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Jerome Burg
Bringing the Wonders and Wisdom of Literary Reading to the Information Age
Bringing the Wonders and Wisdom of Literary Reading to the Information Age

Jerome's posts

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20 February 2017

An optional homework assignment choice...

Either watch this one hour collection of speeches honoring those who write for TV or movies...

Pick and choose per your own lights at least three individual clips from the Writers Guild Awards show that should appear as links in the right column of the YouTube screen...


When the writers that your students know best via their work speak, whether your students have a clue as to who it might have been who wrote their favorite movie or TV episodes, they may very well come to a greater appreciate for the importance of both fact and fiction in the lives of thinking people.

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brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips, an education nonprofit

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One Judge’s Order For Hate Crime Committers: Read More Books

8 February 2017

And not just these books. From the article...

They will also have to do a research paper on swastikas and attend a Holocaust Museum with their parents.

The assigned films include “Twelve Years a Slave” and “Lincoln”; the books include The Handmaid’s Tale, The Bluest Eye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Native Son.

Newer classics including Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, the latter of which won last year’s National Book Award, were featured on the list, too."

We all hope that that classics reach them. But, I'm happy to hear that visiting a Holocaust museum, watching relatively contemporary films and modern novels were included.

We must make every effort to battle the virus of "alternative fact."

Ironically FICTION may be a weapon in that battle.

What's the difference?
Alternative facts aren't facts
Fiction amplifies truth.

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brought to you by GLT Global ED | Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit

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Add your name to survey regarding your wishes re: Obamacare.

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20 August 2016

I was first captivated by the title of this TED Talk. And, actually prematurely put off by early comments that "seemed" to be calling into question the scientific method.

Perhaps it's because we live in times and thanks (sincerely) to the likes of Donald Trump, we've been made painfully aware of the number of "anti-factual" folks out there who unabashedly "pee in the pool" of actual knowing.

But, by the end of the talk, I had been made aware of how much my openness to even the scent, though mistakenly identified in this case, had been polluted by the onslaught of the ravings of the adamantly ignorant drowning out the voices of more mature political discourse.

The primary focus within this talk actually centered on the very interesting and positive role that ignorance plays in the advancement of science. There were several quotes from famous people of the past justifying the speaker's thesis that it is important to pay attention to the role of "thoroughly conscious ignorance."

Among my favorite quotes was actually a quote from the speaker himself, "Dead people should not be excluded from the conversation."

And then near the end, the speaker surprisingly turned to educational testing where he suggests that learning the questions raised by learning the facts is as important, perhaps even more important, than learning the answers alone.

"High quality Ignorance." What an intriguing concept. This phrase fits cleanly with my recent interest in the term relating to measuring one's "Curiosity Quotient."

Lower quality ignorance is dangerous because all too often it pre-empts doubt, even though our failure to question what we believe we know is the source of so many social evils.

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brought to you by GLT Global ED / Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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16 April 2016

A charming, sometimes hilarious, and thought provoking short talk about the way new words develop. Interesting breakdown of different categories of ways new words are created.

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brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit

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11 April 2016

Announcing the publication of a brand new Google Lit Trip for The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. 

Set in the Arctic Circle, this book is based on a true story of the last Voyage of the Karluk, Aleutian for "fish." The Karluk and its crew were joined by an Iñupiaq family and their two young daughters. Through the Iñupaiq family we learn much about the culture of the Inuit people. But, along the way, the Karluk runs into serious trouble and we find ourselves learning about an important event in history as we hope for the survival of the crew and its passengers. In this Google Lit Trip we have blended media and information about Iñupiaq culture and the actual historical events of the story.

You might want to bring a Parka along on this Lit Trip!

Also in celebration of National Poetry month we're pointing visitors towards a very interesting student developed Lit Trip feature 15 of her favorite poets. Locations represent the poets' birthplaces. Includes audio links to the student reading a favorite poem by each poet.

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brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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8 April 2016 
Fans of Google Lit Trips and / or any educational integration of Google Mapping Tools might want to consider applying for the 2016 Google Geo Teachers Institute to be held July 25-26, 2016 at the Google Campus in Mountain View, CA.  

The two-day institute is free though space is limited. So, if it is of interest consider applying ASAP. The Institute is free* to anyone. However, space is limited so get your applications in quickly.  

Deadline: All applications submitted by 30th April will receive equal consideration. Applications after that date will be processed if spaces remain available. 
 Google Lit Trips Founder Jerome Burg along with an All-Star team of Google Mapping experts will present a full two-day institute of sessions focusing upon educational integrations of all Google mapping tools.  

 If you're a Google Lit Trip fan, let me know if you get accepted. ( I'm always excited to meet fans in person.  

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brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips an educational nonprofit

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3 March 2016

Happy to announce the publication of my blog post for  Education Week at the invitation Heather Singmaster of the Asia Society.

Register at for quick and easy access to our library of Google Lit Trips.

Reminder, Google Lit Trips resources are free.
However, you are always welcome to  to support our efforts and express your appreciation with a paypal donation. 

Short paypal URL:

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brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit also known as Google Lit Trips.

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16 September 2015
WARNING: Do not share with students without reading my commentary.
How do I describe the "frame" around this collection of incredibly intriguing paintings of people reading? First speak positively. The headline caught my eye and I have to admit that each painting does seem to capture a intensely engaged readers reading or attempting to read in spite of other potential distractions.
Fortunately I scrolled past brief bits of text to see all 13 of the paintings; my first thoughts being that these images would make a wonderfully uplifting topic for this scoop-it commentary. For those who do contemplate each image, enjoy.
However, upon reaching the last image, I noticed that, as is often the case with Huff Post, the article was followed by a slide show. entitled "Art History's Most Erotic Artworks." 
I won't venture any opinions about the role of erotic art in art history. My first thought had nothing to do with that controversial discussion. My first thought was, "Darn, how do I share the wonderful images of engaged reading with my followers, most of whom are teachers looking for wonderful reading-related scoop-it articles that might be valuable to share with their students.
There is however no controversy over the appropriateness of. of sharing the URL for this article with students given the extremely explicit nature of a few of the Erotic Artworks in the slide show. 
Then thinking, that if I did decide to scoop the article, it would definitely require a mention of the juxtaposition of such a wonderful collection of images of engaged reading with a slide show that would have parents and a good number of students marching for the principal's office demanding the firing of "the kind of teacher who would send students to a webpage with such a slide show." And, I'm pretty certain those parents and students might use an adjective a bit more explicit that "Erotic Artwork" to describe the "offense."
Yet, I stumbled around trying to decide how I might recommend the engaged reading painting that "so capture" the beauty of being absolutely captivated by the reading experience..
I put that aside, thinking that maybe I should read the text between the paintings that I had originally skipped over. Maybe, some inspirational text alongside the inspirational paintings would provide inspiration of some sort to encourage those who love reading to view the paintings "in spite of" the unfortunate juxtaposition of the paintings of engaged readers with the "Erotic Artwork" slideshow.
To my dismay, the text turned out to be a rather pathetic attempt to be amusing by making inanely juvenile "jokes" about the paintings; a second unfortunate juxtaposition. The text, like the slide show, left me saddened. 
Now what to do? The paintings are so interesting, so uplifting, so beautiful... what to do?
In weighing the benefits of the engaged reading paintings, in my mind are so worth sharing compared with the annoyance of the article's silly attempt to be funny and the sharing of the awkwardly uncomfortable juxtaposition of the "Erotic Artwork" that I chose to respect my audience's ability to overlook any discomfort they may experience.
If I have erred in this decision, forgive me. Personally, I'm choosing to download the engaged reading images to disengage them from the issues associated with the text and the "erotic artwork" slide show, so that I can resist their wonderfulness without having to revisit the "frame" within which they were published.
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brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit

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4 September 2015
Every educator, tasked with the responsibility of preparing students for standardized tests in literary reading or the responsibility for defending the importance of literary reading would be wise to consider author Christian Jarrett's contentions in this challenging article.
I found this article to be incredibly thought provoking in spite of its dangerously misleading title.
The first consideration in my mind was the implied intention of the article title. My immediate assumption was that the article might support or challenge the belief that reading literature is beneficial.  Seemed an obvious assumption.
However, a close read, revealed no answer to the question in the article's title. What it did reveal is that assumptions made by those defending the benefits of literary reading have relied upon inadequate evidence for their assumptions.
Perhaps a better title might have been something to the effect of, "Can we design research studies that adequately documents the relationship between literary reading and its assumed benefits?
To that question, the author builds a rather convincing case that no such study to date has adequately evidenced such a relationship. Suggesting that no such study has yet to be done however, is quite different from drawing a conclusion that "therefore a negative conclusion about Literary Reading's benefit" is an appropriate conclusion. 
And to be clear, the author is making this distinction very clearly. It is the headline that makes an ambiguous and therefore potentially misleading statement about the article's focus. 
The author cites a conclusion from one of several cited studies that he does like. And, it is a conclusion that I not only agree myself, but also incorporate as a primary premise for the design of Google Lit Trips. That conclusion being...
"We draw a parallel between the non-linear process a reader goes through in reading a complex text, and the mix of uncertainties, choices, blunderings, successes, and insights that we all live through on a daily basis.” 
It is the bridge between the static text and the infinite variables brought to the text by the reader that plays a large role in whether or not the reading of the text does or does not "beef up" our brains. It's Vygotsky again. Where was the reader's zone of proximal development at the time of the reading? 
The author's point is more along the lines of, the assumptions of research studies in this area may be flawed as evidenced by conclusions that are "largely speculation." The evidence being that researchers can not be certain that there are not other mundane explanations for a study's conclusions, such differences in "intelligence" between one reader and the next. 
And, then the author adds another variable not considered in existing research...
"And they (the researchers) know nothing of the students’ well-being, outlook, or coping skills in real life."
Again the infinite variables brought to literary reading by the reader, are... let's just say it, virtually impossible to control in a research study.
I can not help but suggest that a careful reading of this article provides sufficient reason to wonder if there is a parallel relationship between the article's serious concerns and concerns associated with current educational attempts to assess student skills in literary reading in circumstances that ask students to read under pressure not normally associated with literary reading in the real world, and to read excerpts from literature "old enough" to be in the public domain, thereby generally speaking written in styles not nearly as familiar as more contemporary writing styles for which more students could find themselves able to make the important connections to the literature ala Vygotsky's zone of proximal development.
To put it simply, has there yet been a research study about how to determine direct evidence that current literary assessment structures actually do provide evidence linking the assessment structure and conclusions drawn from the assessment to whether or not student's are deriving the benefits of literary reading?
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brought to you by GLT Global ED dba Google Lit Trips, an educational nonprofit
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