Monthly Archives: September 2018

Technology in Second Language Classrooms

Your own educational website in less than 10 minutes!
We all know how important the world wide web has become and how useful and captivating it may be for our students if we make it part of our everyday teaching practices; facts, figures, graphs, statistics, comparative charts and a myriad of information will pop up in front of our screens with the click of a button. However, nowadays, the avalanche of data is so overwhelming that we may feel at a loss to find just the right materials for our students, especially if they are learning a second language. The available resources may be either to simple or too complex for them or just irrelevant for their present-day reality or developmental stage. On many occasions, thousands of teachers would rather create their own materials than use the ones available.

After all, what a better website for your own students than one displaying exactly what you want them to learn, at their language and developmental level, free of unwanted or inappropriate contents and able to be modified as your very own lesson progresses? This would be the ideal scenario for many professionals in the teaching field. After all, many of them create their own materials anyways, so being able to put them online for the students to see and access them anytime anywhere would be a dream come true.

Nevertheless, their lack of knowledge or fear of technology prevents them from reaching their students from a different angle, from a technological point of view that will present them with exactly what they need to learn. They may have a profound desire to do so but can’t! Not any more! Not after you read this article.

The good news is: if you know how to type in a word processor, you can create your own educational (or personal of course!) website in less than 10 minutes!
If you do NOT know how to use a word processor, it may take you around 20 minutes! Does it sound too good to be true? Not really!

The big question is: How can I do this?

We are going to use probably the most well-known and popular word processor: WORD, which is part of the Microsoft Office pack that is sold by the famous company owned by Bill Gates.

Before we start, it is good to picture or draft our website so as to have a pretty good idea of what we are aiming at. What do we want to accomplish with this website? Do we need just one page or more? Let’s imagine that we want to create a second language website with two main sections: reading comprehension articles and grammar and vocabulary.

Most websites have a main page with links to other pages. In other words, apart from the two pages we are going to create, we must include another one that will be the main page, the page that will show you the doors to the other two pages in the website.

Let’s proceed to create the different pages. This is a pretty simple and straightforward process. First we will launch our Microsoft Word program.
We will create a simple table to put the info we type inside. It is important to understand that all the info on webpages must be inside tables, or else all the contents may appear on different parts of the screen depending on the web browser you use.

STEP 1

So our first step is to create a table to put our data in. To do that, in Word, go to the top menu on the screen and select TABLE —- INSERT —- TABLE
You will be presented with a couple of questions to customize your table, namely number of files and rows.

STEP 2

Once this is done, type the info you need; for example READING COMPREHENSION ARTICLES and GRAMMAR & VOCABULARY

If you want to insert a picture, go to the menu at the top ofthe screen and select:
INSERT —- PICTURE — FROM FILE (and select the route where you have the picture you want to place in your webpage)

STEP 3

Now it is time to proceed to save our work BUT…. And here lies the trick, instead of saving it as a word document, choose … SAVE AS TYPE….WEB PAGE
Note: the name that must be given to the main page is “index” That is the name that all main pages have.

STEP 4

If you have done this so far, we have completed almost a third of our job
In a similar way, create the two pages that will contain the info on your website. For our purpose here, just type the name in the word document and save the page as shown In step 3. For example, we can save the page on READING COMPREHENSION ARTICLES as “articles” (always remember to save it as a Webpage) and in the same fashion we will create another page and name it “grammar.”

So right now, we have three separate webpages:

The main page (index)

A Reading Comprehension page (articles)

A Grammar and Vocabulary page (grammar)

Make sure that the three pages are located in the same folder in your hard drive.

At this stage, we will not worry about the content. What we must do now is to find a way to connect or link the pages, so that if I am on the main page and want to go to the Reading Comprehension Page or to the Grammar and Vocabulary Page I can do so. Actually, every single page must have a link to the rest of the pages in your website.

STEP 5

How can we achieve this?
Let’s open our main page (called “index” now)
In STEP 1 you typed the words READING COMPREHENSION ARTICLES and GRAMMAR & VOCABULARY. We could add the word INDEX wherever you find it convenient. Now it is time to link this page to the other two.
Select the text READING COMPREHENSION ARTICLES with your mouse.
Go to the top of your screen and choose:
INSERT ———————— HYPERLINK

A window will open. Give it the route where you have saved these pages and choose the file that says “reading”
In the same way, select the text that reads GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY, and then go to INSERT ———– HYPERLINK and choose the file that says “grammar”
Do the same with the INDEX.

Save this page and that’s almost done! Eureka! Now your main page can take you to the other pages with the click of a button!
There is only one more step!

STEP 6

Select the text on the main page with the links to the other pages (i.e READING COMPREHENSION ARTICLES, GRAMMAR & VOCABULARY and INDEX)

Go to:
EDIT —- COPY

And then, paste it on the two other pages!

STEP 7

Save each of the pages and that’s it!!!!
You can try the navigation now! Close your word processing program and Open the index file by double clicking on it. Click on the links and try to go from one page to the other. You will see that it actually works and it is something so easy to do!

STEP 8

After you made sure you can navigate from any page to another, it is now the time to focus on style, layout, content, pictures, etc. If you know how to do that in a word document, it will be no different here…. Mostly because you are using the same word processor you always use anyways!

As you can see, creating a website was no mystery and in less than ten minutes you have been able to create your own educational website. To use this with your students just place the files in the same folder in the hard drive or you can also upload them to a server and access them from the Internet! This is as simple as counting from 1 to 10 but it really escapes the aim of this article to describe this process. If you want me to, in a future article I can describe in a few simple steps how to put all this info online! I do hope that my little contribution may help you make your classes more appealing both for you and for your students.

Comprehension and Communication

The “Information Age” has been with us for some time now. Jules Vern, Isaac Asimov, and Eugene Wesley (Gene Roddenberry) are just a few of the visionaries that many people ridiculed and laughed at for their dreams and insight(s). Many may well argue that they were just plain crazy. I am not one of them. I have always been an avid reader of Sci-Fi mags, books, articles, etc, and its film varieties. Should they not be believed? Just take a look around you. How many people have noticed that drastic change in the world today? How many of you have noticed people walking around with devices that seem to be glued to the side of their heads; seeming like their talking to themselves or appear to be delusional? However, the down side to mobile communication devices is that people are not properly governing themselves to the various disciplines and responsibilities associated with the use of these tools. Are you driving a car and talking on a cell phone? Are you annoying someone who is nearby and not desiring to hear and/or listen to your conversation(s)? How about not being able to function without your personal communication device(s). Albeit, we need to have the connection to information platforms, we still have a very long way to go.

Data is just raw material until it becomes useful information. Remember my piece on IT and BI? The information was/is intended as a teaching and encouragement format to aid any and all American Information Technology and Computer Science Students in their technology endeavors, be you a person of color or not (“Tech Assimilation and Warehousing of Talent”).

My last entry brought about some interesting opinions and comments. A friend of mine made a profound statement to the article. What he said is so on target; it had to be shared with the aspiring Information Technology, Computer Science, and Business students and those who are not. I left the quote in its pristine state due to its consistency. Two other friends made excellent comments to this teaching platform as well. Their examples portray the direct result of what this reporter was alluding to where it affects and the effects of a non-techie person’s ability to interpret the language and structure within the world of Enterprise Wide Technology Information and Communication.

My friend Irma:
What was the phone call about any way? What I am trying to get at is if it was some form of wrong doing why only a phone call then try to treat you like a misbehaved child of hers to boot?
The next time maybe you should put it on tape or speaker- phone so that the demeaning tone, and words used can become a counter complaint. One should always demand respect as well as give respect…for example, my phone is in my home /my possession as one does not ever (even my children) disrespect a home, be it mine or anyone else’s home!!! ! I am sure by now you have gathered I am from the old school (smile)

Irma’s question pertains to the investigation of my “Enterprise” web site as it relates to people who use the Internet for employment searching and the displaying of abilities for potential employers to view. The telephone interviewer/investigator was from the Unemployment Compensation.

My friend Mozell:
Interesting story, it said little but it said something. It sort of read like a recruitment/poor me piece. I failed to get the point but then again maybe I was not supposed to. Sort of like you say prospective employers…If there is in fact a shortage of qualified IT folk, and this void can be filled by qualified black applicants…is it implied that the schools you mentioned have active recruitment components that you wish us to know? Rhetorical…Like my friend I am at a loss to the reason for the ill-tempered caller. To what end was the call initiated? What information did she dispute, or dislike you sharing on your page. Honestly not being privy to your page I do not understand how this post if related would help you obtain employment other than to say you were informed that IT people are in short supply and …you are qualified to fill a position in the field. If your are an instructor, your students are…I shall await further info to form a solid opinion. In the mean time if your goal is to raise awareness of the plight of IT folk you were moving in that general direction. As far as security is concerned and the sharing of info…that’s a tricky topic. Granted they are supposed to be on the same side. I find it a lil crazy, and tend to think hacking is the undercurrent of your piece. I will retire there until you are forthcoming with more info you are dangerously close to the same behavior that you say the non-compliers you speak about practice. Compartmentalized.

Mozell’s comprehension of the IT BI Community is limited. This example should be made aware to people who are lead to believe that they are computer literate because they have the ability to navigate through a few applications and utilize the script-written software and its’ peripherals allowing the portal entry onto the “Information Highway.” This is not to say that there aren’t many skilled individuals who can operate, navigate, and communicate within the IT world without formal training. One of my sons is so talented in the operations and machinations of software and hardware that I sometimes consult with him. I’m the one who is supposed to have the IT/BI and Business Administration Training. Yes?

Now we get to the crux of this message!

My Friend Clark Maxwell:

First of all, assuming that person that called you about your website was from the unemployment office, she was an idiot. That has not happened to me, but I have heard of that before where it is assumed that because you have a website you are actually working.

Part of the problem with IT in this country is that it is the most misunderstood of all of the “industries.” In most cases the people making the decisions regarding who is hired, what projects get done and how resources are allocated lack the understanding of IT to be making such decisions. Most people like to think they are tech savvy but have little understanding. And most projects are doomed before they even start because of it. The stories I could tell…

First of all, there is no IT shortage in the US. That is a myth that has been floated by corporations who have sought to undercut IT workers here using the H1-B program. H1-B for those of you who may not know is a program that essentially allows employers to hire someone, mostly from India, to perform an IT role within an organization. It first started out where that was allowed only if they could not find a person in the US with similar skills, hence the myth of an IT shortage. The thing with H1-B is that employers pay these people far less than the going rates for IT skills in the US, thus undercutting US workers. At the same time, “outsourcing” became popular, wherein on any given IT project; they would send portions of the project, like the programming, quality assurance/testing and other components to shops in India, where they would charge far less. A programmer in India can be paid $10/hr and that is considered high. That same person coming here will get paid more than that but far less than what a US programmer is typically paid. The perspective of the H1-B worker is I make my money here and send it home. When my H1-B visa expires, I go home and live like a king. Companies would hire H1-B workers over US workers simply because of the up front cost savings.

But long term there has been a cost associated with overuse of H1-Bs and outsourcing. In many cases the projected cost savings were eaten up in rework of application code, in inadequate test plans that produced software with many bugs that required fixing after a system is in production, which is always more costly. This happens mostly because of the language barrier and also in some cases because of the time difference and coordination of meetings with key individuals that don’t happen because of it. I have been called in to “fix” many projects that have been outsourced because of the adverse effects of some or all of the above. The reasons these lessons are not being learned as quickly as one might think is because in most organizations IT is a service and the purse strings are held by those who require the service of IT and not the IT organization itself. They tend to call the shots and in too many organizations it is still not understood that when it comes to some decisions regarding how monies are to be spent, that MUST come from IT, or IT at least there has to be considerable input, if they want that money to be spent most effectively.

I have worked for myself as an independent contractor for over 15 years. In that time I have worked every role there is, from programmer analyst to software engineer to systems analyst and project manager. In most cases I work as a lone wolf, but in some cases contracts I take on require a team in which case I bring in my own people as subcontractors. On many of the projects I’ve worked on I have worked with H1-B workers, and, for want of putting it better, just because the person is from India doesn’t mean they are better, even though for many hiring managers that is what it comes down to. While I have worked with some very smart H1-Bs, I have also worked with some not so smart, and even the cheap rate they accept is not worth it. But the perception is entrenched. On the flip side, I can honestly say that some of the smartest people I have worked with in IT have been African American.

And speaking of hiring managers many of these gate keepers are clueless not only about how to properly evaluate the skills of prospects, but also do not understand the technical requirements for the projects and departments for which they seek to hire. I’ve had recruiters call about projects and ask the most ridiculous questions that have no bearing and indicate that the most they can do is say words and little else. If anyone asks you “where do you see yourself five years from now,” you may as well stop the interview right there, as I can almost guarantee you it’s a waste of time. The changing dynamics of technology and working in general makes that question just plain stupid.

In short, the biggest obstacle to the US IT industry is the US IT industry itself. We have skilled workers here who can fill a lot of these roles but for the desire of corporations to go cheap. We can’t nurture a strong IT workforce here if we continue to put people in a position where they cannot make a living. In a sense, we are ceding our homegrown technical edge for the short-term gain of profit. In the long run it’s not worth it.

That said, here’s the advice I would give to persons of color in the industry or just starting out and seeking to get in.

1. The most successful IT person today is going to be one who understands the Big Picture. You should understand the SDLC, e.g. software development lifecycle process, and how your role fits into that, as a programmer/analyst, business analyst, systems analyst, QA analyst or implementation person. That means you understand not just your role but the roles before and after yours in the development process.

2. Strive to not be a one trick pony. Many people will bill themselves as a .Net Programmer, for example. Hiring managers are looking for people who can do multiple things, like write documentation, specifications, understand database design, etc. Focus your professional development on skills that are ancillary to yours.

3. If you are someone in college seeking to get into the industry, the best place to be is a consulting firm where you are likely to be exposed to different technologies. Experience is favored over education. Most managers will take any day, the person who has experience in, Unix shell scripting, vs. someone who just completed a course. The person who has a diversity of skill sets is going to be the person most attractive to hiring managers. If you hire on to a company early on in your career that is wedded to one technology after only a few years your market value may be in jeopardy, as what is “hot” technically changes all the time.

4. Develop on your “soft skills.” I tell people I mentor all the time: the IT industry, more than being about technology, is a “people” industry. People tend to hire those who can demonstrate confidence in their abilities and have the ability to develop trust. Verbal communication and body language is very important. Also understand how to be a team player as well as a leader; someone who can put together and run a meeting, as well as thrive in a team environment. Develop the skills to be a “self-starter” and that is someone who has a clear grounding in #1 such that they do not need to be told what to do in most cases, they already know. Look for ways to “add value” above and beyond your role.

5. Invest time in networking. Join local chapters of IT organizations; create profiles on IT-related sites that promote networking. If someone passes a job to you that is not a good fit, think of whom you can refer it to.

And here is the problem with a lot of the academic programs. The curriculum that many offer for Computer Science degrees are just outdated and/or inadequate. Students come out of some of these schools and they lack the skills to even get in at an entry level. And the vast majority of the people that I have worked with have not had CS degrees. Back in the day before there was such a thing as Computer Science, if someone wanted to get into computing they would seek a degree in Electrical Engineering. I would still recommend that as engineering curriculum better prepares a student for being able to diagnose, analyze and solve problems, which is a big component of what an IT professional does. An IT professional, if nothing else, is a solution provider.

Early in my career I have often been the “only black.” The problems I encountered with that is a big part of the reason why I went out on my own, and in retrospect it’s been the second best decision I ever made (marrying my wife was the first!). But you don’t see much of the overt racism that we dealt with back in the day, although its still there it’s not as blatant. In many if not most cases, the cost of IT services is such that most organizations cannot afford the foolishness of race, and while hire and promote those that can deliver, regardless of race or sex. Speaking of my own experiences, I’m still not ready to say if that is the rule rather than the exception though.

I would advise and encourage the preceding statement(s) as it is (in my opinion) one of the most prolific and profound statement and explanation that I have heard in a very long time. IT/BI students should especially take heed to what my friend(s) have said. One day it could be you that is searched out for the absorbing of knowledge and guidance.

For individuals who have found themselves out of work and receiving UC Benefits, use the Internet to gain employment contacts. Do not allow anyone to sway your diligence in the pursuit to gainful employment. The one thing that U.S. workers have as a financial backup is the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Structure. Thank God for its existence! Many of us would be ruined without it!

How many of you have initially applied to companies and/or the various organizations with a paper application? Today’s job searching platforms just don’t allow it! It doesn’t matter to what organization…everyone is utilizing the Internet for the hiring process! Don’t believe? Try it for yourself…let us know if you can still apply for a job in today’s market without the utilization of the Internet, regardless of the profession, business, and/or industry.

“Sister Irma, Thank you as well. Your sentiments are right-on! The respect of my home is not an option, as I believe to be true of other folk’s homes. The woman made an ass of herself and it makes no sense in arguing with an ass.” Yes?

“Brother Mozell, I hope that Brother Clark has answered your question.”

In reiteration, “I Don’t Know A Lot Of Things But…The One Thing That I Do Know Is…I Don’t Know!”

Til Next Time…

Acknowledgment(s):
Ms. Irma Robinson, B.I.A.
Mr. Mozell Fleming, B.I.A.
and
Mr. Clark Maxwell, B.I.A.
Thank you to all my Friends and Visitors at “Black In America”

Thank you Mr. Maxwell, you are a master communicator as well as the meanest tech dude I have ever heard speak. I know this is a open blog but you need to bottle that wisdom and sell it. You are nothing short of amazing in your insight, experience and knowledge. Your words are simple enough for the least educated tech person like me to understand and full enough for the seasoned tech person realize that you are the real deal. Bottle that my brother I think you just built the better mousetrap!

Emotion Recognition Technology

Software, recorders, scanners, cameras, and analysts are all essential ingredients of media analysis service. However, there are technologies just around the corner that are promising to change the way media analysis works. These technologies will enable analysts to make a real time analysis of the impact that certain news is having. One of these technologies is emotion recognition.

If you are confused by what I just said, I’ll just explain. Emotion recognition is a new concept in this age of Smartphones with front cameras. Some MIT innovators thought of using the Smartphone front cam in a sinister way – to read your emotions. Through specially developed software, the camera can record and transmit your facial expressions to a remotely located analysis center. The analysis center has the latest computers running emotion recognition software. What it means is that as people see a news item, watch a TV show or see an ad, you can know how they are feeling. The technology can decipher your facial expressions to tell whether you are happy, sad, angry, tense, depressed, or relaxed.

The implications of emotion recognition technology are widespread and diverse. Emotion recognition gives a whole new direction to media analysis. A brand can now find out what the customers are actually feeling about their message, and not what the “say” they are feeling. Research has shown that people may hide their true emotions during surveys and studies. Emotion recognition technology does not depend upon what the audiences say they are feeling, but reads their facial expressions to find out their true emotions.

For instance, if a company releases an advert that is supposed to be funny, it can find out whether people are actually laughing or smiling while seeing the advert. Movies and commercials can be shown to select groups of people on opt-in basis and their actual impact can be measured. As media analysis progresses further, it might be possible to analyze the emotions that your targeted news stories and videos are generating. At times, people might like an advert internally, but might not like to confess that openly. Emotion recognition and monitoring can track such hidden cues and help marketers and others to gain deeper insights into human behavior.

The technology can also have use for politicians. It was already used for monitoring the results of Obama’s 2nd presidential debates. It could make a huge difference if campaigning politicians could know how their constituents are feeling when listening to them. They could use this information to come up with better arguments or stress on the right points.

For Internet marketing, emotion recognition can be used to direct ads at users, depending upon their emotional profile. For instance, if a user spends more time playing games that make him tense, search engines could target that user with a game that raises anxiety levels.

The Darling Of Online Sellers

Information is a great business asset. When you know something and other people are looking for that information, you have a readymade product in hand. When people find that the information they are looking for is available, they happily buy it. Information products or Info products are the products which pertain to selling the information.

Earlier books were only info products available. With advent of technology on media and internet boom, there are many a products which have risen from pure information that the creator possessed. Now an information can be packed in form of book, newsletter, ebook, audio or video. All kinds except the first can be managed and soled on internet only. These are digital products and do not need shipment etc. as is the need in case of books.

Can you imagine that info products is a billion dollar industry on the internet itself. As the technology advanced, it became possible for common man to produce ebooks or record audios and videos.

Many internet marketers took this advantage and built empires of business based on info products only.

Info products Info Products are loved by all online marketer for economy and ease of creating them.

They are also easy to sell without using much of the sophisticated tools.

For example you can write an ebook in word format, convert it to .pdf file, upload it to your server. In another step you open an account with paypal, get an encrypted paypal button and paste that to your own site.

That is it.

You are ready to market and sell.

For creating info products all you need to do is write. If you cannot write yourself, you need to hire somebody who can write. These people are called ghostwriters. They would write for you against the payment and submit their work to you without making any claims on the product rights. Everything now belongs to you as if you have written it. These people are not difficult to find though the quality writers would be expensive.

For writing you need to have information on the topic you write. Search and you will find. Online search engines, libraries, book stores, field experts are few of the many sources available.

You can create an ebook, audio files, video files in info products. Each one differs in complexity and the technology needed to make it. The cost factor also differs in each. But they all have one thing in common. All are created with a purpose of dispensing information in downloadable format. They all are info products.

Info products are darling of online sellers and have made millions to them. You too can demand your share