The Global Fool

our planet is our village

Plastic Debris and Great Garbage Patches: Ca’ Foscari University Raises Awareness of Ocean Pollution
Jul16

Plastic Debris and Great Garbage Patches: Ca’ Foscari University Raises Awareness of Ocean Pollution

By Roberta Attanasio When we think of the Great Garbage Patches — of which 5 exist — we usually think of ocean pollution. Now, when thinking of garbage patches and ways to raise awareness of them, we may think of Venice and Ca’ Foscari University. Venice, the Italian city that seems to float on water, bears no resemblance to the vast concentrations of floating marine debris that makes up the garbage patches.  However, you can find an artistic representation of the garbage patches right in the heart of the city and, more precisely, right in the courtyard of the world’s oldest existing building granted LEED certification. Let’s go one step at a time. What is LEED certification? LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. The world’s oldest existing building to obtain LEED certification is the more than 500-years old Palazzo Foscari, the location of Ca’ Foscari University administrative headquarters. The courtyard of the green and sustainable Palazzo Foscari is an appropriate home for the Garbage Patch State art installation, which has been set up by artist Maria Cristina Finucci in collaboration, of course, with Ca’ Foscari University. The goal of the installation is to draw attention to the global problem of ocean pollution. Ca’ Foscari’s focus on sustainability-based initiatives is the result of the environmentally-forward mastermind of Carlo Carraro.  Carraro is President of Ca’ Foscari University, Professor of Econometrics and Director of the International Center for Climate Governance. Why a Garbage Patch State installation? The world’s oceans are heavily polluted by marine debris, mostly consisting of small bits of floating plastics. These bits are called microplastics and derive from the degradation of larger plastic debris. Indeed, most commonly used plastics do not fully degrade in the ocean — rather, they break down in smaller and smaller pieces. Marine debris becomes trapped by the circular ocean currents of the five gyres, where it builds up to form giant garbage patches. The Ca’ Foscari installation is called “The Garbage Patch State Venice” in honor of the Garbage Patch State — a State that includes the five garbage patches corresponding to the five gyres. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted the “Garbage Patch State” symbolic statehood in April thanks to the effort and commitment of Maria Cristina Finucci. The microplastics that make up the majority of garbage patches are almost invisible to the naked eye. Similarly, the giant patches of garbage are not captured by satellite imagery or aerial photographs. In addition, not all the trash floats on the surface. Denser debris is located under the surface. According to...

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Global High Tech Hubs, Applied Sciences and Net-Zero Energy Buildings
Jun17

Global High Tech Hubs, Applied Sciences and Net-Zero Energy Buildings

By The Editors At this time, it only offers a beta class (a one-year Masters of Engineering degree in Computer Science from Cornell University), with a handful of students housed in space donated by Google – in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  In the next few years, it will be a major global research and academic program that will confer graduate degrees and engage in research in the Applied Sciences – on Roosevelt Island, a 52-hectare sliver of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. We’re talking about Cornell NYC Tech and the launch of an innovative curriculum that leaves behind the traditional highly academic approach to learning and moves towards coursework based on an interdisciplinary mix of business and technology with an additional strong component, i.e., real-world experience. According to the Cornell NYC Tech website “Students at Cornell Tech learn and work together with faculty, practitioners, and mentors, at our campus in Google’s Chelsea building, immersed in a culture that encourages entrepreneurial effort and a physical design that encourages collaboration and sharing.” Entrepreneurs are an integral component of the classroom experience and participate by discussing the risks and failures associated with building a start-up. A partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a world leader in technology commercialization, adds to the global, entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary graduate curriculum. The plan is to offer Cornell/Technion dual master’s degrees, The campus will be centered on interdisciplinary application domains or “hubs”, rather than traditional colleges, schools and departments. The first three hubs will be called Connective Media, Healthier Life and Built Environment Construction on Roosevelt Island will begin in 2014. In 2017, Cornell Tech will move to its permanent address on Roosevelt Island.  Its first academic building will be a net-zero energy building – a building with zero-net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. Net-zero energy will be achieved mostly through a rooftop solar canopy. In the words of Daniel Huttenlocker, Dean of Cornell Tech, “Just as Cornell Tech will be pioneering new approaches to graduate research and education, our campus won’t look like any other university campus that exists today.  We are determined to innovate in every aspect of the development, from the way that students, faculty, researchers, industry and the community are intermingled, to the sustainability of our buildings and their iconic...

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Malala Day: Promoting Global Education
Jun04

Malala Day: Promoting Global Education

By The Editors Malala Day will be held on her 16th birthday, July 12.  Malala, the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history, was shot in the head in October 2012 because of her fight for girls’ right to an education. Malala has been featured in Time magazine as one of “The 100 Most Influential People In The World”. Former British Prime Minister and current United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched one of the petitions in Malala’s name demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015.  Other petitions were for her nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize. Three million global citizens signed the petitions. On Malala Day, young leaders from around the world will convene in New York at the United Nations to speak out for education as part of a special youth assembly organized by the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education in collaboration with the President of the UN General Assembly. The session will be held by Malala and participants will present their call for action on global education — to reach the goal of education for all by 2015 — to the United Nations. The Youth Advocacy Group of the Global Education First Initiative is soliciting global youth input on the draft of the outcomes document entitled, “The Youth Resolution: The Education We Want.”  The draft document was posted and distributed online yesterday (June 3) and will be open for public comments until June 14. You can find the document on www.facebook.com/aworlatschool, http://www.worldwewant2015.org/education2015 and www.aworldatschool.org/malaladay. Please consider contributing to this important...

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Globalization, Global Competence and Education
May21

Globalization, Global Competence and Education

By The Editors One of the effects of globalization on higher education is (or will be) the gradual shift from the reductionist approach so in vogue now for many disciplines to a more holistic point of view. The limits of the current discipline-specific reductionist approach will be highlighted when attempting to become globally competent, as discipline-specific knowledge will need to integrate global competence concepts to ensure educational success – success measured on the basis of positive contributions to the new globalized environment as part of the workforce or other. In his commencement address to the graduating class of 1990 at Arkansas College, David Orr suggested six principles for rethinking education – one of these principles comes from the Greek concept of paideia. He said: “The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but of one’s person. Subject matter is simply the tool.”  In the current digital age, where borders seem to disappear, global competence is necessary to reach mastery of one’s person. The global competence concept was originally developed by Dr. William Hunter through rigorous research and is summarized as  “Having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, and leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.” During the globalization process of our world, education needs to raise environmental awareness, recognize peace as a common goal, develop appreciation for cultural and social diversity, and operate within the concept of a global village. Education is expected to encourage and represent openness, inquiry, diversity, and limitless learning.  The developing web of MOOCs is one of the major instruments contributing to these educational features. Applying the different facets of the global competence concept to education, independent of the subject matter, will give education the holistic perspective that many feel has been lost. The global competence model in itself is holistic. Feedback provided by Christi Hunter (globalcompetence.org) in a previous post points out that, within the Global Competence Model, Global Leadership Excellence defines the Open-Minded dimension as: “Being receptive to alternative possibilities, being willing to think again despite having formed an opinion, and attempting to avoid those conditions and offset those factors which limit, constrain and/or distort; having a curiosity to acquire new information from a variety of sources and perspectives.” These are all elements that apply to scientific research – and not only. As an example, students in the sciences could refer to the Open-Minded dimension to integrate the holistic approach in their educational experiences, so to better understand the scientific process while acquiring global...

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Udacity, Georgia Tech and AT&T – Vision and Revolution Come Together
May17

Udacity, Georgia Tech and AT&T – Vision and Revolution Come Together

By The Editors In the last few days, a so-called “bold move” has generated lots of discussion in the higher education community – someone (or more than one) says that the “bold move” has actually generated shock.  Others call the move “revolutionary”. Question: What is the “bold move” we’re referring to?  Answer: A very special announcement. Georgia Tech and Udacity, in collaboration with AT&T, will offer a sought-after graduate computer science degree, traditionally offered on the Georgia Tech campus, through online instruction.  What brings shock, though, is not the online format, but the cost — the degree (a fully accredited Georgia Tech degree) will cost about 80% less than the current on campus curriculum (we’re talking about $ 7,000 versus about $ 40,000).  The program will be offered for the first time in the Fall of 2014. Yes, the partnership of Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T is innovative, but more innovative is the cost. And, for what the global fool is concerned, online + low cost will make the program global. The Georgia Tech College of Computing OMS CS brand new website starts with the following sentence: “The Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity and AT&T have teamed up to offer the first accredited Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) that students can earn exclusively through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivery format and for a fraction of the cost of traditional, on-campus programs.” — yes, the cost factor is in the first sentence….. It goes on to say:  “This collaboration brings together leaders in education, MOOCs and industry to apply the disruptive power of massively open online teaching to widen the pipeline of high-quality, educated talent needed in computer science fields.” (bold and italics are mine) In few more sentences, the description manages to communicate the “revolutionary” aspect of this enterprise. The announcement by Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder of Udacity, is for sure worth reading – he compares this moment to the one he proposed to his wife.  The entire announcement, though, conveys how the individuals involved in this enterprise feel like true visionaries and revolutionaries – and perhaps they are. Between vision and revolution, the higher education community is shaken....

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