Monday, April 11, 2011

Limit Search Results to a Specific Reading Level?

Today I was reading some of the different posts on I stumbled upon a post about limiting search results to a specific reading level. Apparently Google has this option in their advanced search options. I had no idea that they had this. You now also have the ability to click on the more tools option on the left side of the screen to filter reading levels as well. Google has 3 reading level options. The levels are: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. This is pretty cool if you ask me. Looking at it from a teacher's standpoint I would have to say that I'm impressed but am craving more. How cool would it be to have something like that for school use? Something like this that breaks down the difficulty of the reading for K-12 students or even just elementary students could be very useful in education. It does not limit the search results unless specifically asked to. It does however provide labels showing the reading level of each site found.

Skinny Pop?

When I think of pop (even diet) skinny is definitely not the first image that comes to mind. While I was paging through a recent issue of Time magazine a picture of this unusually shaped Pepsi can caught my eye. It sparked my interest. There was not much information on it in the magazine so I turned to the web. Diet pop tends to be marketed as having the same taste as the regular version and with no calories. Pepsi launched their new skinny can during fashion week in February. I find it to be kind of funny how they decided to release the skinny can during a week that glamorizes ridiculously skinny women. I wonder what this is saying to the consumers, especially women.

AHA! Journal Week 4

The other day in class we watched another TED Talk. I am a big fan of TED talks. They are very inspiring lectures. The TED talk we watched this time was by Chimamanda Adichie. Her presentation was entitled The danger of a single story. Chimanmanda is a Nigerian writer. In her presentation she talked about growing up in Nigeria and how there wasn't much Nigerian literature. Because of this she grew up reading British books. She also mentioned how her roommate in college was surprised when she found out that Chimamanda grew up listening to American music. The whole point of of her speech was that there is more out there than your view of the world. You can find out so much by looking at another person's point of view.

Action Language

Recently Joshua and Evans shared their presentation on Action and Object Language. I came across a video the other day that reminded me of the presentation, specifically action language. Action language is considered to be conscious and unconscious cues that people give off that allows others to read them. There are many different types of action language. The three main types this video focuses on are facial expressions, gestures, and movements and posture. The video is a tech trailer for LA Noire. LA Noire is a detective video game that is made by the same company that is known for the Grand Theft Auto series. In the game you play as a detective. The game focuses on the player reading people to see whether or not they are telling the truth. This has not really been done before in the video game industry. In this video you will see how they have used this new technology to change the way we play games.

AHA! Journal Week 3

Killing Us Softly 3 is about how advertising has caused gender stereotyping.  Ads like the one on the right (found at are very degrading to women.  This ad is sending a message that if you buy a woman one of our diamond engagement rings she will let you get into her pants.  Ads degrading women are quite common and if you are not intently looking for them it can go unnoticed.  Woman's bodies are often used to sell products and create sex appeal.  Through images and ads that degrade women it subconsciously affects us and makes men look at women as objects instead of human beings.  Some ads even sell rape as "sexy".  Below is the video of Killing Us Softly 3.  The link to the site is

AHA! Journal Week 2

After learning about the rule of thirds, I decided to go back an look at my favorite pictures I took while on my recent trip to Negril, Jamaica.  I put a 3x3 grid over the picture and saw that my two main focal points were not centered.  I think that because my legs and the palm tree are not centered it creates interest in the picture.
I watch a lot of movies and television shows.  After learning about the rule of three I also decided to randomly pause the movies I was watching to look and see where the focal points were and how the shot was set up. 
I am glad I learned about the rule of three because it has given me a different perspective on how I view things.
Lately I have been addicted to this game called Angry Birds. Angry Birds is a puzzle game. The point of the game is to "pop" all of the green pigs because they have stolen your eggs. In each level the pigs are behind different barriers. Your job is to shoot these different colored birds (all of which have different abilities) at the pigs while trying to get the most possible points. You also want to try to use the least amount of birds to beat each level.
How does this relate to Visual Literacy? Simple, it is a very colorful and interactive game that involves a great deal of problem solving. I believe even though this game sounds simple and does not have a very strong story line could be a great game to have in classrooms. The strategy and problem solving in this game allow for it to be beneficial to education. This is because it trains your brain and challenges you to think about different approaches to a problem.

AHA! Journal Week 1

Visual symbols greatly affect my life on a daily basis.  There are so many visual symbols in the world.  One type of symbol I see a lot of is company and product logos.  Every morning when I get up I see the LG logo on my television.  When I see products with the LG logo I trust their quality because I have purchased LG products before and they have worked very well.  The visual symbols of company and product logos affect the products I use and where I choose to shop.
Another visual symbol I see on a daily basis is stop signs.  I am so used to seeing a bright red sign in the shape of a octagon.  When I see this red octagon I immediately think stop.  The red is used to grab your attention and warn you so that you are able to remain safe.