Monday, April 4, 2016

We Must Unlearn To Learn - Vivan Ng

Vanessa Salamy       Alie Matthews       Ray Chau       Krista Schlaeger       Eric Ehrenreich

Step into a classroom in the early 2000's.  Imagination bubbles are frantically bouncing around the room as the little humans are giddy in their chairs flipping page after page in their dragon, princess, magic lamps and school buss and tree-house books.  Today you walk into that same classroom.  There is no crinkling of pages, sudden bursts of giggles, or imagination surfacing among the children.  The classroom is rigid and concrete; systematic.  There is no sprawling landscape before the eyes of the curious.  There is no victorious, fearless leader preparing their soldiers for battle.  Instead, standing before these blossoming minds is a dictation of knowledge that they must regurgitate on command.  They will repeat and drill that knowledge into their brains until judgement day. There has been a switch, a change in how things are practiced in education.  Children are being robbed of their own natural beauty to process information and create alternate worlds that aid their learning.  What are you going to do about it?

At UAlbany, the Communications 304 Conference and Group Leadership class decided to intervene.  We were the ones who were giggling with our noses glued to books, our little minds wandering to alternate universes, we begged to have independent reading throughout the school day.  Today we know just how valuable our imagination was aiding our learning.  We want to help recreate that for other young learners.  

To tackle this mission we knew that the one thing that brought us the joy of learning and exploring is the same thing we need to bring to others.  Not imaginative educators, not pretty classrooms.  It's Books.  Books have the ultimate power to release a mind into another realm.  Creativity stems from one's imagination and ability to unleash that natural talent.  Too many minds are molded to a concrete timeline of standards and core educational goals.  This book project will be able to help us step over this steel threshold and break into the future of education.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Out Reach Community Service: The Literate Earth Project

We have chosen to team up with the Literate Earth Project, seeing as we too, wish " to establish literate communities in developing countries by putting books in the hands and minds of children".  Based in Philadelphia, they supply developing countries with books, libraries, and education. They promote community building and "active citizenship". They run off of monetary donations and book drives that they coordinate on various campuses. The donations in turn contribute to books, shelving, training, and material transport. If you ever wish to donate or work with the Literate Earth Project, Visit :

Our group is simply an extension or facilitator for the Literate Earth Project at UAlbany. We chose to collaborate with the organization because we wanted to make a difference in poverty stricken communities. The organization was a perfect fit in our efforts to make a difference. By sending in these books, we're improving children's educational opportunities, which in turn will improve their quality of life.

Group 3: Rochester City School District

The Rochester City School District Library System is based in Rochester County, New York. With students ranging grades K through 12 in thirteen different schools, the Rochester City School District has a wide range of students with different backgrounds, interests, and appeals. In  an effort to better the education of it's students, this library system follows a mission "to create a positive learning environment in the libraries of Rochester City School through resource development sharing, staff development and technical support"(

We chose this organization due to its open availability and commitment to education through all sorts of literature. The Rochester City School District Library System has little restrictions on the types of books they are willing to receive in order to develop a diverse selection of books for their students to chose from; ranging from recreational novels to educational textbooks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book project

Chelsea Merrill

Michaela Burbank

Chris Smith

Tunisia Bey

Stephanie Acosta


Comm 304- Conference and Group Leadership

                While bringing my brother to school yesterday I saw something that did not settle very well with me.  I looked around the room and saw young students waiting for class to start and realized the generational gap that is slowly killing the success of our society.  I observed students teetering away on frivolous technology.  One students was watching an Iggy Azalea music video.  Another was playing a game that I can only guess that they outcome was how many people you could shoot in 30 seconds.  These students were glued to their iPhones and tablets.  So often we here about teenagers and adults being addicted to their phones, but these are 8 year olds.  Not a single child in this classroom had a book.  I saw a bookshelf in the corners that was full of literacy.  Unfortunately, it sat there solemnly collecting more dust than an antique shop. “Why weren’t these students reading?” I thought to myself.  I reminisced on the days that I spent countless hours with my nose in a book.  I’m not sure at what point childhood pastime switched from reading to texting, but I knew one thing for sure, lack or reading was becoming a huge problem.

                It has come to my attention that the education system is lacking in many ways.  Graduation rates are plummeting.  Students are dropping out of high school and college like it’s the Huger Games.  Lower graduation rates lead to a less educated workforce.  How can we expect our economy to thrive if we don’t have well qualified professionals in important fields?

                Reading does more than just entertain children.  It teaches the basic fundamentals for critical thinking and applied analysis.  Reading books provides children with the building blocks of becoming self- aware, competent members of society. We cannot expect our children to learn basic communication skills and rational thinking if they spend their days filling their spongent minds with crap. Psychologist stress that young children are very venerable to the world around them.  They observe everything and apply it.  Therefore, if they see crap, they will learn crap.  If they see knowledge, they will learn knowledge. 

1.                   Putting books in the hands of children is one of the best things that we can do for their future and our own.  By educating children at a young age and teaching them critical thinking skills, we will be giving them the tools that they need to successful future members of society.  It has also come to my attention that not all students have access to the resources for education.  That is why my group members and I participated in a book drive.  To help guarantee that all children have access to educational materials.  Below is a link to a video that my group and I created to showcase just how important books are to our children.  If you have any questions or are looking for ways to get involved please comment below.


What is community service?

Chelsea Merrill

Michaela Burbank

Chris Smith

Tunisia Bey

Stephanie Acosta


Comm 304- Conference and Group Leadership


Community service is important because it contributes to the success of a community.  So often people are concentrated on individual success. They may work hard for a desired outcome but the outcome is solely to support and benefit themselves.  The problem is that individual success is not what fuels a booming economy and supports a thriving population.  In order for us to succeed as a nation, we must succeed as a group.  That means that those of us who are capable and willing to help those of us who are less capable should.  We are told that we are all equal in this country, but that that doesn’t mean that we all have equal access to opportunity.  Due to conditions beyond control, many individuals are born into an underprivileged life.  Students aren’t always given a true education.  Veterans who risked their lives for us aren’t always able to get a job when they return.  Mothers who have become sick aren’t always able to afford to feed their children. It is our duty as privileged citizens to give back to those who are less than privileged.

 The community that you live in is more than just a zip code.  Your community is the heart and soul of your life.  Your community is home to your school, the place that you begin an education that will kick start the rest of your life.  Your community also provides you with parks that are not only environmentally necessary but are a spot that people can come together socially.  It is important not to take everything that your community gives you for granted. If you wish to succeed in life, you need the support of your community.

There are lots of different types of things that you can do as a form of community service.  There is the typical volunteering in a soup kitchen or planting a community garden. But there are so many other ways of community service that need to be done.  You can host a book drive in order to gather books for children that don’t have the same access to education equipment as you do.  You can spend time with at risk teens and pre-teens in an afterschool program.  You can find a way to encourage everyone in your community to recycle.  You can do any type of a fundraiser that you can use the profit from to make a healthy community.  The results are truly endless. Think outside of the box.  Discover an issue that you think is prevalent in your community, figure out a solution to that problem, and actively get involved to convince others to partake in your solution.  People get caught up in the everyday and they forget how important their contribution is to their community. Every little bit helps. If you have question or suggestions about how to get involved in your community, comment below.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Group 4's Video

Project Group Video (Week 8)
Group Members: Dayun Park, Aaron Willams, Chris Pasquarella, Jae Hack Jeong, Will Hunter

Process of Book Donation to Harlem Children's Zone

         During the entire semester, we were assigned one project which is donating books to non-profit organization. We worked together as a group and each team member put a lot of effort to donating books. Once a week, we gathered and discussed and planned what we should do for donation. We gathered books from diverse method, selected books, made a fund from goFundme, and finally sent it to the non-profit organization. To specify our process of book donation to Harlem Children' Zone, we made a funny 2.30 minute short video.
         The video starts with classroom and showed how we planned, brainstormed idea based on instruction, and how we contact with the organization. Then, we describe the process of collecting books which are going to academic department, faculty, and visiting dorms. Next, we show how we selected books from gathered books. Among selected book, we finally show how we sent those books to Harlem Children's Zone.
         In the video, some of group members (Dayun Park, Chris Pasquarella, and Jae Hack Jeong) became main actors and actress and also we included a young women who lives in Empire. Other members took turn and filmed the video, and they also edited and helped adding captions and credits. Overall, we made an interesting video which explains how we can successful in book donation. You can see the video under the link.

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Group 3's Video!

Today in class our group was responsible for creating a video in which we decided to outline our service learning project! The video includes us speaking about our assignment, what organization we chose to work with, the importance of service learning, and the conclusion. 

In order to put our video together, we had to go through several steps. Our team needed to decide upon a video idea then create a script. From there, we had to act, then edit the film. Next comes this final blog post.

The project and film were very fun and a great learning experience. To check out our video and learn more about what we've done this semester click the link below!