Friday, May 4, 2007

Grade School Goes Corporate

There's no denying that it's hard to raise money these days, especially for educational purposes. Everyday I hear about the University of Florida's fund-raising efforts all the time, and each day I am surprised about the generous alumni that donate millions of dollars for various reasons.

But as I was reading an article in U.S. News & World Report entitled "Grade School Goes Corporate," I realized that there are other levels of education seeking funding than just colleges and universities. Now I realize that budgets are tight, especially when it comes to education, but after reading this article, I have to give credit to the principal at Brazier Elementary School in Trinity Gardens, Alabama. At first the school was an under-performing center of learning where, ironically, no one was learning according to state test scores. But after Merrier Jackson took over as principle, she began to rally community support for the school through some of the local businesses and large corporations in the area.

Now that's an idea. Plus, it deals directly with community capital and social structure. Deep down, people want to help their communities but they often find it difficult to do so. Even worse, people want local businesses to take ownership of their communities that give them business, but rarely does that happen. Well, Jackson made it happen. As a former business woman, she convinced the CEO of Budweiser Busch Distributing Co. to take a stake in the school and provide funding, so long as the school's scores went up. Well, guess what... the scores went up and now the school has more money to operate off of.

I think this is a great idea that could work in a state like Florida where funding for education is dramatically decreasing because of the state-wide FCAT tests. Schools should find companies like Jackson did to sponsor them if they can get the test scores up. Hell, UF and other colleges do it, so why can't the public elementary schools do the same?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Frappr is Frappulous

So I discovered the online mapping program Frappr the other day while looking at a friend's Myspace page. I was intrigued because it keeps track of people who view his site by pin-pointing where they live on a map of the U.S. He already had over 300 pins on his personal map, so of course I had to create my own to stay up to date.

So I created my own map, and after four days, I've only gotten five pins on my map. It's interesting to see how much, or how little, my friends look at my Myspace, but it was also interesting to see how far some of my friends have moved since we left.

I told some of my friends here in Gainesville about my new discovery and most of them wrote the program off as another means of stalking. Maybe it is, but that didn't make me take mine off of my site. I think it's pretty interesting myself.

Here's the link:

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spelling... important writing tool or the next victim of the Digital Age?

I was reading another blog on The Orlando Senitnel's Web site the other day and came across an interesting entry by a reporter that was covering the Central Florida Spelling Bee that really struck me. Aside from having to cover what some would consider the most boring event on the face of the Earth, the reporter had come across an interesting phenomenon in the process. They write: "Do e-mail and text messaging and all the shorthand they [students] create to make spelling seem unnecessary? Does spelling still count?"

The writing in me wants to say yes, but the digital natives proudly screams, "HECK no!"

Why the dichotomy? Well, I relate back to my own conversations on programs like AIM or Yahoo! Messenger... do I follow proper grammar and diction when chatting? No. Do I catch myself slipping into AIM shorthand when writing papers for class? Yes.

Uh oh.

Have we given up on proper writing or is it time for the wizzes that make the English grammar rules to catch up with the times and make "lol" and "jk" words? Maybe it's a combination of both that needs to happen.

While the old-fuddy-duddys that have been teaching English courses for decades still support the traditional writing habits, their students are creating new ones to meet the demands of the times. Let's face it, many of these old-school professors and instructors can't even tell you what AIM stands for, much less run the damn program. So who are they to set the rules for mechanics in the Digital Age?

My point exactly.

Some responses to the reporter's blog:
From Anonymous: "I know that when my recently promoted boss sent an e-mail which included the word "2day" instead of "today," it only demonstrated how dumb and unfit she is for the position."

Harsh, but Anonymous is probably a digital immigrant.

Another response: "B4 I go on, lemme say 2 yoo, lol, brb, ismee, hola, lol, rol, imo, kenu, cuz, :-), }:(, bfn"

Most likely a digital native.

See, there's a disparity between generations now on what's acceptable writing. Personally, I think in a professional setting proper grammar is still the preferred method; however, I think inter-office e-mails and IMs should leave room for the new wave of communications: Digispeak.

The link to the blog is:

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Joost Sounds Juicy

Live, from the gentlemen that brough you Skype, the widely-popular internet phone service, comes their newest online venture...Joost. It's like cable, but free and on the Internet.

Remember a few years ago when WebTV burst into our living rooms? Probably not, because it was a huge f lop. I do, however, because my parents bought into the scam rather than buying me a new computer. But what separates Joost from WebTV is that the Internet won't be on the TV, TV will be on the Internet.

With this new online development, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom hope to bring more than 50,000 channels to the Web. Plus, it'll be cheaper than cable (it will actually be free).

If this trend of online-life continues, soon we'll have no reason to get out of our deskchairs. Soon, we'll go to school, go to work, and relax...all on the computer.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

You're Hired!

So as I was reading this week's edition of Time magazine, I stumbled across a one-page article that really caught my attention ("It's a Wrap. You're Hired!). After learning all of these news digital techniques, I've been thinking about how to apply these skills to my resume in order to find a high-paying job after graduation.

Well, this article gave me an interesting idea. It's premise, was creating resume videos. Although this particular articles focused on posting them on YouTube, I thought about how affective this concept could be in other forms, such as e-mail attachments, DVDs and on personal Web sites.

In some ways this reminds me of auditioning for a TV game or reality show, but isn't that what applying for a job is any, an extensive audition? And why not do it while showcasing some of your personal talents with technology? Maybe this is is the wave of the future with the easy availability of online and computer-based sound and video editing. Then again, maybe some employers just aren't ready for a generation of digital natives and still prefer the typical paper resume.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Buying Technology

Over the last few weeks I've noticed that finding, and buying, reputable technology is quite the daunting task. I always figured that Best Buy was the end all for techonological needs, but over the last few weeks I've found that stores like Target and Radio Shack are other viable outlets for new stuff. However, I've found that expertise at all of the above stores is lacking. Sheesh, why is it so difficult to find an expert on every question I might have? Is that so much to ask?

If I had an unlimited amount of money, just buying whatever piece of technology I want would be easy. However, since I live off of student loans and a teaching stipend, I often rely on the unofficial advice of the store clerks. Oh, well.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Portable Hard Drives

Okay, cleary I've been spending way too much money on new technology over the last few weeks, but it's been fun nonetheless.

During the digital recorder debacle last weekend, I was walking through Best Buy, depressed that they didn't have the recorder I wanted, and stumbled upon a rack full of portable hard drives on sale. Granted, I don't know much about these things other than that they're used for storage. Anyway, I bought one that was 80G for $79.99. Is that a good deal? I really don't know.

As I'm writing this post, I'm installing it onto my desktop. Since my computer is getting kind of old (I've had it almost six years) I decided it might be a good time to backup all the files on it (hence why I spent the $80). Although I haven't gotten it fully up and running, I am optomistic that this will help me save all my digital pictures, documents and such in a safe manner, without risk of losing them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Digital Audio Recorder Fiasco

I was excited. Last week, I ordered an audio recorder for my iPod off of Amazon and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Day after day I eagerly awaiting its arrival in the mail and finally, after nearly a week, it came. However, when I went to plug it into my iPod, I was dismayed when the screen said, "software not supported by this iPod."

Well now I was thoroughly annoyed. First because I was disappointed my new toy didn't work, and secondly because now I was out of $28 plus shipping on the device. Fortunately, I capitalized on my parents' visit to Gainesville and my upcoming birthday. After hearing my whine about my problem, they decided the perfect gift would be a new iPod. So off to Target we went.

After purchasing my new video iPod, I couldn't wait to get in the car and plug in the recorder. But once again, I was disheartened. Now my iPod was too advanced for the recorder I purchased. DANG IT!

So off we went to Best Buy and Circuit City to search for a recorder that would work with my new iPod. Well, neither story had anything and my depression was going. Really, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and pretend none of this was happening. Then my dad had the idea of calling Radio Shack at the Oaks Mall. Personally, I thought this would be hopeless considering Radio Shack's spotty history with high prices and such. But, to my great pleasure, the guy on the phone, Robert, said that they had one recorder left that would work with my video iPod.

So we quickly turned out family van around and headed towards the mall. Finally, I could record and have a groovy iPod to flaunt to all of my friends. It was great! I recorded my self with the cheesy, "Test 1...2...3." the first time around and uploaded it to my iTunes. Granted, I hate the sound of my recorded voice, but hey, I was amused.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Great Grammar Podcast

So I was being a nerd this morning and reading CNN's Web site and saw an article titled, "'Grammar Girl' a quick and dirty success." I'll confess that I thought some grammarian had been involved in a National Inquierer-like scandal that had turned heads, but actually the story ended up being about a grammar podcast that has soared in popularity recently. Since I teach grammar and basic writing, I was intrigued and immediately opened my Itunes to search for the podcast series. To my surprise, there was almost 40 podcast in the series. I subscribed to the service and found a wide range of downloads from the difference between lay and lie, and another explaining colons. It's grammar lovers' podcast heaven!

To find the podcasts for yourself, log onto Itunes and search for "Grammar Girl's Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing." They're fab!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Greetings everyone. My name is Gordon, and I created this blog as a place for my to talk about digital learnings, software and all things electronic. Although I don't have the strongest background in any of these areas, I am hoping to have a better understanding by the end of the semester, and hopefully will be able to apply those skills to my future jobs.

On the most basic level, my favorite computer program is AIM. Granted this is a cheesy first post, AIM helps me stay connected with my friends, family and students (and relatively cheaply for that matter). Although I hopped on the AIM bandwagon late in life (my sophomore year of high school), it has become a staple in my day-to-day life. Not only am I able to see what my "buddies" are up to by checking their away messages, I am able to talk with them instantly. Gee, maybe I've become obsessed.