Category Archives: Technology

Is Facial Recognition Necessary in Our Schools?

“Recently, a school district in New York adopted the [facial recognition] technology in the name of safety. Opponents cite privacy and bias concerns.” D. Alba, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Facial Recognition Moves Into a New Front: Schools, By Davey Alba, The New York Times

SPmemory via Getty Images

 

“Jim Shultz tried everything he could think of to stop facial recognition technology from entering the public schools in Lockport, a small city 20 miles east of Niagara Falls. He posted about the issue in a Facebook group called Lockportians. He wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times. He filed a petition with the superintendent of the district, where his daughter is in high school.

But a few weeks ago, he lost. The Lockport City School District turned on the technology to monitor who’s on the property at its eight schools, becoming the first known public school district in New York to adopt facial recognition, and one of the first in the nation. The district, said Mr. Shultz, 62, ‘turned our kids into lab rats in a high-tech experiment in privacy invasion.’

The decision underscores how facial recognition is spreading across the country and being deployed in new ways in the United States, as public officials turn to the technology in the name of public safety.

A few cities, like San Francisco and Somerville, Mass., have barred their governments from using the technology, but they are exceptions… Schools are a newer front, and the debate that took place in Lockport encapsulates the furor surrounding the technology.

The Wall Street Journal

Proponents call it a crucial crime-fighting tool, to help prevent mass shootings and stop sexual predators.  Robert LiPuma, the Lockport City School District’s director of technology, said he believed that if the technology had been in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the deadly 2018 attack there may never have happened…’Subjecting 5-year-olds to this technology will not make anyone safer, and we can’t allow invasive surveillance to become the norm in our public spaces,’ said Stefanie Coyle, deputy director of the Education Policy Center for the New York Civil Liberties Union… The debate in Lockport has unfolded over nearly two years. The school district initially announced its plans to install a facial recognition security system, called Aegis, in March 2018… The state wanted Lockport to make sure that students’ data would be properly protected, and demanded a policy that would forbid the use of student data, including their photos.

In January, the school board unanimously approved the latest policy revision. When the system is on, Mr. LiPuma said, the software looks at the faces captured by the hundreds of cameras and calculates whether those faces match a ‘persons of interest’ list made by school administrators. That list includes sex offenders in the area, people prohibited from seeing students by restraining orders, former employees who are barred from visiting the schools and others deemed ‘credible threats’ by law enforcement…The technology will also scan for guns. The chief of the Lockport Police Department, Steven Abbott, said that if a human monitor confirmed a gun that Aegis had detected, an alert would automatically go to both administrators and the Police Department…Days after the district announced that the technology had been turned on, some students said they had been told very little about how it worked.

‘I’m not sure where they are in the school or even think I’ve seen them,’ said Brooke Cox, 14, a freshman at Lockport High School. ‘I don’t fully know why we have the cameras. I haven’t been told what their purpose is.’  Others, like Tina Ni, 18, said the new technology and the news coverage of her school were ‘cool.’ Critics of the technology, including Mr. Shultz and the New York Civil Liberties Union, point to the growing evidence of racial bias in facial recognition systems.

In December, the federal government released a study, one of the largest of its kind, that found that most commercial facial recognition systems exhibited bias, falsely identifying African-American  and Asian faces 10 to 100 times more than Caucasian faces. Another federal study found a higher rate of mistaken matches among children…Jason Nance, a law professor at the University of Florida who focuses on education law and policy, warned that listing students as ‘persons of interest’ could have unintended consequences.

‘If suspended students are put on the watch list, they are going to be scrutinized more heavily,’ he said, which could lead to a higher likelihood that they could enter into the criminal justice system…Opponents of the new technology now pin their hopes on state lawmakers. In April, Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, a Democrat from Lancaster, introduced a bill that would force Lockport to halt the use of facial recognition for a year while the State Education Department studied the technology. The bill easily passed in the Assembly but was not taken up by the Senate.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Have  students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. He filed a petition against the school.
  2. This is the first school to adopt facial recognition.
  3. The decision underscores how facial recognition   is spreading across the country.
  4. Facial recognition is being deployed in new ways in the United States.
  5. Schools are a newer front, and the debate encapsulates the furor surrounding the technology.
  6. Proponents call it a crucial crime-fighting tool.
  7. Many agree that we can’t allow invasive surveillance to become the norm in our public spaces.
  8. In January, the school board unanimously approved the latest policy revision.
  9. The software looks at the faces captured by the cameras and calculates whether those faces match a ‘persons of interest’ list.
  10. If suspended students are put on the watch list, they are going to be scrutinized more heavily.

Grammar Focus: English Pronouns

Directions:  Students choose the correct Subject pronouns to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they.

Jim Shultz tried everything___could think of to stop facial recognition technology from entering the public school. ___wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times.  ___filed a petition with the superintendent of the district. But a few weeks ago,___ lost.  A few cities, like San Francisco and Somerville, Mass., have barred their governments from using the technology, but___are exceptions. Robert LiPuma, the Lockport City School District’s director of technology, said ___believed that if the technology had been in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the deadly 2018 attack there may never have happened. ___had an expelled student that would have been put into the system, because ___were not supposed to be on school grounds. ___ snuck in through an open door. ‘Subjecting 5-year-olds to this technology will not make anyone safer, and___can’t allow invasive surveillance to become the norm in our public spaces,’ said Stefanie Coyle, deputy director of the Education Policy Center for the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  “The district,turned our kids into lab rats in a high-tech experiment in privacy invasion.”

“You had an expelled student that would have been put into the system, because they were not supposed to be on school grounds. They snuck in through an open door.'”

“Subjecting 5-year-olds to this technology will not make anyone safer, and we can’t allow invasive surveillance to become the norm in our public spaces.”

“I’m not sure where they are in the school or even think I’ve seen them. I don’t fully know why we have the cameras. I haven’t been told what their purpose is.”

“The new technology and the news coverage of her school were cool.”

“If suspended students are put on the watch list, they are going to be scrutinized more heavily,” he said, which could lead to a higher likelihood that they could enter into the criminal justice system.”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Have you ever used any kind of facial recognition technology (e.g.,  to verify your identity at the airport or unlock your smartphone or computer?
  2. Do you feel safe in your school? If you are a parent, do you feel that your children are safe in their schools? What safety measurements are currently in place in the schools?
  3. In your opinion what are the benefits of facial recognition in schools?
  4. What are some drawbacks to using this technology in schools?
  5. According to the article Assemblywoman Monica Wallace states, “We all want to keep our children safe in school. But there are more effective, proven ways to do so that are less costly.”
  6. Can you think of other ways to make schools safe without resorting to facial recognition?
  7. List any new ideas that you have learned from this article.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in 2020

“Experts tips and tricks for helping your younglings think critically about what they see on TV and social media.” M. Herbst, Wired Magazine

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in the Digital Age By Meghan Herbst, Wired

“What does it mean for a kid to be media literate? It sounds generally positive and important, like a good dental checkup or a flawless report card. The field is broad and definitions vary, but the main thrust of literacy education is to prepare our children to be adept at accessing, creating, and thinking critically about all types of media.

How We Parent

As parents, we can struggle to wrap our heads around a carousel of premium, user-friendly, and questionably educational media choices…Among millennials the first generation are now mothers—but their recollections of navigating AOL Instant Messenger and Napster as tweens haven’t necessarily prepared them to curate a child-friendly media diet in 2020.

According to the latest research, though, encouraging your children to think critically about the media they’re consuming is much more important than playing screen-time babysitter…Basic media literacy skills are like a second alphabet for the digital age, and fostering them in our children involves asking questions and being an active participant in their media consumption.

Here are some age-appropriate tips from a handful of media literacy experts who also happen to moonlight as parents…Developmental psychologists say that children younger than 7 or 8 simply can’t understand the persuasive intent behind commercials. Because of this cognitive limitation, media literacy efforts have long ignored this younger age group, focusing on middle and high school students instead.

image-Mama Natural

But media literacy, like any other skill, can benefit from a strong foundation in the early years, according to Faith Rogow, an expert in early childhood literacy and the founding president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.  ‘It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use, inquiry, and reflection in the early years than it is to wait until they are defiant middle schoolers,’ Rogow says…You can also play the ‘What are they trying to sell?’ game with kids this age, Rogow says. During a commercial break, see who in the family can be the first to guess what the ad is trying to sell. Most of all, parents should be aware of their own media habits.

Image- ABC

At the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina, media literacy educator and doctoral student Jimmeka Anderson helped establish an ‘active reading’ program for young kids. ‘With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book,’ Anderson says. ‘As you go through the pictures in the book, you’re asking questions like, ‘What color is this bear? What do you think the bear is going to do?’ Anderson says this is a way to build media literacy skills beginning in preschool, equipping kids to become critical thinkers… Ian O’Byrne is a digital literacy researcher and former grade school teacher, but he also has two very accessible research subjects: his son, 9, and daughter, 4. O’Byrne, along with five other researcher-parents, conducted a study on an oft-overlooked branch of digital literacy—information security and algorithms, specifically how children interact with and understand them…He acknowledges that even most adults don’t fully comprehend what happens to our information online or on the internet of things, so getting a more thorough grasp of digital security and information-sharing is an important place for parents to start.

O’Byrne and his colleagues haven’t yet published their results, but he says they’ve found two effective strategies that stand out. The first is to find a teachable moment or ‘approach point’ to discuss these issues with your children.

For O’Byrne, the moment came when his son, who has a Google Hangouts account to keep in touch with his parents and a few select friends, was messaged by a complete stranger. He brought it to my attention and I said, ‘Look, this is what you need to be concerned about,’ and we talked about privacy and security,’ O’Byrne said.

Creating that situation is the second strategy. It can take the form of talking about something in the news or finding a good picture book or story, or even using a real-life situation your children are familiar with, like a playground, to discuss security concepts. The next time you snap a photo together at the park or a restaurant, try asking your child if it’s all right that you post it to social media. Use the opportunity to talk about who can see that photo and show them your privacy settings.

The [Tweens] Teens

Perhaps the most vulnerable period for children engaged with media are the much maligned teenage years. Teens are forming their identities, experimenting with and exposing themselves to all sorts of new experiences on their journey to adulthood.

At this stage, a lot of parents sign off from regulating their kids’ media consumption, but Anderson says this is a critical mistake.

Image- Wired

‘Parents have got to stick with them the whole way through,’ Anderson says. ‘That’s the age of identity development, when they’re trying to figure out who they are. If you’re trying to figure out who you are and you haven’t figured it out, media will tell you who you should be, or who you should try to be.’

Anderson started a program in 2011 called I Am Not the Media, a nonprofit that educates teens about media literacy and messaging.

She focuses particularly on marginalized communities, where representation in the media is often not positive and can influence teens’ perceptions of themselves…Parents should take on more of an advisory role during the teen years, she says.

It’s still important to have restrictions, but we’re not equipping them for the world if we shield them from it entirely.   Anderson suggests that parents work with their kids to come up with reasonable limits. Excessive social media use is linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, so come to an agreement with your child about how much is too much. It’s also important to follow your kids’ social media accounts. ‘I can still engage with you and see the content that you’re posting, because if you can’t share it with me, you shouldn’t share it at all,’ Anderson says.

Image- Common Sense Media

Teens also engage more actively with news. A 2017 report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that promotes media education, found that among kids between age 10 and 18, 39 percent get their news from online sources, most often Facebook and YouTube.

Parents often don’t realize that their children are taking in news through these platforms, says Kelly Mendoza, the senior director of education programs at Common Sense Media. ‘It’s more difficult to determine fact versus fiction when it comes to social media.’

Only 44 percent of kids feel confident that they can tell fake news from real news, according to the same 2017 report.

In its curriculum for middle and high school students, Common Sense uses a technique called lateral reading. If you find a piece of information, you try to see if you can corroborate it with another source. Ideally, parents should encourage kids to verify information through trusted news outlets…On the flip side, kids in this age range trust news they hear from their parents more than any other source.

Across the board, experts agree that staying informed and media savvy as an adult is critical. If you don’t have a clue what’s going on in the run-up to the presidential election, or what the fluff Fortnite is all about, you’d be hard pressed to help your children understand it.

We’re more likely to believe things that we hear from our friends and family than from any random information source,” Anderson says. ‘So you are a form of media, and it’s important for you to vet the information that you’re sharing as well.’

The authoritarian ‘Because I said so’ refrain of old has been linked to lower academic performance and poor emotional regulation.”

Here are the books, apps, podcasts, and websites the experts recommend.

A guide to screens in moderation for busy families: The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz

A non-Draconian guide to media for younger kids: Screen Time: How Electronic Media—From Baby Videos to Educational Software—Affects Your Young Child by Lisa Guernsey

An app created by the News Literacy Project that features a game quiz-style approach to teaching literacy on the go: Informable

A news app specifically curated for 7- to 10-year-olds: News-O-Matic

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

Pre-Reading Activity

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Have  students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. What does it mean for a kid to be media literate?
  2. The main  force of literacy education is to prepare our children to be adept at  thinking critically about all types of media.
  3. Millennials, the first generation of digital users are now mothers and are not prepared to  curate a child-friendly media diet in 2020.
  4. Encouraging your children to think critically about the media is very important.
  5. Basic media literacy skills need to be fostered in our children.
  6. The ice cream was not at all edible.
  7. The jubilant ponytailed girl on the commercial was enjoying the gloop.
  8. Parents shouldn’t wait until their kids are defiant middle schoolers.
  9. Help kids by teaching them to take an active role in their consumption of pictures and other visual media.
  10. Perhaps the most vulnerable period for children engaged with media are the much maligned teenage years.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. According to the latest research parents should encourage children to think critically.
  2. Basic media literacy skills is like a second alphabet for the digital age.
  3. Here are some age-appropriate tips from a handful of media literacy experts.

II

  1. Media literacy, like any other skill, can benefit about a strong foundation in the early years.
  2. It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use in the early years.
  3. Most of all, parents should be aware of their own media habits.

III

  1. Think of it like driving, we’re not going to turn over the car keys to our toddlers.
  2. With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book.
  3. An way to build media literacy skills beginning in preschool.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  1. “Think of it like driving, We’re not going to turn over the car keys to our toddlers, so we aren’t exactly teaching them to drive yet, but they are learning about rules of the road from what we do.”
  2. With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book. “As you go through the pictures in the book, you’re asking questions like, ‘What color is this bear? What do you think the bear is going to do?’”
  3. “These algorithms make decisions about our lives…We started to wonder, when should we start talking to individuals about algorithms and power and about trust and truth in these tools? How do we explain this to our kids?”
  4. “Parents often don’t realize that their children are taking in news through these platforms.”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

According to the article at what age should parent begin teaching children about digital media?  Why?

When it comes to media literacy which age group is the most popular?  Why?

According to Faith Rogow, “It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use, inquiry, and reflection in the early years than it is to wait until they are defiant middle schoolers.”  Why does she make this statement?

Describe a game Rogow suggests playing with children at a young age.

According to the article, what is the most vulnerable period of a child’s life? What reasons are given for this vulnerability?

According to Jimmeka Anderson, “At this stage, a lot of parents sign off from regulating their kids’ media consumption, but Anderson says this is a critical mistake.”

What stage is Anderson referring to and what advice does she offer parents?

After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned. Name something that you did not understand.  Was there anything you felt should have been included in the article? Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education, Technology

Robots Caring for the Elderly Bring Increasing Questions of Concern

“Robotic companions are being promoted as an antidote to the burden of longer, lonelier human lives. At stake is the future of what it means to be human.” M. Jackson, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Mojo Wang, The New York Times

Excerpt: Would You Let a Robot Take Care of Your Mother? By Maggie Jackson, The New York Times

“After Constance Gemson moved her mother to an assisted living facility, the 92-year-old became more confused, lonely and inarticulate. Two full-time private aides, kind and attentive as they were, couldn’t possibly meet all their patient’s needs for connection.

Credit- ABC Radio Perth – Gian de Poloni

So on a visit one day, Ms. Gemson brought her mom a new helper: a purring, nuzzling robot cat designed as a companion for older adults. “It’s not a substitute for care,” says Ms. Gemson, whose mother died last June at age 95. “But this was someone my mother could hug and embrace and be accepted by. This became a reliable friend.” When her mom was upset, her family or helpers brought her the cat to stroke and sing to, and she grew calmer. In her last days “what she could give, she gave to the cat,” says Ms. Gemson.

Photo- Next Avenue

An aging population is fueling the rise of the robot caregiver, as the devices moving into the homes and hearts of the aging and sick offer new forms of friendship and aid…Winsome tabletop robots now remind elders to take their medications and a walk, while others in research prototype can fetch a snack or offer consoling words to a dying patient… Yet we should be deeply concerned about the ethics of their use. At stake is the future of what it means to be human, and what it means to care.

Issues of freedom and dignity are most urgently raised by robots that are built to befriend, advise and monitor seniors. This is Artificial Intelligence with wide, blinking eyes and a level of sociability that is both the source of its power to help and its greatest moral hazard

When do a robot assistant’s prompts to a senior to call a friend become coercion of the cognitively frail? Will Grandma’s robot pet inspire more family conversation or allow her kin to turn away from the demanding work of supporting someone who is ill or in pain? ‘Robots, if they are used the right way and work well, can help people preserve their dignity,’ says Matthias Scheutz, a roboticist who directs Tufts University’s Human-Robot Interaction Lab. ‘What I find morally dubious is to push the social aspect of these machines when it’s just a facade, a puppet. It’s deception technology.’

For that is where the ethical dilemmas begin — with our remarkable willingness to banter with a soulless algorithm, to return a steel and plastic wink. It is a well-proven finding in the science of robotics: add a bit of movement, language, and ‘smart’ responses to a bundle of software and wires and humans see an intentionality and sentience that simply isn’t there. Such ‘agency’ is designed to prime people to engage in an eerie seeming reciprocity of care.

Credit- The Star Online

Social robots ideally inspire humans to empathize with them, writes Maartje de Graaf of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, who studies ethics in human-robot interactions. Even robots not designed to be social can elicit such reactions: some owners of the robot vacuum Roomba grieve when theirs gets ‘sick’ (broken) or count them as family when listing members of their household.

Many in the field see the tensions and dilemmas in robot care, yet believe the benefits can outweigh the risks. The technology is ‘intended to help older adults carry out their daily lives,’ says Richard Pak, a Clemson University scientist who studies the intersection of human psychology and technology design, including robots…

We know little about robot care’s long-term impact or possible indirect effects. And that is why it is crucial at this early juncture to heed both the field’s success stories and the public’s apprehensions.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine the photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The 92-year-old became more confused, lonely and inarticulate.
  2. The pet robots are not a substitute for care.
  3. The robot became a reliable friend.
  4. Care robots are increasly seen as an antidote to the burden of longer, lonelier human lives.
  5. Winsome tabletop robots now remind elders to take their medications and a walk.
  6. Others in research prototype can fetch a snack or offer consoling words to a dying patient.
  7. Since their 2016 debut, sales of robots to assist older adultsare expected to rise 25 percent annually through 2022.
  8. Yet we should be deeply concerned about the ethics of their use.
  9. This is Artificial Intelligence with wide, blinking eyes and a level of sociability that is both the source of its power to help and its greatest moral hazard. 
  10. Some worry robot care would carry a stigma the potential of being seen as not worth human company.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Constance Gemson moved her mother to a assisted living facility.
  2. Two full-time private aides were also hired.
  3. Ms. Gemson brought her mom a new helper: a purring, nuzzling robot cat.

II

  1. A aging population is fueling the rise of the robot caregiver.
  2. Thousands of robotic cats and dogs designed as companions for older people have been sold in the U.S. since 2016.
  3. Yet we should be deeply concerned about the ethics of their use.

III

  1. Robots, if they are used the right way and work well, can help people preserve their dignity.
  2. Social robots ideally inspire humans to empathize  with them.
  3. The robot is designed to stress that it’s not an doctor or nurse but part of someone’s care team.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  1. “Robots, if they are used the right way and work well, can help people preserve their dignity. “What I find morally dubious is to push the social aspect of these machines when it’s just a facade, a puppet. It’s deception technology.”
  2. “Even robots not designed to be social can elicit such reactions: some owners of the robot vacuum Roomba grieve when theirs gets “sick” (broken) or count them as family when listing members of their household.”
  3. “The technology is intended to help older adults carry out their daily lives.   If the cost is sort of tricking people in a sense, I think, without knowing what the future holds, that might be a worthy trade-off. Still he wonders, “Is this the right thing to do?”
  4. “The robot is one thing, but you still need interaction that’s not programmed.”
  5. It’s not a substitute for care,”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

  1. Who or What is the article about?
  2. Where does the action/event take place?
  3. When does the action/event take place?
  4. Why did the action/event occur?
  5. How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you interact with any robots in your home (e.g., the  Roomba vacuum), school,  job, public facilities (e.g., restrooms, recreation areas ) or institutions such as banks, museums or libraries? If yes, describe them and how you interact with them.
  2. Have you ever interacted with an actual  robot pet? what was your experience like?
  3. Is there a senior member in your family who has a robotic companion? If yes, how do they interact with the pet?
  4. Do you think robotic pets are a good idea for seniors? Why or why not?
  5. According to the article what are the benefits of seniors having robot companions?
  6. The article raises two issues of concern with the robots programmed to befriend and advise seniors. What are the issues and why do they cause concern?
  7. There are new “soft-law” guidelines that professionals state the robots need to have. What are they?
  8. In your opinion, are there certain tasks we should not allow robots to do because they would be considered unethical?
  9. List something  new that you have learned from this article. List something that you did not understand in this article. List something that you would like to add to this article. Share your responses with the class.

ANSWER KEY

How The New York Times Chooses The Best Photos of 2019

“A painstaking selection process ensures that The Times’s annual visual review highlights the biggest news events and strongest images.” L. Takenaga, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Lesson Plan

Excerpt: From 500,000 Photos to 116: How Our Editors Distill the Year in Pictures, Lara Takenaga, The New York Times

“Umbrella-wielding protesters engulfed in tear gas in Hong Kong. A severely malnourished baby girl sprawled on a floor in Venezuela. The first-ever image of a black hole.

These are some of the pictures in the seemingly boundless photographic universe that Times editors scrolled through to define the year visually.

At The Times, the Year in Pictures is the result of weeks of near round-the-clock culling and editing.

And 2019 marks the most ambitious year yet for the project, led by David Furst, the International photo editor, and Jeffrey Henson Scales, the Op-Ed photo editor.

For the first time since 2008, the project will have its own special section in the paper, on Dec. 15, featuring an introduction by Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor. At 36 pages, it has almost twice the print real estate that it did last year, when it ran as part of the Sunday Review.

Beyond expanding the project’s scale, Mr. Furst wanted to ‘bring the photographers out from behind their bylines’ this year. To that end, Dionne Searcey, a political reporter who recently returned to New York after being The Times’s West Africa bureau chief, interviewed about 50 of the photographers.

Their quotes and anecdotes — about covering an Ebola outbreak, being in the center of violent protests, working in arctic temperatures — help explain what goes into their thinking before they press the shutter button… To be as comprehensive as possible, Mr. Furst reached out to every desk in the newsroom and The New York Times Magazine, as well as to photo agencies and wire services, for their best material.

He and Mr. Henson Scales also kept a spreadsheet of hundreds of individual photographers, painstakingly reviewing their published and unpublished work from The Times and other assignments, and came up with a list of the most important news events to include.

Doug Mills, a Times photographer who covers the White House, has shot more than 12,000 pictures since January alone, making the task of narrowing those down to 100 initially, and later to just two, a herculean challenge…All told, the editors went through over 500,000 photos… They pared down the photos and organized them in folders by month. Hundreds of images for each month were narrowed down to dozens and, eventually, to about 10.

The final phase of cutting was grueling. Mr. Furst and Mr. Henson Scales scrutinized photos side by side as they went through each month and then looked at the year as a whole.

Getting just the right mix of images was the most challenging part. The editors considered a number of factors, such as the impact of a photo or its ability to delight, and the variety of images in each month.

A beautiful, poignant picture could edge out a more newsworthy one, and vice versa… The designers avoided jarring juxtapositions, finding ways to balance moments of tragedy and levity.

Portraits, landscapes and aerial shots sit comfortably alongside hard news photos.

One photographer who came up repeatedly in discussions of the digital and print presentations was Lam Yik Fei, a photojournalist who has covered the protests in Hong Kong for The Times.

While most of the featured photographers are seasoned professionals, there are some fresher faces, too.

The month of June includes an image from the Pride Parade in New York by Brittainy Newman, a photography fellow at The Times who shot the event for her first big project.

When she found out she would be among this year’s photographers, ‘I almost cried,’ she said. ‘It’s really a dream come true.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Have  students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Umbrella-wielding protesters were engulfed in tear gas.
  2. The Times editors scrolled through to define the year visually.
  3. There was round-the-clock culling and editing.
  4. Mr. Furst wanted to bring the photographers out from behind their bylines this year
  5. The writers had many quotes and anecdotes
  6. The final phase of cutting was grueling.
  7. Mr. Furst and Mr. Henson Scales scrutinized photos.
  8. A beautiful, poignant picture could edge out a more newsworthy one, and vice versa.
  9. The designers avoided jarring juxtapositions.
  10. Portraits, landscapes and aerial shots sit comfortably alongside hard news photos.

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,  as, across, around,  by, during,  for, from, in, into,  of, on,  to, over,  off, through, up,  with,

Additional Prepositions

Umbrella-wielding protesters engulfed ___tear gas ___Hong Kong. A severely malnourished baby girl sprawled ___a floor ___Venezuela. The first-ever image___a black hole.

___the first time ___2008, the project will have its own special section ___the paper, ___Dec. 15. One photographer who came

___repeatedly___discussions ___ the digital and print presentations was Lam Yik Fei,a photojournalist who has covered the protests___Hong Kong___The Times.

Getting just the right mix___ images was the most challenging part. The editors considered a number ___factors, such as the impact___ a photo or its ability ___delight, and the variety___ images each month.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article. The first group to correctly  identify all of the speakers wins.

“They put you in the photographer’s spot.”

“When you feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’re reminded that you missed a dozen different news events or these 20 photographers or these 15 projects in the newsroom.”

“We are always interested in finding images that really represent a particular photographer’s unique way of seeing something.”

“One of the big balances is news value versus craftsmanship and beauty,”said. “We’re always having to juggle those kinds of elements.”

“It’s like a Rubik’s cube.”

III Post Reading

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Describe the process of choosing the final photos.
  2. According to the article what is the most challenging part of choosing the final photos?
  3. Who found the initial stage of the photo finding process daunting?
  4. Which photographer came up repeatedly in discussions? Why?

 

Questions for Reflection

  1. Would you want to work as a photographer? Why?
  2. What type of photos would interest you? Why?
  3. What new ideas did you learn from reading this article?
  4. To See All of The Photos and Titles: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/year-in-pictures.html

 

Photo  Group Activity

Directions: Place students in groups and have them view all of the photos.  Each group chooses 3 or 4 photos and  writes a paragraph explaining what they think the photos mean.

Questions for the Authors

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Instagram Has A New Anti-Bullying Feature!

“Blocking a bully on social media doesn’t always bring an end to online abuse. And in some cases, it can make face-to-face interactions with the bully even worse.” A. Juhasz, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Credit: NPR

Excerpt: Instagram Now Lets You Control Your Bully’s Comments, Aubri Juhasz, NPR

“That’s what Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said he found out when he started talking to teenagers about their experiences with bullying on the platform.

‘Most of it seems to happen between people who know each other in real life … and teenagers are often reluctant to report or block their peers who bully them online,’ Mosseri said in an interview last month with NPR’s Audie Cornish.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, speaks about the social media platform’s anti-bullying efforts at the F8 developers conference in San Jose, Calif., on April 30.

‘The controls that we had before were insufficient.’ That’s why this week Instagram announced a new anti-bullying feature called Restrict.

Teenagers told Mosseri and other Instagram researchers that they often didn’t block bullies on the platform for two reasons. First, blocking a bully — something that the bully is aware of — can actually escalate the situation and result in more abuse on the platform or elsewhere.

Here’s the other reason: When you block a bully, you render yourself invisible, but at the same time you give up your ability to see what the bully is doing. To counter abuse, you often have to know what is happening.

Instagram says Restrict addresses these concerns by taking a more nuanced approach. If someone is bullying you on the platform — posting mean comments on your photos or sending you offensive messages — the new feature allows you to restrict the person’s actions.

Instagram- NPR

Once you’ve restricted a user, comments on your posts from that person require your approval. You can see the comment and so can the bully, but unless you choose to release it, no one else can.

Messages from the restricted user will be sent to a separate inbox, and you can choose whether or not you want to read them. If you do, the bully won’t receive a read receipt…A lot of bullying happens on Instagram, and Mosseri, who started as head of the platform a little over a year ago, said he is committed to changing that.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities

are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. A lot of bullying happens on Instagram.
  2. Teenagers are often reluctant to report or block their bullies.
  3. The controls that we had before were insufficient.
  4. Blocking a bully  can actually escalate the situation.
  5. To counter abuse, you often have to know what is happening.
  6. When you block a bully, you render yourself invisible.
  7. Teenagers never block their peers.
  8. Instagram says Restrict addresses these concerns by taking a more nuanced approach.
  9. Once you’ve restricted a user, comments from that person require your approval.
  10. What we aspire to do is to lead the fight against online bullying.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented within the sentences.

Instagram has/have been criticized as provide/providing a unique set of/on tools this/that enable bullying. It’s easy to set/sit up anonymous profiles that can than/then be used to troll others. The scale of the platform allows hurtful comments/comment or harassing post/posts to go viral. And while parents and teachers/teach may be able to observe and stop/stopped  bullying that happens face-to-face, online bullying are/is often hidden.

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

“What we___to do — and this will take years, I want to be clear — is to___ the fight against ___bullying,” Mosseri said at Facebook’s ___F8 developers ___last April.

In an ___with NPR’s Cornish, Mosseri discussed being ___as a child.

WORD LIST:    annual,   lead,  conference, bullied,  interview, aspire,  online,

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Have you or someone you know experienced online bullying? If so, describe the experience and how it ended.
  2. In the article what are the two reasons teenagers give for not blocking bullies online?
  3. What is it that Adam Mosseri wishes to do about online bullying?
  4. According to the teens interviewed who are the bullies online?
  5. What is the name of Instagram’s new anti-bullying feature?
  6. In your own words explain how this feature will address issues of bullying.
  7. With group members list additional ways bullying can be stopped.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY