Social media – is it really progress?

Two interesting videos about the negative sides of social media

The selfie : http://film-english.com/2014/10/06/selfie/

Look up –  a film about the isolation caused by the use of new technology http://film-english.com/2014/09/29/look-up/

What is progress?

Here are a few videos about progress:

What is progress?

Progress is movement in the right direction:

Progress is education for all:

Progress is hope:

 

On the other hand, what are the negative effects of technology:

 

What impact has « progress » had on the planet?

What is the human footprint?

Google Glass – is progress always positive?

Google Glass

When we define the « idea of progress » we usually say that progress is positive: medical progress, social progress, technological progress …all have contributed to our modern-day world being a better place. But how does this technological progress change our lives, is it really a positive change or are we becoming too dependent on new technologies?

One of the latest inventions is Google Glass, a pair of glasses which do much more than the average smartphone or computer. Is this kind of technological progress positive or will it lead to people becoming more isolated and more stressed?

Here are a few links to help you think about it:

An article about the pros and cons of Google Glass

A BBC News report about the advantages and disadvantages of the Google Glass

The ad showing what the Google glass can do :

A video showing a typical day with Google Glass :

Nelson Mandela : one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century

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Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

 Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on 18 July 1918 and was given the name of Nelson by one of his teachers. His father Henry was a respected advisor to the Thembu royal family.

ANC involvement

Mandela was educated at the University of Fort Hare and later at the University of Witwatersrand, he qualified in law in 1942. He became increasingly involved with the African National Congress (ANC), a multi-racial nationalist movement trying to bring about political change in South Africa.

In 1948, the National Party came to power and began to implement a policy of ‘apartheid’, or forced segregation on the basis of race. The ANC carried out a campaign of passive resistance against apartheid laws.

In 1952, Mandela became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. By the late 1950s, faced with increasing government discrimination, Mandela, his friend Oliver Tambo and others began to move the ANC in a more radical direction. In 1956, Mandela went on trial for treason. The court case lasted five years, and finally Mandela was acquitted.

In March 1960, 69 black anti-apartheid demonstrators were killed by police at Sharpeville. The government declared a state of emergency and banned the ANC. In response, the organisation abandoned its policy of non-violence and Mandela helped establish the ANC’s military wing ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’ or ‘The Spear of the Nation’. He was appointed its commander-in-chief and travelled abroad to receive military training and to find support for the ANC. On his return he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1963, Mandela and other ANC leaders were tried for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. The following year Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was held in Robben Island prison, off the coast of Cape Town, and later in Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland. During his years in prison he became an international symbol of resistance to apartheid.

In 1990, the South African government responded to internal and international pressure and released Mandela, at the same time lifting the ban against the ANC. In 1991 Mandela became the ANC’s leader.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with FW de Klerk, then president of South Africa, in 1993. The following year South Africa held its first multi-racial election and Mandela was elected its first black president.

In 1998, he was married for the third time to Graça Machel, the widow of the president of Mozambique. Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, whom he married in 1958 and divorced in 1996, remains a controversial anti-apartheid activist.

In 1997 he stepped down as ANC leader and in 1999 his presidency of South Africa came to an end.

In 2004, Mandela announced his retirement from public life, although his charitable work continued. On 29 August 2007, a permanent statue to him was unveiled in Parliament Square, London.

He died on 5 December 2013, aged 95.

To learn more about Nelson Mandela’s life you can visit these pages:

– Watch the video on the BBC Website: Obituary

– Watch the video on the Guardian newspaper website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nelson-mandela/8286419/Nelson-Mandela-obituary-part-one-one-of-the-most-inspiring-figures-of-the-20th-century.html

– Learn about the timeline of Mandela’s life with videos : BBC News

– Learn some of Mandela’s popular quotes

– Watch the video on the History channel

– How would Mandela have used social media if it has existed? Watch the Video here – thank you to http://www.teachermanigat.com/ for the link!

To learn more about apartheid:

– You can visit the excellent Apartheid museum website

To improve your listening comprehension :

– Online exercises here

To improve your reading comprehension:

– Learn all about Mandela and apartheid here

Tips for your oral presentation!

Do you consider Nelson Mandela to be a modern-day hero? What has he achieved for black South Africans? How has their life become better today? Does this make him a hero?This topic can not only illustrate the notion of myths and heroes but also the idea of progress: after racial segregation during colonial times in South Africa, the struggle that led to the abolition of apartheid has brought about a great number of changes for the black population.Finally this topic could be the perfect illustration for the notion of places and forms of power:

Apartheid caused significant internal resistance and violence, and a long arms and trade embargo against South Africa. There were many uprisings and protests leading to  the imprisoning of anti-apartheid leaders. As unrest spread and became more effective and militarised, state organisations responded with repression and violence. Along with the sanctions placed on South Africa by the international community, this made it increasingly difficult for the government to maintain the regime. Apartheid reforms in the 1980s failed to stop the mounting opposition, and in 1990 President de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid. There were multi-racial democratic elections in 1994 that were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.

Comment définir les quatre notions?

La définition des 4 notions

1. Myths and heroes:

A myth can be defined as a story about gods or heroes, it can be a popular belief or a tradition or a false notion. A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon.

 Examples can be:

– a patriotic or national hero (sportsman, politician, human rights defender…..)

– a fictitious hero (superhero or film star)

– an icon or role model (fashion, tv, music)

– a defender of common values

– a politician/king/queen who has achieved international recognition

2.  Locations and forms of power: (also called Places and forms of power or Seats and forms of power)

In politics and social science, power is the ability to influence the behavior of people. In order to live together members of a community accept rules, regulations, laws. This helps to create social cohesion but can also lead to conflicts and tensions. Even when authority seems absolute, there are always counter-powers which question it, aim at limiting its excesses and resist it.

 Examples can be:

– the power of the media (reality tv, internet v written press)

– Financial power (the power of money)

– Inequalities between blacks and whites – the fight against oppression and segregation (South Africa, USA)

– The American Dream

– The Civil Rights movement and political recognition : Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X (can also be linked to the notion of Myths and Heroes)

3. The idea of Progress

The idea of progress can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change – a technical, scientific or social advance which contributes to making the world a better place.

 Examples can be:

– Scientific Progress – Medical advances, cures for illnesses, cloning, performance enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms.

– Technological Progress-  technologies to slow down climate change such as hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel…..

advances in communication:  the internet, social media, mobile phones, video games – how      they have changed our lives and the dangers of these modern ways of communication

Robots, automated production

Nuclear Power – for and against

–  Social Progress: changes in the quality of life – how does progress affect our society?

Education, employment, equality, family life

Women’s rights, human rights, minority rights ……

The idea of liberty, freedom, democracy

 4. Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the geographical and symbolic areas that all societies occupy and the interactions between men and different societies. Our world is built on the exploration and conquest of new spaces. The different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have shaped and characterised our modern-day world.

 Examples can be:

– Trade (the basis of all societies)

– Working conditions (telecommuting, internet)

– Globalization (the world has become a small village)

– School and education (social diversity / knowledge)  comparison of the different educational systems

– The Internet / social networks…

– the movement of people: Immigration

– movement across borders (Gap Year)

Pour plus d’informations vous pouvez consulter les pages suivantes:

http://missions.editions-bordas.fr/enseignant/webfm_send/108

American history

Several links to help you learn about the most important events in the history of the USA. Feel free to comment and add any other links below!

– Great moments in US history: http://listverse.com/2009/11/25/10-great-moments-in-us-history/

– Important events in US history: http://listverse.com/2011/07/14/top-10-important-events-in-us-history/

– the history of Ellis Island : http://www.history.com/topics/american-history/videos#deconstructing-history-ellis-island

– the Statue of Liberty: http://www.history.com/topics/american-history/videos#the-statue-of-liberty

– D-Day : http://www.history.com/topics/american-history/videos#d-days

– Rosie the riveter (Idea of progress/myths and heroes) : http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/who-was-the-real-rosie-the-riveter

The American Dream

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What is the American dream?

The American dream is the notion that the American social, economic, and political system makes success possible for every individual. Someone who manages to achieve their version of the American dream is said to be « living the dream ».

Many people criticize the idea of the American dream because they say that it is impossible for everyone to be able to fulfill their dreams – there are still inequalities in class, race, religion and ethnicity preventing people from « living the dream ».

The idea of the American dream is older than the USA itself – it dates back to the 1600s, when people began to have hopes for what was a new and largely unexplored continent to European immigrants. People dreamt of owning land and establishing a prosperous business and hoped that this would make them happier.

Today’s the definition of the American dream is much different. Most people nowadays hope that they will get married, have two children and live in a three-bedroom traditional home. Rather than looking for great wealth or success, people hope to avoid poverty or loneliness.

Improve your listening comprehension!

You can listen to people talking about what the American dream is here

You can watch a political ad talking about the American dream here

You can watch a BBC report about the American dream here

You can listen to different people talking about the American dream on the Academie de Paris website

Ellis Island

The Voyage to Freedom

Coming to America appealed to many immigrants from the southern and northern parts of Europe as they found a way out of situations of persecution and oppression as well as political and economic difficulties. Once they arrived in America, some passengers were allowed to go on shore without making their way through inspection. This privilege was given to those considered to be first and second class citizens. All the other « lower class » citizens were shipped off to Ellis Island to go through inspection.

To travel to America immigrants had to pay from twelve dollars to sixty dollars per person, which meant that families had to save their money for years before they could travel to America. Even when the money was available, families still had to go through the process of being screened before they could get on board a ship to sail to America. Once they made it to their destination, passengers had to go through a physical inspection by doctors before they were set free into their new life or were detained because of issues that the doctors found. Sometimes, what was supposed to be a happy ending to coming to America ended in disappointment. This happened when a family member was not allowed into America and was sent back to where he came from.

Ellis Island and the Immigrant- Annie Moore

On January 1, 1892, a ship coming in from Ireland, landed at Ellis Island with a load of Irish Immigrants. The first person to step foot on the island was Annie Moore, a 15 year old girl. The teenager was presented with a gold coin; its monetary value was worth ten dollars for being the first person to step foot on the newly constructed Ellis Island. Annie and her brothers had spent 12 days on the ship as they set out to join their parents who were already living comfortably in New York. This girl and her brothers are recognized as the first people to arrive on the renovated island. A statue with the image of Annie and her younger brothers now stands at the Ellis Island Museum.

Learn about Ellis Island in this History Channel report.

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Talking about the future….what if everyone had a car?

This video comes from the new BBC series What If? : a series which looks into the future in key areas of science, politics, education and our personal life.

In this video BBC News looks at the ways in which new technology can help to keep us all mobile.

There are more than a billion cars in the world today – and by the middle of the century there could be up to four times as many, as the growing middle classes of countries like India, China and Brazil seek the freedom and status car ownership appears to offer.

But if so many people want to drive – how will we prevent global gridlock?

 

gridlock= saturation, bouchons (sur la route), impasse (dans des discussions)

 

Phonebloks – the smartphone that never dies

Phonebloks4-630x325

Could this be the phone of the future? The idea for the world’s first sustainable (durable) smartphone is certainly creating a buzz on the social networks at the moment!

Have you ever broken your phone screen and decided to buy a new phone? Or perhaps you don’t have enough memory for all your music downloads? Would you like to be able to build your own phone? Phonebloks could be the solution.

Dutchman Dave Hakkens is currently developing Phonebloks, a sustainable smartphone made up of small, easily replaced modules. In theory, the smartphone would never have to be replaced, each part is removable and this makes it easier to personalize your phone.  For example, if you like taking photos you could incorporate a better camera model, of the brand of your choice.

The idea is currently making a buzz on the social networks and interested parties or individuals can support the idea via Twitter or Facebook. The developer is not asking for money but wants to know if demand would be large enough to be able to launch (lancer) it.

Some critics have said that it will be impossible to make the idea work, that it will be difficult to make all the different parts compatible. It has also been named « the Lego phone »!

What do you think? Would you be prepared to give up your smartphone for this one?

Watch the video below:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57602510-1/phonebloks-a-modular-phone-you-update-a-piece-at-a-time/

The idea of progress

Do you consider the invention of smartphones a progress?

You can talk to your friends at any time of the day (or night!), keep in touch with friends and family abroad, read your emails, see your friends’ holiday photos on Facebook, comment on the news on Twitter, download music, play games………….

But how many hours do you actually spend on your phone? Have you ever counted?

2011-04-30-smartphone-waste-time

Do smartphones bring people closer through modern technology or are they making us more isolated? Technology and smartphones are not bad, but they can take too much time out of our lives. They can be major distractions that hinder our relationships.

Another disadvantage of smartphones is the amount of waste generated: new models are constantly being released, creating a « need » to have the latest model. But what do you do with your old phone? Do you sell it? Exchange it? Recycle it? Put it in a drawer?

Read about how phones can be recycled here: learn about recycling