My First Time: Polaroids

Instructed to look at our digital life and how we interact online I noticed that I don’t have as much content as the common millennial, especially in the picture department. I observe and watch while everyone else is making all of the noise and posting all of the pictures. I thought about why this might be and I came to the conclusion that it has something to do with my latest Christmas present, my Polaroid camera.

Do you think you should invest in one of these? Watch this video and find out!



Reflecting on racial and ethnic diversity

Instructed to participate in this interactive Washington Post video module made me think about how different everyone really thinks and feels about “the n-word”.

There was a specific video where two men had total opposite viewpoints on the word, but they had that same color skin. One basically said that his reaction to the word depended, almost entirely, on the source that the word came from. Where as the other man said that no matter where it came from it left a sour taste in his mouth if he said it and a burning in his ears if he heard it.

Another pair of ladies caught my attention because they were talking about how they feel it is the responsibility of the parents to let their children know about this word’s history. How it is not okay to just sit back and accept it being thrown around and used for everyday titles such as “dude” or “friend”. I don’t think I have ever thought about that before. The environment in which you are raised is another factor determining whether you have, for lack of a better word, desensitized yourself to the true meaning and emotion behind that word or not.

Overall, very eye opening to some of the ideas, feelings and emotions that I naturally never had to think about because of my lack of exposure to the word. Although confirmation that people of the same skin tone will have different opinions on the meaning and feelings behind a word, I still wonder why.

Why are these individuals, who think the word is okay to be said and heard, only accept it when it comes from someone of their same race? One would think that if you want it to be something of the past, then don’t use it in vocabulary today, right?

Set an example for the people who aren’t informed on the history or the true meaning behind the n-word. Monkey see… monkey do.

Digital Divide: Access & Ability

The computer is an invention that has advanced society in more ways than one. The Internet, email and World Wide Web that followed only made further strides to connect even the most distant individuals across the globe. With such a fast-paced electronic change to the way the world communicates, there were some groups that got left behind and this is where the thought of digital divide arises. The problem that once started as a device and hardware distribution issue is turning into one of digital literacy and knowledge of these devices.

(IMAGE: Flickr/photos/superkimbo)

With so many new technologies being introduced to the public there is an emerging digital culture with every new Snapchat, Instagram, or social media trend. The increase in accessibility is being seen in the school systems, but throwing computers into every school is not going to simultaneously increase the skills to use them.

Recent movements, like the National Education Technology Plan, have pushed to close this digital divide by touching on this accessibility issue, but Jewish philosopher Maimonides once said,

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Give a classroom a computer and provide learning for the day; give a classroom a computer and the right tools to use it and provide further learning forever.

Digital Divide: Definition

The digital divide was once defined, in D. Colby’s “Closing the Digital Divide” as, “…the disparity in access across classifications of race, gender, age, income, and education to telephone, personal computers, and the internet.

But Everett Rogers, communication scholar, sociologist and teacher, argues that, “The digital divide, while currently an access-divide, may at some future date, when the rate of adoption of the internet is very widespread, evolve into a ’learning- divide’ or a ’content-divide’ or some other disparity, based on individuals’ ability to use the internet in certain ways.”

Rogers continues with a reference to the knowledge gap hypothesis in his 2001 article. This hypothesis treats knowledge as a commodity and holds it to the fact that commodities don’t get distributed equally throughout the socioeconomic ladder in everyday America. Having a knowledge gap is closely related to having the currently emerging digital divide in our school system.

(IMAGE: Flickr/posters/dianecordell)

A Learning Divide

According to Statistic Brain, 81 percent of teachers say online interactivity enriches the classroom and 77 percent of teachers use the internet for daily instruction. From this same data collection, 3.9 percent of those schools have a computer for each student and 12 percent have laptops to lend out. Computers, the internet, and other electronics are being used to teach our next generations to come, but some are getting left behind.

This digital divide is more than just getting the device into these student’s and teacher’s hands, it is giving the teachers the right knowledge to teach the students how to use them. Not only in the classroom, but at home as well.

Digital Literacy: Definition

Just like when the television and telephone, the hardware gaps and learning gaps from the rise in Internet use in schools will eventually be bridged with the right focus; digital literacy.

The University of Illinois defines digital literacy as:

  • “The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.
  • The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers.
  • A person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment… literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments.”

Digital literacy is not primarily about knowing how to upload the best selfie or keep up on Facebook, but rather using the access you have to computers and the internet in a positive and constructive way. stated in 2011 that, “While there is no single solution to closing the broadband adoption gap, increasing digital literacy skills among non-users is key to bringing them online and opening doors to opportunity.”

(IMAGE: Flickr/photos/RobinHutton)

Digital Divide in Education

Although there is a bigger and much larger gap in this divide within the subgroups of elders, race and different socioeconomic status, there is also a divide that is seen within school systems from elementary school all the way through university courses.

This is where the shift from access to ability presents itself. Where the fact that you can have an iPhone in your hand and still slip through the cracks of the divide proves itself to be right.

Sara Hurt is a 21-year-old student from Garden City, Michigan in her first semester of college. After taking a three-year break after high school, Hurt is now attending Schoolcraft College right in her neighborhood and feels this gap as she tries to grasp her title as a student once again.

“It’s been so long since I have used the internet for something other than my own personal entertainment that I am now teaching myself all of the new technological advancements my professors require us to use,” Hurt explained.

There is a certain expectation from our school system, if you don’t have a computer of your own, to at least know how to use the Internet when given one. With such things as Moodle for Oakland University, or Blackboard for Schoolcraft College, even the highest level of education is requiring this digital literacy.

But it doesn’t stop when school stops. 96 percent of working Americans use new communications technologies as a part of their everyday life and 62 percent use the internet as an integral park of their jobs.

Bridging the Gap

98 percent of schools have one or more computers in the classroom along with 84.3 percent having high-speed internet, so this digital divide needs to be recognized as a lack of ability rather than access.

Below are standards that teachers should be holding in their classrooms and three out of the five have something to do with a digital presence.

(IMAGE: Flickr/Slides/DeniseKrebs)

Starting early and not forgetting about the ones who might be too close to the edge will slowly but surely bridge the digital divide gap present in American school systems today.


(IMAGE: Flickr/Posters/WesleyFryer)


PSA for Online Presence Monitoring


This is a public service announcement to all of the social media users out there that think hitting the delete button really erases everything. This is to the boys and girls wanting to remain safe, the men and women looking for employment, and anyone else with an online presence that will at one point put content onto the world wide web.

Online safety should not be taken lightly when signing up for any social media or networking site. Putting personal information onto the internet has a lasting effect that is nothing like a footprint in the sand. There is a responsibility that comes with an online identity and the content that is shared with even your closest friends can be discovered by potential employers, online predators, or anyone looking hard enough.

Monitor your online content and the personal information that gets onto your social media sites.

My golden rule for pictures, comments, and even captions is: Don’t put anything that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. When it comes to the really personal information, making sure that you are on a secure site and don’t include the information unless it is imperative.


This could be printed as a poster, or blown up to fit a billboard and even ran across a screen on television. The addition of pictures and the percentages really touches on the fact that it can happen to anyone and it should not be taken with light of heart. 

Who I am online today

Media has been something with constant change, in not only what is being said and heard but how. With the ever-building list of social media sites out there, like Twitter and Facebook, regular citizens are becoming news sources for other people in their community.

Klout has given me a score of 10 out of 100, on a scale of how active my social media accounts are. Being that this score is very low the generators within the Klout website say my online presence is not at the point where I am an informant for others, and I would have to agree.

Each of these pictures can be found when looking at my social media accounts. The top is from Facebook, bottom right from Instagram and bottom left from Twitter.
















I am an observer, in my everyday life and online, because something can always be learned from silencing yourself and listening to others around you. I feel, as a millennial in today’s society, that my social media usage is below average… and I am not entirely mad about that.

Beautiful is YOU

These seven women were shown to people with two follow-up questions: “Who do you think is most attractive?” and “Based on society’s standards, who is most attractive?”

Below are answers from the 12 anonymous respondents to the survey questions.

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Being a woman in 2016 is not glamorous, or easy. Many ladies feel that they need to be on top of the latest trends—hair, clothing, the next new thing—or they feel their self-worth decreases.

In a world of Photoshop and Botox, women cling to the idea that they need to be perfect and flawless, which is a near-impossible goal. The way women have been presented in media has reinforced the stereotype that ladies need to be flawlessly beautiful in order to be appreciated and feel worth something.

On Tuesday Nov. 29, 2016 five college girls, at Oakland University, take a bathroom break to fix their hair. According to Dove’s Choose Beautiful survey of 6,400 women, 96 percent say they wouldn’t use the word “beautiful” to describe themselves and 78 percent don’t feel confident in their own beauty at all.

The Professionals Approach

In research, many articles agree that the perfection women crave is an impossible goal. In one article, the authors speak on the idea that women are being treated as images and objects that can be consumed by other people. They write about how media’s portrayal of women cognitively engage and reinforce the idea that there is a perfect body image and that young women, in particular, will never be able to maintain perfection, but they should still try.

These beauty messages that are fed to women at ages as young as five years old lead to health issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and reduced sexual function.

In addition to disorders, cognitive abilities are affected by the idea of the perfect body. It is not just a mental issue; it is a societal issue. Nancy Clark, an author and a sports dietician, writes about the variety of cases she has seen with women and their mindset about beauty. Clark states that fat is not a feeling, but the majority of woman say they feel fat more than anything; these ladies feel if they can change their outward appearance they can change how they feel on the inside.

Clark’s best advice was to, “stop comparing yourself to peers because you are your own person and everyone is different.”

Students on Oakland University’s campus walking over Bear Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Some of these college students have problems with their self-esteem and for most females self-esteem still draws from their outward beauty and appearances.

The way media represents woman has a large impact on the mental and cognitive abilities of nearly every woman in the United States. Fat is not a feeling, but the majority of women say they feel fat more than anything.


Media’s portrayal suggests that women can never be beautiful unless she looks like… Fill in the blank. There is always a new sort of beautiful around the corner.

Ladies, keep in mind that beauty is not a feeling. Media messages will not teach you this.

It is time for a change of mind because every woman is perfectly imperfect in her own way and she doesn’t need makeup or Botox to be beautiful.Rather, women need to be taught that being beautiful is found by being YOU.

The Last Time I Heard a Great Story: Rough to Final


“Exhaustion filled the car as my father and I drove to pick up the last of the boxes.

my older brother had just purchased his first home with his fiance and it got my dad thinking about all of the times we had moved, seven to be exact.

There was Burch Tree Street, Applewood Blvd., Monarch Medows, but his favorite was Puce Court.

This house was the first I had ever lived in and the one he built from the ground up.

It was supposed to by my mother’s forever home, so whatever she wanted she got…my father chuckled at that.”


“Exhaustion filled the car as the last trip from apartment to the house was made.

My older brother had just purchased his first home with his fiancé and my father and I volunteered to take the 30-minute drive one more time.

Driving by the rows of houses with toys in the driveway and parents on the porch reminded my dad about all of the times we had moved. Seven to be exact.

There was Burch Tree Street, Applewood Blvd., Monarch Meadow, but his favorite was Puce Court.

This was the first house I had ever lived in and the one my father built from the ground up. It was supposed to be my mother’s “forever home”, as she called it, so whatever she wanted, she got…including two kitchens that my father always chuckled at.

Now talking about it, almost 10 years later, he could still describe the smell of the lumber as it was delivered and the look on my mother’s face when it was finally finished.

Pulling up to the house, what seemed like a few moments later, he turned to me and said, “I would have done it all again and wouldn’t change a thing.”

He lives an hour and a half away, in another country, but he was able to turn a normally dreadful car ride into another priceless memory with the most important man in my life.”

My father and I standing in front of his prize possession, the bbq, at his 69th birthday party in March.  



When first told to write about the last time we heard a great story, I knew exactly what story I wanted to tell, but didn’t exactly know what details to add.

The rough draft if more of a sequence of things that happened and then the final has more of the little details that I remembered only upon further thinking of the moment.

I was happy that I found both copies because looking at them know, they are almost two totally different pieces of work.This showed me that the

This showed me that the process from rough to final can entirely change the feel of the story and that progress will come if the effort is put forth.


Data Story: Marijuana on the 2016 Ballot

November was a big month for opinions. Opinions on not only the presidential candidates but guns, education, minimum wage, tobacco and also marijuana.

All of these issues were on at least one state’s voting ballot in 2016, giving the public a chance to cast their votes and make their opinions heard on some very controversial topics.

While tobacco is being voted on to increase the existing prices, marijuana is getting the green light for recreational and medical use in eight states, out of the nine total, that voted on the issue.


9 states voted on the legalization of either medical or recreational marijuana on the November ballot. 


Taking on the trend-setting role, naturally, is California. It is the first state to establish a legal medical marijuana program over 20 years ago and is still for fronting the so-called “marijuana movement”. In 2010 their citizens tried to pass the recreational use but ultimately failed.

Second times the charm because on the ballot this November 2016, with a 9,588,759 person turn out, Proposition 64 got passed legalizing the use and sale of recreational marijuana and regulating it much like alcohol is with taxes attached.

Along with California’s proposition, Maine passed Question 1, Massachusetts passed Question 4 and Nevada passed Question 2. All of these are legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21, much like alcohol is today.

Florida is the first state in the south to legalize the use of marijuana for any purpose when they tried in 2014. Although they failed two years ago, this time around there was a 9,137,190 voter turnout and 71.31 percent of those people said yes to Amendment 2 and the legalization of medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.

Following Florida was Arkansas passing Issue 6, Montana passing Initiative 182 and North Dakota passing Measure 5. All relating to the legalization of medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, although there are slight variations in each state.

Out of the nine states that had marijuana legalization of any kind on the November 2016 ballot, Arizona was the only state to vote no for Proposition 205 and the legalization of recreational use for people 21 and older. With 51.78 percent of voters saying no and 48.22 percent voting yes, there was only 82,564 more people that voted no.

Marijuana prohibition is in its 79th year, but 28 states have now legalized some form of it and there are more to come. Although there are some states that people say will “never legalize” this movement toward cross-nation legalization is picking up the pace.


The top charts are the states that voted for recreational marijuana legalization and the bottom if for medical marijuana. 


Complex Digital Story: Tech in the Classroom

Mikaela Gill is a Michigan State University student studying to become an elementary school teacher. She not only gets taught by her professors using electronics but is also learning how to integrate and utilize all forms of technology within her future classroom.

Watch here to see the full story.