ArticleAugust 28th, 2014
Need-to-know: summer tech rundown
A wildly popular viral fundraiser took the Internet by storm, raising $80 million for ALS awareness and research. It began when former BC athlete Peter Frates challenged his friends and family to donate to the ALS Association or pour a bucket of ice water over their head, film it, and post it to social media. Between June 1 and Aug. 17, 2.4 million people posted their videos on Facebook, and the challenge has now reached nearly every country in the world, with major public figures and celebrities joining in.
Facebook ≠ happiness
Facebook revealed this summer that it changed users’ news feeds to study the effect of news feed content on people’s emotions. In January 2012, Facebook altered what 700,000 users saw, showing mostly-negative posts to some and positive posts to others. The study, which Facebook and Cornell co-researched, aimed to find if emotions could spread between people without in-person contact. The company found that people who saw positive images normally created happier posts and vice versa. Meanwhile, another study showed that the more college-aged adults used Facebook, the worse they felt.
Sponsored content makes millions for Buzzfeed
Buzzfeed announced $50 million in new funding, which it will use to expand its reporting staff as well as produce more in-house videos. The online giant considers itself primarily a technology company and has been a major player in the changing relationship between media organizations and advertisers. Its business model relies on sponsored articles, which are paid for by an advertiser but appear in Buzzfeed’s style. Other high-profile organizations like the New York Times have recently featured sponsored content in the wake of Buzzfeed’s popularity.
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 27, 2014
Net neutrality vs. Internet free speech
A rule by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was overturned, potentially affecting free speech on the Internet. “Net neutrality” is an FCC rule that Internet providers cannot sell better service to some companies than others. But a court overturned that rule, putting the issue up for debate until they issue a new decision at the end of 2014. Some people have raised the concern that without net neutrality, independent sites and small businesses, who cannot pay for faster service to Internet users, will suffer.
Twitter cracks down on terrorists
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a Sunni extremist group that the U.S. has deemed a terrorist organization, promoted its message on social media this summer, particularly with video and images showing the execution of American journalist James Foley. YouTube and Twitter have since removed the images and Twitter has cracked down on the group recently by deleting accounts that belong to members. Experts have said that terrorists frequently use social media to spread propaganda and recruit new members, and a report by the Wilson Center this year called Twitter terrorists’ favorite platform. Some have criticized the move as an attack on free speech, but others say an upside is that it makes it harder for terrorists to share propaganda.
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
To Vote or Not to Vote – Lesson Plan
Why is voting an important responsibility for citizens? Less than 60 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2012 general election. Yet, for other Americans, voting is a very meaningful, almost sacred duty. In this lesson, students will view three short films that explore the importance of voting. Continue readingcitizenshipCivicscivil rightscivil rights act of 1965constitutionElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & CivicsimmigrationraceSocial StudiesSupreme CourtU.S. governmentVotevotingvoting historyvoting rights
Decoding Media Bias – Lesson Plan
Students will view the We The Voters film “MediOcracy,” and then examine current news stories and how they’re covered by the three main cable news outlets. They will conclude by examining news stories for bias/point of view. Continue readingbiascable networksCivicsElection 2016GovernmentGovernment & Civicsmediamedia biasMedia Literacynewsnews medianews organizationsSocial Studies
Polling Pitfalls – Lesson Plan
What do people need to consider when evaluating public opinion polls? After viewing The Poll Dance, students will examine important aspects of valid polling and evaluate three polls. Continue readingCivicsdemocracyElection 2016GovernmentpollingPollspollsterpublic opinionSocial StudiesU.S. government
Will Americans living in poor rural areas vote?
Some poorer residents of rural America say their voices are not being heard as part of the national political dialogue and the presidential election. Continue readingEconomicseconomyElection 2016low-incomeNorth Carolinapovertyrural AmericaSocial StudiesvoterWilkesboro
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: How well are our wells?
In the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Lab video, “Water Scarcity for New Mexico Natives,” Las Cruces High School students describe climate changes and human activities which impact quality and availability of groundwater. In the lesson plan, students gather information from a low-cost physical model, choose a part of the groundwater and well problem, propose a solution and defend their proposal. Continue readingEPAgroundwaterScienceSRLSTEMstudent reporting labsUnited State Geological SurveyUSGSwaterwells