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

@OliverStuenkel: A+ Media All Star and Int’l Relations Professor at Brazil’s Fundação Getulio Vargas Institute

 “When you learn from great teachers, you will grasp much more from their hard work
and commitment than from their lecture style.”
― William Glasser

Courtesy of PostWesternWorld.com

Before discussing the brilliant Dr. Oliver Stuenkel and his on-going contributing efforts to improving one of Brazil’s premier universities, the Fundação Getulio Vargas or FGV as it’s referred to abroad; let’s briefly review some historical context.  Flashback seven decades ago… give or take a year… to 1944.

Overseas, the Allie/Axis national leaders so anxiously desperate to resolve World War II’s problematic consequences spent the year’s majority drafting/revising/finalizing numerous surrender treaties.  But several thousand miles across the Southern Atlantic, FGV’s founding advisory board gathered at the very first assembly to discuss an entirely different world issue: how to sustainably improve their nation’s higher education industry. It’s a relentlessly complex subject yet today -now well into the 21st century- FGV’s current leadership still upholds that earnest commitment to maintaining an exceptional standard when it concerns their nation’s education rankings.

The FGV campus continues to explore, develop and execute progressive ideas, all influencing how a higher education infrastructure, adequately prepares students to begin post-graduate life successfully.  Every class gives students numerous opportunities to interact with invaluable resources, teachers deliver inspiring lectures about how to apply classroom instruction to careers beyond academia; Perhaps most importantly FGV continues to recruit top industry talent ‘turned’ professors, as the newest additions to a fast-growing, remarkable, faculty roster.

Courtesy of FGV.Academia.Edu/OliverStuenkel

In Spring 2011 when FGV approached Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, International Relations Professor extraordinaire, to join their convivial teaching troupe, his reply to their position inquisition was an emphatic yes.  It’s advisable to colleges worldwide, that whenever possible, hiring multi-lingual, internationally versed PhD, media savvy, all star candidates like Stuenkel will only help ennoble education’s foremost audience, the students.  Indeed, any student entering the lecture hall will undoubtedly realize upon finishing his semester course (as long as they’ve gone to class), that they’re all the more wiser, mindful, and discerning thanks to the good professor’s knowledgeable instruction.  Beyond the classroom, Stuenkel’a main media website PostWesternWorld.com, openly shares his latest research findings, thoughtful article readings, and other links to his recent contributing writing.  It’s a tremendous library that continues to curate new, enlightening materials.

Comparatively, PostWesternWorld.com’s social media presence needs a slightly bigger fan base before reaching notoriety similar to Sir Richard Branson’s or Elon Musk’s.  However, its overall audience engagement isn’t terribly shabby when it comes to their Twitter, and Facebook accounts.  Stuenkel often posts extensive information about how to help support diverse philanthropic endeavors, and shares interviews he’s given while attending different conferences worldwide.  Take a few minutes to check out his recent discussion with the GEG Africa Project, while attending at a policy-making symposium at South Africa’s University of Pretoria earlier this fall.  The conversation highlights his recent observations about Brazil’s evolving philosophy toward the changing dynamics impacting global economic governance.

Courtesy of GegAfrica.com

In the same way an apprentice painter hopes to study under an industry master like Henri Matisse, Oliver Stuenkel’s online/offline teaching will better prepare all scholars intent to make their life’s career achieve prominence as a CEO, Engineer, Diplomat, etc.  More importantly, a first-year FGV undergraduate stands to learn as much from Stuenkel’s expressive media presence, as does a corporate Vice President with twice the work experience.  PostWesternWorld.com exemplifies a truly creative way to disperse expert information to the masses, when one makes a choice to work diligently at featuring only the most reflective content using the right emerging media platforms.  Each tutorial reviews provoking question that any future leader needs to contemplate and debate.

Realistically, there’s no possible way to design a truly comprehensive course load that will provide all the ‘right’ answers to future generations.  But if campuses like FGV continue to appoint such influential educators like Stuenkel, then higher education will improve all the more quickly.  It’s equally important that professors also keep a healthy balance between developing their academic work while also helping to advance their respective fields.  Hence, partnerships that connect leaders like Stuenkel to international organizations such as CEBRI.org serve a larger social purpose.  The resulting conversations ideally bring up new suggestions to improve such community issues like urban planning, international relations, and education.

When reading over the numerous achievements Dr. Stuenkel’s CV outlines, its encouraging to know that his leadership continues to engage the commercial and academic environments simultaneously.  It’s largely inconsequential as to whether one absorbs his mentorship online via a podcast session or spends a semester abroad to take his classes.  In time, the students who understands why Stuenkel stresses that all lessons carry a global, applicable context will start a career, already significantly more observant than their less insightful peers.  This fact alone makes all of Stuenkel’s previous pupils a powerful force to contend with; and really who’d expect anything less knowing they’ve spent ample time studying under Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, a clear reflection to FGV’s best.

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

Will TomoClases.com steer Chile’s Universities to a Tech Savy Future?

   “Serving others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” — Mohammed Ali

Courtesy of S3.AmazonAws.com

Trick Question (it’s Halloween season folks) — Name two people receiving more Chilean press than a Miner Survivor preparing to enter the Presidential Race?
Answer: Meet the dynamic entrepreneurial duo, Guimar ‘Vaca’ Sittic and his CTO sidekick Eric Denovitzer, the latest Chilean startup all stars hoping to lead their country’s – and in time all of Latin America’s – entire education industry to embracing the 21st century.

So when/where and how exactly did these head honchos brainstorm such a progressive concept (seemingly overnight) that in the last six months they’ve recently joined Argentina’s top idea incubator NXTPLabs.com and began site expansion to the Argentina, Brazil, and Colombian markets?  For starters, they’re both alumni to notable US Universities – the University of Chicago and Princeton respectively.  Then combine this top-tier higher education experience with a multi-lingual/international business sense and it results in producing two civic-minded leaders perfectly ready to embrace the challenging landscape, when it comes to designing an online learning community that will change all future generations.  Vaca Sittic’s previous stint, helping cofound/sell restaurant booking website CenaPlus which raised $3.2 million in funding by February 2011, also gives the team an advantageous, competitive edge.

To quote an old Texas adage, this is not the boys’ first rodeo.

Courtesy of TheNextWeb.com/LA

In describing the company’s site premise and overall purpose, TheNextWeb.com’s reporter Anna Heim highlights how TomoClases.com takes the “offline classes and workshops marketplace model,” that’s comparable to the already popular domains like Khan Academy or SkillShare – but will concentrate their ambition more to specifically improving Latin America education.  Understanding certain, culturally relevant elements also matters a great deal when analyzing how the site will provide sustainable content long term.

During his interview with Heim, Vaca Sittic points out how, “Countries such as Argentina and Brazil have a strong culture in terms of hiring tutors for children. Moreover, people are constantly learning something new ranging from a new sport or an eccentric hobby. Hence, Tomo Clases will have a big impact in this countries in 2012 – we shorten the gap between professors and students from any field, and also encourage everybody to become a professor by teaching what they know.”  

Completing such thorough, primary, in-depth due diligence understandably generates ample, invaluable rewards.  It’s exciting to watch where TomoClases.com will go next, especially considering that even since last April’s beta launch when they first introduced the site to only the Chile/Mexico markets, the community now shares 600+ online classes to a 1,250+ user database.

Courtesy of Blog.TomoClases.com

So just how far will this online mercado, that openly shares an interactive knowledge source to one of the world’s fast-growing regions go? Well if the developing team keeps up their current work, it’s likely that TomoClases.com will evolve far beyond the founders’ initial vision and aspirations. It’s interesting, that where so many online platforms fail to maintain a strong, online brand community presence, TomoClases.com’s Blog, Twitter, and Facebook channels all display enriching, supplemental content. It’s a smart strategy that will only help the founders as they plan to court students, professors, and select education leaders’ participation more aggressively.

Anyone who still stands with both their initial entrepreneurial project and body intact despite enduring numerous, relentlessly searing VC investor screenings certainly posses a natural ability to demonstrate creative, charismatic leadership. But it’s also arguable that certain things succeed because on only the most select occasion, Lady Luck will opt to shine favor toward endeavors she deems worthy.  TomoClases.com’s serendipitous, timely beginning hit the web not long after several reports announced that Latin America’s current informal education market, a sector where 18 million users already spend $5+ Billion USD annually- was growing by 16% every year. Indeed, this proves point to international journalist Henry Golden’s now legendary business philosophy, “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”  As TomoClases.com continues to circulate their initiative worldwide, hopefully this winning streak will keep pace.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/TomoClases

It’s almost hard to believe that in just a few short week, students everywhere will rejoice to celebrate another semester’s end, yet the duo will not spend the remainder of 2012 enjoying a leisurely holiday season.  Far from it in fact, as they’ve expressed that their next major milestone will mean securing 10,000 classes and expanding the user-audience by at least ten-fold.  However while the weary TomoClases.com team soldiers on, a hard working holiday now will hopefully mean magnitudes of vacation time to themselves later, after they’ve managed to successfully create one of Latin America’s most lucrative, extraordinary businesses.

As Chile’s national motto so wisely expresses ‘By Right or By Might’ – it’s a tough, tedious road to creating a movement that will forever impact a region’s education industry.  Yet every new accomplishment brings TomoClases.com just a little bit closer to that truly admirable goal. Keep the course dear friends – the world’s already anticipating your next exciting announcement 🙂

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

Corazón Digital: A Chilean University’s Alumni Volunteer to make an Impact

“It’s not that successful people are givers; it’s that givers
turn into incredibly successful people.” — Patti Thor

Any curious researcher wanting to learn more about which top-notch Chilean universities lead the way to progressively educating this emerging nation’s future work force, will no doubt discover La Universidad de las Artes, Ciencias, y Comunicaciones – also known by its international acronym UNIACC.

The private university, since opening their doors in 1989, currently operates three campuses (including the institution’s Santiago headquarters), offering 18 bachelor’s and two master’s programs to a 3,000+ student congregation. Moreover, comparable to the premier arts/technology instructor networks one finds at Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford; UNIACC boasts an internationally recognizable, faculty directory all their own. And while class choices run the gamut between digital communications, computer science, architecture, journalism, etc. – all UNIACC degree candidates enter their respective programs with an understanding that their work must exhibit passionate creativity and always harbor a unique force combining invention, innovation and change.

As a result, by encouraging such a standard amongst the entire student body, this produces a dynamic alumni community, who then go on to work with world’s top media publications, advertising agencies, marketing firms, or even for a brand’s global internal communications team. Collectively, these graduates recognize that charismatic professionals lead by example, continue their education beyond graduation and give charitably whenever possible. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that earlier this summer when a relatively small group of UNIACC alumni began campaigning to launch the initiative Corazón Digital – as a way to help mainly immigrant women learn necessary, basic computer program skills – university administrators practically leaped at the opportunity to offer the organizing committee resources and their enthusiastic support.

Although Corazón Digital maintains an admirable, on-going track record, launching any new project or philanthropic effort will unavoidably generate numerous challenges. In an interview with the university, Senior Director of Communications, Alfredo Santibanez shares that, “One of the first challenges for the project was that it was needed [a] digital volunteers form; that is, [a way to find] people who can teach information technology. We found that the digital volunteer training requires some knowledge and content must be systematized.” Indeed, coordinating, organizing and distributing materials takes patience, time and effort. On average, the program’s volunteers spend 32+ hours teaching course lectures that all explain how to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint successfully.

However, anything worth completing correctly typically adds up to a rewarding end. To date, 300+ participants now posse an advanced training background regarding these programs. More importantly, course instructors also see an intangible benefit by volunteering their time to help improve the local community. Since seeing this initiative’s impact around campus Santibanez observes how, “[Student volunteers] gain an awareness about realities that maybe [they] did not know; [every volunteer] can provide concrete tools for people to overcome their barriers, gaps and situations that may [previously excluded them] from better job performance.” An earnest testament proving once again how one never experiences success without giving selflessly first.

Courtesy of Twitter.com/IntelAprenderCL

If you’re interested in supporting the Corazón Digital initiative, there are several ways to follow up with UNIACC, in addition to the school’s main website.  They promote several social media channels including active Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.  Specific questions about the program can be directed to either Magdalena Quintero, Intel® Aprender’s Lead Coordinator or UNIACC’s Senior Communications Director, Alfredo Santibanez.  Lastly, if you’re a UNIACC alum/current student that’s worked with Corazón Digital at any point, please feel free to share your thoughts/comments about volunteering below.  Here’s a cheer to this fantastic cause and the truly inspiring individuals that kickstart this project both on and offline. ¡Felicitaciones para su trabajando!

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

Did your campus celebrate Connected Educators Month?

“There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware; it’s a small world after all.”  – Walt Disney

Courtesy of ConnectedEducators.org

It’s hard to imagine that when Labor Day ends and September rolls in, Fall 2012 classes will really begin to pick up speed.  Time’s flying but the fun’s just beginning dear readers. It’s dreadfully sad to bid summer bon voyage, but let’s  begin to celebrate Autumn and start the academic year with bright-eyed pep!  Speaking of celebration, were you aware that the fine folks running Twitter.com/edcocp officially deemed August 2012 Connected Educators Month?  What a smart idea!

Understandably, kicking off the school year calendar requires a mile-long check list, so it’s entirely possible that your local campus missed throwing a ‘Connected Educator’ fiesta, soirée, or sock hop.  Not to worry because classes, teachers, and education leaders everywhere should really support this idea all year long. Therefore in the spirit of prolonged partying, check out a few suggestions below that will help raise support and hopefully connect the entire education industry:

Courtesy of CMU.edu

#1 Get the thanksgiving ball rolling by taking a few minutes to write a thoughtful LinkedIn Recommendation for a professor, a superstar student, and/or outstanding colleague.

#2 Expand your weekly reading list to include a blog or trade resource that discusses international education initiatives.  Go the extra mile by sharing feedback to connect with author and spark interactive discussion.  Feeds worth a read > UniversityWorldNews.com and The21stCenturyTeacher.com.

#3 Look around SlideShare.net’s library – it’s great!  If there’s a smart user that offers wonderful information and recaps cool presentations, it’s easy to connect amongst different community platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

#4 Start following a Twitter list or even better, create your own list and highlight certain faculty/students/campuses that you enjoy tweeting; all the folks on these lists post A+ stuff > WorldWideLearn.com’s Top Foreign Language Professors and @SMMmagazine’s Top Marketing Professors.

#5 Tune into a Video library or Podcast stream (which in most cases synchs to your iTunes library) and download exciting materials that enhance classroom lecture activities.  Award-winning sites like VideoLectures.net and BigThink.com allow free access to excellent, informative materials featuring internationally known institutions and leaders.

Courtesy of MattWilsonPrime.com

Of course, this post only scratches the surface when it comes to discussing how education uses emerging media platforms to develop a powerful resource network.  If there’s a website, online tool or other innovative technology that supports connecting academic communities everywhere, please feel free to share any and all creative suggestions.  As always looking forward to your feedback and conversing online: @acmontgomery, LinkedIn.com/in/AmandaMontgomery, or email me at acrawfordmontgomery@gmail.com.  Happy Labor Day US friends!

What exactly does Mark Zuckerberg Own and is He really as Powerful as we think He is?

Hello there La Vida New Media Enthusiasts, hope this Tuesday finds you well. In the spirit of relating this week’s new media question back to our #emac6300 class readings I am daring to enter the Facebook domain, analyze CEO Mark Zuckerberg and ask the tough questions. WARNING: This Blog Post May Require 2 Advil Gel Caplets. It’s about to get deep.

This week’s reading materials open a discussion about how models of ownership are changing and evolving in regards to the bevy of information now readily available in the public domain. Any person with Internet access can search for terms like ‘credit history+their name’ and within seconds a slew of reports pop up on Google. Who owns this information? The individual? The Government? The Credit Bureau marketing their services? It’s not entirely clear, but that’s not even half the issue. One cannot address means of ownership without also considering the factor of ‘Power’. These two issues naturally coincide and make issues surrounding ‘Net Neutrality’ even more complex.

After compiling the 2010 Forbes ‘“World’s 100 Most Powerful Women List” journalist Mary Ellen Egan posted a blog entitled Rethinking Power and asked readers to submit feedback regarding this year’s list, what power means to them and how does one accurately measure influence. The blog makes an excellent point…

“This year, when I was charged with restructuring our “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list, I had to reexamine the notion of power. In the past, power was very much tied to title and wealth.  But today, thanks to the Internet and Social Networks, you don’t have to be rich or important to reach a mass audience. So Lady Gaga, who has 6.5 million Twitter followers, has her own sphere of influence. But it’s a very different one than say, Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and the only female head of a G8 economy. Putting this list together has been an interesting exercise in thinking about power and how it’s measured. Did we succeed? Did we fail? I’m interested to hear your thoughts, complaints, or faint praise.”

After reading this post a million thoughts flooded my conscious and I needed to step back so that I could accurately reflect about how this relates to the Facebook King himself, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg.

My skepticism towards Facebook’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s perceived values only increased after watching The Social Network (a documentary film about Facebook’s conception based on the best selling novel Accidental Billionaires written by Ben Mezrich) earlier this month. As a New Media Enthusiast/Investigative Social Media Reporter I still find it hard to believe that economists have put a $25 Billion dollar value on Facebook. Sure there is Ad Revenue, global influence, and an invaluable vault of web traffic statistics and consumer demographics companies would sell their children for, but does Mark Zuckerberg really own as much information as we think he does? And more importantly because he (rather his company) perceivably owns this wealth of information, does a vast amount of power come with ownership?  I have to say, there’s a stout amount of evidence which leads to answer a cautious, resounding yes.

However on the other side of the equation, a significantly large audience still doubts that Facebook dictates the amount of influence it reportedly has for a variety of reasons. As frivolous as their reasons may be (Zuckerberg’s too young, There is no way it’s possible, etc.) these lingering doubts provide evidence that the battle is still being fought and people are still hesitant about the information ownership issues Zuckerberg controls. The below graphic, compliments of valleywag.gawker.com made me laugh outloud:

So weigh in readers and let me know your thoughts. What exactly do you think Mark Zuckerberg owns? Is he really as powerful as we think he is? If you wanted to own Facebook tomorrow, how much would you shell out? The questions are there, I look to you for potential answers/feedback.

Would You Ditch that Make-Up Mirror for the ‘Beauty Mirror’ App? I Would.

For this week’s blog post I wanted to make an honest confession: I am so glad that for the FIRST TIME in my weekly writing, I did not have a story planted in my brain, ready to roll… I’m completely abandoned all Type A inclinations!

Instead of sitting down at my laptop to write my weekly blog post with story notes, thoughts and musings neatly outlined I struggled with a bit of writer’s block after surviving what I loving call on Twitter #thegreatbigmoveof2010 – My Brain was trying to say it needed a spa weekend.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across an article featured in North Texas Kids monthly magazine (I swear I was searching for business leads, not filling in the crossword puzzle…) and when turning the page an article headline and the answer to my writer’s block slapped me square in the face: ‘New iPhone App Inspires Tween Girls to be Positive!’ – Hallelujah!

Although the interview article was on the shorter/plainer side (maybe 300 words, and that’s a high ball guess), I was inspired to feature a story on the iPhone App Beautiful Mirror because I believe its implications carry far beyond the borders of newsprint in the October issue of North Texas Kids Monthly…

The Concept: Beauty Mirror is an application available on the iPhone/iDevice which essentially serves as a ‘Magic Mirror’ reminder about how awesome you (a woman) are and encourages ladies of all ages to disregard those negative nagging thoughts and replace them with positive, proactive perspective.  In short, think of it as a portable Magic Mirror like in Shrek or Snow White crossed with Richard Simmons—

The Creators:  What do you get when you add technology smarts, outgoing personalities, and roots based in California and Toronto?  Isabel Rasmussen and Lauren Wood, the 2 super cool, super incredible creators of the Beauty Mirror application who want to positively shape the way tween and teenage girls look at themselves, that’s who.

Applying it to #EMAC6300… While I do not own an iPhone/iDevice I see this emerging technology as one of the most impressive ways app/computer programmers are leveraging their ability to manipulate technology for good instead of not so good.

Remember when we talked about the screen society in class the other week?  We circled around what we were doing in a world of screens of all shapes and sizes including TVs, Desktops, iPads, Cell Phones,  iPhones, iPods, etc.  In it’s own way I think a mirror is a sort of ‘screen’.  An interesting question came up about how society as opposed to removing screens instead was figuring out ways to adapt and incorporate them more into daily life.  I have to admit that I wouldn’t be terribly annoyed if I had a screen in my life which reminded me on a daily basis that Beauty first begins on the Inside.  Now that’s the power of emerging media.

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