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A blog of random musings from the Inside magazine staff

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April 4, 2014

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INvestigating IU Research: Learning about Learning

Posted by Sarah Whaley

Critical Web Reader was created to help students develop online literacy skills and strategies.

Research is a way to learn, but who researches how we learn? Professors in the School of Education like James Damico from the Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education are researching how to learn better.

Currently, Damico studies how middle and high school kids assess the reliability of online sources. The sources he is using for his experiment are about climate change. Damico and an undergraduate librarian, graduate students and colleagues at other universities are first piloting the study on future science and social studies teachers.

“We want to have conversations about how they might teach about climate change in their future classrooms,” Damico said.

Though the Internet has been used in academia since the 1980s, our generation was the first to have access to it as children. Maybe some of you share childhood memories of waiting for a huge PC to boot up on a Saturday morning so you could play RollerCoaster Tycoon. By late elementary or middle school you were probably begging your parents to join Club Penguin.

Now, the Internet has become even more comprehensive and accessible to children, for better or for worse. The goal of Damico’s research is to teach kids how to be more critical of online sources and to develop their online literacy skills and strategies. To do this, he uses a web application developed here at Indiana University called Critical Web Reader (CWR).

CWR can be tailored to the teachers’ individual needs. The teacher sets up links to websites they would like the students to look at and then the application guides them through a variety of questions, tips and suggestions. Teachers can provide feedback as the students work. After assessing the online sources, students complete a survey to reflect on their learning.

CWR can be used for studies on topics ranging from history to music, or from math to climate change. “We try to be responsive to the schools’ and teachers’ goals,” Damico said. “What are teachers wanting to do with their kids? What are their curriculum goals?”

Damico’s favorite part of his research is the collaboration. He sees it as a great outreach effort that allows researchers to work directly with schools, even internationally in places like Singapore or Malawi.

Next year, Damico will also be taking on the role of director for the new INSPIRE Living-Learning Center (LLC) that will be located in Rose Residence Center. “It’s for students who have an interest in teaching or learning,” Damico said. “They don’t have to be education majors.”

Damico is hoping to share his passion for research with the students of the LLC. “One of my goals is to cultivate a research ethos in that community,” Damico said. He thinks it is important to show students how “research questions emerge from passions and interests.”

Though no undergraduates currently work with Damico, he is open to the idea and encourages students to not be afraid to ask their professors questions about their research. He also thinks faculty should more openly share their research. “Faculty have a misconception that undergraduates might be too busy, but I think faculty should announce what they’re doing,” Damico said.

Students with an interest in climate change education should ask Damico about his research. He is passionate about the topic and anxious to gain “an awareness of how that debate is framed in the media, politically and geographically.”

Learn more by contacting him at damico@indiana.edu.

March 31, 2014

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IN 60 Seconds: Find your motivation

Posted by Sarah Whaley

You. Hey, you. What are you doing still surfing the net?

That’s right. I know because I am there too. The dreaded after-spring-break slump.

The only way to move forward is to take the first step. Here is a collection of motivational videos to get you started. Watch the video that suits you best, get offline and then go, go, GO!

1. Laughter often motivates me more than words.

2. Sometimes kids are the wisest beings on the planet.

3. Then there are always the cheesy motivational posters smashed into a 60 second video.

4. You do not have to be an athlete to feel the power of this video.

5. Who said there are no lessons in Hollywood?

That’s all for now. Go get ‘em, tiger.

March 31, 2014

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Tweets of the Week: March 24-30

Posted by Avery Walts

Basketball and Little 500 swarmed the Twitter-sphere and conversations of students following their return from spring break. Austin Etherington, Jeremy Hollowell, and Jonny Marlin announced on Monday that they will be transferring, following Noah Vonleh’s announcement the previous day on entering the NBA draft. IU basketball took a big hit, but students had their sights on Little 500 as well. The qualifying races took place on Saturday, and KOK made sure to start the party early with the first Breakfast Club of the year.

March 27, 2014

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IN the Vault: Basketball championship

Posted by Rebecca Kimberly

With IUBB not getting invited to the NCAA tournament and the announcement Monday that at least three players will be leaving IU, fans are feeling disappointed to say the least. So instead of focusing on the dismal present, let’s look back to a time when IUBB ruled the college basketball scene and hope for a better season next year. Here’s a look at the Indiana Daily Student front page after IUBB won the NCAA tournament in 1987.

Photo courtesy of IU Archives

March 26, 2014

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Five ways to survive the first week back from spring break

Posted by Avery Walts

Photo Courtesy of Stock Exchange

Welcome back to the first “hump day” of spring Hoosiers. Besides the obvious pain of it only being Wednesday, the continuous bipolar cold weather is not exactly the spring feeling we had all anticipated. To keep the good vibes of spring break flowing, we’ve rounded up five ways to survive the brutal first week back to school.

1. Cry

Okay, so this isn’t exactly the positive route we alluded to above, but let’s be honest, it’s going to happen. The reality’s sunk in and the school work has once again piled on. Just take a moment or two (or an hour) to let your frustrations out and then order a dozen Baked! cookies to soak in your tears.

2. Make a countdown to Little 500

Not only will this give you something to look forward to, it will also allow a short study break (because we know that’s already 100 percent necessary). Let us remind you it’s less than one month away.

3. Unpack some of your spring wardrobe

Although the temperature outside may suggest otherwise, incorporate some short sleeved shirts, shorts, and skirts into your closet. Not only will these smaller clothing items will be a nice reminder that warmer weather is coming, but they can also remind you of the great times you had on spring break.

4. Sweat it out at the SRSC

Take your frustrations out at one of the group exercise classes at the SRSC. They are free and range from a 45-minute Zumba class to 45-minute cardio kickboxing. Keep that spring break body moving (pun intended).

5. Remember, there’s not much school left

The first week back may seem daunting, but the reality is we only have about a month and a half left in the school year. You may begin celebrating now.

March 25, 2014

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Slice: Spring Break reflections

Posted by sboyum

Sad news: Spring break is officially over.

And in the midst of checking full inboxes, attending classes and getting back into the swing of things, you’re probably thinking: When can I go back? For those of you who didn’t go somewhere tropical (and for those of you who did and need a reminder), here are a few images of paradise to get you through this week. And the rest of this school year.

All pictures were taken at Siesta Key beach in Sarasota, Fla. with an iPhone 4 and a rad little fisheye lens that was magnetically attached.

The path to the beach

A colorful sunset

Beach jumps

The classic "beach shot"

And FYI: there are only six weeks left. For seniors, that means six weeks until real life begins (wait, what?!) and for everyone else, six weeks until summer, internships, sunshine, etc. Hang on until then! We can do this! … Or if all else fails, just buy a one-way ticket to somewhere tropical pronto.

March 24, 2014

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Tweets of the Week: March 16-23

Posted by Rachel Wisinski

Though Hoosiers had the week off from classes, that didn’t stop an influx of tweets about their beloved Bloomington. Cream and crimson candy-striped pants were put away when the IU men’s basketball team didn’t earn a spot in the National Invitational Tournament and declined a bid for the College Basketball Invitational. St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring came and went. Looking ahead, March Madness, IU baseball, and Little 500 loom large.

March 14, 2014

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INvestigating IU Research: Canine Behavior and Cognition Laboratory

Posted by Sarah Whaley

Photo from Doggles.com.

A silver bowl sat on a checkered mat to the left of the door. To the right a picture of a pug staring out a foggy car window read, “I don’t know man, I just… what if I never find out who’s a good boy.” The Canine Behavior and Cognition Laboratory on the first floor of Hillcrest Apartments was quiet, yapping and panting subjects at home for the day.

According to lab director Alejandra Rossi, dogs were the first animal to be domesticated. Researchers’ estimates of dogs’ first domestication lie between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago. Bones of dogs have been found at sites of ancient civilizations. Yet researchers do not know for sure why dogs were first domesticated. Some theories describe dogs used for hunting, protection, and removing pests from homes.

Dogs’ side-by-side existence with humans changed culture. “People realized they could be in charge of their environment,” Rossi said. “They understood they could make use of it.”

To find out why animal social behavior can closely resemble human social behavior, Rossi decided to study dogs and humans comparatively. Six years ago she came to Indiana University from Chile to complete her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience on the subject. In summer 2012 she started the Canine Behavior and Cognition Laboratory.

Rossi’s studies measure behavior, hormones, and eye-tracking. For eye-tracking studies, dogs’ owners take home a pair of “Doggles” to get their dogs accustomed to wearing the testing equipment. Sunglasses for dogs made by a company called Doggles proved perfect for building a dog eye-tracking system. The tinted lenses are removed and one camera points towards the dog’s eye while the other shows what the dog sees. Video is recorded in devices stored in a small backpack worn by the dog.

First, eye-tracking is calibrated by placing spots on a velcro wall and holding treats like cheese in front of them to draw the dog’s attention. Next, pointing exercises are done by placing food in cups. In one test, the dog’s owner points with their hand or their head to the cup holding the food. In another test, an unknown human (often Rossi) shows the dog which cup holds the food.

Results show dogs respond equally well to signals from their owner or from a stranger. However, dogs respond faster to people pointing with their hands than their heads. Rossi explained this is because dogs do not have good visual acuity, so their vision is blurred and hand movement is easier to see.

Sometimes, Rossi’s subjects can be uncooperative, like when one dog leapt onto a table to eat all the food prepared for a test. However, Rossi said dogs are great subjects. “Really, they are better than people sometimes,” Rossi said. “Their owners are super proud.”

Rossi does not have a dog of her own, so she loves coming into the lab to work with dogs of all sizes and personalities. Seven students have worked in the lab since it opened two summers ago. “I have been really lucky,” Rossi said of the students and their work. “And the students are evaluated to work with dogs, which is great.”

The dogs enjoy the research too. When their owners put the Doggles on the dogs, they know tasty treats will come soon. They know who is a good boy. “It’s cool when you get to know humans, but dogs are such good subjects,” Rossi said. “I love it. It’s so much fun.”

To learn more about the Canine Behavior and Cognition Laboratory or to sign up for fun experiments with your dog, email Alejandra Rossi at alrossi@indiana.edu.

March 13, 2014

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IN the Vault: Campus in 1930

Posted by Avery Walts

Amid constant construction around campus and the new media school taking form this summer, it seems our campus is ever-changing. However, the campus we all know hasn’t always been this way. In this 1930 campus map, Assembly Hall is non-existent and the Jordan extension is off the grid. Maybe this is a sign that we all need to embrace change, that is, as long as Jimmy John’s will continue to deliver sandwiches to the library.

Courtesy of the IU Archives

March 11, 2014

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Tweets of the Week: March 3-10

Posted by Rachel Wisinski

The past seven days started with an ice storm and finished off in the 60s. From security breaches and midterms, Hoosiers can’t get the looming week off out of their heads.

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