Marvel is doing something marvelous for girls who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) around the release of Thor: The Dark World. The program is called Ultimate Mentor Adventure. Here’s how it works.
Natalie Portman in the Ultimate Mentor Adventure promo
Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster, an astrophysicist, in Thor: The Dark World describes the program in a video you can see here.
Girls from the U.S. in grades 9 – 12 can apply. The minimum age is 14.
Each girl is connected to a mentor who is working in a field in which the girl is interested.
The girl interviews the mentor and makes a video.
The videos are entered in the contest.
The winner gets to go to the opening of Thor: The Dark World in California and see the video they made shown along with the film. The winner also gets to go behind the scenes at the movie.
A girl really cannot lose by participating in this mentor adventure. Just by participating she gets to meet a woman in a position she wants to know more about. The girls get help finding the mentors and making the videos. Everyone who participates will have a positive experience whether she wins or not.
I spent the weekend in Chicago at BlogHer13. One of my jobs there was to do a couple of sessions in the Geek Bar on two-step verification. While I have the information at my fingertips, here are the whys and hows of two-step verification
Why is every big company bringing in the opportunity for users to sign up for two-step verification? Horror stories of hacked accounts, mostly. All these companies have made it possible for you to use two-step verification.
Two-step verification adds a layer of security to your account and makes it harder for your account to be hacked.
Once your account has been breached, it can be used to broadcast spam or malicious links. Your password can be changed. Your information can be changed or removed (and there’s no way to get it back). If it is a Twitter or Facebook password that someone has figured out then all the sites that you sign into using Twitter and Facebook have been compromised as well.
You still need a strong password, even if you opt in to two-step verification. Remember that.
If you use two-step verification, here’s how you do it.
Sign in to your account on Facebook or Gmail or whatever service you are using. Find the settings in your profile.
Sign up for two-step verification and provide your mobile phone number
Now, when you go to the site and enter your password to sign in, you may be required to enter a second access code, which is sent to your mobile phone
On Facebook, for example, enable ‘Login Approvals’ from the ‘Account Security’ section of the account settings page
On Twitter, visit your account settings page. Make sure you have provided a phone number. Check the “Require a verification code when I sign in” box
Unless a hacker has your phone in his hand, he may have guessed your password, but he won’t have the code that gets sent to your mobile phone.
It depends on which company you are using whether you are asked to enter the second code every time you sign in. If you are signing in from a recognized device, you may not be asked for the second code.
The Pew Research Center has done a study on millennials and the millennial generation. As they put it, this generation is “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.”
Pew developed a millennial quiz, using the results of their study called How Millennial Are You? By birth, I am as far from a millennial as I can get, but on the quiz I come out somewhere between a Gen Xer and a millennial.
The study breaks the data down into all sorts of categories and looks at the information in many different ways. There’s much more to the study than the quiz.
I found the quiz particularly interesting, however. I never fit any of the measures of my generation, and this is just one more example of the kind of oddball I am. I am an elder in a world full of young techies and often feel like a time traveler.
Is there some thing about education that can make people open to new experiences and willing to change with technology as it develops? Or is it strictly a matter of personality? Is it nature or nurture? Because if education can be used to train people to be open and willing to consider new ideas, I would like to know how it’s done!
If you take the quiz, I’d love to know your score and how that compares with where you sit on the generation spectrum in terms of actual years.
Since the readers of this blog are the people who make the web sites and apps that constitute the second screen, I think this topic is of importance to web educators and web developers.
My Binge Watching Habits
I love binge watching. I do it all the time via Netflix or On Demand. Recently I’ve watched season one of The Fall – twice. I also watched season one of Orphan Black – twice.
In case you aren’t familiar with either of these series, The Fall is a mystery drama starring Gillian Anderson as a police detective and Jamie Dornan as a serial killer. It’s subtle and nuanced and rich with detail. It’s like reading a good mystery instead of watching a TV series. The two main characters are mirror images of one another – one good, one evil – both meticulously obsessed with what they are doing. The performances are brilliant, the characters fascinating.
Orphan Black is a sci fi story about clones, with an underlying theme of nature vs. nurture. Tatiana Maslany plays the clones – 7 of them so far in season one – in an amazing performance that is truly a master work. She should get every acting award for her performance(s) as the various clones. The technical trickery that goes on so that she can be on screen as two or three different characters at one time is pretty impressive, too.
So I’m loving the characters, I’m loving the story lines, I’m loving the fact that I can watch every episode of a series in a matter of hours or days. I love binge watching.
What else am I doing while watching?
With these two particular programs I’m looking at imdb.com for more information about the actors and writers and directors. I’m pursuing lines of thought like – Matt Frewer, bet he’s the bad guy, and hmmm, he was just in Eureka, and, yeah, he was Max Headroom. This division of attention probably explains why I’ve watched both these series twice. I miss things while I’m off interacting with the second screen.
Not all the second screen action happens during an episode. Between episodes, I might go to YouTube and look for interviews with the actors. I might read reviews of the shows. I might go to the web site of the network hosting the show and look for behind the scenes video or photos or interviews.
The App Connection
I mentioned the SyFy app a few days back. I use it when watching shows on the SyFy channel. One of the shows (Defiance) that the app syncs with also has an online game that ties in with the show.
I’ve seen other shows advertising their apps and urging viewers to download the app and sync in for more behind the scenes info while watching. I think this is going to be more and more common to the point where every network is going to feel the need for an app that lets viewers interact in real time with what’s on the screen.
Second Screen Conversation
Twitter, of course, has always been the go-to spot for sharing comments about what you’re watching. Now the apps are providing access to this kind of interaction built-in. It might include Twitter and other sources. The app might filter for specific parts of a conversation, such as tweets from the actors. The point is, a conversation is encouraged and there’s an attempt to keep it in the silo of the app or the game or the website.
The Future of Web Education
All this change in the way we experience TV means a huge job market for anyone who can develop apps, or games, or auxiliary materials on a web site to complement a TV program. And that means web education needs to be on-the-spot with instructions for building apps, building connections, building all the complementary information that can help promote a TV show.
And what about the people making the ads and producing the ad content? What about the marketing people who need to be able to talk intelligently with app makers or web developers about how to make ads work in this new environment? What about all those social media experts who will be needed? That sounds like a whole lot of new job opportunities.
Yes, things are changing. Are web educators preparing students for the future? I hope we are.
Is it just me, or does it seem that now that Steve Jobs is gone the Apple fanboys (and fangirls, may I add) feel free to poke jabs and complaints at Apple for various decisions regarding new products? It’s as if they are challenging Tim Cook to earn their affections all over again regardless of the quality of the products. The tweets during the recent announcements about iOS7 were often critical and bitchy – where has the unquestioned glowing enthusiasm gone? Was it all about Steve Jobs and not about Apple technology at all?