Presentation Perspective

I was having an interesting discussion the other day about presentations and how over time, education and work, the idea of the presentation to a group of colleagues has changed. In grade school, the idea of doing a 5 minute speech was terrifying and I didn’t know how I would be able to come up with enough to say. Then high school came and presentations became a group activity, generally averaging twenty minutes. I would become nervous as my time to speak came closer and I would talk quickly at times but was always able to pull it together in the end.  Then university came and in my final everything changed. In my history program I was not required to speak in front of the class until my final year, and it was in that year that I overcame any remaining issues I had with public speaking.

I have to attribute my ability to speak publicly to my history class in fourth year on Totalitarianism where I was required to present for three hours with a partner to thirty fellow students. This meant that I had to speak for an hour and a half in order to present my findings on Slobodan Milosevic; granted this is a topic with endless discussion, I was nervous. I prepared endlessly for the presentation, knowing that if at any point part of the presentation fell short, I had enough facts to move things along.

After this class, I have never felt nervous speaking in front of a group. There is the odd time I need to remind myself to slow down, give it all one last review but for the most part, that gripping fear has not been felt.

I have found it interesting how over time, my fear of speaking has dissipated through practise, but also how when I used to think that twenty minutes was going to take forever, I know think “but that’s not enough time!”.

Enders Game

Enders Game
By: Orson Scott Card

****Spoilers!****

 

This is the first sci-fi book that I’ve read and the first that ever caught my interest. This book came highly recommended from many people that are all into science fiction writing. I finished the book and came away happy. I really enjoyed the book but never really felt that it was something so strange that it couldn’t happen. When this novel was written the idea of living in a world shaped like this with soldiers being trained from childhood doesn’t seem so far away. It was interesting to see how the Wiggin siblings influenced the world as well as outer space. At first I did not like how the author switched between Ender’s story and the story of his siblings on Earth but in the end it made sense to the story.

The author was able to show the emotional trials that a child would be experiencing if being taken away from their homes and family as well as the challenges that many adults face in the working world. The balance between child and adult within one character is unique. It was striking when reading the novel and Ender would be forced to make a decision that men and women with twenty years experience in battle would not be able to easily make and he was making these choices all before the age of ten.

For someone who is hesitant about reading science fiction, I recommend this book as it is not overwhelming for a beginner. 

The Importance of the Graphic Novel

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This review comes from the article “Picture Books” by Mary Anne Nichols and Carolyn S. Brodie

 I agree with this article that picture books are a useful tool for young adults and reading.  Picture books such as graphic novels are an effective way of presenting the story in a way that readers can understand.

 The “Maus” series of graphic novels is an example of how history can be told in a non-traditional way that may help readers fully understand what happened. In this series, American cartoonist Art Spiegelman interviewed his Polish father about his experience as a Holocaust survivor. In the graphic novel, those being persecuted are depicted as mice and the Nazi’s as cats. It brings to life the story of Spiegelman’s father’s journey and what it took in order to survive during this time. For youth that are non-readers or not interested in history, this novel allows the story to be presented in a way that is new to them and will draw in their attention.

 Graphic novel as a whole are a great source of literature for young adults. One of my personal favourites is the “Lock and Key” series that has been published. This series is written by Joe Hill, is illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez and published by IDW Publishing. After moving away from graphic novels this series pulled me back into the world of magic, mystery and deep emotions that are felt throughout the series. Highly recommend and is available through the London Public Library.

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“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This TED Talk is an example of why literature from different regions around the world is important. They allow for understanding and  discovery about oneself and people around the world to take place in the minds of the reader. Adichie recalls only reading books about white skinned, blue eyed girls for many years in her childhood, not realizing that people who did not fit this North American description could also be present in literature.

I agree with Adichie that it is important to publish books in places where literacy is low because those who want it and can access it, will read it. This may also lead to a higher literacy rate as people hear about these stories and learn to read them.

Technology and Schools

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This is a review of the article “There’s an App for That” by Linda Braun.

This article touches on something that I have had strong opinions of for years. It discusses how the use of electronic devices such as tablets and smart phones in conjunction with apps are the new way of learning and should be what schools and libraries are moving towards. It might be the new way of learning, for the middle and upper class but it is very exclusionary to those that do not have the funds.

Having an app for a textbook rather than the physical sources would result in some kids not having the same access to the material that other do. Many schools do not have the funding to supply their students with devices such as this and not all parents can afford to provide their children with these toys.

It is understandable and necessary for students to have deceives such as these in order to see or hear the materials if they have a learning disability or are a person with blindness. In these cases, the materials should be made available to the students through the school but not all students need access to these materials.

In today’s society, there really is an app for everything. By constantly having young adults (and adults) constantly distracted by the apps on their phone not just the learning apps but games, society as a whole have become technology obsessed and lack social skills.

The article is interesting but personally, I want much of the technology already present out of the schools; I do not want more put in. 

“Everyday Moments Caught in Time” with Billy Collins

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This TED Talk focused on the poetry of Billy Collins. Collins presented a variety of his poems to the audience that have been put to cartoon for visual stimulation.

I found the first couple poems to be darker, less humorous than his latter ones. The poem that expressed his feelings during a visit to a friend’s home in Vermont took the experience of being fearful and turned it into a humorous poem. The final poem he read was about a 17 year old who in comparison to the greats, has not been overly successful at that point in her life. I have interpreted this poem to be about his daughter who does not help with housework.

I enjoyed this poetry in spoken word as well as with the aid of visuals. I think that by introducing poetry with visual aids to young adult who do not tend to enjoy poetry may help them to connect better to the material. 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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***SPOILERS***

Recommend

Insurgent is the second installment in the Divergent series. The story continues from where the previous book ended, with Tris (the female protagonist) and her boyfriend Tobias leaving the city in which they grew up for the first time. Together, they work with others who are no longer accepted in society in an effort to regain control of the city. However, the group fails to realize Tris is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and they continuously challenge and questions her self-destructive methods.

Throughout the story, Tris’s character develops into an adult who must now reflect on what has happened to her in recent months and decide who she is as an individual. She provides an example to youth that choices and actions can have long-term affects on not only themselves but also those around you them.

This fast paced book will keep the reader guessing about where the loyalties of each character lay, and what that will mean for Tris and Tobias. The writing style of this novel was engaging and descriptive, allowing for the reader to have a better sense of what it was Tris was feeling and seeing.

This novel is in popular demand as the first movie has just been released in theaters. There are currently no available hard copies in a London public library.

This is a young adult novel that has the capacity to appeal to readers of all ages.

When placing this novel in my public library, I would classify it as young adult literature.

“Why Young Adult Literature Matters” with Christine Siefert

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This is an interesting discussion that left me wanting to research this topic more. The speaker, Christine Siefert focuses on sex in young adult literature and the effect that that has on its readers. Siefert was engaging and discussed her coined term, “abstinence porn” and how it is a growing topic in young adult literature. She then defines abstinence porn as “the presentation of virginity as the pinnacle of eroticism” (06:13). Young adult literature deserves to be studied because of how it is changing and the influence that novel such as these have on  young readers in today’s society.

A link to her discussion is provided below.

YA Fantasy

YA Fantasy…

I can’t do it, I don’t like fantasy. It’s not because I haven’t tried I have, but it’s just not for me. As a youth Harry Potter was the book that got me back into reading and here I am, studying to be a Public Librian but it’s the exception to the rule, not the rule.

When I looked at the books “Lord of the Rings” I said no way, and I still have zero desire to read them so I gave the movies a try. It’s 3 movies about people walking.  I get bored when there isn’t a battle going  on. Maybe when I’m in forties I’ll enjoy it but I saw all of them in theaters and ya it was alright, but nothing that I went crazy for– and I know I’m not in the norm.

I do appreciate young adult fiction though. I can see the influence it has had on my friends, family and peers and that it is something that has had a profound influence on them as people. Fantasy is also something that doesn’t hit morals on the head with a hammer repeatdly, it slips it in which is nice in a world where even riding the bus is telling me what to do with my life and how to be a good person. I respect young adult fiction for those that it speaks to but I’m not one of those people.

I’m always willing to take suggestions that I’ll look into trying. 

This is a link from Kevin Smith’s “Clerks 2” that sums up my feelings about LOTR.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xKbyWSwd7hk

Video

Book Trailers/Talks and Report

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Dancer by Shelley Peterson

Summary

Dancer is the story of sixteen year old Hilary ‘Mousie’ James and the remarkable life experiences she has with her house, Dancer. The story begins with Mousie riding Jumper in the Royal Winter Fair where unexpected events resulted in English royalty noticing Dancer. Over the next year Mousie is continually challenged at school and in the Equestrian world. She is rewarded through her determination and by unwavering young love. Through these adventures, Mousie connects to a Spirit that speaks to her in her dreams, helping her to keep her stallion safe from those who wish to either own or destroy him. Dancer is a story about unbreakable bonds of love, horses, loss and surviving. This novel is written in the third person by Shelley Peterson. Peterson is an Ontario local who is currently involved in the Equestrian industry.

Characters

Hilary “Mousie” James is the main character in this novel, following her experiences with her horse Dancer, with whom she has an untouchable bond with. Mousie shows a level of maturity above her young age of sixteen throughout the entire novel.
Dancer has a personality unlike any other horse and an unwavering loyalty to his owner. He is willing to risk his own life in order to protect his rider, Mousie.

Christine James is the mother of Mousie and struggles to afford necessary farm maintenance.

Samuel Owens is the owner of a nearby stable and a man who desperately wants to own Dancer for his niece Sara to ride.

Rory Casey plays an important supportive role to Christine over the course of the year.

Sandy Casey is a support for Mousie when she needs one most and helps her overcome some of her fears of being betrayed.

Setting

This novel primarily takes place in Caledon, Ontario on or near the James’s farm Hogscroft. A secondary location in this novel is Highgrove, England while Dancer and Mousie perform for the Royal Family.

Series Information

This is the first in a series of three by Peterson, Dancer (1996), Abby Malone (1999) and Stagestruck (2002). All three novels have characters and locations that carry over and appear in one another. The intended audience for this novel is young adults.

Citation
Peterson, Shelley. Dancer. Erin: The Porcupine’s Quill, 1996. Print.

Reflection:
I chose to film this project while at home in order to use my horses as visual aids to the story being told. Developing this book talk was interesting for me because it was a book that I had read for many years but was able to look at it from a new perspective in the academic setting. In order to record my book talk, I found it easy to use the recording function on my iPhone but editing became a challenge. I had previous experience using Windows Movie Maker but their most recent update made the program much less user friendly and I had to re-learn how to use the program. Using various resources I was able to understand the editing functions and began to experiment with the credit pages as to how the effects influence the presentation. Creating a book talk was an enjoyable process that I would enjoy doing again.