Posts tagged with "lessons"

Gigi Vega illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Rising Star Gigi Vega

360 Magazine had the opportunity to ask rising star, Gigi Vega, questions that her fans would want to know. Gigi Vega debuted her hit song “Mistletoe Kiss” taking the holiday music charts by storm. She went viral on TikTok with 10 million views and 15k videos. In addition to writing and producing, GiGi is a dancer and choreographer. Read on to learn more about Gigi!

GIGI VEGA INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: 

1. How has your family inspired you and your music?

GV: I would always do little shows and auditions. My father is a jazz musician. He would play the piano, so I was always surrounded by music, and theater as well. 

2. What or who inspired your song “Watchu Tryna Do?”

GV: It just happened. Actually, had it for a while, but was finally able to come back to it. Originally, the lyrics were supposed to be “in the club”, instead of “in the crib”. But I had to make adjustments due to COVID 19

3. Talk about your producer on this song? 

GV: Jack London. He has worked with the Chainsmokers.

4. Where do you get your ideas for songwriting? 

GV: Melodies just come to me. Melodies come first for me. Lyrics come from everyday life experiences. I’ve always been into dancing and singing. It’s something that just clicked for me, but I got more into it once I started composing my own songs.

5. What charities are you aligned with and why? 

GV: Anti-bullying programs.

6. What acting projects will you be involved with in the future?

GV: I will be in The Drone That Saved Christmas. Production begins in March. After that, I hope the COVID situation improves, so I can be touring.

7. Who are your biggest influences?

GV: Janet Jackson. Definitely into anyone who is super full out, and she is one of them.

8. What advice would you give to a singer starting out?

GV: Don’t let anyone steer you in the direction of what they want you to be – it is not worth it, ever.

9. Talk about your training as a triple threat, what do you do to stay on top? 

GV: Just take a look at my Music video, it is all there. Acting, dancing, singing. I have trained in all three disciplines since I was very young. My dance training was focused on modern dance, but I am schooled in all disciplines. I have always been on stage or behind the camera, so it is second nature.

10. How do you take care of your voice? 

GV: Regular training, like an athlete. Lots of lemon and pineapple juice, as well.

11. If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?

GV: Chris Brown or Jason Derulo. Dancer/singer like I am. Janet – anyone who is full out, as mentioned before.

12. What is on your playlist right now?

GV: Omarion, Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Pop Smoke, Jason Derulo.

13. Who are you currently watching on TikTok?

GV: Everything that comes across my feed.:)

14. When did you know you wanted to be an entertainer? 

GV: Never thought about anything else. I was on stage from an early age. I made the move from stage to commercial work in my teens. Once I learned how to write solid music, I knew I wanted to record music. It was a process. I spent hundreds of hours in the studio as a kid.

15. What artist did you admire as a child?

 GV: I loved watching Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson is my absolute favorite.

16. Do you play any instruments? 

GV: I pluck out notes on the piano and guitar to help my melodies. Had many lessons and music theory, but I won’t be accompanying myself just yet.

17. What’s your fashion style?

GV: I like more tropical vibes, or casual, put-together vibes, but I always like to switch it up. I can be glam or a Tomboy. Get a girl who can do both.

18. What do you do to relax?

GV: I love fashion, always putting fashion pieces together. I learned to sew as a child, went to classes and camps for years. I was one of those kids who got a new shirt, and then I would go to my room and change the shape and design. I love listening to music and writing. Honestly, writing is my happy space.

19. What other businesses do you plan on starting to promote your brand?

GV: I am very into sneakers and shoes. I have so many different designs in my head that need to come out.

20. What’s the one thing you think everyone could do to make the world a more positive place?

GV: Less judgment of others, especially strangers.

Image courtesy of Jodi Jackson
Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

All Good Just A Week Ago

If you’re feeling a little bit lonely as a single person during quarantine, there might be a perfect book for you.

For both men and women, “All Good Just A Week Ago: Funny Dating Stories to Help You Keep Your Head in the Game” is chock-full of funny, relatable dating stories put together from interviews.

With teachable moments and unimaginable scenarios, “All Good Just A Week Ago” helps single people keep their heads in the game.

Erika McCall and Niesha Forbes, two best friends, wanted to put their quarantine time to good use, so they set up 50 interviews to gather data and stories for the book.

These stories prove that relationships can make you laugh and roll your eyes instead of cry, all while showing us that we’re not alone.

In 1950, only 22% of Americans were without a romantic partner. In 2019, 124 million Americans were without a partner.

Though the percentage of people in relationships has gone down, the desire to find love and companionship has not.

McCall said, “It’s the year of 20/20 vision, and it’s time for a dating and love revolution.”

Both authors agreed that the revolution begins with this book. With a goal to understand romantic communication and expectations, “All Good Just A Week Ago” uses stories to heal relationships and foster close, loving, committed relationships in a generation obsesses with “hook up culture.”

McCall and Forbes even get into a few of their own stories. McCall herself is single and wants to clear the way for her future husband to enter her life while Forbes is on her way to her third wedding anniversary and hopes that sharing her experience can help bring about mutual respect, kindness and traditional courtship in relationships.

McCall said her story is every woman’s story while Forbes said, “It is critical to know that once you get to a certain age, things you did in your early twenties, all those toxic behavior patterns where you’re not putting your worth above your desire to be with someone, if you don’t do the work on yourself, you will find yourself in your thirties, forties and even fifties, having not learned the important lessons or found true love.”

Following the laughs in the beginning of the book, readers will reach a call to action that encourages men and women to think critically about how to move forward with healthier relationship dynamics.

For more information about the book or to order it, you can click right here.

music Ivory Rowen illustration for 360 Magazine.

Music Educators Teaching Online

K-12 musical instruction and performances may look different this fall, but the beat will go on thanks to creativity and music-making technologies, says a Purdue University expert.

“There are so many online tools out there that music educators can use to bring students together during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christopher Cayari, assistant professor of music education in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance at Purdue. “One option is for programs to host online concerts or performances through the recording and mixing of virtual ensembles and individual performances.”

Platforms like Soundtrap by Spotify and Protools are great resources for sound editing. Other softwares like Flipgrid and Adobe Premiere do video editing, while Acapella by PicPlayPost and BandLab are compilation apps available for mobile devices to create musical productions amid the pandemic. Cayari encourages music educators to experiment with these softwares to make music with their students, and the skills they develop while distance learning can then be carried into physical classrooms after the pandemic is over.

 “Putting together a virtual ensemble can be difficult, but I have seen many tech-savvy educators or sound engineers helping music educators create virtual performances,” Cayari said. “Students can also collaborate with one another to create anything from karaoke videos to vlog projects. The great thing about technology is that students can collaborate with others without geographical restraint.”

For the last 10 years, Cayari has researched online music making and virtual performances, focusing most of his attention on YouTube and how the platform has changed the way people create, consume and share music. According to Cayari, online music-making projects, research, technologies and literacies occur within three dispositions:

  • Do-it-yourself: “There are many avenues for do-it-yourself projects thanks to social media or audio recording websites like SoundCloud or Bandcamp. This method is great for students because it allows them to learn for themselves about the aspects that go into music recording projects.”
  • Do-it-with-others: “Online music making isn’t a new concept. For many years, people have been collaborating with others to create music and connect with one another through the production of music.”
  • Do-it-for-others: “These type of performances are organized projects where individuals submit their own performances and someone else pulls it all together. Everyone from the organizer to the performers to the editors have a hand in creating something for the enjoyment of others.”

This week, a special issue of the Journal for Popular Music Education, co-edited by Cayari and Janice Waldron from Windsor University in Ontario, Canada, was released that focuses on learning, performing and teaching, which includes international research about how music teachers are using the internet to teach students.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persisten