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Science Spring Issue 2.Indd

Science Spring Issue 2.Indd

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Published by Caroline Albanese

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Published by: Caroline Albanese on Jan 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 As hashtags and status updatescontinue their onslaught in the world of communication, teachershave found it increasingly di
cultto stop students from using socialmedia in the classroom. A student would be hardpressed to sit through a day of classes in college and not hear therequest to turn o
their cellphones.However, social media’s some- what rise to prominence in a world where speed of communication isparamount has inevitably begunto enter the classroom. More andmore professors are embracing itdespite the backlash from tradi-tionalists. Vera Haller is no newcomer tothe
eld of both new and old socialmedia. After all, she spearheadedNewsday’s initial foray into the so-cial media realm back in the early 2000s. Yet the journalist who now  works full-time as a professor atBaruch sees both sides of the argu-ment.“You only have students for ashort period of time and it can befrustrating,” said Haller. “However,I believe it is a reality and there canbe a place for [it] if a professor canintegrate it into the curriculum.”
e use of social media solely for personal purposes cannot only be a distraction but also an integra-tion that can alleviate many press-ing issues. Integration allows stu-dents to use social media solely forclass related activities, thus eradi-cating personal use. If students aretweeting about class, they aren’ttweeting about Twilight.However social media is notentirely new to colleges. Withouteven realizing it, schools have al-ready begun adapting. Most col-lege students are familiar with the“Blackboard” platform that hasbeen utilized by a litany of schoolsnationwide.Created in 1997, the company has become the leading provideror learning software and relatedservices allowing professors tostreamline the already laboriousteaching process.
ere is of course a mammothchasm to be bridged between theBlackboard platform that is mainly used outside of the classroom andan in-class social networking envi-ronment. Randy Hensley, head of instruction, at Baruch’s NewmanLibrary is attempting to close thatgap.“I have used Twitter to create acourse dialogue about topics andto assist students in staying con-nected to one another about top-ics in the course,” said Hensley. “Ithelps the more quiet ones to havea voice.
is is probably one of the mostimportant ways social media canaid the learning process. As op-posed to being a distraction likemost reports insist, it can facili-tate discussion by giving a voice tothose who would not usually speak up, a common issue in classrooms. With Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms, professors canallow students to comment, posequestions and shed inhibitionsabout voicing opinions. In thetwenty-
rst century rapid response world of instant communication,there is value in teaching how toquickly compose and send coher-ent and concise messages.Many pundits argue that anover reliance on social media in theclassroom inhibits students andhinders their progress, thus keep-ing them in the false comfort of adigitalized bubble. However thereis a room to meet in the middle, asboth ends of the spectrum may betoo disparate to implement.Haller, who teaches “Feature Article Writing and MultimediaJournalism” is a proponent notonly of social media in general buthas found a way to tailor it to herclasses.“I talk about social media inmy journalism courses,” explainedHaller. “Students need to know how it is being used at news orga-nizations, and that it’s not just forpersonal use. When conversing of journal-ism’s role in the new age of tech-nology, it is not an odd occurrenceto hear Haller explain the popular-ity of using social networking in to-day’s media.“[In my class] I talk about how  journalists use Facebook and Twit-ter to
nd sources, to look for story ideas and to promote their articlesonce they’re published.In the same way the initial back-lash of using the Internet in theclassroom was eventually trans-formed into an active resource,even convincing the most old-fashioned of professors, social me-dia may be on the same path.Pundits agree that social me-dia can be used as an adjunct totraditional teaching methods, andnot a replacement. Discarding so-cial networking technology on thebasis that technology is distractingcan be seen as shortsighted. In thistechnology-based world, collegestudents are the digital natives.
eincumbency is on the shoulders of the digital immigrant professors tolearn to use the technology appro-priately.Schools and professors that failto adapt may put themselves at risk of being stuck in the thralls of out-of-date curriculums and inevitably falling behind.
Science & Technology
Science & Technology
Social Media trending in Baruch classrooms
Baruch Professors are starting to believe in incorporating social networking into their curriculum.
Solar storm rains upon Earth
On Jan. 29, the National Ocean-ic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) detected a solar
are, fol-lowed by a coronal mass ejection.Two days later, charged plasmaparticles struck the Earth’s atmo-sphere, marking the third and
nalphase of the coronal mass ejection.During such, a burst of solar wind, with super charged particles, shootfrom the sun and fall into the atmo-sphere.Solar storms are not rare, asover 2,000 of them can occur withinan average 11-year solar cycle.
esolar cycle is a naturally occurringshift in the amount of radiation thatthe sun emits. However, solar
areslike this one are rare, as it containsa proton storm, which is a wave of super charged protons.
is solar storm ranked an S3out of S5 on the NOAA’s solar radia-tion storm scale, which measuresthe levels of radiation that occur when the numbers of energeticparticles increase. An S3 storm isa strong storm that can expose air-plane passengers to high dosagesof radiation on high altitude
ights over the Polar Regions.In e
ect, this has forced
ight com-panies to redirect
ights and
 y atlower altitudes. Astronauts are alsoat risk of being introduced to largeamounts of radiation from the solarstorm.
is storm is part of a larger cor-onal mass ejection.
rst waveof a coronal mass ejection is X-ray radiation, causing long distanceradio transmissions to potentially fail, and can reach Earth within tenminutes of the
e second wave arrives withinroughly an hour after the
are, andcan cause satellites and can causeproblems ranging from errors tospitting out gibberish data.
e third wave is the front of charged particles that can interfere with airplane navigation systems tothe point that planes may need tobe rerouted.
ere have been cases in pre- vious solar storms when chargedparticles caused satellites to fail.Peter Orland, a physics professorat Baruch noted that solar
aresdo have the potential to interruptcommunication satellites and inextreme cases can cause satellitesto fail. An example of this is the Oc-tober 2003 failure of ADEOS-II, a$600 million Japanese satellite.
e wave of charged particlescan reach up to
 ve million milesper an hour, reaching the earth inroughly two to three days.
e big-gest risk to those on the groundis the power systems. As Orlandnotes, “[Solar
ares] can cause er-rors in communication satellites.
is can be a
ected by geomag-netic storms, a product of chargedparticles entering our atmosphereScientists predict this geo-magnetic storm to be a G2 on theGeomantic storms scale, whichmeasure disturbances in the geo-magnetic
eld caused by gusts inthe solar wind that blows into theatmosphere. Apparently the storm will only slightly a
ect electric util-ities, according to NOAA’s website.Utility infrastructure will beable to adapt. However, a strongintensity of charged particles cantake down electrical utilities.“Industries and utility serviceshave the knowledge to deal with athreat like this,” said Baruch stu-dent Kenneth Rhodes, who duringhis time in the military dealt with various satellite technologies. “Sat-ellites are obviously built to deal with this, and electrical companies will have precautions against thesenatural phenomenon.”Industries and organizationsthat rely heavily on extremely ac-curate Global Positioning Satellitedata will notice the e
ects of thestorm. Industries from
ight andtransportation to oil drilling andeven the military will feel the ef-fects. According to NOAA’s website,the occurrence of solar storms isonly going to increase as the Earthshifts into the new solar maximum.
Last week, charged plasma particles struck Earth’s atmosphere during a Solar Storm.
Gamer’s Grasp: Old Gamers
If being a kid has taught any-one anything, it’s that adults ruinanything cool. Whether it besongs, movies or television shows,the second people’s mothersstart getting involved the fun getssucked out and everyone needs to
nd a new thing.In games however, the youngpeople who created franchisesand made them popular decadesago (guys like Shigeru Miyamoto,Sid Meier, Will Wright or TimSchafer) are still in the industry.Only they’re not young any-more and their classic franchisesare starting to hit major mile-stones.Gaming classics such as Sonicthe Hedgehog and Mario Bros.have recently celebrated their25th anniversary.Even more modern classicslike Pokémon or Twisted Metal will hit their 20th anniversaries within the next three years.
ese games have managed tolast decades, with games on mul-tiple generations of consoles dueto not only their iconic presenceon the market, but due the factthat they’ve had a solid fan-base. Another side of the fact, how-ever, is that while these games getolder, so do their original players. With technological innova-tions aimed at broadening theconsumer market for videogames, what has also helped bringgaming mainstream is that gam-ers have continued to play games well past the original 18-24 demo-graphic.Parents who have grown upplaying video games are currently playing alongside their children,tightening the demographic gap.
is is radically di
erent from ageneration where it was children who played games and adults who did not.
ese adult gamers, however,are not always passive partici-pants in the medium, as the gam-ing industry is
lled with nostal-gia.
ese memories from yes-ter-year often cloud older fan’s judgment on where the indus-try should be going, as they keeplooking backwards to how gamesused to be “in their day.”
ese are the types of fans whosco
ed at “
e Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword” before even play-ing the game, since in their minds“Ocarina of Time” was the pin-nacle of the franchise and nothingcould possible match up.
e reason seasoned gamesdon’t change much over timeis because whenever they try tomove too far away from the gamesthat made them love, those wholove the games start whining andcomplaining to the point wherethe publisher is scared o
by thethreat of bad sales, and thereforeforces developers to keep makingthe same game repeatedly. With mobile and PC plat-forms morphing into practically abreeding ground for independentcreativity, perhaps it’s time to look forward and be more welcomingto up-and-coming developers. As video games continue toembrace new technologies, it’sabout time to embrace new cre-ators as well.

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