Be sure to Bookmark: www.ContinentContinent.cc

“We should not only use the brains we have, but add to it all that you can borrow.”
–Woodrow Wilson

Take a few minutes to visualize an elegant, 17th century Château salon where after a rigorous morning walk, and spending several hours revising your latest play, you’ve stopped to visit your dear Parisian friend Madame de Rambouillet whose graciously extended invitation to take tea. She’s also invited several philosopher/author friends: Voltaire, Émilie du Châtelet and Rousseau-it’s an intimate gathering this afternoon.  The chatter skips merrily between politics, the latest Sorbonne art exhibitions, and of course whose writing what next, or rather will so-so ever begin a new project that’s even more enlightening than their last one? The soirée concludes with a flurry of bon après-midis as everyone bids good day to one another.

When one visits the latest academic online salon – www.ContinentContinent.Cc – a rather unusual, antiquated feeling begins to make the reader feel as if they’ve instantly traveled back to a time when great enlightenment went sweeping through Western Europe faster than a bubonic plague. Fortunately however, this cultural epidemic produced more positive outcomes.

Strange things start to happen when one’s conducting thesis research because at some point along the research journey, I haphazardly bookmarked this fascinating site.  Upon first glance, it’s not toting headlines addressing South American higher education or anything relevant to Latin America whatsoever. But appearances often deceive and many times it pays to look beyond the landing page when searching for relevant articles.  Coincidentally, this academic journal published an outstanding exposè featuring University of São Paulo’s brilliant faculty Dr. Gilson Schwartz who discusses his latest Media Research project that’s engineered a ‘Creative Currency’ project to support young Brazilian filmmakers.

This site without question earns a well-deserved A…
Pros: Distinguished Editorial Board, Expansive/Admirable Content conversations, Engaging/Aesthetically creative site design/navigation, Global readership.
Cons: To say the least, if you intend to submit an article feature, the process will requires one to practice seriously saintly patience. Also, for a site with international credentials, their Twitter/Facebook channels tote low numbers.

Again, to reecho what the above chart explains using extreme detail, getting published by the .Continent Editorial board requires one to submit meticulous academic reporting that cuts into the many nuances surrounding art, technology, sociology, economics, etc. It’s also advisable to secure a divine intervention blessing whenever possible; that’s a caution but better safe than sorry right?

While the site www.ContinentContinent.Cc, comes across as an entertaining platform, written exclusively to bemuse an intellectually superior audience, there’s really a underlying whimsical and light-hearted tonality if one takes the time to move past the wry first impression. And although it’s certainly not kindred to a Conan O’Brien Tumblr, on occasion the .Continent crew knows how to cut loose and enjoy a much needed laugh.

I’m not sure that I’ll make it over to Tirana, Albania for the June 6-8, 2013 ‘Pedagogies of Disaster’ Conference, but I’d pay seriously big dollars to receive a legendary invitation to their Holiday Christmas party.  Hopefully they’ll post those details  to Twitter ASAP.  Tis’ the season tis’nt? 🙂

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Brazil/Chile’s Main Ministers fostering Higher Education Reformation

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation
with the bricks that others throw at him or her.”
  –David Brinkley

Courtesy of RedCuba.Files.Wordpress.com

When assessing the best way to possible to rebuild Brazil and Chile’s higher education model, the Ministers of Education will need fast-acting, logical ideas that support sustainable efforts to reconstruct an outdated university infrastructure. The current dysfunctional system which students continue to protest, minimally prepares those enrolled to enter a competitive, financially delicate, intricately complex, technologically advanced marketplace.

Of course in time all of South America’s ‘higher education’ head honchos will face a challenging transition as they revise how and what their campuses will teach the modern, digitally geared learner. So as these countries begin such a hefty urban overhaul, get to know the two main Ministers managing this reformation:

Chile’s Minister of Education …….. Harald Ricardo Beyer Burgos
Age- 48 ; Born in- Osorno, Chile
Alma Mater- Universidad de Chile
Political Affiliation- Independent
Entered Office on- December 29th, 2011
Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) website- www.MinEduc.cl/

Before he was Minister…
Prior to his new political position, Beyer previously served as Deputy Director for the Center of Public Studies (CEP), a public opinion poll company. He’s also served as Education Committee Coordinator, working with Chile think-tank organization, the Tantauco Group. In 2008, Beyer also worked closely with the Council Rectors of Chilean Universities delegation. But most importantly, in 2006 Beyer sat on the Presidential Advisory Council, convened at the time by President Michelle Bachelet, to help address the ‘Penguin Revolution’ student protests.

Students leaders fear concern that… although Beyer possess genuine academic leadership expertise, his background includes little political experience; therefore it’s likely that his committee will be unable to meet their demands for an end to Chile’s class-based education system.

Challenge(s) ahead… Planning/executing a proactive strategy that diplomatically albeit efficiently resolves how to deal with mounting student protests, which polls show carry a 70% national approval rating supporting their demands.

Courtesy of Imguol.com

Brazil’s Minister of Education …….. Aloizio Mercadante
Age- 58 ; Born in- Santos, Brazil
Alma Mater- BA-Economics, University of São Paulo ;
MA and PhD- Economics, University of Campinas
Political Affiliation- Workers’ Party
Entered Office on- January 24th, 2012
Ministry of Education (MEC) website- www.Mec.Gov.br/

Before he was Minister…
Mercadante’s political career really began when he helped establish his political party system ‘The Workers’ Party’ in 1980. He was later nominated to office as a São Paulo State Senator between 2003 and 2010. After accepting President Rousseff’s 2011 cabinet bid nomination, he served as Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation until 2012 when he changed responsibilities.

Students/Professors/Academic leaders fear concern that… Mercadante’s committee will fail to create an education environment that helps two million voting teachers gain access to more adequate resources, professional training, and technological skills. Sustainable, improvements will only take place when national structural polices begin to change.

Challenge(s) ahead… Designing/implementing unprecedented reform to improve almost every aspect concerning education that will better prepare Brazil to handle the 2014 World Cup, and 2016’s Summer Olympics. Mercadante will also need to build programs that help Brazil reach a 30% university enrollment target and a 98% goal to put lower education children into school by 2022. There’s also a huge ‘regional inequality’ discrepancy between the country’s Northern and Southern cities and anxiety about the 1.7 million 15-17 year-old students currently not attending school.

Tackling the many issues causing bureaucratic rift between a government and the country’s academic institutions will understandably require patience, confidence, and several Ministries of Education entering and exiting office terms, but it’s the gradual cost necessary to make long-term reformation a reality. However, if Beyer, Mercadante and Latin America’s other representative candidates initiate a pledge to collectively start making a effort to fix higher education, then the entire region’s academic communities will be better served by their collaborations. Because after all, it’s not a true ‘reformation’ until the Ministers decide to play a leading part.

Amanda // @acmontgomery
E acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com
LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery

Why Bother with an EMAC M.A.? I’ll Give You A Reason Why and then some


Where are the sewing kits and baking instructions?

When the 2010 Fall Semester began in August, I had lunch the first week of class with an old friend who was in town on business.  After catching up about summer travel, family, and football as the caring friend they are, she asked me how my grad school program was going…

It’s going really well.  I am so thankful I began working on an Emerging Media & Communications Masters.  UTD has a great program and my summer classes were awesome.

You’re getting a Master’s in Emerging Media & Communications at UTD? Are you taking Twitter 101 as a core requirement?” She laughed and took a bite of her Spinach salad.

Not exactly.  It’s a little more complicated than that.” I retorted, and then we changed subjects about whether Nordstrom Rack was having a sale or not.

When I looked at this week’s scheduled readings, dear old EMAC6300 was covering ‘Shifting Models in Knowledge and Learning Part Deaux’.  The above conversation from August immediately sparked inspiration.  As my classmates, are any of you wondering why in the world you’re pursuing what some ignorantly tote the Twitter 101 Degree?  I’ll confess that I’ve had to defend my program’s validity more than once, and I did it with gusto.  Those who jabbed fun at the Doctoral class I took this summer on Bob Dylan are also dense on other matters of life but I let their judgments go and I have no problem expressing why.  I want to hear your reasons as well so feel free to jump in whenever via ‘Leave a Comment’

Applying to this program at UTD was quite literally a blind leap of faith in the purest sense.  A fellow intern was in the Undergrad program and when I was lamenting about applying to graduate school she made mention that UTD had a similar program to what I was looking for, it was brand new and modestly priced.  I made an appointment to meet Julie Larsen that day.  I applied, got accepted, took a Doctoral level Summer School and wouldn’t change a single iota of these decision to save my life.  I love my job and am incredibly satisfied professionally but the moment you stop learning outside your work environment and growing as a professional and individual that’s when one falls behind and will forever struggle with playing catch up.  That reason alone is why I am proudly earning a Masters in Emerging Media & Communications.  Tweeting as part of class participation is cake icing.

Yes, we discuss Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social networking sites as a cultural and technological force but guess what?  We also discuss Aristotle, Freud, Moileré, Mozart, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Steve Jobs.  My classmates and I have heated debates about everything from blogs, architecture, Sasha Baron Cohen, Marvin Gaye, Jay Z, Chris Brogan, The New York Times, Paste Magazine, Perez Hilon and as you can imagine that list goes on for quite a while.

We are in a fraternal order deemed with the task of banding together to better understand the never ending, evolving technology and how it relates back to communications.  We do Tweet in class because if we didn’t we wouldn’t be able to give feedback or collaborate as quickly as we do.  If that’s not enough to justify how my program is helping support how education, knowledge and learning are changing then I don’t know what is.  If you’re an undergraduate getting ready to graduate this Spring allow me to offer a bit of unsolicited advice: Graduate.  Take a year off and go work, consider what you want to specialize in professionally, apply to 2 or 3 graduate programs in February a year later, go to graduate school and never stop learning or continuing to grow.  The EMAC M.A. illustrates the entire reason why we should never stop extending our education.