Conscious Robots – Pecha Kucha Self-Assessment

Selecting a topic was my most challenging hurdle. Initially, I chose to research robotics and how competition can drive technology. However, the deeper I went into my research the more I realized that I could not find a way to make an argument. As a result I decided to seek help.  As I shared my research and held conversations about robotics with family and friends it occurred to me that each of them was referring to robots as tools rather than beings. So I then started asking them “Do you believe that robots are going to become as smart as humans?”, and as those conversations developed the question became, “Do you believe that robots will ever develop a consciousness?”. I spent roughly a week researching this topic and collected a vast reserve of factual and opinionated information. I knew that I wanted to highlight all the main points of what I had learned so I initially created a presentation filled with facts and data. When structuring this I wanted to strategically introduce the main counterarguments presented by  friends, family, and online resources. I took all of the doubts obstructing people from believing in robotic consciousness and tried to eliminate them by breaking down the human brain in a logical fashion and then relating it to functions of artificially intelligent programs. As I created my script I found images to help stimulate my thoughts and then chose my favorite ones for the final PowerPoint presentation. I feel satisfied with the way I used counter-arguments to bolster my own position, but would have liked to have narrowed down my topic a little bit more and perhaps mentioned more factual details.


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My argument hinged on the idea that our minds are a summation of the functional parts of our brain, and nothing more. It is natural for humans to believe that their ability to think and have consciousness is unexplainable and special. To change this mindset I explained how science is beginning to discover that our consciousness is derived from many functions of our minds. However, this is difficult to understand so I feel that these pictures were instrumental in that, while one related our minds to the sections of an iceberg, the other took that and put it in a human head to represent the functional parts of the brain.


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This picture was important in hammering home my final message. I had constructed a defense against the counter-arguments presented earlier, and so the only thing remaining was to let the audience take the information I supplied them and use it to envision the future. Words by themselves do not stick, so I chose a classic image of human evolution to represent the evolution of robots, a blue vortex to show a progression towards something while maintaining a thoughtful mindset (blue), and a question mark to instill a sense of wonderment and what could happen. By relating the evolution of mankind to robots I encouraged each person to think about the future of artificial intelligence given its new abilities to develop on its own.


Pecha Kucha Reflection

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During this slide I introduced US v Jones which judged the use of warrantless GPS tracking. The image depicts one of these devices and shows the audience something they’d normally never be familiar with. Having a person hold the tracker in their hands makes gives the picture a sense of scale. Illustrating something that is normally completely foreign really helps viewers place a kind of “face” on the device.

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I tried to use the picture of Steve Jobs to drive home the point of how fast technology has evolved. I talked about the implications of the loopholes in the Supreme Court decision during this slide. The consequences of this case are far scarier when placed in context of rapidly evolving technology and the adoption of smartphones in our daily lives. The picture of Steve Jobs introducing the first iPhone really dates the events of 2005 that were the core of this case. It doesn’t seem obviously old until closer inspection. The design of the first iPhone really stands out as dated compared to the new design trends of recent iPhones and smartphones.

I was considering doing a presentation on NSA surveillence as a whole but it seemed like an overdone topic. But I still wanted to do something related to that field because its something that I find really important to me personally as well as to the functioning of society. I found this topic when I read an article on Stingray Trackers on WIRED and Ars Technica. The completely unregulated nature of the devices and their blatent disregard for personal privacy really caught my attention and drove me to read more about the topic. My research on this topic actually extended far beyond the actual Stingray Tracker itself and led to US v. Jones as well. It was really fortunate that the two examples tied together nicely because I thought that it’d be two somewhat unrelated topics. It was awesome to realize that the implications of US v. Jones were directly related to and somewhat enabled the usage of Stingray Trackers.

The first thing that I did to make my Pecha Kucha presentation was make an outline and then write a script. Rather than talk off a sheet of talking points I decided to craft a carefully written script so that when I presented I had nothing to worry about than reading. Personally I find it hard to think and talk at the same time when presenting so I spent a lot of time fleshing out the script. I practiced a couple times as well but I think the most helpful strategy was carefully writing and timing the what I was going to say for each slide. The 20 second per slide pacing prevented me from writing any long rambling rants and kept the script a a steady (hopefully not boring) pace, driving one point after another home.



I found this kind of visual way of presenting an agreement to be interesting. It introduces new challenges for putting your argument forth but also gives new ways to show your point. The largest challenge I found was that because on the time restraint I had to skip interest fact or details for a specific slide. An example of this was that during the slide with Clay Mathews I had prepared a joke about how I was going to use a picture of myself but decided against it. There was also more information about how good Harry Carrson and Carl Banks were, but I did not have time to go into their statistics. This would have helped some of my claims about how Lawrence Taylor did not do it all himself. The time limit also prevented me from using more examples about how lineman and defensive players have become faster. The advantage of a visual presentation is that some pictures speak for themselves. The one with Clay Mathews I did not have to make an argument that he was strong you could just see it in his body. The visual element also allowed to include some of the new defensive blitz that have emerged into football and show how they take advantage of the speed and agility of players instead of just their force. I wish I did spend more time preparing the speech it was much more difficult than I expected with the slide switching automatically. I still think standard presentations are better ways of relaying information to people, but this did show how effective spoken words with pictures could be and that the bullet points on power points are usually unnecessary. For the argument it could have used more organization. I originally thought that splitting up the defensive players would allow me to go more in detail about how no large change in salary has happened to any particular position, but thinking back that point was not very important to the argument and I could have done without out it. I also would have liked to spend more time talking about “The Blind Side” since this is a very good introduction to a topic that not many people are informed or even interested in. Even with the things I would like to change about the presentation style and mine in specific I was happy with the assignment and my final result.

Has Big Data Changed the Game of Soccer?

When selecting a Pecha Kucha topic I chose to talk about soccer because it is something that interests me and I also know a lot about it. But narrowing it down to a particular topic was very difficult. It took me over a week to finally decide on the right topic but after reading an article on on the advantage the German national team had over other teams during the 2014 FIFA world cup I knew what I wanted to do. I had never really thought of data as an advantage in soccer. Soccer always appeared to be a game of skill and luck but after reading the article I was surprise at the huge impact data made in the German national team tactics. So I finally decided on the topic ‘has big data changed the game of ‘soccer?’ The process of making the presentation was very difficult. I read through over 20 articles to find facts to prove the benefits data has and I also had to be sure these facts where 100% accurate. Then it was also hard finding the right images to convey my message. I couldn’t find the right image for some slides so I had to edit pictures to suit the presentation. When practicing my presentation, I found it difficult timing my word to match the images on the slide. So I had to edit my script a lot of times to allow the slides flow with the script.

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In my second slide I was talking about the origin of soccer. I mentioned that the most related ancient game to modern soccer was the game of Cuju. I tried to give a brief description of the game and the image was included to help that description. The image works to show the viewers how the game of Cuju looked when played and it helped to develop the relationship to modern day soccer. Since the slide only lasted 20 seconds, I could not give a clear description of the game within the time frame but the image easily showed the viewer exactly how Cuju looked.

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In my fourth slide I was talking about the popularity of soccer across the globe. I stated that soccer has grown to gain wide popularity in many countries around the world especially in Africa, Europe and South America. The image was used to give the viewers a more detailed look at how popular soccer has become. It would have been outrageous for me to list all the countries but the image makes it easier to understand and portray.


Zionism in the Modern World

I gave my Percha Kucha project on the current state of Zionism in the modern world. Cultural conflict has always been a very attractive topic for me, and of all those conflicts going on in the modern world right now, none interest me more than the current state of affairs between Israel and Palestine, I sympathize with the Palestinian plea, so as a result I often side with them like I did this time, but I’ve been known to play the devil’s advocate before. Seeing as our class focus is data, information, and culture, I gladly rose to the challenge to see if I could tie this concept to that of data and information.

Chart showing that 6 times more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis.

In order to pull the topic of the Palestinian Israeli conflict into the realm of data and information, I used stats and infographics almost entirely to construct my argument. This picture is a snapshot of a stat taken from the current conflict and it compares the suffering of the Palestinians to the Israelis, bringing light to the fact that the Palestinians are a whole lot worse off right now than the Israelis are, which is the exact opposite of what most people think, therefore making it a very powerful tool in my argument.

Map of votes for and against Palestinian statehood

I also made wide use of infographics. This picture I used clearly demonstrates the how much of the world actually supports Palestine today, and serves the clutch purpose of providing me a lead into the next topic of the presentation where I go on to talk about how the U.S. is very much at fault for giving Israel more than enough supplies in order to continue to oppress the Palestinian people. It also offers an explanation for why the UN has failed to act on its many resolutions it has created against Israel, as the U.S. is often times spearheading any type of UN action.

In the process of preparing my presentation I quite a few major obstacles to overcome, the most notable of which being to give concession to the Israelis. There are plenty of people in this world that identify themselves with Israel as a whole, and my goal is to show that Israel is simply wrong in nothing but its actions towards Palestinians. I made it of upmost importance not to come off as a racist during my presentation, for that would hurt my argument a great deal for sure.

Sewol Ferry – Pecha Kucha

Sewol Ferry, the topic of my Pecha Kucha, was not at all a random choice. Sewol Ferry was not just a single accident in South Korea, but was an alarm that taught citizens and government how incompetent government systems of South Korea is.  Failure of Coast Guard’s rescue was just a tip of an iceberg. Sewol Ferry uncovered corruptions within the government system, and uselessness of rules and  laws that eventually put more than 300 lives of teenagers into death. Dishonesty of media and government was also shocking. Wrong information sent out by government and media deceived the family of the deceased and put citizens in extreme anger. Sewol Ferry was somewhat like revolution, revealing the dirty parts of society and making citizens realize how obsolete government system has become.


This ribbon may be the most frequently used picture in South Korea Internet. As repeatedly it was used, the meaning it contains is also massive. Its original use was to commemorate the people died. However, its overuse and misuse distorted its meaning and made it into a symbol of anti-government power. I used this ribbon in my presentation, because this symbol directly demonstrates the danger that is hidden behind the use of social networking services. Yellow ribbon is not a symbol that is used first in South Korea. It was a symbol used in all around the world to commemorate people who died unfortunately, such as people died in war. Yet, indiscreet use of this symbol on Facebook and Instagram made citizens to become sick of this symbol. How can a symbol that commemorates the dead become a symbol of anti-government?

The image of ‘Keep Calm and Disobey’ (which I cannot paste here because of technical problem) also have become children’s motto in Korea. Whole disaster of Sewol Ferry not only made citizens to distrust their government, but also made youth to distrust adults. The president and officials of government deceived the citizens. Students who genuinely followed the captain of Sewol Ferry became the first to die.  Children and students started to suspect the necessity and competence of adults. After all, if every student disobeyed to the captain, they had a higher chance to live.  I thought ‘disobey’ might be the perfect word to express feelings of citizens. They do not know what to trust, but moreover, they even lost a reason to trust anyone.

Why to Have a Large Mass Transit System


When this project was assigned I immediately thought of two things I am passionate about, sports, and civil engineering. I decided that it would be interesting to look at my home town as well, so I was left with two options talk about the Cubs or the ‘L’ (which is ironically the way I get to cubs games). I choose the ‘L’ and to compare it to Marta. I noticed right when I arrived at Tech the huge differences between these two systems, and was interested in how they affect the cities they are in.


This slide allowed me to show a lot of information about how these two systems impact their respective cities without having to show a whole page of numbers. The only numbers on here are minute values that are also represented visually. This slide allowed me to show the impacts larger mass transit has on ridership, pollution, and commute time, some of the big parts of my claim, all on one slide.


This slide is not as integral to the argument that I am making, but I think it is worth including because of it’s shock factor. We consider ourselves to be living in a big fairly crowed city, and we think of Chicago much the same way. However, as this graph shows us, neither of these cities are very dense at all, it should get the viewer thinking that if mass transit works in a city as spread out as Chicago, imagine how effective it could be in  Mumbai, the densest city.

One thing I was not able to address during the presentation, although I able to answer a question afterwards in class, is how Atlanta could improve their mass transit. This is something I wish I could have gone into more, as I find this problem much more interesting. However, their is really no one good solution as any I would present would cost more money than most tax payers would be willing to spend. Nevertheless, I would start by creating a commuter rail service that would allow commuters in the suburbs to take the train to work. This would look something like the Metra in Chicago, which many professionals, my dad included, take into the city every day. Atlanta is already a freight rail hub, and could use this to their advantage by expanding already existing infrastructure.

I tried to choose a topic that was able to incorporate my interests with the themes of this class, and I believe I was able to do this by researching and presenting information on a topic that has the potential to change our everyday lives.

Pecha Kucha Presentation


It had always raised my curiosity why news stations where so bias to one political party as opposed to another. For the longest time I had shown little or no interest in politics in general, mainly due to the fact that I would be unable to affect it being that I was under the legal age to even vote. Since that time, now I can vote and it is important for me to know this information. So I thought what better than to search for and gain a better understanding of the political world. My new found interest in politics lead me to the idea about the bias of the news stations. This seemed like a perfect introduction into the political world since most everyone uses the news networks to bet their political information.

At the beginning of the project I was a little intimidated at the fact that I would have to speak for six minutes and forty seconds, however it turned out to be easier than I thought. In order to prepare for the project I wrote out a script so say along with the slides I was presenting as I started to time myself I realized that I needed only to say about two to three sentences per slide which is not too difficult to accomplish.


I chose my slides based on the information I was presenting. I chose key words or phrase in my speech to correspond with what my audience was hearing. Some of the pictures I had chosen used word play for example in slide ten. I stated that “segments run by opinionated hosts” and the picture I posted a picture of a running woman. In addition the sponge soaking water gave the audience a picture of water being soaked up by the sponge. This image was to go along with the words, “The media is run by the bias that permeates it.” So just like water permeates a sponge, bias permeates media.




The final slide was needed to create a summation of the entire presentation. Since the final slide was needed to represent the entire presentation, it was therefore the most important of all the slides. For this picture I choose a nice friendly picture of a group of presumably businessmen and woman all shaking hands. The businessmen are representative of the cable news networks. I chose this picture due to the fact that it resembles a friendly and trustworthy attitude.

How Netflix Suggests

The class was told to do our pecha-kucha on something that interested us. I began thinking about what I enjoy: baking, volleyball, theatre, cake decorating, hanging with my friends, sleeping, and Netflix. Originally my “idea” had been a joke. Like most college students, I joked about how I was going to do a presentation on Netflix and my preparation would be watching all 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls in a week (all in the name of research of course). However, as I joked, I thought about Netflix in relation to the concept of big data and realized the concept of Netflix might actually work. I have always had issues with the suggestions section of Netflix because although it gets the genres I like correct, the shows were never ones that I actually want to watch. This prompted me to research how the suggestions are actually made and if I was the only one with these issues. I researched my topic with a focus on the Netflix’s drive to perfect their suggestions. I actually wrote out my script before making my presentation, though I constantly thought about what slide should have what picture. The following two pictures I believe aided my presentation the best and brought a level of understand that solely me talking wouldn’t have been able to.


When I was discussing the basics of how to personalize someone’s Netflix account, having the visuals (I believe) made it easier for the audience to remember the steps. It also allowed my explanation of the process to make more sense because the steps I was describing were right in front of them. Furthermore, by being able to see the steps it takes to complete the personalization process, it seems less daunting or annoying and the viewer might actually take the time to fill out the survey.


Once I was confident that all of my slides had pictures relevant to my script, I split my script into 20-second blurbs so that I knew what content went with which slide, and whether I needed to adjust my speed to stay with the pictures. I couldn’t however prepare for the question portion except to know my facts. However, I was lucky because the questions that were asked, I had good information about. I even got to mention a statistic I left out when I had presented. The question portion was the main difference that I felt from presenting to a live audience vs creating the recording. I had some audience feedback during (a few laughs or smiles), but other than that I enjoyed reading from my script during the media recording without needing to worry about making eye contact. Overall, I liked my finished product. I learned a lot about the process of how big data relates to Netflix while suggesting titles and I also learned more about how important the utilization of big data is to the success of the company.

YouTube: Trends and Statistics Reflection



I chose this image because it is a physical and visual representation of the idea I talking about during this side. It shows the ways playbook-programming-call-to-actions-details1

YouTube users can act on videos they have seen and promote their favorite ones. With narration I can talk about how people interact with the website the picture shows the audience what kind of interaction there is. Likes and Shares are a big part of how videos spread out on the YouTube website and become extremely popular and successful.


This next image helps display inter-connectivity final slide of my presentation and I wanted to use it to give a visual representation f a network and how people connect with each other. YouTube links people with common interests together and create a global culture that the image helps show along with the narration.

I enjoyed making this presentation because of the liberty we were given when choosing topics. For most school projects teachers limit students to presenting topics and ideas that they are not interested in and this takes away from some of the presentation. However, for this project I was able to choose a topic that highly interests me and is something that I can relate to. I chose to focus on YouTube because it is a website I use every day and I am extremely fascinated with YouTube culture, specifically film making and gaming. My argument developed around the fact that I wanted to show people how this website that I use is a great medium for connectivity and sharing ideas. The images came from the script. I pictured myself having a conversation with someone on how YouTube was such a great website and chose images based on what I was saying. For me it was important for none of the images to be ambiguous and that each should relate directly with what I was saying.

While preparing for my presentation I mostly just read my talking point out loud and made sure that I had enough words to fill each 20 second period. Instead of just having one long script and hoping that the words would line themselves up with the images I chose to divide them up into small section of about equal length so that each slide had its own unique narration. I didn’t practice with an audience but while reading the presentation to myself out loud I made small changes to the script and even changed some of the pictures when I thought the meaning wouldn’t be evident from my script.


A Reflection on Emergence

I knew my topic about the first day this project was assigned.  I’ve always been a fan of philosophy and some friends and I had just a few days prior talked about consciousness as an emergent property over lunch (we are a fun bunch).  It seemed specific enough to create an argument, broad enough to have the requisite amount of information needed to talk for nearly 7 minutes.  The first problem I encountered was coming up with the argument.  I knew that one could definitely build an argument around emergence, but discovering what it was took some time.  I eventually decided on “Argue that consciousness is an emergent property,” and just take it from there.


The first picture I’d like to write about took a bit to find.  I’ve always been a strong believer in including comedy into presentations; I think it holds audience’s attention better and allows the presentation to stand out among the others, even when it’s about something as dense as a philosophical concept.  An issue I had in finding an appropriate picture for this slide was that the CNN analyst was talking about nude photo leaks and I wanted to keep the presentation PG.  Luckily, Mr. Hutchinson provided some excellent satire which served its function well, as I do remember hearing some chuckles from the rest of the class when they saw this.  Even though the text on the slide was the star of the picture, which in the ideal pecha kucha I suppose it shouldn’t be, I think it fit well into the presentation as a whole.



The second picture I will write about is from a webcomic that I read religiously, xkcd.  As soon as I had the script for the Pecha Kucha written, I knew that I wanted a scene from xkcd as the closer, as it is well known for having witty, minimalist yet thought provoking strips.  I remember one comic in particular, called “Time”, was especially interesting as the image on the website changed over a span of several weeks, telling one cohesive story all the way through (for those curious, here is a link to a website where you can see all of “time”).  So I did a quick google search for “xkcd time” and found this particular scene.  I immediately knew this was the image I would use.  First off, I think the black and white and simple stick figures fit perfectly for the ending of a presentation.  I wanted to end with something simple, yet memorable.  Additionally, the text encapsulates, in a way, how humanity in general views consciousness.  Even though we as a species understands its presence and, to some extent, function, we know so little about it.  We come up with ideas like emergence to explain it, but in the end it is still this beautiful, enigmatic thing (for lack of better word) that every person experiences.

If I were to re-do the pecha kucha, I would attempt to make the slides more than just eye-candy, but rather make them central to the argument – something that I wouldn’t say is true for the majority of my slides.  I think this is a byproduct of writing the script before finding the pictures, unfortunately.  I do, however, think that having a solid script was the most important part of the presentation, and I am very happy with the way mine turned out.

Why we need NASA

Pecha-Kucha Presentation by Norris Nicholson


I have had a strong interest in space my entire life. Perhaps because of my parents, or perhaps because it is something that I thoroughly enjoy. Regardless, choosing a topic was fairly easy because I am passionate about the space program. Overall, the presentation was not that difficult to produce and I enjoyed researching the effects that it had on US culture. I split the presentation up into 20 parts and tailored each to the image that was to be displayed.

ShuttleThis image works well with my presentation because I discuss how the space program is viewed as impractical and unproductive towards society. The image above helps to show the audience the magnificence of the program, in contrast to my description of public perception. The idea here is to highlight the public’s idea of what space is, versus the magnificence the program can bring. As such, this image appeals to pathos in the audience.

Another Image in the presentation that appeals to pathos is the following picture of Space Mountain in Disney World.

Space MountianMany people have been to Disney World and, assumably, most of them remember it with pleasant memories. This slide is important to the overall presentation because it relates the effects of the space program to the memories that many of us experienced as children. Personally, every time I see Space Mountain I remember it with nothing but fond memories. The architecture of space mountain was a direct influence of the space program, and this fact is effect at linking it with each member of the audience. While there are many many other examples of space culture to choose from, Space Mountain offers a solid and emotional linkage from the space program to the lives of the audience.

Similarly, the slide that contained this image appealed to our connection with the space program:

CircutBecause so much of our modern computational technology originated with the space program, computers seemed like a logical place to connect the audience with the space program. Many of us (if not all) are dependent on computers in everyday life. By linking computers with the space program’s R&D, a logical linkage between the presentation and audience can be made.

Finally, the last slide in the presentation evokes a sense of excitment in those who see it.

StationBy highlighting the beauty of space, and the wonder that shadows it, a large emotional connection to the program can form. This slide was timed so that it was present when I made a final claim about the importance of the space program as it relates to the world of tomorrow. This image effectively conveys my argument because of the stark contrast between the beautiful blue planet and the small space station, suggesting that space is the next step in human exploration.

The presentation was both interesting and exciting for me to produce, and I made a solid attempt to support my argument with both facts from my speech and visual appeals to emotion through the images in each slide.

Culture of NYC reflected in the Subway

Pecha Kucha by Devan Sconzo



Selecting a topic for my presentation was fairly easy, the difficulty came in narrowing down what I should discuss. I knew that I could easily relate culture with my home in New York City but the hard part was how to specify this. With such a broad spectrum, I felt like there was too much to cover because I initially planned to talk about NYC as a whole. After looking up different pictures of Broadway, Times Square and the typical tourist attractions, I came across this image of the crowded subway trains.

I thought about how I spent 2 hours sitting on the train just to get to school everyday and I had seen a lot pass through. I realized that this was the topic that I would be able to discuss in depth because of my firsthand account. I thought that a good way to relate culture would be through art. This was my initial argument for my Pecha-Kucha. However, as I searched through images of graffiti covered trains, I noticed that the pictures were mainly just from the 70’s through the 90’s. Most trains nowadays are fairly clean and don’t have nearly as much tagging as back then. I switched my train of thought again and decided that I could have a stronger argument for culture on the subway if I showed how the atmosphere and appearance of train cars changed as society progressed through the decades.

The focus of the presentation then began to branch out from art to history. The subway connects New York in more ways than just commuting. This opened up a lot of new ideas for what I could include. I thought about how different disasters really changed the feel of the people’s emotions in the atmosphere. A lot of my parents and teachers always talked about how drastic the difference was in people’s behavior after the 9/11 attacks. I remember getting to school 5 hours late one day after Hurricane Sandy because we were stuck on the newly re-routed trains and I could feel that sense of culture within the mutual feelings of people in the car. I thought that another huge way the subway connects people, sometimes subconsciously, is through advertising. There are always jokes in social media about the ads that everyone sees on the train. I felt like they all had something to say about the direction of New York City and wanted to talk about something that is sometimes glanced over. Throughout the process, the focus of my argument did sway a few times but overall I felt like I was able to cover a lot of material on how the subway creates and holds the culture of the city.


The Backbone of an Argument

Claims that are used in arguments must be properly supported in order to contribute as a whole. If the original information is changed or exaggerated, the overall credibility of the work could be subject to question. Darrell West’s report on big data’s application in education (link) retains its credibility because it uses reliable and accurate citations as a backbone for its argument.

To prove that West’s report can be trusted, one must look closely at how he cites his sources and how those sources shape his argument (or how he shapes his sources to match his argument). At the bottom of each page that contains an external reference, West points the reader to his sources.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 11.17.02 PMTo prove that West’s use of of other researchers knowledge  is consistent with their research, it is necessary to look closer at the reference in the footer. By taking the title of Joseph Beck and Jack Mostow work listed in the footer as source number 5 and searching for the document online, one can easily find an abstract of the original document (link). While this work also contains references to external sources, the aspect that west was referring to (reading one story multiple times does not lend to as much learning as reading a variety of stories) was researched and carried out by the authors of the source. This makes this document the primary source for this particular piece of information in West’s report.

The work by Joseph Beck and Jack Mostow contained information that was consistent with what West claimed in his report:

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West’s use of the source was honest and accurate. He brought in external information, properly sited it, and correctly reported the content of the source. His individual interpretation of the source (and how it affects education), as with any citation, is what provides backing for his argument. In this case, the source was referring to the effects of rereading on learning and West showed that this can be applied to education through the use of computer  aided education. The source provided backbone information and West shaped it in a way to support his argument.


Jeff Iliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Jeff Iliff discusses the scientific reasons behind One more reason to get a good night’s sleep. He speaks with emotion and includes the audience by creating an engaging atmosphere using various methods that can be connected to WOVEN. His main statement in the talk is that sleep is when our brain clears out all of the waste byproduct from a long day. His presentation is well worded to include everyone, even people who know very little about biology. Jeff brings up images throughout the presentation to help paint a clear image of what is taking place as we sleep. He even uses evidence to argue his point through the data from a scientific studying showing the blood vessels of a mouse’s brain while resting versus awake. He includes brief labels on these diagrams to further prevent any confusion with his scientific terminology. While speaking, Jeff maintains a comfortable eye contact that keeps the audience interested in what he is saying. His hand movement is limited- not overwhelming- but just enough to be relaxed. He faces many directions of the audience to engage everyone viewing, not only those who sit directly in front. He also maintains a good pace when moving from image to image. He moves slow enough for the audience to understand his point but not lingering on anything long enough for the audience to become bored.

Looking specifically at the time between 5:01 and 5:11, we see how he transitions from his talking point o the image of the brain of a mouse. His tone is not arrogant when pointing out his personal findings in the research. Instead, he continually uses the word “us” and his voice is the mere awe that matches that of his viewers. Combining visual representations with an interactive speech creates a strong argument and makes for an effective presentation by Jeff Iliff.

The Strongest Link: Finding Suitable Sources for Your Research Paper

My post revolves around my pursuit of the source denoted at the end of Page 5 in this week’s class reading; for those who didn’t know to which i was referring, it is 16 McGraw-Hill, “Building the Best Student Assessment Solution,” New York: Acuity, 2009.


I was actually surprised at the ease with which I found what I feel was the original source of information behind the citation; it was literally the second link I encountered when searching for the citation in full on Google. I found that the webpage contained a full-length PDF file explaining the Best Student Assessment, and I felt I could trust the site’s authenticity. I decided to experiment with three other sources found in the weekly reading and they, as well, were discovered within the first 5 links when searched on Google. I am not pointing this out to say that all research paper sources can be found this easily; I just assume I had good luck.

Regardless, finding a reliable source does not effectively constitute a research paper, and the source that is employed in its construction must be utilized in such a manner that its general focus coincides with that of the paper. In addition, the research paper must accurately refer to the source and make either make effective use or reinterpretation of its contents, to reinforce the paper’s claim.

In the case of Big Data and the Best Student Assessment Source, both the paper and its source promote the process of data mining (or data warehousing) as a new and effective means of pushing along student achievement and improving the student learning experience. Both the purpose of the paper and the source agree on this point, and the two possess a certain synergy when paired together, and serve to further reinforce the author’s claims on data mining in education.

A New Purpose for Robots


“Robots with “Soul”” is a TED talk given by Guy Hoffman in which he questions current human interaction with robots, while sharing insight that he found in the world of acting and animation.

Between 15:17 and 15:38 Hoffman progresses from a revelation to a final product that would sum up the entirety of his presentation.

During the entire sixteen minutes Hoffman uses images and videos to convey information and maintain an engaging atmosphere. However, in this segment he deliberately projects an empty black slide that would not distract viewers in order to highlight his verbal speech as much as possible. To further attract his audience he includes a couple humorous remarks that keep the mood light and bring more attention to his speech. Through gesturing with his arms and hands he enhances the humor of his statements. For example, when Hoffman initially remarks that people “liked that the robot was enjoying the music” he raises his arms in plain disbelief to emphasize the unexpected discovery, hence adding to the humor of the comment.

As he begins to describe his idea of applying what he had learned in a final robot, the black screen begins to seem like a curtain hiding something important. This serves to create a sense of anticipation throughout the audience.

To satisfy this anticipation Hoffman finally displays his final product in the form of an animation. As opposed to a still image, the animation allows him to project multiple things to the audience at once in a non-verbal fashion such as the physical appearance, the purpose, and the graceful dynamics of the robot.

Hoffman controls his audience by presenting information in a series of steps. He uses subtle verbal and nonverbal techniques to progress his ideas in such a way that shifts the entire focus of the audience between him and his displays.



Does Education Need to Change?

“This really happened. We were sitting there and I think they just went out of sequence, because we talked to the little boy afterward and we said, “You OK with that?” And he said, “Yeah, why? Was that wrong?” They just switched, that was it. Anyway, the three boys came in — four-year-olds with tea towels on their heads — and they put these boxes down, and the first boy said, “I bring you gold.” And the second boy said, “I bring you myrrh.” And the third boy said, “Frank sent this.” (4:47 – 5:22)

This excerpt from his child’s play sets up the rest on the Ted talk about changes to the education system very well. The argument of this Ted talk is about if the education system kills creativity. First, Robinson must set up a basis for this argument, that children are already more creative than adults. If children weren’t creative then Robinson thesis would fall apart since you can not take something away that is already not there. It is not only that this excerpt, about his son’s play, is important for his thesis, but it also shows how well structured his argument is. After telling the story Robinson transitions into talking about how kids are will to make mistakes and take their best guess, but in the corporate world of today that is looked down upon, so no one takes chances. No one doubts his authority since he was a university professor and is talking on TEDx, a very well respected organization. The one issue with having someone so well educated doing a talk is that it makes it difficult for the most people to identify with and could be difficult to understand, but by talking about how his own son and making jokes it is easy to understand for the rest of the public. He spends most of his argument putting in jokes for the audience. This makes the entire video much more enjoyable to watch and allows Robinson to get his message through. I do think there are other things Robinson could have done to improve his argument. If he had set up a power point then he could have shown statistics and graph that could back up his argument, but without and research sourced all we have to go on is Robinson’s logic argument. Without any for of visual argument there does seem to be something lacking but it does seem the Robinson’s intent was to start a conversation on education. This is because he only highlights the problem but does not offer any specific fix to the problem. It would be interesting to research into what he has done further for education since this Ted talk was from 2006.

Let’s put the ‘awe’ back in ‘awesome’

This is a presentation by Jill Shargaa, a comedian, about the misuse of the word awesome. In her presentation she discussed how people mistake the word awesome for words like nice, great, delicious and even thank you. She gave perfect examples of scenarios when awesome can be used based on the definition she gave.

In the time frame of 04:23 to 04:42 minutes of the presentation, she was discussing how ‘awesome’ landing on the moon is. Looking closely at the presentation within this time frame, Jill combined various multimodal elements to effectively convey her message.

Jill’s word choice was rather unethical. She used informal phrases like come on and are you kidding me to emphasized her point. This is an informal presentation so such phrases are allowed to relax the audience. Since Jill is a comedian, she yelled and prolonged certain phrases to make her presentation entertaining and to humor the audience.

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She also uses images and words to communicate her message through a slide show. In the image above she uses the sentence “Yes, awesome” to tell the audience that the moon landing was awesome. Her use of words was rather informal and satirical. The image above the text shows the 1969 moon landing, which was exactly what she was talking about, was awesome.

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In the image above the instance when she was yelling “landing on the moon come on!” She is kneeling and her hands are positioned like she is crying to the audience. She is trying to emphasize how ‘awesome’ the 1969 moon landing is. By putting herself in that position and yelling she is emphasizing how important that part of the presentation is. After she said ‘that’s from like here to the moon” she made a surprised facial expression to emphasize how far away the moon is from earth and to create a comical impression on the audience. This is noticed because after she did it, she waited to give the audience time to laugh before she returned to her presentation.

By combining all these various elements into her presentation, she created an informative yet comical presentation. She successfully conveyed her message to the audience and also created a relaxed atmosphere that left the audience in laughter.

Life begins at conception?

One of the major controversies at hand in America is the argument of when life begins. This issue has plagued american society for many years and the american people are very divided upon this issue. One of the many papers written about this controversy is “Life Begins at the Beginning” by Dr. Fritz Baumgartner, MD (1).

Upon searching for further information about the veracity of this article in its goal to establish that Life begins at conception, I found several articles that support the idea posted in this website. The website itself states several very heated reasons why the idea that life begins at conception is the correct view. The article itself poses a  one sided and heated explanation of why Dr. Fritz Baumgartner is correct and other scientist are wrong. Based on the bias of the author it seems that the sight may not be trusted. This is because some bias and heated statements are not supported by factual evidence. This can be seen used in cases where the heated author is lacking evidence and lashes out at their opponent as a defense. However, upon further investigation of the website and its resources this is not the case. At the end of the article, Dr. Baumgartner’s education and work history is posted to add veracity to the heated author’s claims. In addition the article contains other resources that authors claims such as the article “Scientist attest to life beginning at Conception” by Randy Alcorn (2). In this article Alcorn lists off the names of prominent scientist with research history who all have shared ideas about when life begins.

The article “Life Begins at the Beginning” is support well and even though it is slightly heated the its resources are trustworthy.