I AM…PENN STATE

For the glory of old State,

For her founders strong and great,

For the future that we wait,

Raise the song, raise the song.

Sing our love and loyalty,

Sing our hopes that bright and free

Rest, O mother dear, with thee,

All with thee, all with thee.

When we stood at childhood’s gate,

Shapeless in the hands of fate,

Thou didst mold us, dear old State,

Dear old State, dear old State.

May no act of ours bring shame,

To one heart that loves thy name.

May our lives but swell thy fame,

Dear old State, dear old State.
~Penn State University’s Alma Mater

If the allegations are true, and the evidence is certainly pointing in that direction, Jerry Sandusky did not stay true to our beloved Alma Mater and has brought horrible shame to Penn State.  Others involved in this case have also potentially brought shame to what Penn State represents.  The families and victims have suffered greatly and will continue to suffer because of the actions and inactions of many.  I hope they will be able to heal.  I hope they will be able to find peace.

I am sad.  I am hurt.  I am confused.  I am angry.  But I still am Penn State.  Penn State will always be a huge part of who I am.  Being a part of We are Penn State helped shaped me into who I am today and for that I am grateful.  Horrible as these recent allegations are, this is not Penn State.  Penn State is a top public university.  Penn State is a cornerstone of quality education and research.  Penn State makes us better people.  Penn State football is indeed a significant part of Penn State, but it is not all Penn State is or will be.  A handful of individuals who made some very bad decisions are not the full representation of Penn State.  JoePa is indeed an iconic figure of Penn State, but he alone is not Penn State.

Yet it is because Joe Paterno is an iconic figure, not only at Penn State, but nationally, that the media has sensationalized this terrible story.   I am angered and hurt by what Jerry Sandusky has allegedly done to those innocent young boys.  This story does need to be told and justice does need to be served.  However, I grow more and more concerned by how the legal system seems to be bypassed and decisions are made in the Court of Public Opinion.  Let’s keep in mind that it is Jerry Sandusky who allegedly committed these crimes.  Additionally, key personnel at Penn State have also had charges brought against them in their handling of these events.  Yet, the biggest witch trial is for Joe Paterno.  Mind you, Joe Paterno is not completely without fault here.  However, he has already been tried, convicted, and hung based mostly on speculation and what people think may have or should have occurred, but certainly not on facts.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.  Our country has been polarized because of knee jerk reactions and sensationalized journalism.  We are becoming a society that yearns for the downfall of it’s people.  How can we aspire towards greatness when we continuously seek out the negative and look for opportunities to drag people down.

Penn State helped bring out the best in people and believed in what we could offer the future.   That is why We are Penn State.  That is why I will always be Penn State.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Google Fun

GoogleI’ve been somewhat of a Google Geek since about 1998, when I read a paper by Brin and Page while I in still working on my M.I.S.  I knew they were going make something big, only I didn’t have a good business mind back then.  If I did, I might be much better off financially today!  Even though I didn’t get rich off Google, I do make sure I stay up on what they are doing and admittedly I really like a lot of what they do.  One thing I find very cool about Google is that they like to have some fun and have a pretty cool sense of humor.

Here are some fun things you can do with Google (you may want to select ‘Do Not Use Google Instant’ under your search settings)  Things that you should type are put in single quotes and you do not need to include the quotes in your search.  Most of these searches will also work best if used from the main Google search page rather than from the results pages from your first search.

Some ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ searches:

  • type ‘search‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘google gravity‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘google gravity‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘google hacker‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘epic google‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘google goth‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option
  • type ‘search‘ and click on the I’m feeling lucky Google search option

Calculator Fun:

  • type ‘the answer to life the universe and everything
  • type ‘loneliest number
  • type ‘once in a blue moon’
  • type ‘baker’s dozen

Fun Search Results:

  • type ‘tilt‘ or ‘askew
  • type ‘do a barrel roll‘ or ‘Z or R twice
  • type ‘recursion
  • type ‘ascii art
  • type ‘anagram

What fun things have you found in Google Search?

Research Paper Frustration

Meredith Farkas highlights one of my other frustrations with research paper assignments in her blog post, “I need three peer reviewed articles” or the Freshman research paper.    With today’s technology and search engines, it is certainly much easier to search for and find ‘peer-reviewed’ articles, which is great.  However, it seems we are often doing our students a disservice because we have skipped so many important steps in helping students understand the various types of information and why each is important for a variety of different reasons.

In the following paragraph from her post, Meredith perfectly articulates one key result I feel often happens in the well intentioned research paper assignment:

Another thing that the focus on requiring students to only find peer-reviewed sources does is that it distances them from research and information literacy. Information literacy should be seen as a life-long process of information seeking. Information literacy is about finding reviews of cell phones to choose the best one for you. It’s about researching an illness you were just diagnosed with. But when the focus is on telling students that the only quality stuff comes from the peer-reviewed literature, we are distancing what students learn in school about information literacy from what they will do in the real world. Information literacy instruction should be relevant to students’ lives and help them develop transferable skills, but in so many cases, the assignment the students have forces us to focus on getting them through a single class, rather than on giving them skills they can use later on.

We want our students to be excited about doing research, about digging around for new information, about making connections between unrelated bits of knowledge they’ve acquired.  That is what learning is all about.  Let’s face it, requiring 3 (or whatever magical number) peer-reviewed sources is not going to spark their desire to learn more, especially when they are only going to read the introduction or conclusion to get a relevant tidbit to stick in their paper to meet the requirements of the assignment.  Getting them to realize that doing research is really about satisfying their own curiosities, well, that’s why I became a librarian.