Call for Comprehensive Commonsense Gun Reform

American Flag

Let me begin by stating that I don’t have the answer for gun violence in America, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand the situation nor advocating on behalf of those who have lost their lives to it.  This blog serves as a summary of the current gaps in legislation, school environments, consumer protection, and research.  The purpose is to consider all factors causing the problem and then develop problem statements.  Only by understanding the current situation fully, can we move forward with our objectives and (non)training solutions.

This categorized list will, hopefully, help us to form a solid argument for gun control. Through revision from your feedback, and as I learn more details, I seek a plan of action based on commonsense gun laws. In my opinion, the current situation is riddled with inadequacies in regards to public safety due to lax and inconsistent laws.  Today, in honor of the #MarchForOurLives,  I advocate change for good and applaud those who are involved in making informed decisions about gun laws that aren’t based on political or financial gain.

School Safety- (A) Restricting entry to a single-point and requiring visitors to sign-in limits access to nonstudents and nonpersonnel. (B) Providing a sufficient number of resource officers and counselors in accordance with school size addresses students needs. (C) Active shooter training and drills help prepare students and staff for such situations. (D) Metal detectors placed at entryway are useful in deterring crime. (E) Arming teachers is not the solution.

Gun Restrictions- (A) Raise the age restriction to 21 to purchase a rifle or shotgun in accordance with the existing federal laws to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer.  Additionally, handguns and rifles purchased from unlicensed dealers (e.g., neighbor, gun show seller, or online store) should have the same age restrictions. (B) Require comprehensive background checks on nonlicensed buyers and enforce a centralized database to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, suspected terrorists on the no-fly list, the mentally ill, and other federally prohibited persons. (C) Reinstate the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. (D) Ban the sale of bump stocks, which modify regular guns to perform as rapid-fire assault weapons. (E) Ban online sale of ‘ghost guns’ that are sold as maker kits and bare no serial identification.

Consumer Protection (A) Congress needs to ensure unsafe guns can be recalled through an oversight agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Our Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition. Currently, unsafe guns are only recalled by the manufacturers.  It was blocked by Rep. Dingell in 1972 and 1975 and has not been brought up for legislation since (Bloomberg). (B) Gun manufacturers should be required to test guns to ensure they work properly. For example, nine different Taurus guns may fire when bumped or dropped even with the safety on. (C) Gun sellers, as defined by the ATF,  should obtain a federal firearms license. Moreover, the ATF needs to provide sufficient oversight, as the US DOJ Report #1-2004-005 found negligence in their inspections of licensure. (D) Congress needs to allow the use of smart gun technology such as devices that scan the owner’s fingerprint before it can fire.  See President Obama’s memorandum based on DOJ review (Federal Register). Gun lobbyists kept Smith & Wesson from developing smart gun technologies through slander and a boycott of their products after President Clinton pushed the Gun Safety Agreement in 2000 with them.

Research– (A) Congress needs to lift current restrictions on federal funding for research into gun violence. For example, the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System needs support from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and D.C. (B) Gun laws need to be based on research and safe practices for society.

Join me at AERA in NYC

Photo of Sandra Annette Rogers
Say hello if you see me.

I’m so excited about attending my first conference of the American Educational Research Association (#AERA18) this year. This year’s theme is the dreams, possibilities, and necessity of public education. It will be held in New York City from April 13-17th at various participating hotels.

My first event at the conference is to meet my second language research mentor on Friday! The Second Language Research special interest group (SIG) offered mentorship from volunteers in their group, and I signed up.  I can’t wait to find out who it is!

On Tuesday the 17th, I’ll be participating in a roundtable to discuss the research study with the Online Community of Inquiry Syllabus Rubric(c) that Dr. Van Haneghan and I conducted. It will be held in conjunction with other roundtables on the topic of Quality Assurance of Online Teaching & Learning, which is hosted by the Online Teaching & Learning SIG.  Come join my roundtable at 10:35am to 12:05pm at the New York Marriott Marquis, Fifth Floor, Westside Ballroom Salon 4. If you can’t make it, the paper will be provided in the AERA Online Repository.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the Spring Hill College Friends of the Library for helping fund this professional development activity!

Ask Congress to support and fund gun violence research

Dear Readers,

I signed a petition on Action Network telling Congress to Ask Congress to support and fund gun violence research TODAY. See petition below.


Join a diverse, nonpartisan, and interdisciplinary group of organizations in adding your name as an advocate to call for Congress to provide dedicated federal funding for research into gun violence. The current restriction on federal funding for gun violence research limits our understanding of this epidemic and prevents us from enacting evidence-based policies that will protect our lives, our families, and our communities. We also ask for Congress to remove restrictions preventing federal agencies from sharing information that could help them better understand – and ultimately prevent – injuries and loss of life.

Three of the deadliest shootings in modern US history have happened in the last six months. These are but three of hundreds of recent mass shootings that have torn apart families and communities.  These acts of violence now happen with such frightening regularity that in some cases they pass almost without recognition, not even registering in the public conscience long enough for us to know the names of the lives lost and communities shattered.

Gun violence is a public health crisis that, on average, takes the lives of 100 people and injures hundreds more in the United States every day.  In order to address gun violence as the public health issue that it truly is, both the public and our elected officials who serve us need to understand what works to prevent gun violence, and this can not be accomplished without credible, scientific research.

Research into the causes and prevention of violence is not a partisan issue.  Yet for more than two decades, Congress has failed to provide dedicated funding for gun violence research, in part because of the Dickey Amendment, a law that states that “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” Although the Dickey Amendment does not explicitly prevent research on gun violence, it is widely acknowledged that absent clearer guidance from Congress it has had a devastating effect on violence prevention research at the CDC.  As advocates for science, we demand policies based on scientific evidence, and we ask that Congress immediately repeal the Dickey Amendment and provide dedicated funding for research into the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Without this research, we cannot identify risk and protective factors, nor can we develop prevention strategies.  Gun violence affects all communities, but disproportionately affects marginalized communities, who will continue to suffer the greatest consequences of our inaction. The lack of publicly funded research on gun violence has left us without evidence to guide us in responding to an epidemic that kills tens of thousands of people each year and adversely impacts millions more.

We further ask that the federal government repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, a 2003 provision prohibiting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from releasing information about its firearms database to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.  Researchers need systematic data collection and a national database dedicated to storing and collecting data on gun sales and registrations.  This information must be coupled with a database on firearms injuries and deaths nationwide to monitor and better understand the scope of this national public health problem.  To help accomplish this goal, we ask Congress to provide funding for the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System to support the participation of all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia in reporting gun violence statistics to the national database; currently, 42 states receive funding.  In order to prevent gun violence, we must understand how it affects adults and children in all states, without exception.

Research and policy development on firearm-related injuries and deaths warrant the same level of attention, and dedicated federal and state funding and support, as are currently directed to public health challenges presented by the opioid epidemic, cigarette smoking, and HIV/AIDS. Regardless of political party, every member of Congress must play a role in supporting the research we need to protect our communities and enact evidence-based policy to combat gun violence.

We urge you to honor victims, survivors, and their loved ones by writing and implementing evidence-based policies to protect our communities from gun violence.  We stand together in asking Congress for the support and funding needed to make these policies a reality. Signing this petition will add your name to this open letter calling for action.

References:

American Public Health Association. (2016). Fact sheet on preventing gun violence. Retrieved from https://www.apha.org/~/media/files/pdf/factsheets/160317_gunviolencefs.ashx? on February 28, 2018.

Dockrill, P. (2017, September 16). Here’s why gun violence research in the US is about to come to a grinding halt. Retrieved from https://www.sciencealert.com/shelved-obama-gun-research-program-could-terminate-studies-of-firearm-violence?

Bauchner, H., Rivara, F. P., Bonow, R. O., Bressler, N. M., Disis, M. L. N., Heckers, S., … & Rhee, J. S. (2018). Death by gun violence—A public health crisis. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, 20, 7-8. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16446

Beckett, L. (2014, May 15). Why don’t we know how many people are shot each year in America? Retrieved from https://www.propublica.org/article/why-dont-we-know-how-many-people-are-shot-each-year-in-america?

Bieler, S., Kijakazi, K., La Vigne, N., Vinik, N., & Overton, S. (2016). Engaging communities in reducing gun violence. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Branas, C. C., Richmond, T. S., Culhane, D. P., Ten Have, T. R., & Wiebe, D. J. (2009). Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 2034-2040. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.143099.

Chapman, S., Alpers, P., & Jones, M. (2016). Association between gun law reforms and intentional firearm deaths in Australia, 1979-2013. Journal of the American Medical Association, 316, 291-299. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8752

Fenway Health. (2016). Gun Violence and LGBT Health. Retrieved from http://fenwayhealth.org/?source=email& on February 28. 2018.

Gani, F., Sakran, J. V., & Canner, J. K. (2017). Emergency Department Visits For Firearm-Related Injuries In The United States, 2006–14. Health Affairs, 36, 1729-1738.

Kellermann, A. L., & Rivara, F. P. (2013). Silencing the science on gun research. Journal of the American Medical Association, 309, 549-550. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.208207

Kellermann, A. L., Rivara, F. P., Rushforth, N. B., Banton, J. G., Reay, D. T., Francisco, J. T., … & Somes, G. (1993). Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home. New England Journal of Medicine, 329, 1084-1091.

Wellford, C. F., Pepper, J. V., & Petrie, C. V. (2005). Firearms and violence: A critical review. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Can you join me and take action? Click here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/12b649467ddaddbdee0b0564502325b49833096c?source=email&

Thanks!

Fair Use Recommendations for Viewing Copyrighted Media for Educational Purposes

Copyright (c), Creative Commons (cc), Public Domain is not copyrighted (letter c with slash through it), Fair Use symbol has balance scales

One of the first issues I encountered on the job as an instructional designer was the misuse of copyrighted media by instructors. Unfortunately, this was propagated by the previous uninformed instructional designer. According to the U.S. Copyright law and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copying copyrighted material is a violation. Basically, you cannot modify the existing format (e.g., copying a VHS to DVD format or converting it to a MP4 file) Review your faculty manual or school guidelines on the use of copyrighted material in the classroom. Also, I recommend talking with the copyright expert on your campus.  For example, I learned a lot from a librarian at our College who is knowledgeable on the topic.

Here are a few useful websites to reference to aid your understanding of the topic:

The following are some practical solutions that I put together for a job aid when redirecting instructors to best practices within the law. Here are some recommendations to show copyright-protected videos to students:

1) Only show a small segment of a privately owned video in your class to illustrate a lesson, as part of the Fair Use laws (Title 17, Section 107, U. S. Code, Copyright.gov). Avoid showing an entire video of copyrighted material, as this constitutes a public performance of it and is prohibited by law. Use a Fair Use checklist to determine the purpose, nature, amount, and effect of the media use for educational purposes.

2) Place your videos on course reserves for checkout by students in the library for one semester only to meet spontaneous requirements. Fill out the necessary paperwork with the library at the circulation desk for course reserves. If a student does not have a VHS or DVD player, they may be able to check out one on a TV cart to take to a study room in the library for viewing. Meanwhile, place a request order with the purchasing librarian for the library reserves. See solution # 4.

3) Search the library’s video databases to see if the same content is available (e.g.,  Films on Demand and WorldCat). Films on Demand provides Live Media Streaming. Students log in with their school credentials to view.

4) There is an option for the library to purchase DVD formats for multiperson use to include in their collection. Contact the purchasing agent in your school’s library to learn more about this option.

Please share any of your recommendations on this topic!

ECTESOL Conference in Pensacola Feb. 3rd

Tag words from my blog

The Emerald Coast TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) conference is this Saturday from 10-3 at University of West Florida International Center. The registration is $25 and includes lunch. The conference will feature professionals from northern Florida panhandle and the Alabama Gulf Coast. As a new Board member, this will be my first time attending. Here’s the schedule:

9:30 – 10:00 Registration
10:00 – 10:10 Welcome – Council Vaughn, Director, International English Program
Overview of Conference – Dr. Arlene Costello, VP/ECTESOL Conference Chair
10:15 – 10:50 Keynote Speaker: Chane Eplin, Bureau Chief, Student Achievement through Language Acquisition, Florida Department of Education
Topic Address: Quality Education for English Learners K-12 and Beyond
10:55 – 11:30 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: ELs as Independent and Autonomous Learners (Kiss/Costello)
Room 2: Google Suite to Enhance English Language Instruction (Rogers)
11:35 – 12:00 Lunch and 12:00 – 12:15 Cultural Performances DOOR PRIZES
12:20 – 1:00 Featured Keynote Speaker: Dr. Susan Ferguson Martin, Faculty, ESOL and Educational Leadership, University of South Alabama
Topic Address: Academic Language in Teaching and Learning Across the Curriculum: A Functional Approach
1:05 – 1:35 Panel – Speakers
Grace McCaffery, Founder, Costa Latina
Shannon Nickinson, Project Manager, Early Learning Studer Institute
1:40 – 2:15 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: Sowing Seeds (Sessions & Cuyuch)
Room 2: ESOL, EFL, and Reciprocal Service Learning (Fregeau, Leier, Ojiambo, Cornejo, and Chikatia)
2:20 – 2:50 Concurrent Sessions
Room 1: The SUCCESS from Teachers, Students, and Parents Working Together (Baker)
Room 2: Saudi ELLs’ Digital Gameplay Habits and Effects on LA (Rogers)
2:50 – 3:00 Brief Business Meeting: Report by President; Paper Report by Treasurer
Closing: Amany Habib, ECTESOL President DOOR PRIZES
3:00 – 3:20 ECTESOL Board Meeting


I’ll be presenting a case study on gameplay habits and an information session on Google Suite for enhancing English language instruction. I hope to see you there!

Thank you to my followers!

Avatar sitting on a crescent moon
My avatar sitting on the moon in SecondLife.

With the new year, it’s time to reflect, plan, and show gratitude. Last year, my blog and Twitter accounts attracted more followers. Both now have 1K+ followers. It’s been a slow and steady increase, as I’ve engaged with educators worldwide since 2010 on Twitter, WordPress, and other social media tools. It’s not about quantity for me but quality. I want to thank you for your comments and positive responses!

New Academic Blog:  I invite you to read my guest blogs on the new AACE Review. AACE stands for the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. I’ve been involved with this organization since 2014. They host several teacher/IT conferences such as the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). My first blog was on grit and learning. This month, I’ve written one defining computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and sharing media selection criteria for CALL from researchers. For next month, I’m preparing interview questions for a CEO about a new speech recognition API.

Tech Tip:  As for new tips, I’m using Grammarly for the first time and loving the free version. I have the Chrome extension. The application checks your grammar and spelling in all writing situations including emails, blogs, and learning management systems. Grammarly sent me a report on my usage that was very insightful. This is a great way to check your past work, too. I work as an instructional designer at my College. No one generally checks my writing unless I ask, so I’m going through all of my online content. I’m doing the same for my personal blog and website! And yes, it would be a great tool for students to use.

Happy New Year!

Sandra Rogers

Google Provides Free Professional Development Online for Educators

Google Certified Educator Badge

I just completed free professional development offered to educators on Google Apps for Education to become a Google Certified Educator. Level 1 is on the fundamentals of Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, & YouTube), Google Classroom, and Google Drive.  It’s a competency-based, self-directed learning program.

I’ve been using Google Apps since 2009. This training was a great way to learn about the latest updates to the Google Suite of tools.  Additionally, it made me think about different ways that technology can help solve various teaching issues, save resources, communicate more with parents, and increase student collaboration.

Initially, I thought I’d be able to complete the 13 units for Level 1 in a few months. However, my work, service, and research took priority, and I ended up doing this training a little bit over time. It took me a year! The self-tests are challenging even for a more advanced user like myself.  The exam is performance-based, so make sure you review all the units carefully.

I plan to continue through the training levels to become a certified trainer. I’m a trainer at my College on a wide range of technology and pedagogy, and can’t wait to start sharing what I learned with the faculty and staff.  I’ve already emailed the librarians several tech tips that they might use.  My two biggest takeaways would be the powerful potential of Google Groups (e.g. staff-instructor, trainer-staff, or student-teacher interactions) and the advances that have been made in Google Classroom (too numerous to mention).

I encourage you to check out their Training Center.  The certifying exams are inexpensive (e.g., $10 for Level 1). They provide a certificate and a digital badge. The certification only lasts three years. I think at the current rate of technology advancement that is fair.