My Experience with Peer Tutoring

When I first signed up for Peer Tutoring, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never considered myself to be tutor material exactly, as my grades hadn’t exactly been the greatest for the past four years, though that never stopped teachers from believing in me. When I first walked into first period that year, I realized that I hadn’t even thought of what teacher I wanted to work with, and was prepared to be sent wherever I was assigned. However I was very pleased when I heard that my English III teacher, Ms. Smith, had personally asked for me to assist her in class. I was relieved to know that I would be working in a subject that I felt I had a firm grasp on, and needless to say I was eager to work with new students as well. However, my first day in the classroom I felt slightly uneasy, not because I didn’t like the class, but because I hadn’t prepared myself for a leadership role of this size before. I became even more nervous when I was told this would be an advanced English class, although this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I was given a class full of well-behaved students. I can’t recall any disturbances this far in my classroom, and aside from an incident where I was put on “Cheater-watch”, it was a relatively stress-free environment. My abilities were utilized in a variety of ways, from running to grab copies, to teaching the class on my own in Ms. Smith’s stead. I am especially proud that I’ve been able to keep track of my students’ names, and have a friendly relationship with almost all of them. They know that they can come to me for help whenever they require it, and are thankful when I bring certain issues with assignments to Ms. Smith’s attention. I was saddened, however, to see one student drop the class due to its difficulty, although in the end I believe this was probably for the best. We received another new student who had struggled thus far, but I believe if I devote extra time, I can assist him with keeping up with the rest of the class, and I have no doubt that they will develop into a competent writer and be prepared for higher level English. There were also several students who show above-average abilities in their writing, and this makes me very happy because I feel that through my tutoring, I have become part of something greater. This experience also kept my English skills sharp and helped me maintain a high average in English IV. I was always pleased when substitutes would ask “Are you Jordan?” to which I would affirm, followed by “Oh good, she says you’ll take care of everything”.

I also enjoyed the time I spent with my fellow tutors in our weekly meetings. It was a great setting to discuss techniques in the classroom, our weekly articles and essays, or to simply let off steam from the stress that can come with the weight of having to guide young people academically. I liked getting to know my fellow tutors and relating my personal experience to theirs, as it helped me get to know them as people, as well as fellow tutors. Mrs. Brookfield always attended to our needs as far as placement, and offered helpful advice concerning our classes; I thank her immensely for this. I also enjoy hearing other student’s stories from their classes, and how these events have helped them grow as individuals, as well as educators. Although I never thought I would become a peer tutor, now I can’t imagine school life without it. It was an experience that has helped me grow and develop leadership and positive characters traits that I imagine will assist me in the “Real world” for many years to come. I will take comfort in the fact that during my time at Oakland High school, I made a true difference, not only in my life, but in the lives of those around me.

The only thing between you and Paul McCartney is a piece of cardboard

Turns out we don’t need to use thousands of dollars worth of equipment to have a pleasant VR experience, all you really need is your phone and a cardboard box to magically take you to see Paul McCartney live in concert. The best part? You’re right next to him, albeit only for one song.

Jaunt VR is the developer of this somewhat silly invention that’s giving millions of people the chance to see a Beatle in the virtual flesh. It’s pretty simple tech, stereoscopic 3D lenses turn your phone’s display into a concert experience.  Now of course this cheap-seat virtual reality isn’t going to offer the same kind of experience as an Oculus rift, but for those of us without a few thousand bucks to spare, it’s nice to know we can take part in this new phenomenon. The app itself is free and I’m excited to see if this becomes the norm: having an authentic concert experience for the price of a movie.

For those of us less technically inclined, it might be a pain to set up the “google box” that makes this possible, but we can’t have everything we want for 9.99.

Robots continue to be better than us at everything besides poetry.

Its happening friends: the robot empire has formed an alliance with the long-suffering feline race in an attempt to overthrow their masters.Their disdain for humanity is matched only by their ability to shift their bodies in unnatural ways to turn a usually deadly fall into a feat of acrobatics.

Okay so maybe that’s not entirely true. Yet. In any case, researchers at Georgia Tech are looking into how they can improve robots to have the agility that we normal humans apparently lack by studying how cats and athletic humans adjust their posture mid-flight to facilitate a softer landing. This has a wide variety of applications, from robots being able to effortlessly move through burning buildings to save residents inside, to having planes or satellites adjust themselves to minimize damage and loss of life in a crash landing, or even having super-dexterous drone soldiers fight wars against each other.

Hopefully and more realistically, this tech could be used to create exoskeletons for the disabled, or even for construction workers who wouldn’t have to worry about falling off of steel girders anymore (that’s still a thing right?).

The research is still in it’s very early stages though, so there’s no telling when this sort of tech will make it into the mainstream, but as with every new innovation we see on a daily basis in this era, it only gives us more hope for the future.

Personally, I just wish they could figure out a way for me to stop tripping over my own feet.

At long last, someone has created a smartphone Polaroid.

There’s something so satisfying about having a camera that prints an image right away. Personally I don’t find the fun in taking a picture, and giving my sd card to some guy at Walgreen’s to develop into something resembling a proper photograph.   Long ago, you were able to capture moments in time, insta-freezing them into these little framed squares, that after a few seconds would reveal themselves to be either a nostalgic work of art, or a wasted shot.

The good people over at Prynt have answered my prayers in the form of their smartphone cases, which finally unites the old things we used to carry around with the new things that we carry around. I feel like this is long overdue. What’s also neat and original is that each photo taken can be held back up to the phone to activate a short video of the moments leading up to the shot, so you can see both the moment itself and the moment it was captured. Momentception.

They also seem to be very concerned with privacy (and who wouldn’t after all the photo leaks lately), so they’re experimenting with ways to hide pixels to keep images from being copied, among other cool things. That is what’s most interesting for me- to be able to hold an image in my hands and know that all I have to do to keep it safe from prying eyes is to lock it up in a place only I know about. No one’s hacking into that unless they have an ax.

As someone who doesn’t really like things like snapchat, where people share anything and everything they’re looking at with everyone, it’s refreshing to see something more personal and tangible make a comeback.

Now watch as I make water appear from thin air, while riding a bicycle!

It sounds like a magic trick but it’s the real deal: Cyclists everywhere no longer need worry about bringing their own refreshments, as the Fontus has provided a new way for people to get water whenever and wherever they might need it. No doubt this will make those long treks through the desert on a bike much more enjoyable and much less deadly, but for millions of people without access to clean water in various parts of the world, creator Kristof Retezár believes it could saves thousands of lives.

This is one of those inventions that we’ve all thought about making at some point, but unlike Mr. Retezar we’re all too lazy to figure out how the science-y business works. Which is a shame, because the world already has too many ideas and not enough inventions. This is the kind of tech that is a universal good: its simple, elegant, and provides something necessary for life. It’s refreshing to see that there are people in this world who are dedicated to fixing the fundamental problems that people in underdeveloped countries face everyday while still making a product that will attract American consumers.

Lets just hope the water bottle companies don’t find out, who knows what those people are capable of.

You know you’re in the future when there’s such a thing as a “smart” oven.

Our progression to a fully Jetsons-esque home life may be taking a little longer than some people have been hoping for, but it looks like humans have made a major breakthrough; we’ve invented a robot maid. Sadly her name isn’t Rosie, and she won’t clean your house, and she’s not really a she. This newest kickstarter phenomenon promised to be the next evolution in intelligent appliances, although the Roomba wasn’t exactly hard to top. It’s called the Make All Incredible Dishes oven, or MAID for short.

Since the beginning of civilization, entrepreneurs  have always succeeded in capitalizing on people’s laziness, and this invention is no different. Or is it? Although this cuts out the need to actually find and follow recipes yourself, none of the preperation process is handled by the oven alone, aside from preheating, so this may turn out to be a useful tool in learning how to cook for people who haven’t advanced past making soup and popcorn (an alarming number of people, I might add), but I don’t consider this to be the main draw of the product. The main reason this thing has gotten such a good response is its ability to learn your eating habits and even help you diet by making healthy selections. Sounds great right? No longer do you have to worry about your significant other being on your case to get healthy, when you have a perfectly good oven to make the right choice for you.

The only eerie thing about the positive response to this oven is that people seem not only willing, but eager to follow the orders of a robot. Not just any robot, but a robot that learns your habits. Maybe I’ve seen Terminator too many times, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to reverse engineer a TMAID-1000 and send it back in time to destroy Kickstarter after we decide we’re tired of it telling us what to eat. You know how temperamental these AIs can be.

Wanna know who you’re dealing with at meetings? Meet Charlie, it’s kind of his thing.

All you business-savvy young corporate types who are trying to move up the rungs know exactly how time-consuming it is to research all the things you need to know about the people you’re gonna meet with so you can make a good impression. Unless you’re a normal person, who might just try the tried and true method of getting to know someone in person, but who needs that in the big world of social media profiles? Well now it’s even easier, cause Charlie can give you the scoop on all of those intimidating business peeps that 26-year old you thinks they have nothing in common with.

Now I really do like the idea of knowing a little bit of background info on a person if I’m trying to make a good impression, because none of us want to bring up possibly uncomfortable or unpopular subjects with someone we’re trying to negotiate with. However, it makes me wonder just how much you can discern just from a page-long list of someone’s internet  persona, and more importantly how you can take advantage of it. Anyone with an inkling of psychology know-how could probably build up a considerable profile on a potential business contact by taking a good look at their internet presence, and using that to help forge a bond could prove quite useful in meetings. Unless you come to face that old problem of having nothing in common with the other person, in which case you can always talk about the weather.

I’m also interested in how Charlie could expand, imagine an app that could give you the social media profiles of everyone you meet? The socially awkward community would finally have a treatment for their crippling lack of communication skills, and dating would get a lot easier. Though there’s always a question of whether or not you’re going to have to pay for a service like this, it’s further complicated by the fact that if you did, wouldn’t it be an awful lot like buying someone’s personal information? I think there needs to be some research done on exactly where the line should be drawn between someone’s personal and business profiles.