Friday, November 11, 2011

The End of the Line for 2011

This blog has 37 followers; it has approximately 45 or more readers; fewer than 35 individuals have actually posted on this blog.  It is somewhat discouraging to me.  For this reason, I will close this blog for 2011 on Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. All of my posts and all your comments will be permanently deleted.

This blog MAY resume in 2012.  I have not yet made a decision regarding this.

This is one of my soy-based ink monotypes - entitled WARTIME WOODS
For all of my readers, I appreciate your reading the postings and the comments.  For all followers who actually commented, I value your ideas and your involvement in this blog, Thank you.

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.  I hope that the year 2012 is a banner year for all of you.

Please remember to live in the moment and value the NOW.  Be mindful of your place in the universe.  As Robert Frost said, when life is difficult and you need a broader perspective, LOOK UP!

"Choose something like a star."

Dr. Cornelia Wylldestar

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Catch-up Time! Recent films that I have seen and recommend.

See these films.  If you intend to vote for President, see The Ides of March.  If you want to view a true life story that does more than pull your heartstrings, see The Tale of the Dolphin. 

Every character in the film (The Ides of March)  has the fatal flaw of being human and acting in a less than perfect way.  The secrets and lies of public figures often reflect the mores of the society.  It is important to me to emphasize that political chicanery is not the only arena for hypocrisy and greed.  The corporate society mirrors the same hubris.

If you don't know the significance of the title The Ides of March look up the play, Julius Caesar, by
Will Shakespeare.  If you don't know the definition and the application of the definition of hubris, research it.  We all have our hubris.  It is something to keep in our consciousness when we are feeling smug about ourselves and our virtue.

The title of this blog is contemporary culture in print, film, and digital media.  These two films are a cinematic compare and contrast essay of the best of human potential and the worst of human folly.  See one for reality; see the other for hope.  Tale of the Dolphin is much more than a 'feel good' film.  For me, it shows the importance of the scientific imagination to the improvement of our quality of life.  We have many troops coming home from the mid-East with terrific wounds from IUDs etc.  This film shows the importance of scientific discovery and the importance of positive relations between humans and animals.  We are interdependent.

Have you seen these films?  What are your thoughts?  I'd like to hear from you.  Dr. CW


Friday, October 7, 2011

Paulo Freire Post #1 The Man & His Meaning To Me

Paulo Freire - A Great Soul


Only through communication can life hold meaning.

                                                                   Paulo Freire


In a recent post about Steve Jobs, I mentioned the idea that as long as we are remembered, we will live on. A great thinker, a great soul that has influenced my life through both thought an action.  His is a crucial influence on how I live my life.  I would like to share a few of his ideas and his personal history.  His name is PAULO FREIRE.   Paulo Friere was a citizen of the world whose words and action make him an immortal.  Though his mortal death occurred thirteen years ago, his ideas regarding education, literacy, and human liberation are alive and prospering in 2011.

It is difficult to contain in one sentence everything that Paulo Freire worked for, wrote about, and taught in many nations on Planet Earth.  He developed a pedagogy (teaching AND learning approach) based on the idea that every learner needs to own her/his education; and that authentic education is liberating for both the individual and for society.

I began a life-long commitment to the philosophy of Paulo Freire decades ago.  My commitment continues today.  He wrote many books in the language of his native country, (Brazilian-Portugese).  His words have been translated in many languages throughout the world. He was not only a writer/philosopher; he was a practitioner.  He could speak with authority about his approach because he carried it out – from the fields of Brazil to the savannahs of Africa to the cities of the U.S..

I had the good fortune of meeting Paulo when he spoke at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.  I was a graduate student in the Education Department studying for my master’s degree as a Reading Specialist.  Meeting Paulo Freire, listening to his ideas, feeling the glow of his charismatic personality was a peak experience for me.  Though this was the first time I met him in person, he had been my spiritual and philosophical guide for twenty years through his books and his actions.

Paulo was a special guest lecturer at the University.  He spoke in English regarding his ideas and the practice of his ideas.  He was small in stature and dressed in the guayabera of Latin America.  His eyes truly reflected his soul.  He was a great man with a great heart.  I don’t really believe in the ‘aura theory’, but he DID have an aura radiating his love of humanity and his commitment to liberatory education.

At the close of his talk, we all crowded around him – as if to get his blessing.  He had achieved the ability to be charismatic without ego tripping. – an extremely rare accomplishment in public figures.  When it was my turn to shake his hand, we said a few words and the communication was more eye-to-eye than verbal.  I don’t speak his native language, Portugese.  Instinctively, we both reached out in the Latin American embrazo, and hugged in recognition of shared ideals and actions.

I never saw him again, but he is always with me.  His books are in the top shelf of my personal bookcase.  I have every book he wrote, and I go to them for inspiration and guidance.  I don’t go to his words every day, but when the need is there, I know I can count on him.  I can look at the line of his books and know, that when I need his words – he is waiting with the embrazo of his intellect and his soul.

Very rarely do I personally give one of his books to someone – never to a stranger.  I have to know the recipient well enough to know that she/he will value Paulo.  I recommend the work of Paulo Freire often, but I have seldom given the gift of one of his books  - only three times in as many decades.  Giving a book that expresses Paulo’s ideas to someone is like sharing one friend with another – a delicate human operation. “Will they like each other?  Can they really HEAR with the other is saying?”  I have to be sure she/he is simpatico with the soul and mind of Paulo and his idea that people have the right to OWN their world.

English translations of his early work, particularly, his keystone work, PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED, are difficult to read in English.  Translations of his later works are more easily read in English.  For someone wanting to begin reading the works of Paulo Freire, I suggest his book, WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING.  This is a book composed of a dialogue between Paulo Freire and Myles Horton.  Reading it flows smoothly. These two men worked in liberatory education in different parts of the world with different groups of people.  Yet, they share the same good will for humanity with both similar and distinct approaches.  In this book, the reader is a witness to their conversation.
                  
Here are some words of Paulo Freire. They are perhaps, too much to be read in one setting.  They are thought provoking and best read one at a time; choosing at random.  They are ‘memory gems.

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

"No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.”

"Any situation in which some men prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence;… to alienate humans from their own decision making is to change them into objects."

"language is never neutral"

In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing.

Learning is a process where knowledge is presented to us, then shaped through understanding, discussion and reflection.

Educators need to know what happens in the world of the children with whom they work. They need to know the universe of their dreams, the language with which they skillfully defend themselves from the aggressiveness of their world, what they know independently of the school, and how they know it.

Finally, it is important to make it clear that imagination is not an exercise for those detached from reality, those who live in the air. On the contrary, when we imagine something, we do it necessarily conditioned by a lack in our concrete reality. When children imagine free and happy schools, it is because their real schools deny them freedom and happiness.

I did not understand anything because of my hunger. I was not dumb. It was not lack of interest. My social condition did not allow me to have an education. Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge.


I would like to hear from you.
What do you think as you read his words?
What do you feel as you read his words?

Dr. CW

The Wonderful World of WORDLE - You can use this cyber tool.




There is always something new in the digital world.  What I would like to introduce to you are some products of the WORDLE website.  WORDLE is a digital tool that has many uses.  I am writing about it  because it is a means of creating images of material that you may be tested upon whether in an academic course, preparing to take the firefighter's exam, a nursing test, or your driver's license.  It is a MEMORY tool.

WORDLE is the website; its products are often called "Word Clouds".  In today's e-mail, I received an application of the digital tool of WORDLE to the Inaugural Speeches of some presidents.  The Inaugural speeches of Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Abraham Lincoln are compared with regard to the dominant and re-occurring words in their specific speeches.  It is an interesting analysis and a good example of what can be done with WORDLE.  The url for this specific WORDLE is
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/tag_clouds_of_obamas_inaugural_speech_compared_to_bushs.php

I have also posted some WORDLES I have created regarding critical thinking and higher order thinking skills.  Check out the WORDLE website.  If you have a set of words that you need to remember, consider creating a "word cloud" to help your recall.

You can also use to to make posters, T-shirts, banners, etc.  Caution, if you want more than one word to be connected with another, don't type them with any spaces between the words.  Otherwise the words will be randomly arranged.

Be sure to do more than just look at this website.  It is incredibly user-friendly.  CREATE your own WORDLE; show it on the web; use it as a study aid, ad, greeting card.  - You create it! You name it.
WORDLE is FREE!

Hope you share both your WORDLE creations and your reactions to this digital tool.  Dr. CW

Dr. William Perry's Research on How Critical Thinking Develops - Important!!! Read This.


Not everyone is fortunate enough to attend and graduate from college.  But, for those who do attend and for those who graduate, college can be a positive transformative experience.

In the first semester of their college years, students have a way of looking at the world that influences how much they learn, how they think about themselves and the world, and why they make the ethical decisions they do.

Hopefully, students evolve through the four year period of college education and they become not only more educated but also more developed human beings.  Hopefully, learning to think expands college graduates’ world view and empowers them to be contributing members of society.  Hopefully, the world is a better place because of their four years of higher education.

An individual does not have to go to college to expand her/his world and to develop as a human being.  We have all heard about and maybe attended the “college of hard knocks”. The tuition for this “college of hard knocks’ can be quite expensive.  It can cost alumni/ae of this college  emotional pain and  privation in quality of life.

Others who do not have the opportunity to attend a traditional college but are spared from having to attend too many semesters at the CHK are also developing, evolving, and achieving their human potential.

This psychological/cognitive evolution does not happen in any life circumstance without affecting the intellectual and ethical development of the individual.   As a psychologist, as a college professor, as an artist, and as a citizen of Planet Earth, I am interested in how I got to be the way I am, and who I want to become.  I like to believe that all of human life is a process of becoming.

I find this a fascinating area to read about.  We all like to know ourselves better; and we all like to believe that we are developing as positive human beings who know how to think and how to act in a manner that is beneficial for each of us and in our particular sphere of human relationships.

I enjoy reading about human development.  The work of William Perry has had a serious  influence on me.  I have included the fundamental premises of his research in a few paragraphs below.  I got this description of Perry’s Stages of College Student Cognitive and Ethical Development from the national clearing house for educational research ERIC at http:///www.ericdigests.org/pre-925//perry.htm

You don’t have to have gone to college to apply these stages to yourself. They can be applied to any individual. The experience of attending college formally intensifies the student’s developmental growth – but the College of Hard Knocks does that, also.  Human growth and development occurs in any environment that has intellectual and emotional stimuli.  How would you classify yourself?  Most of us have not reached perfection yet and are unique blends and combinations of the developmental stages that Perry identified.

I love to read fictional stories but there is nothing like a true-life story – developmental psychology tells the unique story of each individual.  Try reading this type of writing for a change – it might be challenging, but reading about human development is both fascinating and manageable.  It is not too technical.

How would you classify your thinking according to Perry’s research?

Here is the ERIC excerpt.

          DUALISTIC STUDENTS are those who see the world as a place of absolutes such as right or wrong, true or false. Knowledge is seen as existing absolutely.  Dualistic students tend to think of their role in terms of “right” answers and the role of the professor as providing those answers.  These students will present judgments and evaluations as if they were self-evident, without the need for substantiation.

MULTIPLICITIC STUDENTS recognize that there are multiple perspectives to problems. However, they are unable to evaluate each perspective adequately.  A typical
multiplicitic response might be “We’re all entitled to our own opinions,” or “We’re all good people.”

RELATIVISTIC STUDENTS see knowledge as relative to particular forms of reference.  They show a capacity for detachment; they look for the “big picure”, think about their own thinking, and evaluate their own ideas as well as those of others.  Frequently, by seeing alternative perspectives, they have difficulty making a decision.  Authorities are seen as people who can and should be questioned.

Perry's model is a significant contribution to developmental psychology.  UCLA has used his work as the basis for annual surveys of college students throughout the USA.  Every year they come up with a current profile of the gradating seniors based on Perry’s model.  The students have been surveyed over a four year period.

Perry believed that college Freshmen begin college as DUALISTIC STUDENTS and by graduation many achieve MULTIPLICITIC and RELATIVISTIC Thinking.

            In his research, 

            Perry found that most entering college freshmen were at theDualistic level. In this stage, students:

            Exhibit black/white thinking which relies on authority figures to provide
            right answers
            Perceive their intellectual job as to memorize and repeat the correct answer 
            which was given by the authority figure (author, professor, etc.)
            Dislike active or cooperative learning. They are looking for facts and figures, 
            and aren't comfortable with abstract concepts.

            He also found that most graduating seniors only progress to the next broad category,
            Multiplicity. In this level, students:

            -  are more able to accept questions with gray answers, although there is still
               a belief that all answers will eventually be known.
           -   are also starting to use supporting evidence (outside that provided by the
               professor) to support their arguments or assertions.
           -   still are very tolerant of their own pre-conceived notionsand are unwilling to
               challenge themselves or be inclined to look at other points of view.
  
           A few students reach Relativism stages by graduation. In this stage, students:

          -  understand that knowledge and values depend on context and individual
             perspectives
          -  use evidence to reach and support conclusions in habitual and internalized 
             ways
         -   begin to see the need for commitment to a course of action even with gray
             areas – based on critical evaluation and not external authority

         Only rarely do graduating students reach the upper level of development:
         Commitment with Relativism, characterized by individuals who can:
         -  make commitments based on personal values
         -  evaluate the consequences and implications of these commitments
         -  attempt to resolve conflicts and acknowledge that these may never fully be
            resolved
         -  come to terms with struggle (getting comfortable with the questions)

If you wish to do further reading on this topic, here is the URL for another article.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/scs15/Reading/development.html

What are your thoughts about your own cognitive development?
Which stage most describes you? 
In your life, are you aware of others who are at specific stages in their development? 
How do you feel about interacting with someone who is at a different developmental stage?
Could she/he be your friends?  Or, would you draw an invisible line between yourself and them? 
Can people at different developmental stages authentically interact  on a personal basis?
What do you think????

Dr. CW

Digital Comics or e-comics. Are you a graphic artist or comic book reader?





What are Digital Comics? 

Digital comics are e-comics.  People are sill collecting hard copy comic books, but e-comics are part of our culture.
My conservative family was not in favor of my reading comic books, but they DID give me the occasional WONDER WOMAN comic book. And, I often read them at my friends’ houses. I sometimes think about the archetypal message this series gave me about the possibility of women having power and intelligence – of a woman as an action hero for justice and equality.  Deep in my sub-conscious, I think it was a positive influence. There is a double entendre in the woman's title: Wonder = Awesome, and the verb, Wonder = reflect upon.  Wonder Woman was created in the mid-twentieth century, i think at that time the "wonder" was an adjective, but I have talked before about the importance of verbs as action words.  For the 21st century, I think the verb is equally correct.  We need to keep wondering about the possibilities of power for women.
Culture is more than going to the symphony or art museum – it is WHAT’S HAPPENING all around us.  I am of the opinion that an informed adult enhances her/his world view by at least being aware of popular culture in society.  Our values ARE reflected in our popular culture.
In previous blogs I have referred to my favorite e-zine Tech & Learning, a free e-zine available to anyone.  Here is a previous article I wrote for another blog.  You might find it interesting. The info in the blog below is all excerpted from Tech  Learning.  You might find it interesting.

Sites for Creating Digital Comics

The information in this post came from: http://www.techlearning.com/blogs/33632  This is the Tech Learning newsletter that is free to all subscribers.  I would recommend this website to anyone interested in learning through the use of technology.  The author of this article is David Kapuler.  Here are some of his references, most of them are free.  I am only going to post the FREE sites; you can go to the url posted at the beginning of this post to get the entire article.

ToonDoo Spaces - one of the most popular online comic creators that is very similar to Pixton(paid), with the ability to create a private space for education for sharing/collaborating in comics, free..

Comic Master - A very nice-looking site that is user friendly with lots of features to choose from such as: backgrounds, objects, speech bubbles, etc.

Stage D - A great looking site for creating animated comics.

Make Beliefs Comix - A wonderful site with lots of options to choose from - it even lets users create comics in Spanish.

Super Hero Squad Show - A fun site for kids to make comics off of their favorite Marvel super hero.

Chogger - A nice site for creating a comic with the ability to create a drawing from scratch.

Comic Creator - From Read Write & Type, an easy/simple to use comic creator that is nice to use with the younger kids.

Witty Comics - A comic creation site that focuses on creating text more than anything else.

Wordle - Don't forget this textual program - it is easy and free with multiple uses.  I have talked about it before.

I would like to see your creations using at least one of these sites.  Share the wealth!  This is not just a waste of time; doing this utilizes additional senses and therefore, increases cognitive development and the retaining of information and concepts.

What are your thoughts re: cartoons as learning tools as well as entertainment????

Dr, CW



The difference between MANGA & ANIME or Is there a difference to the viewer???











What is the difference between Manga & Anime?

MANGA
Manga is a comic book or cartoon from Japan.  It was developed in Japan in the late 19th century.  It had a resurgence after World War II (1945), and is now an international media art form. 

The Japanese word, manga, means whimsical pictures.  Traditionally, it is directly linked to the Japanese artist, Hokusai.  Artistically, Manga may be studied in two periods: pre-World War II, and post World War II.  The original manga were printed in black and white; now, manga is often printed in color.  A casual reader looking at a manga publication might characterize manga as a graphic novel.  From my perspective, as an American reader, I would call the manga books graphic novels, though not everyone would agree with me.  These books are compilations of smaller manga creations.

Within manga there are many genres designed for specific audiences, male and female The topics are often dark, and may be sexually explicit within the male genres.  Originally, only males were the heroes of manga, and females were given traditional, subservient roles.  This is no longer true in manga.  Over the years, manga has evolved regarding the dropping of stereotypes for females.

One example of female manga creations in the shojo genre.  This art form was developed by the Magnificent 23, a group of Japanese female artists, and continues to the present time. There are many sub-genres inshojo manga: romance, super heroines and 'Ladies Genre'.

In the U.S. and Canada, anime became widely popular before manga, but now both are an enlarging media market.  The growing manga industry now has a specific market label: Amerimanga meaning manga created in the U.S.  The top English language manga producer is the company, Tokyo Pop.

ANIME

Anime is an animated cartoon often based upon original manga stories, or a cartoon using the manga art style.  In the U.S., anime has had more appeal than manga, though manga is fast catching up.  The characteristic anime style was created in the 1960's by the Japanese artist, Osamu Tezuku.  Anime has different definitions in Japanese and English.  In English, the U.S. definition of anime is that it is a Japanese style of animated motion picture.  Much discussion is given to the etymology of this word.  Though some people argue that it is taken from the French, it is a word in the Japanese language, which the Japanese MAY have borrowed from France.  Within the U.S., POKEMON is an example of an extremely popular form of anime.  (Internet definition)

Do you have an interest in anime/manga?   Are you a manga artist?  Manga as an art form is an important part of today's culture.  What are your thoughts?  Do you have a favorite character?

Dr. CW