quest report: panel on mental health

Submitted by Jen Roerty
I attended “Mental Health: Unlocking the Combination to Finding Your True Potential” with a panel of four participants including three psychologists and mental health professionals and one SUNY oSwego student going into the mental health field. They discussed medication, how caffeine affects your mental health, meditation, exercise and diet. I believe it was very beneficial to hear certain opinions from different people however  I did not necessarily agree with their opinions. It was very informative.

quest report: “news media bias in 2008 presidential election” by Arvind Diddi

Submitted by Aubrey Mulvey

This Quest program was a content analysis of the television coverage of the 2008 presidential election through broadcast, cable, and public television. The program started with Diddi giving an example of bias in media. He pulled up an article which had the headline “CNN is less biased than Fox.” The speaker of the quote was none other than Newt Gingrich. This has drawn attention back to bias in media, particularly in television. Apparently Newt Gingrich made this claim feeling Fox was biased towards his political opponent Mitt Romney.

According to the presenter, news viewership has seen an increase in the past year. Network TV evening news is watched by 21.6 million people during a presidential election. It is very important that television reporting remains unbiased, given its effect on public opinion and influence on registered, undecided voters who are following the campaign by night to try to decide where to vote. But viewers are becoming increasingly aware of media bias. According to the presenter 55% of Americans believe news media is politically biased. This is a 10% increase since the 1980s.

We then broke down the television coverage of the Obama vs. McCain campaign. Diddi said 846 stories having partisan assertions were published by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and PBS — 425 of these stories were favored by Democrats, 48% of the stories were favored by Republicans and there was a balance of about 10%. It was also noted that cable and public television gave stories for both parties fairly equally while broadcasting networks appeared more uneven.

This was an intriguing program which brought more attention to the ethics of media.

more than games: hci students present at quest.

Students in our human-computer interaction graduate program presented several sessions at Quest, many related to video games and learning. Among them:

Dan Young showing his project to have NAO robots perform Waiting for Godot to learn more about programming robot movement and simulating human actions.

 

Randy Belcher and Dan Cutler, with help from an audience volunteer, show the large amount of data one can obtain from the Xbox Kinect. They are using it to study body language and emotion. An audience member described it as "amazing ... potentially revolutionary" in possibly helping autistic children.

Joshua Farrell discusses his research of what motivates people who play video games, with potential implications for game developers and marketers.

Kevin Graham demonstrates the Rocksmith guitar-instruction system. He also talked about how studying it could shed lighting on electronic learning aids.

You can also see a video of Graham rocking out during his presentation.

Breath, Stretch, Meditate

Recently I find myself increasingly curious about meditation, yoga and obtaining peace of mind. I am not sure if it has to do with all of the Oprah programs I am watching or more the desire to find a way to keep my mind clear enough  to write when I am up against the deadline (as I always am). Truth be told it is a fair mixture of both, I am a huge fan of Oprah’s LifeClass  any Own program and I still have a 2 page analysis paper due from before spring break(please don’t judge me). Whatever it might be that is bringing on my constant stress and cloudy mind I have found that a few things actually help to clear it.

After years of wanting to do yoga I finally took a friend up on an invitation to join her at a Sunday afternoon session. The experience was a memorable one; me struggling to balance my self on one leg or hold positions with every muscle trembling while the rest of the class seemed to flawlessly glide from position to position. I lost track of how many times I said to myself ” I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing and calm”. But as the session was concluding , I found myself down on my yoga mat calmly breathing , mind effortlessly drifting off unaware of the macho body building men who had earlier watched me head over to the yoga mats.

When the lights finally turned on and the instructor told us she looked forward to seeing us next week, I was floating over to my friend with the surrealist feeling of serenity I had have ever experienced. I felt somewhere in between sleep and euphoria. The rest of the day and subsequently the next one as well was filled with great clarity. In the time after, I spent nights  practicing breathing exercises to help settle my thoughts enough for me to fall asleep.

Since then I have developed a weekly routine of attending a Sunday evening yoga class courtesy of Oswego’s fitness centers. What has made my yoga classes even better was learning that other SUNY schools don’t all offer classes without paying a separate fee. How lucky are we to get a yoga class that not only winds down as the sun sets over the lake but not  have to pay an additional fee?

The health benefits of yoga are substantial I am sure but I’ll leave that up to a professional or someone with more knowledge on yoga practices to tell you. I’m just here to say yoga has definitely been a great stabilizer in my life.

Practicum (Fall 2011) – Day 5

Currently at my Practicum site, students are reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild, and although I have never read it, picking it up and following again was an easy task, especially since I was lucky enough to have been there just as they were only on the second chapter. I was asked to read the first two chapters to students that had not been there the day before, in order to catch them up, and I really appreciated that opportunity. The student teacher gave the students questions to answer, and most of these questions were not beyond knowledge-based questions; in other words, they were asked to go back and find specific details from the book and answer a question such as “what happened to Curly?” and everything that I have been taught about education tells me that this doesn’t work, and I think that I was observing that, in fact. Most of the students were bored and frustrated, and it was obvious to me that they wanted to get the questions answered just so they could say that they were done and move on, not because they were interested.

I don’t know if the student teacher, however, did that of his own free will or if the Host Teacher wrote the questions and then just had him administer him. If the latter is the case, then I really hope that as a student teacher, I will not be asked to do a lot with which I don’t agree. If so, that will definitely be one of the most challenging aspects. Asking students knowledge-based questions does little to engage them, and they forget the material as soon as they “learn” it; this is why testing is not always beneficial. At the same time, though, knowledge-based questions are a part of the Regents exam, so there are going to be pills difficult to swallow, pills that I will have to swallow nonetheless. The student teacher showed them a bit of an episode of a show on the Science Channel, a show called Survivorman, and I think that that was a great idea because it could be related to Call of the Wild and keeps them engaged. First period was chatty, and once again, I heard my “f-bomb” again, but all in all, it was a pretty good day.

Practicum (Fall 2011) – Week 2

During my second day at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School in Hannibal, the class listened to the rest of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, which I am assuming they had begun on a day that I wasn’t there, since I only go twice a week. This led to the Host Teacher talking to the students about how a story typically plays out, starting with rising action, the climax, falling action, and finally, the resolution, or the ending, using “The Tell-Tale Heart” to exemplify this model. It was the Friday before Halloween, so needless to say, students were a bit excited, and since the Host Teacher was not going to be working the Monday after the weekend, she celebrated Halloween with them on this day.

The Host Teacher played Halloween music for the students, and she did a Halloween-themed Mad Lib with them. I don’t think that they all understood the idea of a Mad Lib, because they were filling in words that were fitting to the context of the story (which she provided them, even though I think that the exercise would have been more fun and funnier for them had she not, since usually, you don’t). Reasons such as these are why this Host Teacher really makes me feel excited to teach. She, like me, stresses good writing and discourages the use of words such as bad, sad, mad, and so forth, encouraging her students to use more descriptive words. I do, however, firmly believe that I would enjoy my Practicum experience without a student teacher sharing the room with me, but that, perhaps, is a story for another time. I was writing a blog entry for my third week at the school, and my computer decided to sign me out without my consent, and I lost the entire blog, which isn’t saved as a draft for some reason.

The 411

One summer class down and the swan song on math in undergrad. Not too shabby huh? What have I been doing in this past week since class ended absolutely nothing. This is the first true break for me since the spring semester began, yeah travel back that far.

Alright, I may not have been being a complete summer bum, I just took out three books on loan from Penifield. Two by James Baldwin and one by David Benioff writer of the 25th Hour famously turned into a Spike Lee directed Movie, he also wrote the screen play for The Kite Runner and Troy. I figure three books is a enough to keep me pleasantly busy while allowing my mind to recuperate for the way I repeatedly put it through the grinder over these last 5 months. I’ve also been trying to make my way down to the lake as often as I can while the weather is nice and at the risk of this sounding like a match.com profile , I’ve been doing some bike riding around town as well.

At this point I may be enjoying summer days more than my friends. Everyday feels like a gift. One part of Oswego that is so underrated is the summer . We always hear about the snow, the strong wind gust and of course the sunset but summer is the town’s best kept secret. I have made it a goal of mine to share all of the different things that can be done for fun during the summer but I need to be selfish just a while longer.  Think of it as a finders fee.

Anyway I need to resume to this summer relaxation but don’t fret you’ll be seeing (hint hint) somethings from me pretty soon. Until then as Rob would say ” let that boy cook!”

Enjoy your summer day everyone,

Kwame

Let’s Catch Up

Wow

It has been a while since I’ve really gotten into the flow of  things. Not to worry I am back and fully functioning. Took a much needed break. You know how hectic things can get for a college student. Hopefully to the demise of you the reader (just admit you miss me). With so much time passing , comes so much news.

This past semester I went through a lot. I grew a lot , I experienced a lot. I am grateful for it all , maybe not while it occurred or soon after, and truthfly there are issues I am still trying to resolve. However my new outlook has led me to be grateful for it all. Rain, sleet, Oswego sized snow days and sun. Whatever the problem I may be experiencing in the end will be worth the journey.

Success has found its way to me this year. This past spring semester I was inducted into the Lambda  Pi Eta National Honor Society of Communications. It was a pleasant surprise because although it has been my goal since day one of Oswego to receive academic recognition I never set out for this one in particular. Which made the induction and initial nomination that much more of an honor. I learned that when you take care of your business , stay focused on the goal at hand, the blessings will come. Also it never hurts to be able to send your parents a quick picture of you holding a Honor Society Certificate , all dressed up, with a great big smile with the caption “Hey mom just in case you thought I was going to Thirsty Thursdays every week.”

So all in all there has been a lot to occur. My birthday was exactly a month ago to the date( old & gray) , I received stitches for the first time (a lesson learned from that!), celebrated BSR (woop woop!), became Mr. BSU(check me out), My niece is 7 months and teething (poor baby sister).

As hectic as that may seem. I am still busy at work up here in Oswego. I’m taking summer classes, looking for employment, working on a possible intership/shadow position, and experiencing all that Oswego has to offer in the summer time (besides allergies and a sinus infection).

Rest assure though , we will be in touch!

-Kwame