Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How to Become College Application and Scholarship Ready!

Thinking about college can be overwhelming. You need to consider how to make yourself wanted by a college, prepare effectively for standardized tests, and develop a plan to determine where to apply and how to pay for the college you choose to attend.
You might still be in middle school or just starting high school, but NOW is the time to begin putting things in place to prepare for college. The earlier you develop a plan of which classes you will take in high school, the better your chances that you will create a transcript that will impress a future college admissions director. Even if you have had some hiccups in your educational career, decide to change for the better today to make your academic transcript a better picture of your academic ability.
As colleges enroll more and more students, the competition to be accepted increases. Now is the time to prepare for where life after high school graduation will take you.  Even if you are near the end of your high school career, there is still time to improve yourself and make yourself as academically ready and scholarship ready as you can be. 
Here are 10 ways to prepare yourself to shine in college admissions and scholarship competitions.
  1. Get Involved - Consider all the things you are interested in. Pick a couple areas to focus in and get involved.  Whether your interests be in service projects, student government, athletics, music, art, or some other hobby or activity, choose a couple to focus on and strengthen your skills in those areas. You will be come a sought after recipient of financial scholarships and a more appealing candidate to college admissions personnel. 
  2. Develop Strong Study Skills - Don't wait for college to buckle down and learn how to learn the best for yourself. Determine your learning style - auditory, visual, or tactile. Develop strategies for reading, listening, and learning new material.
  3. Take challenging classes - Just because you can get a diploma taking easier courses, doesn't mean that you will be prepared for college course work. Take challenging classes now so you do not have to take remedial, non-credit bearing courses to get into courses that will help you graduate from college. College admissions look at the level of difficulty in your courses to see if you can succeed at their school. If your school offers AP courses or dual enrollment courses, attempt ones that interest you.
  4. Get Help - Struggling with the courses you are taking? Talk to the teacher to get help and find out if there is a peer in class that could help you understand material better. Talk to a counselor and see if there are other resources to help you at your school.
  5. Read - Read at least 30 minutes each day about things that are beyond your textbooks and course work. Read magazines, newspapers, novels, or non-fiction books about areas of interest to you. The more you read, the more you know! When it comes times to take standardized tests like the PSAT/NMSQT, ACT or SAT, the more you know the better you will score.
  6. Take standardized tests early and often - The PSAT/NMSQT can be taken by freshman and sophomores as you prepare for when it really counts for scholarships as a junior. The ACT and SAT can also be taken early in high school so that you can get comfortable with the test, learn how to do your best, and take challenging coursework to do better on the test the next time.
  7. Get facts about colleges - Talk to your teachers, counselors, and parents about what steps are necessary to get into college. Ask questions of recently graduated peers who are in college now. Search online to increase what you know about colleges.
  8. Involve your family - Even if your parents or guardians haven't been to college, they can help you navigate the many steps to college acceptance and keep you focused on your goals.
  9. Look for a mentor - Look for other adults who share enthusiasm for helping you succeed. These may include counselors, teachers, or adults from hobbies and activities you are involved in. Talk with them and share your hopes and dreams with them and see if they can help you reach your goals. Does your mentor do the job you hope to have? Ask to be their intern for a couple of months and learn about their career from experiencing it first hand.
  10. Confront personal roadblocks - Is there something that is holding you back from success in your academics, hobbies, or activities? Talk to your friends, family, and trusted adults to help direct you through troublesome times.
Based off of https://www.scholarships.com/resources/college-prep/preparing-for-college/10-ways-to-jumpstart-college-planning/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Print Media Doomed?

Ch. 9 Ethics & Issues 9-1 p. 465
Will widespread wireless broadband connections kill print media? I believe that technology, not necessariliy wireless broadband connections, will ultimately kill print media in its current form. Like Jason Price said in his article ( http://thethirstydogblog.com/2013/12/print-media-doom/ ) , younger people prefer using their technological gadgets to read so do not subscribe to the typical print media like newspapers and magazines.

Will widespread wireless broadband connections, such as Wi-Fi, put an end to printed newspapers and magazines? Why or why not? Yes, because it is so easy to get audio, video, and written content that meets or exceeds what a newspaper or magazine would provide. Websites like twitter give you world wide information before CNN or your local paper knows about the next “big event”. Real time information is made possible by wireless connections and cellular data. Why wait for a newspaper to tell you what all your friends are talking about in real time right now?
Would you prefer to read newspapers and magazines in print or on a  mobile device that provides similar or better readability as compared to print media? Why or why not? I like my newspapers and magazines on my mobile device to help me not have so much clutter. With tools like Pinterest and Evernote, I can curate the online content I read so I can find and later use things from the online content to do things later - cook, sew, study for a test, teach a class, build something, etc. Much better than a bunch of ideas pinned to a bulletin board or stacked in a file cabinet.

How can the media industry take advantage of the wireless internet trend? I think they have by connecting to ways that today’s reader can curate content they read - the media industry “listens” to people on Twitter to find out where “the news is happening”, they follow blog writers on Pinterest to see what diy project people are working on, they share content on Facebook to draw people to their brand. Social media has provided many great ways to connect with users of media content. The more ways an industry can share, the more money they can stand to make.

Cloud Based Data Storage

Ch. 7 Ethics & Issues 7-3 p. 369
Is data stored in the cloud free from prying eyes? No, data in the cloud is too easily intercepted or shared because there is no absolute way to prove that another individual or company would not be able to access the information. This article by TechRadar http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/data-privacy-how-safe-is-your-data-in-the-cloud--1170332#null , asked some excellent questions that each individual should ask himself before storing data in the cloud. First, how important is privacy with the data? Does it matter if a company uses your data to market things to you? Second, how reliable do you believe the service to be that has your data? It is important to remember that business do fail or stop providing services. Third, what about data encryption? If your data was hacked into by an unknown party, would that cause you distress? Fourth, how continuous is the service? What would happen if the company didn’t allow you access to your data? Fifth, how well does your internet connection perform? Will you able to access your data when you need to if for some reason your internet connection failed? Sixth, how important is copyright? If you upload a photo, video, or written document and these are shared without your permission, how would these resources be protected from dissemination to others without your consent? If these questions do not give you pause, then using cloud storage is a good choice.

Should data kept in the cloud be treated the same way legally as items that are kept in one’s home? Why? Yes, the items in the cloud are still data that you have created and should not be accessed by others without your permission or a warrant from a government official that makes you aware of their access of your data.

Should the government be able to access your data in the cloud without your knowledge or permission? Why or why not? The government shouldn’t have access to your data without your knowledge, however even using social media and having “private” settings, someone should screen shot something you said and share it without your consent with anyone they wanted to. If the content is digital someone somewhere could access it. This Computer World article ( http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241553/No_your_data_isn_t_secure_in_the_cloud ) said it well “if you're a consumer and you're storing photos, videos, digital music or innocuous documents on a cloud storage service, you may not mind that a hacker or the government gets access to your files.”

What types and amount of personal data are you comfortable storing in the cloud? Why? I am only willing to store digitally - on the cloud or on a computer - those innocuous things that if the government, a family member, friend, or boss saw them it would not have a negative effect. I am even more picky with cloud based data because I know how easy it is to share digital data and once it is shared, it can never be taken back.

Website accessibility

Ch. 6 Ethics & Issues 6-4 p. 328
Should Web Sites be held accountable for accessibility levels for physically challenged people? Yes, I believe that websites should be held accountable for accessibility levels for physically challenged people because the accessibility features help others even if they are not challenged in some way. Within the education community, there is a push to give multi-tier systems of supports in order to help all people, not just those with challenges be successful. Using ideas based on the Response to Intervention website (http://www.rtinetwork.org/essential/tieredinstruction), making websites accessible to all people through video or audio or translation services would be a part of core instruction for all people.

Should the government require that all Web Sites meet the W3C accessibility guidelines? Why or why not? I believe that unless there is a government mandate, many websites will put accessibility on the back burner because it takes extra resources to convert existing web content into accessible content for all people.

Do Web sites hosted by disability organizations have a moral obligation to meet the guidelines? Why? Absolutely, an organization meant to assist those with a disability have a moral obligation to make their content accessible by the individuals who would need to access their resources. I think of my grandfather who became blind as a young adult due to a familial disease. He needed resources in braille or on tape so he could continue to study in college. Thanks to organizations in his day, he was able to get what he needed to be successful. Today’s students need web resources but more must be done to make them accessible.

What can be done to encourage people and organizations to make their Web sites more accessible? The National Federation for the Blind is even having a conference on Web Accessibility Day ( https://nfb.org/web-accessibility-day ) to help businesses and educational entities implement accessibility of web content and to promote government policy changes.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Application Software Comparison

This blog is to fulfill Research Task 2 – Critical Thinking Chapter 3 page 191 item 3 Research – Application Software Comparison

Web applications are becoming increasingly popular, and some people prefer the convenience of using a Web application instead of application software installed on their computer. For example, some prefer to use Google Docs (a Web application) to Microsoft Word. Your boss notices this trend, and asks you whether it will benefit the company to use Web applications instead of application software. Compare software installed on your computer with a comparable Web application. Are any security risks associated with using the application software? How do the features compare between a Web application and the application software? Would you recommend using a Web application to application software? Why?

Web applications have been extensively useful to me personally and professionally. Personally, I didn’t want to spend money on buying application software. I knew I would use a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, and database software, but spending hundreds of dollars for this software wasn’t in my budget. Professionally, I wanted to have students submit written work electronically to save paper and printer toner. It also allowed me to grade students work and give them feedback so they could edit their papers without having to print multiple versions. Another reason I liked the Web applications was so I could grade from my smartphone on the fly without need for my laptop. I was the co-worker that pushed for using Google Apps in Education at Battle Creek Academy. I ended up being the only teacher that used Google Apps in Education extensively because other teachers didn’t want to learn a new “software”. It is important to remember that Google Drive has similar functionality to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations like Microsoft Office Applications but they do not have the same creation features within each type of web application. http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/13/technology/enterprise/microsoft-office-google-docs/ pointed out that Google Drive “productivity tools may lack some of Office's advanced features” but what they do have is easier to use. This CNN article also pointed out three of Google’s main selling points - the service is free, it is accessible anywhere you have internet connections, and it supports significant sharing and collaboration between users. The biggest drawback for our school was the issues with institutional internet connections through Comcast that could from time to time disappear - then students couldn’t work on anything because there was not an offline option of Google Drive to use. This con is also changing as Google Drive continues to evolve.

There are inherent security risks with any digital file, but even more so with cloud based digital files like those on Google Drive. I would not put confidential material in Google Drive files because it is as simple as being logged into Google and a few clicks and I am into someone else’s Google Drive where I can access all their files says http://www.eweek.com/storage/google-drive-10-reasons-to-choose-another-cloud-data-storage-service/ . There is also the sharing features of Google where you can give read or write access to different levels of individuals. Sharing digital files this easily puts those files at a security risk if there is confidential information or information that should be kept private. It is also important to consider that files uploaded to Google drive or created there may be “lost, stolen, exposed, made irretrievable, or obtained directly from a service provider with a court order” says http://www.darkreading.com/risk-management/google-drive-privacy-4-misunderstood-facts/d/d-id/1104086 .

I would recommend using a Web application if the file being created does not need to be private. I would recommend using a Web application because it allows users to collaborate and create content together in real time from anywhere with an internet connection. I would recommend using an offline application software for financial information and content that should be kept private.

Ethics in Action - Plagiarism

This blog post is to fulfill Research Task 1 – Web Research Chapter 1 page 52 item 5 (Ethics in Action - Plagiarism)

The Internet has increased the ease with which students can plagiarize material for research paper assignments. Teachers are using online services, such as TurnItIn and PlagiarismDetect.com to help detect plagiarized papers and to hep students understand how to cite sources correctly. Visit the Turnitin Web site ( turnitin.com ) and then write a summary of how this service is used. How does this service attempt to prevent plagiarism through the Turnitin Write Cycle? How prevalent is plagiarism on your campus? What is your school’s official policy on disciplining students who submit plagiarized papers? Does your school have an honor code?

The TurnItIn website is used to help a writing instructor give feedback to a student quickly to help a student improve his writing. The cloud based program compares the written work submitted by a student to a database of written work to determine how original the submitted written work is. A color coded report is created reflecting what percentage of the written piece comes from a particular database source.  There is also a part of the program that allows peers to comment and critique the submitted work. This can help the submitter to develop critical thinking skills as the written submission is edited. TurnItIn can be integrated with an existing learning management system.

The service attempts to prevent plagiarism by using the Turnitin Write Cycle. I found an infographic at http://www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/spring2013_special_issue/Vie/history.html that outlined the turn it in write cycle. First, the idea is that the “originality check” will inspire a writer not to plagiarize content in his initial written submission. That hopefully will engage a writer to write original content rather than copy content from another author. Second, the “PeerMark” peer reviewing process helps a teacher manage assignments and facilitate collaboration between students to enhance the submitting writer’s writing. Third, “GradeMark” paperless grading allows a teacher to provide in depth feedback to a writer so future assignments can be better written based on the feedback. These three components make up the Turnitin Write Cycle.

I was unable to find any data on how prevalent plagiarism is on the Kellogg Community College website. I am sure it happens. Kellogg Community College has an official “Academic Integrity Policy” found at http://www.kellogg.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Academic_Integrity_Policy.pdf This policy states that a student who admits responsibility for some form of academic dishonesty will first receive a warning, if it happens again the student will be put on probabion, if it occurs for a third time the student will be suspended, and if there is a fourth infraction, the student will be dismissed from Kellogg Community College.  Kellogg Community College's honor code is “Define Yourself“ and that seems to encompass the ideas that a student needs to take responsibility during their time at Kellogg Community College to develop who they will be when they leave. I think academic honesty is a big part of that as people look for jobs after their education has ended.

Plagiarism is so much easier today with the availability of digital resources that can be copied easily. Programs like TurnItIn can be useful to help fight plagiarism and help writing instructors teach students how to cite sources properly.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Noisy Laptop Fan?

This blog post is about how to fix a noisy laptop fan. It fulfills the requirements for Hands-on Task 2 –Chapter 4, Problem Solving @ Work: Item 4: Noisy Fan (page 251).

I found the answer to the following question.
After moving to a new office, you turn on your computer for the first time and hear a buzzing sound inside the case. You turn off your computer, the noise winds down, and you wait several minutes before turning the computer back on. When you turn on your computer again, however, the noise resumes. What could be causing this?

I used this website 5 Things You Can Do To Silence a Noisy Laptop Fan and completed the tasks on my laptop that were easy enough to do without installing new software nor buying something new. I think that for my laptop, the two main reasons for all the noise were a dirty computer with dust inside and too many programs beginning at startup. My first line of action is to decrease the number of programs that begin at startup. I clicked my Start button and typed msconfig in the “Search programs and files” box and then clicked the magnifying glass. The msconfig file came up and I clicked on it. I clicked the “Startup” tab and unchecked the programs that I don’t need to begin at startup.  There were a lot of things I don’t need “right away”. I reduced my starting programs to 7 from nearly 20 and my fan got quieter right away.  Now I needed to restart my computer. Next I am going to go about blowing out the fan to get dust out of my computer so the fan can run with the least amount of resistance. I used the forced air can to blow out the little fins where heat is dissipated. This seemed to help quiet my laptop down as well.

I learned how important it is to be aware of the Microsoft Configuration (msconfig) that your computer has so as to optimize your computer’s performance. I also learned how easy it was to quiet a computer down just by being aware of the items that are part of the computer startup and paring down these to the absolute necessary items for startup. I became aware of how easy it is to clean the fan and fins on the computer. It has become obvious just how much dust can accumulate in my laptop even when it is on a hard surface. As I help co-workers trouble shoot their computers, these two actions will be very helpful as a first line of defense against a noisy fan.