember a comedian talking about catalytic whatchamacallits 
  • recycling wasn’t even a thing
  • generating electricity was important with the building of businesses and coal burning facilities was part of the solution
  • acid rain provoked further discussion about pollutants everywhere – how can we save the earth from ourselves?
  • schools modified their curriculum to include all kinds of topics dealing with the environment
  • we really became concerned about the quality of the air that we were breathing – respiratory issues became big news
  • as the anonymous poster notes, we now concern ourselves with global warning
  • David Suzuki and others became a voice of authority on various environmental topics
  • we identified and honour a Greenbelt around the GTA
  • carpooling has become a popular activity
  • we seek alternative and renewable forms of energy like solar and wind power
  • and the list goes on and on

So, to answer the original question; I hope that our concerns are still there but have morphed into the bigger environmental picture.  It most certainly can’t be summarized in a single blog post.  The topic has become big the in the news with the promise of the newly elected US president to deregulate things.  Will the environment suffer?

How about you and your thoughts about acid rain?

  • as the originator of the idea noted, is it now just history as we focus on Global Warning?
  • when did you first become aware of the concern?
  • does your school have an environmental program like Eco-Schools?
  • do you carpool?

As always, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Please comment below.

As with this anonymous post, if there’s a topic that you’d like to jog my memory about, please consider adding to the Padlet.

Additional Reading Resources:

OTR Links 02/26/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Who matters to you?


Angela Maiers’ and my paths have crossed a number of times over the years.

I can recall the two of us being invited as media at the Microsoft Partners in Learning event in Washington.  We sat in the front row and I learned just as much from my conversation with her as anything else from event.

I’ve been in the audience to hear her presentation.

At the Western RCAC, we invited Angela to keynote the event with us.  We shared ketchup potato chips (she didn’t like them) and a fierce London winter storm with her.

Throughout, she’s been consistent with her message “You Matter“.

Unlike many keynote speakers, whose message is essentially “I’m smarter than you are and here’s why…”, Angela encourages all to look at your inner genius.

Now, there’s a way to share that message with others who matter to you.  How about sending them a Mattergram?

You can access it from the Choose2Matter website or directly through the Mattergram site.

For my Ontario Educational blogging friends …you matter.