Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What It Was Like Using Internet During The Exam

Two weeks ago, I had my International English exam with the help of the World Wide Web. In my last blog post, I wrote that I thought having this Internet access would be of great help. And I think I was right. While I still don't know what my grade will be, I think I used the Internet as much as I could to do my exam as well as I could. For example: One of the tasks on the exam was to analyze a text and point out how it was a persuasive text. In that task, I used two different websites to find several good literary devices used to persuade readers, which I included in my answer.

In another task, I decided to compare two conflicts that appeared in two different movies, that both took place in multicultural societies. I used the movie "The Great Debaters" and "Gran Torino". The conflict in "The Great Debaters" was segregation, where the main characters experience what it's like being the suppressed subculture. To write a few good paragraphs about this, I needed some facts about the black immigration and their living conditions, in addition to statistics on how many blacks moved from the farms to the cities. In other words, this is not information I would know without doing some research.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My views on using Internet during the exam

Unlike Maths, an English exam is not something you can really cheat on. Often, there is no right and wrong answer, because you usually include your own opinions and discussions in the exam. However, one should also make sure to add some facts to the paper, to make it more interesting and reliable. These facts can be found on the World Wide Web.

Image from Google

On previous English exams, all you could do was guess what the topic for the exam would be. Then you would spend time the days before the exam doing research on the Internet, and making notes to yourself about the “imagined" topic.

I think that letting us use Internet during the exam would be of great help. When you know the exact topic, you will be able to find a lot of great and useful information, to make the paper more reflected.  All you have to know is where to look for it. We should embrace the technology we have, and make the most of it! In almost every subject I have at school, I use the internet. Psychology, marketing, Norwegian, history..the list goes on. Internet is also of great help when I write texts and blog posts in English-class. It helps me get inspired to write, and I really do believe that our exams will be a lot more enjoyable to read if we used the Internet.

Image from Google

When this is said, it is imporant to make sure what we read off the Internet is correct. This we can do by using more than three different sources.  When researching a specific topic, I'll often use Wikipedia, but it's important to remember to use other websites as well , such as articles written on bbc.com or cnn.com. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) World Factbook is also a trustworthy website, as the information on this website is written by "well-qualified people in nearly all fields of study". However, this does not mean one can copy the exact same sentences from these websites, and paste it into their own paper. What I like to do, is first read about the topic on several different websites, and find facts and details that I find fascinating. Then I try to rephrase what I've read, by using my own words.

Image from Google
When writing, I also try to avoid using the same words repeatedly. I'll often use  Google to find synonyms. For example, I could write "Lucky + synonym". It gives me 184,000 results, in 0.29 seconds. Now I know that other alternatives to the word "lucky", could be: advantegous, beneficial, blessed, serendipotous, or fortunate. Sometimes I like to finish with a good question or quote, like the this one that I found at www.quotegarden.com:

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.  ~Author Unknown 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lesotho - Our trip

In a short while I'll be adding a blogpost about our trip to Lesotho, and the impressions it made on me. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Great Debaters - the pen is mightier than the sword

Last Tuesday we watched the inspiring movie "The Great Debaters" (2007) directed by Denzel Washington, and produced by Oprah Winfrey. The movie is based on an article written in a magazine called "American Legacy". This magazine covers subjects of African-American history and culture, and it was in the Spring 1997 issue, that an article was written about the Wiley College 1935 debate team. But to what extent is this movie inspired and based on a true story?

Melvin Tolson. Source: Google Images

It is a fact that the successful debate team was coached by professor and poet Melvin Tolson (played by Denzel Washington), and that Wiley College, in the town of Marshall, Texas, was a real black college. It is what you call a historically black college, established with the intention of serving the black community. The movie is set in the 1930's, an era of segregation in the US. Melvin Tolson was described as a person of impressive intellect, by students who admired him. Despite it being a turbulent time for blacks in the US, he encouraged his students to stand up for their rights, and express themselves through words.  The members on the real 1935 debate team were:  James L. Farmer jr, (being the captain of the team and only 14 years old), Hamilton Boswell and Henry Heights. I read an article online written by the daughter of Hamilton Boswell, who says that there never was a girl on the debate team. I choose to believe this source, but I have read on other websites that there actually was a female member, named Henrietta Bell Wells. 

JamesL.Farmer jr is the most renowned member of the debate team. In the movie, he is shocked to see his respectful father humiliated by a white man, and not doing anything. This is partly true, as something similar happened in real life. The father of James L.Farmer had to lie to a manager of a train in order to get a bedroom. James L.Farmer had been just as shocked as the movie depicted. The event on the train was when Farmer began to dedicate his life to the end of segregation. In 1942, James L.Farmer founded the Congress of Racial Equality. He continued debating, and once said: "I debated Malcolm X four times and beat him. I'd think, come off it, Malcolm, you can't win. You didn't come up under Tolson". 

In the movie, the debate team makes it to the national championship. This also happened in real life, but the opponent was not Harvard University. After having met and won over countless black and white universities, they met the Trojans on April the 1st. They were the national championships, and were students at the University of Southern California. Before a mixed audience of 2000 people, they won the debate. How I would have loved to see that debate! I read an article written by Hobart Jarrett a professor from Texas who described what one had to do during a debate: "The debater must be able to escape from the most perplexing dilemmas and antinomies. Every man must learn to take it as well as give it. He must be able to think coolly under fire. The platform can be a very hot place, especially in an interracial debate."

I stumbled upon USC's (University of Southern Carolina) website, and I found some interesting information. Four days ago, it was announced on the website that their Trojan debate squad would be going to Texas on January the 27th, for a rematch of the famous debate between USC and Wiley College! The situation is a whole lot different today, but it would be great fun if Wiley won again. The students from Wiley say they are humbled to be a part of this, and to be representing Wiley. Read more about it here: http://uscnews.usc.edu/university/trojan_debate_squad_set_for_great_debaters_rematch.html


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lamb to the Slaughter

Today we read the short story "Lamb to the Slaughter", (written by Roald Dahl) and after that we watched the Alfred Hitchcock version. I preferred the original short story a lot more than the screen version. This is because I liked the way the short story was written, with little dialog and a lot of good descriptions. Here is an example that I liked: 

"She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel-almost as a sunbather feels the sun- that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together".

The policemen ate the evidence
I think this sentence had an interesting comparison, and it also truly shows how much he meant to her. Unfortunately, I don't this is something that was as easy to see in the film. I know that it is not possible to read the characters' thoughts on film, but there are certain scenes I don't think they should have excluded. For example at the very beginning of the short-story, where Mary's "blissful part of the day" was described. I liked the Mary in the short story better than in the film, because she wasn't as frantic and annoying towards Patrick.

I did not expect the story to end the way it did, so I was rather surprised. However, this surprising ending made the short story interesting and fun. While reading it, I didn't understand why she put the meat in the oven, but it turned out to be a great way to remove the evidence. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Living In Norway

What's it like living in Norway? When foreigners hear "Norway", they might think : cold, polar bears, and beautiful mountains. Others might not even know anything about Norway! However, if that's the case, I hope you'll learn a bit more about Norway after reading this blog post! I'm a student from Oslo, and I've lived in Norway nearly all my life. I started in kindergarden when I was around 4, followed by elementry school, secondary school, and now high school. Norway is a small, but great country to live in, although we sometimes tend to forget it. 

In Norway, we have everything we need.Thanks to the oil we've found outside our coast, we are one of the richest countries in the world. Tourists who travel to Norway come to see the beautful scenery, but are shocked by the high prices here. Oslo was recently announced as the the most expensive city in the world! 

For a year, my family lived in Australia. When people heard I was from Norway, they'd ask: "Can you speak Norway? Or Norwish? Or what language do you speak there?" In Norway we speak Norwegian! It is closely related to Swedish and Danish, and speakers the three languages should be able to understand each other well..However, out of personal experience, this is not always entirely true. I think a lot of Norwegians find it hard to understand Danish, and the other way around. 

Norway is divided into 19 different regions, and in these regions you will find dialects of the Norwegian language. I speak what we call "Bokmål", and it is what everyone else around Oslo also will speak. Norwegians from Stavanger, in the region Rogaland will speak with a "Stavangersk"-dialect. It's quite fascinating to listen to, as I'm not really that used to it!

Our Lesotho Project

Two weeks ago we started an exciting project called Project Lesotho. Lesotho is a small, landlocked country in South Africa.  Being surrounded by South Africa, their main economy is based on the exportation of diamonds and water sold to these countries. Despite this exportation, the country still suffers from poverty, and it is causing bad living conditions. The poverty combined with AIDS has caused the median age to be 22,9 years. Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world!

In April 2011, a teacher at a primary school from Lesotho visited an International English class. She told them about the school she teaches at, and the situation they are in. The school is called Mamoeketsi primary school, and it has around 800 pupils. Their classrooms are really small, so in order to move around, the students have to walk on the desks. They now have 5 computers, but no Internet. This is where we want to help!

To show their gratitude to last years International English class, the students at Mamoketsi primary school sent letters. Our class sat together in a large circle, where we read all of them. It was touching, inspiring and very motivating! After reading the letters, we split our class up in different groups. I'm in a group that is in charge of marketing. How do we draw attention to our project? We made a group on Facebook, and we now have 39 "likes" on the page. You can like us here! We also made a twitter-account, make sure that you follow us!  We will be posting the latest news and updates on how we are doing with our project! 

Last Tuesday all the groups made buns and brewed coffee that we sold at different places. While some groups sold at our school or in Oslo, my group decided to meet up at the train station in Sandvika, 07:15. Unfortunately, students from another school were already there selling exactly the same as us! Despite this, we still earned 600 kroner. Everything helps I guess.

The most exciting part about this project is that we've recieved funding from Akershus Fylkeskommune, and 3 students will be able to go Lesotho in March 2012!!