Category Archives: Reflection

Fair is not always equal!

This is actually a quote from a famous teacher who has spent most of his life working with and speaking about kids with special needs.  The premise is that what is fair for one student may not be fair for the others such as giving a student more time on a test or giving one student more praise just because she/he needs it more … and this is fine!  We, teachers, differentiate our lessons as well as our energy and praise for our students.  For instance, some students need to be pushed more and some do not but that doesn’t mean that the non-pushed students do not need something else.  In effect, it is not necessary to give all students equal treatment … instead, our focus should be on giving students what they need individually … and this is “fair”!

To tie this into copyright and “fair” use, we do see a conundrum or a discrepancy in what is fair for one industry is not fair for others.  For instance, the music industry is still trying to hold on to their privileges that come with producing a song or album when, in fact, they are just “created” words/lyrics combined with musical notes.  Thus, the public is actually paying for an overpriced piece of material called a CD!  The music industry executives have gone to great lengths to keep their privileges intact since there has been a long history of profit for them over the years.  The movie/film industry has pretty much given up now on trying to restrict sharing of their productions and have turned their focus to selling their “product” as an experience — that is, viewing their film on a huge screen with comfortable seats and gorgeous sound.  Basically, what they see as fair is not equally fair for the public who have spent far too much money on movies and music over the years.  What is fair for the music and movie/film industries is not necessarily fair for the public, right?  “Fair use” might become a term of the past as it is pretty much insignificant to much of the world except large industries that could be sued for using copyrighted material(s) to make a profit.

All this talk about copyright and fair use had me thinking that I might come from a different world: Los Angeles! :-)  In LA, many of my friends work as professional actors, musicians, writers and animation artists who must continuously deal with this issue.  We have had many conversations around this topic and, of course, there is much disagreement.  Many have made large sums of money working in these industries and so, of course, they want to protect their royalties and their positions, although they seem to understand that they can’t do much to stop the sharing and downloading of certain products.  One of my closest friends still gets work doing commercials and such because he is a character actor but he has recently told me that things are rough.  And my other good friend works as a writer for the Los Angeles Times and she knows that the slow decline of newspapers is inevitable unless something radical happens or a drastic shift in how newspapers can generate revenue.

why i like technology

I have always been “into” technology ever since I got my first hotmail account back in 1992 or 1993.  I had initially signed up for it because it was free and I had mistakenly thought it had something to do with meeting people who were “hot”! J  It is actually strange even today that these two things still appeal to me—that is, something that is free and ways to meet others.  This makes me think of downloading movies and music for free, Facebook (free and able to socialize), and other sites that allow for more communication and networking that do not cost us anything.  But then I wonder: what’s my need to socialize with new people?  Can’t I just talk/chat with my friends and family members that I have now?  I realized that for me it’s about interacting, sharing, laughing, listening, caring.  Meeting new people makes me learn about myself because they help me question my own ideas, which shapes my life.  Interacting makes me feel less lonely and less isolated in a world that feels overcrowded and detached.  I want to explore these two points further … Continue reading

and here we go …

As I read more blogs, I’m starting to become more curious and, at the same time, apprehensive about how best to use technology in the classroom.  Over the years, I have tried different things … some with success that I keep using even today (e.g., my google site), some with moderate success that lasted for one school year (e.g., facebook page on the novel we were reading) and some that totally bombed (e.g., webboard, forum).  Trying different things in the classroom comes natural for me because I find it a creative process … and creativity keeps life as a teacher interesting.  When I find myself wanting to keep the same routine because I don’t want to put in the time and effort to begin something new, I have to tell myself that it’s about the creative process and the challenge that goes with it.

making connections …

i started to think about the/a connection between pastrami sandwiches and technology … or even as far as the relationship (if there is one actually) between pastrami sandwiches, technology and teaching. how can my favorite food — pastrami sandwich on rye with a bit of mustard — be so fantastic, memorable and enduring as my personal affinity for technology and teaching? do i need stretch the connection to make this work? Let’s not digress …

the immediate thought(s) that come(s) to mind is/are how pastrami sandwiches take on a threefold meaning for me: (1) the incredible satisfaction of all that soft beef that melts in my mouth; (2) how the saltiness of the beef is well balanced with the dryness of the rye bread and the tart mustard; and (3) the desire for more even after i have consumed the whole sandwich.

as for technology, the threefold approach can be used as well: (1) the satisfaction that comes with creating some new and meaningful that just melts in my thoughts; (2) how a small, lightweight device can encompass a balance of refinement in its compactness and speed along with a sophistication that allows multiple tasks to be performed simultaneously; and (3) the desire to learn more applications around eases of use to grow and simplify my life.

for teaching, however, we might need more than the threefold approach but let’s try: (1) the incredible satisfaction of helping a student learn something new about a particular idea or about herself/himself; (2) how the teaching profession is a complex balance of creativity, leadership, and organization; and (3) the desire to give my students the wonder and spirit to be life-long learners.

everyone must be guilty of at least one totally cheesy blog posting, right?