Tag Archives: Online

Get It Right – Popular Media and Fact Checking: On Sufjan Stevens’ Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

15 Oct

Lately, all the cool kids have been writing Miley Cyrus open letters. This past weekend Sufjan Stevens’ hopped on the bandwagon and penned a quick note to Miley on his tumblr regarding her song “#GetItRight”.

Sufjan makes a compelling argument regarding grammar usage in the song.

“I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.”

He continues (garnering a LOL from me):

But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between.

Sufjan is (gently?) poking some fun at Miley’s grammar and songwriting skills. However, there is a major flaw in his argument. Miley didn’t write the song. Pharrell has sole writing credit for #GetItRight.

I have been perusing a lot of articles covering Sufjan’s open letter. Not a single one has commented on the fact she didn’t write it. So not only did Sufjan not factcheck, neither did many major news publications. Including Pitchfork.com, EOnline.Com, Us Weekly, NME.Com, and even the Huffington Post.

Miley is a hot topic right now, for a myriad of reasons. But before you go ahead and write an open letter, take a moment to check a few facts first before you send it out into the world of the internet.


Technorage and How To Avoid It In The Classroom

14 Feb

RAGEPRINTHi, my name is Brittney and I have technorage.
We’ve all experienced it. You have a presentation planned and the peripherals aren’t working. You go to update your iWhatever and it won’t sync. You try to roll down your automatic window in your car and it won’t budge.

And you feel angry towards the technology you are attempting to use, the very technology that is supposed to make your life easier, not harder. I’ve even gone so far as to anthropomorphize the machinery that is the source of my ire, speaking to the printer at work, “Why don’t you like this flavor of paper?!” or yelling at Siri when she sends me in the wrong direction — except most of the time she talks back.

In a few days I am leaving on a one week vacation for a good friend’s wedding. I am one of those plan ahead types. So I have been compiling lists of the music and ebooks I want to download to take with me. I spent two hours last night trying to update my iPhone. It wouldn’t sync any of the songs I had recently downloaded. It wouldn’t even transfer the songs I downloaded from iTunes to my iPod Nano. It kept giving me an error message that the iPhone/iPod couldn’t support the format the song was in. Everything is in MP3. So I double check the formats. Yep, MP3’s, every last one. So I head to Google. Apparently it’s a common problem. All you have to do is select the problematic songs and creats an AAC version. BUT STILL. Syncing should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey.

So I rant and rage and then when I find the solution I feel silly for such behaviour. In the comfort of my own home it is one thing to display such behaviour, but when you are in front of a class of impressionable students, a different course of action should be taken. So this is where the first obvious rule of technology should come in. Test the technology out first on your own before using it in front of the class. You should be making sure that you are familiar enough with the technology behind the curtain so as not to have a fit of technorage in front of your students.

Review: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

29 Jan



(4 out of 5 stars)

I first picked up Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One at the suggestion of Megan from BookBrats.Com. I was waffling between Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse and this novel and I am glad that I ended picking this one up first.

As a child of the 80’s who loves dystopians, this novel was like a grab bag of my favorite things. 80’s references? Check. Set in the near future where everything has gone to hell? Check. Hero quest? Check. Hint of romance? Check.

The novel opens with the aptly named Wade Watts and he gives us the deal. James Halliday (a combo of Mark Zuckerberg and Willy Wonka) has become rich and famous after creating a free online game called OASIS. Society has become so dependent upon the OASIS that almost all interactions occur within its virtual walls. Upon his deathbed, Halliday has created a hunt for an ‘egg’ that will allow the winner to control the OASIS and the accompanying fortune it has amassed. The egg hunters, or gunters, have to find three keys and pass three gates to reach the egg, all while testing their knowledge of the 80’s, James Halliday’s version of a golden era.

Five years have passed and no one has gotten any closer to even finding the first key until Wade does, under his OASIS username of Parzival (a nod to the Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail).  Close behind Wade is some of his gunter friends, his best friend Aech, the crushworthy Art3mis, and brother duo of Shoto and Daito. However, close on their heels is the evil corporate IOI Sixers, named after their employee numbers — all of which begin with the number six — who are after control of the OASIS so they can start charging for it’s use.

Some of the 80’s references are esoteric and eclectic, but like I said, as a child of the 80’s most of them I was at least familiar with. The plethora of references might alienate younger readers but I found that there was enough explanation of said references to allow them to be at least accessible if not giving you a solid wink of being in the know.

“It is on!” Aech shouted into his comlink. “It is on like Red Dawn!”
I found the quest format entertaining (I can’t resist a good quest), but at the same time predictable. At the beginning the quest is so daunting and vague, Wade and other gunters have studied for years with no success until Wade links a series of clues together. The hints that lead Wade and the other gunters from stage to stage are equally vague unless you are really up on your knowlege of the 80’s and James Halliday.
Continue your quest by taking the test
Yes, but what test? What test was I supposed to take? The Kobayashi Maru? The Pepsi Challenge? Could the clue have been any more vague?”
But this is where Wade and his friends excel. They have the time and the motivation to study up, because the reality of their situation (and many other OASIS users) is unfaceable.
“You’d be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever.”
“Dilettantes,’ Art3mis said. ‘It’s their own fault for not knowing all the Schoolhouse Rock! lyrics by heart.”
By the end of the novel, Wade has completed his quest. James Halliday says,
“I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”
This is an essential theme of the novel, and a good one (and it also fits in with the online course I am taking from the University of Edinburgh – E-learning and Digital Cultures). Where do we draw the line between online and offline? If virtual reality has become more real than reality what hope is there for future generations? Wade learns that even though all of his relationships exist inside the OASIS, that doens’t make them any less real, but we musn’t dwell too long in fantasy, lest we neglect reality.
And then she taught!

A journey through the nooks and crannies of Secondary Education with a lady who sometimes misplaces her maps.


Created for EDCMOOC



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