Saturday, March 7, 2009

Web 2.0

Have you heard about web 2.0? I bet you have used it, without actually knowing what it is.

Web 2.0 is the next generation of internet. Rather than just retrieving information, it allows the end users to participate in it. Examples include MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Orkut, Facebook, Blogs etc.

Further, there are additional features such as RSS feeds – a term you may have observed on several websites. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. This is used to obtain updates on frequently published material such as news headlines, blog entries, etc. in a standardized format. For example, if I engage RSS feed on our class blog, you could subscribe to it and receive updates whenever I add new content to it. This is important for those who want information on their fingertips in a timely fashion.

Health 2.0, Medicine 2.0, Business 2.0, Government 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. are related content.

For example, Medicine 2.0 is linked with Web 2.0 so that medical professionals receive latest information in a particular field; help them make meaningful decisions, and update their knowledge base. If medical professionals rely just on google to obtain information, they are approximately 60% accurate. With the recent healthcare direction chalked out by the Obama administration this past week, I can see this particular technology growing rapidly in the coming years.

In a nutshell, Web 2.0 is a platform that you are already using. Hope you learned something new in the past one minute.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Inside the teacher’s brain

Ever wondered what goes on inside your 10th grade teacher’s brain? I’ll be glad to share. Not a single day goes by, without thinking about you guys. It always keeps pondering – what’s the next best thing for these students… can they do this? How can this be made simple? While reading every news item, it asks – is this good piece of info for the students where they can learn something? Apart from the prescribed textbook, below are few things that the brain is constantly thinking about.

Spirituality: The most important factor in a human being’s life. How to get closer to God and invite Jesus into your life? What are some of the things they need to learn to be good Christians. Teach them about prayer and fasting for spiritual enrichment. Educate them how to get connected to the ‘higher power’ and attain enlightenment.

Academics: An important choice. What tips are beneficial to them to learn new things and score good grades. What are some of the best learning tips? How to write effectively.

Competition and winning: In this era of global competition, what are some of the tips they need to learn to survive globally?

Personal development: Nurture some of the skills that these students have, and polish them up with the lessons I learned. Provide free tips and consultation for those interested. Learn how to communicate effectively – written and verbal.

Economics and cash management: Teach them the value of cash and encourage them to save more and spend less. Provide examples of those who made it to the top by saving.

Driving and safety: Driving is a new skill students acquire at this age. Driving can be dangerous if not handled properly. What are some of the tips that would help them become safe drivers?

Issues related to young adults: Students this age go thru growing pain that’s quite difficult to comprehend. Discuss issues and guide them on the right path.

World affairs: Learn what’s happening around you. They should know few things that are general knowledge.

Good housekeeping: Take responsibility of projects that students undertake and maintain a clean environment. Encourage recycling and preserve planet earth.

Technology: Share some of the technological developments so that they are not left behind.

If 100 things are communicated, various students capture at varying capacities. So, with all good intentions, the brain is working swiftly to infuse these factors into your young minds with the intention of making you better citizens.

PS: I like you guys very much. This has been an excellent class, and you are a sweet buch of students.

BRS Potluck Cancelled

We are cancelling our class BRS potluck party.

You need not cook up any questions.

Sorry for causing any confusion or inconvenience from my part.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DST we miss an hour

Just a reminder that the daylight savings time for 2009 starts on Mar 8th. The way I remember whether to turn our clocks forward or backward is using the principle:

"Spring Forward, Fall Back"

That is, the clocks move an hour forward in spring, and they move an hour back in fall. Now we are almost in spring season, and we should move our clock an hour forward. We essentially miss an hour.

For those of you who arrive at church at 10:30 AM, if you stick to your same time, this Sunday you'll be surprised to arrive at 11:30 AM instead. One common question I get from adults at church is whether our church will start an hour later since DST begins. The answer to that is, church will begin at the same scheduled time - i.e., 8:00 AM Morning Prayers and 9:00 AM Holy Qurbana. True that we lost an hour during DST, but we go by the EST always. So, when it's 8:00 AM EST, the church morning prayers begin, and 9:00 AM EST the Holy Qurbana begins.

Most of you changed the times at home back in November - at least that's what you told me. Just like what we did during our last DST back in November, let's once agin do the drill, which I'm sure your parents will appreciate: It's a good idea to shut down all your home computers and electronics Saturday evening and restart them Sunday morning. Most of today's computers have inbuilt software to track this change - still majority of them needs shut down. While you bring the computers back on on Sunday morning, you'll notice a pop up saying that the system time has changed to reflect new time. Once you see this message, we are good to go. You guys are young adults and can do this chore.

Most cell phones tend to keep the old time if they have not been shut down. It's a good practice to shut down all cell phones and restart them. Recommend your parents to do that. There are several parents (including myself) who rely on cell phones for time. If the time is wrong, it could be misleading. Take up the responsibility of changing all clocks in the house and replacing their batteries. If you are changing the time on a cuckoo clock, make sure the cuckoo is singing the time right.

Ask your parents if the battery for the smoke alarm has been replaced - if not replace them. Other electronics to change time include home theater, microwave ovens, certain refrigerators, video games, alarm clocks, etc...

One last place to change the time is the cars you ride in. Remember how all of us get nervous looking at our car clock when we have to reach a place on time. Do not forget to add this to your list as well.

Here's the double bonus for those who do all the above mentioned work. I can grant you 5 credit point which you can use towards any grading we do in our class. This is just based on trust. If you tell me you changed it, I'll believe you and am not going to double check it. However, there will be no points if you come back and tell me, "Jacob Uncle, I wanted to change all those, but we did not have the right battery size at home." My advice: if you undertake a project, make sure you have all the tools you need, well in advance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Last blog update via email

Following the 'best practices' as adviced, this will mark the last blog email communication you'll recieve in your gmail mailbox originating from our class blog. In other words, I am disabling the feature where will get the blog contents in your gmail mailbox. Instead you will have to come read it yourself.

Talent Competition dates

Heads up on the talent competition from last Sunday school teachers' meeting:

March 22nd: Bible verses writing (memory verses)
March 29th: Solo Song/Group Song/Elocution

Awaiting final version of guidelines and elocution topics. Will keep you posted.

Pay attention to church announcements in the coming few Sundays.

March 2009 Events

Few interesting things in March:

March 5th: Britney Spears is performing in Atlanta
March 8th: Daylight savings time begins this Sunday
March 14th: Elton John and Billy Joel performing in Atlanta
March 14 - 17th: Alice in wonderland at Cobb Civic Center
March 29th: Church Talent Competition

Exhibitions 'Bodies' and 'Dialogue in the Dark' going on till May first week at Atlantic station.

BRS Potluck is final

Our BRS potluck party will mark the end of this years' BRS. Just received confirmation that we will not have any further BRS'.

There is a possibility of having more guests join in our party. I mean the 5th - 12th graders may join too - will keep you posted. So, be careful while cooking and make it attractive. I need to have your dish along with the recipe by Saturday noon. Else, as always, I'll have to call you and chase you down.

Feel free to contact me if you need a crash course in cooking if you are new to this.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

BRS Potluck

Our BRS assignments are coming to an end pretty soon, given the fact that we do not have many Sundays left to complete our Sunday school year (did I hear you sigh?). I am yet to hear when the final BRS will be - will keep you posted. For our last BRS, let’s have a 'BRS potluck party'. If you are not familiar with potluck, it is a gathering of people where each person is expected to bring a dish of food to be shared among the group (also known as Jacob’s supper). Each one of you can cook up a question and that’s what will be on the final menu.

The final menu will consist of an appetizer, two main courses, couple of curries, couple of side dishes and finally a dessert. Based on our class structure, let Jeevan prepare the appetizer; those heavy lifters Jake and Jiby can cook one main course each –one baked and the other grilled; girls Maymol and Mariya may prepare the curries – one spicy and one regular; both Kevins can cook a side dish each – one fry and the other roasted; and finally, Nimi can prepare the dessert. Water is on me.

This time, the tables are turning and you will be doing the actual cooking. You can cook up a question that’s anywhere from the Bible – it could be based on your favorite hero, favorite story, favorite parable, favorite psalms or proverbs (see a sample menu below). When you cook this up, provide me the recipe as well. The recipe will be the answer to the question that you prepared. I’ll be your host putting it all together that you cooked (hopefully yummy and delicious) and distributing it to the entire class.

General cooking rules apply - be careful with your own safety as well as others'. As far as your safety concerns, wear those aprons, handle the knife and spatula with attention, and careful don’t burn yourself. Work on making it attractive and tasty, the appetizer should be interesting, don’t bake or grill it too much or make it charred, use olive oil during frying, try using indian spices over the mediterranean, those spices should be just right and be careful not to top off the salt. On the dessert, Nimi will have to be careful not to make it too sweet.

Let’s start cooking. Send me your dish along with the recipe this Saturday, March 7th. I can put all of them together and we’ll have some sampling next Sunday. Below is a sample potluck menu that should serve as an indicator.

--- Sample Menu for BRS Potluck Party ---

Appetizer: Psalms
Main course 1: Gospels (Matthew thru John)
Main course 2: History (Joshua thru Ester)
Curry1: Books of the Law (Genesis thru Deuteronomy)
Curry 2: Acts
Side dish 1: Major Prophets (Isaiah thru Daniel)
Side dish 2: Pauline Epistles (Romans thru Hebrew)
Dessert: Proverbs

Let me know what dish you can bring so that we don't end up with the same item twice. All of you will get to take home others' recipe once we are done. Now, pick up those aprons and let’s get cooking… wait… do we have to go shopping first? Let me find my car keys....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Low grades on BRS # 9

All your BRS # 9 answers are in, and I posted your grades - thank you. Unfortunately, none of you did very well - that is, nobody got a 100 this time. I had to work extra hard to give you some points. The points you received are truly 'inflated points'. If you wrote something meaningful in the vicinity of the real answer, I awarded you points; else your points would have been still low.

While grading your answers, I have been thinking why not even a single student did well this time. The only reason I could think of this poor performance on your part was that this time neither I did I validate those questions nor provide you any feedback. In other words, I did not simplify the questions and double check those answer hints. So, I am left wondering - was it due to my absence that you did not perform well?

What are some of your thoughts based on your recent experience - I would like to hear them. We cannot continue on like this. My aim is to make it easy for you to answer those questions. Provide me some input. If you keep quiet, I would assume your are comfortable with the current method, and I need not do anything.