By Taylor N. Farris
In the realm of today’s technology, the TED organization has the power and mobility necessary to spread the buzz about any number of topics dealing with Technology, Entertainment, or Design. The nonprofit company, which began in 1984, aims to spread ideas across the globe and provide insight and inspiration in nearly every aspect of life.  These inspirational, educational perspectives have given a new depth to the concept of lifelong learning for many, and have spawned numerous creative and innovative environments. In recent years, the group’s TED Talks have been particularly insightful, and have spurred the coveted TED prize—a $1 million grant in support of “one wish to change the world.” Previous noteworthy winners include Jamie Oliver for his quest to provide a nutritional revolution, Bill Clinton for a healthcare system in Rwanda, and Bono’s push for American activism in Africa.  The 2013 winner of the TED prize is a man by the name of Sugata Mitra, who may be less famous but certainly possesses no less ambition or success. As an educational researcher, Dr. Mitra has long studied different learning styles and methods, but has received most notable praise for his groundbreaking “Hole in The Wall” experiments.
There are a number of online tools and technologies that were combined in the making of the Dotted Landscape project. The planning of the rides themselves relied on a Web service known as Map My Ride.  Map My Ride allows cyclists to create and search for cycling routes all over the world. The site provides a wealth of information about cycling routes and produces printable guides. Relying on an innovative modification to Google’s mapping system, riders can plot routes based on location, distance, terrain type, and difficulty. I used Map My Ride to create the ten routes that I would cover on my bike for the purposes of this project. You can go to Map My Ride and search on “Dotted Landscape” or “Michael Geraci” to find my collection.
figure 5: a screen shot of a cycling route on Map My Ride
Landscape 1: Middle life on the roads of rural Oregon
Two things have been consistent throughout my life: cycling and technology. I received my first bike at the age of five. It was a purple, single-speed affair complete with a banana seat. It took me a year to grow comfortable enough to ride off, a young explorer along the residential streets of Northeast Portland. As years passed, I traded up bikes and eventually transported myself around the city within a 25-mile area of my home. Cycling was not just an expression of youthful freedom, but the gateway to employment and a social life. Even after learning to drive and gaining access to a car, I rode bikes. Typically accompanied by a small pack of friends, I rode as a means of recreation, exercise, and exploration in the city and its surrounding areas. It was commonplace to head out on a Saturday morning and ride 10-12 miles to fishing holes along the Columbia River, or to the peaks of Portland’s Rocky Butte and Mount Tabor Park. Pedaling a bike wasn’t just something I did, it was a part of me, both as I was then and as I am today.
“The Internet gives millions access to the truth that many didn’t even know existed. Never in the history of man can powerful information travel so fast and so far. I believe that the Internet will begin a chain reaction of racial enlightenment that will shake the world by the speed of its intellectual conquest” said former member of the Louisiana State Representative and former Klu Klux Klan Member, David Duke.  The Internet and its uses have grown exponentially since its inception. Through websites, social media, blogs, wiki, and streaming video sites, Internet users are able to use images, text, and audio to create and develop both insightful and outrageous depictions of our culture. The things that people put on the Internet follow trends and include patterns, styles, and characters based on common ideas that people share and propagate. Internet users have assigned these products the same name that Richard Dawkins used in his analogy to genes – memes. Though Dawkins’s work revolves around genes, the memes on the Internet have very similar characteristics. In the online environment memes can be spread incredibly fast and far on massive scales, regardless of content. They may educate, entertain or potentially discriminate.
The Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovations at Pacific University and the Friends of the Forest Grove Library co-sponsored the Forest Grove Conversations student contest this March. Students from the Forest Grove School District were challenged to submit their work for the chance to win cash prizes of 100 dollars for first place, 50 dollars for second place, and 25 dollars for honorable mention.
The theme for this year’s contest was “The Future is Now: Citizens and Community in the Digital Age.” Students had the choice of writing an essay, making a video, or submitting some other formatted project addressing one of the two prompts available. Option one was to interview someone who grew up before 1980 with the purpose of finding out how they interacted with those around them before modern technology and their views on modern technology and forms of communication. Prompt two asked students to imagine being archaeologists or historians in 2062 examining the Forest Grove Library and compare and contrast the state and function of the library between the future and the past.
Entries for the contest were submitted to the Forest Grove City Library by March 8. Essay submissions had to be between 250 and 500 words long and video or audio submissions had to be three to five minutes. There were three divisions for the contest: Elementary, Middle, and Senior Division. The Elementary Division winners of Emmaus Christian School in order of first place, second place, and honorable mention are: Monique Ramberg, Lewis Beckett, and Sydney Webber. The Middle School Division winners in the same order are Stephanie Fachiol, Noah Drewrey, and Rachel Martins of Emmaus Christian School. Finally, the winner of the Senior Division is Joelle Bruckert-Frisk of Forest Grove High School.
The World Wide Web has provided incredible communication opportunities. By merely posting an item on a computer in your home or office, you can have it transmitted around the globe. There are, however, numerous challenges presented by this modern process.
Many creative people feel that anything found on the Web is available for them to use and exploit in any way they desire. Indeed, a prominent law professor, Lawrence Lessig, cofounder of Creative Commons, espouses the theory that free use of others’ materials fosters creativity.  Unfortunately, this belief is not consistent with the law in many countries. It presents a clash of rights between the creators of a work and those who wish to freely use it.
While the initial article relating to this experience (found here) was truly an experiential discussion on the endeavor, this second part is meant to examine the design of the program, as well as the various styles for teaching language virtually.
In addition to the primary focus of language education built into the curriculum, the topics of each unit related directly to culture or life in West Africa, providing students with a broader understanding beyond language skills. Student projects, as they were not locked to the topic of the unit, could explore significant aspects of West African culture. While the amount of project freedom was difficult for some to handle, both because of a lack of known vocabulary and the challenge of choosing from so vast an array of topics, it did provide interesting opportunities for student research. This was conducted through interviews, search engines, media sites, and news outlets. The students used most technological resources at their disposal to complete their projects with plenty of relevant information.
It’s difficult to describe my Dotted Landscape project as anything other than a “web site about trash”. In fact, when asked about this endeavor by friends and colleagues, there is a consistent, awkward pause, while I try to formulate a response that is worthy of everything that this Web site represents to me without overwhelming them with the entire back story and the thinking that rests below its surface. Before going into the myriad details about what this project really is, I will describe it in its simplest form in hopes that you will continue reading so that you will gain a certain appreciation for the degree to which this project plumbed the strata of my life since its inception.
The project websiteuses a display based on Google Maps as its primary interface. On this series of maps, I have plotted the location of actual garbage that I found along the roadsides of rural Washington County, Oregon — the county in which I have lived and worked since 1991. I set out to document the litter during the fall of 2011 over the course of ten bike rides, performed alone, that skirted the Western edges of the county. The rides covered 175 miles of public roadways. I snapped nearly 140 images of unique garbage lying in plain site and on public land with the aid of a GPS-enabled digital camera. By “unique” I mean that once a certain type of garbage, say a fast-food drink container, was documented, say a fast-food drink container, further encounters with that type were ignored.
Duane, Diane (2010). Omnitopia Dawn. New York, NY: DAW Books, Inc.
The Berglund Center always offered me great opportunities to learn more about the Internet around me, so when they suggested Diane Duane’s Omnitopia Dawn, I only had to read the synopsis to be once again enchanted. I was not familiar with Duane’s many science fiction and fantasy novels, but my interest in the Internet and related technology’s impact on the way we conduct our 21st century lives made Omnitopia seem like something I’d be very interested in reading about.
One passage in particular stood out to me as an apt summary of the Omnitopia experience: “Any kind of game you could think of was here somewhere, either as a Macrocosm built by the game company’s in-house staff, or as Microcosms built by favored gamers. Endless possibilities, endless challenges were here.…” 
Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, Pacific University
Getting students to read the textbook is one of the major hurdles I face in teaching undergraduate mathematics. Students who do read the new material before hearing a lecture on it tell me that it is a tremendous help in understanding the lecture. Yet so few students do this.
Directed Reading offers students little choice but to read the book before coming to class. The students like it because it guides them through the reading and they follow the lecture more easily. Moreover, it saves precious class time on routine problems, and we can concentrate on subtleties and intricacies in the material.