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2012 January

Associated Press

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Teens migrating to Twitter—sometimes for privacy: …teens and parents shouldn’t assume that even locked accounts are completely private, says Ananda Mitra, a professor of communication at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Online privacy, he says, is “mythical privacy.”

Certainly, parents are always concerned about online predators — and experts say they should use the same common sense online as they do in the outside world when it comes to dealing with strangers and providing too much personal information.

But there are other privacy issues to consider, Mitra says.

Someone with a public Twitter account might, for instance, retweet a posting made on a friend’s locked account, allowing anyone to see it. It happens all the time.

And on a deeper level, he says those who use Twitter and Facebook — publicly or privately — leave a trail of “digital DNA” that could be mined by universities or employers, law enforcement or advertisers because it is provided voluntarily.

Mitra has coined the term “narb” to describe the narrative bits people reveal about themselves online — age, gender, location and opinions, based on interactions with their friends.

So true privacy, he says, would “literally means withdrawing” from textual communication online or on phones — in essence, using this technology in very limited ways.

He realizes that’s not very likely, the way things are going — but he says it is something to think about when interacting with friends, expressing opinions or even “liking” or following a corporation or public figure.

The Washington Post

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Obama could benefit in North Carolina with Democratic gov’s decision to not seek re-election: “It’s helpful news for Obama rather than problematic news,” John Dinan, a political science professor at Wake Forest University, said of Perdue’s announcement Thursday. “You’d expect the Obama campaign would rather run with a strong gubernatorial candidate on the ballot, and by all accounts, Perdue was not a strong candidate.”

Wake Forest News Center

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WFU documentary goes global: By 14, Petr Ginz had written five novels and a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16, he had produced more than 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Terezin Ghetto and boarded a train to the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

But a new Wake Forest Documentary Film Program movie, “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz” is a story of celebration as well as tragedy. The film uses the teen’s vivid artwork and creative writing to showcase his imagination, even as his world crumbled around him.

The United Nations has produced a companion study guide for this film to teach teens around the world about the Holocaust.

CNN Tech

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Apple: School should center on the iPad: Apple on Thursday lifted the veil on its plans to remake the educational landscape in a way that centers on its best-selling tablet computer, the iPad. Some educators seem to be excited about the changes. “Apple has recognized that learning for students is not a one-way street,” Jed Macosko, an associate professor at Wake Forest University, said in a statement. “Until now, most traditional e-textbooks have focused on linear content delivery, which is not the way people learn. Research shows that we learn by asking questions,” said Macosko, the author of an interactive biology textbook.

NPR

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Not Everyone is Basking in Iowa’s Afterglow: With Bachmann out of the race and Perry’s fate still uncertain, the spoils could go to Santorum, who would consolidate the evangelical vote and then would need to broaden his appeal, according to Allan Louden, a professor of political communications at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

“If you take Bachmann and Perry out of the picture, the evangelicals have nowhere else to go,” Louden said. “They aren’t going to go to Romney, and they aren’t going to go to Newt.” …

He said Bachmann, who briefly looked like a possible front-runner after garnering the support of evangelicals with her ultra-conservative message, ultimately suffered from overexposure.

“Voters heard the same lines over and over; she was so on-message as to not have depth,” Louden said.

Gingrich’s campaign, meanwhile, was comparing his fourth-place finish to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 Iowa showing, in which he finished fourth but went on to become the party’s nominee.

The key difference, Louden noted, is that McCain didn’t even run in Iowa.…

U.S. News Health

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Fun Ways to Include Kids in Fitness Resolutions: Parents can involve their children in any New Year’s fitness resolutions they may have in the works, says one fitness expert, by making exercise seem fun and exciting. “If you say, ‘We’re going to take the kids out for a walk this evening,’ most kids are going to say, ‘Wait, we have to leave the video games or television?'” cautioned Michael Berry, chair of the health and exercise science department at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., in a university news release. “Kids like to play games, they like to be engaged, so exercise needs to be something that is sports-oriented or game-oriented.”

Charlotte Observer

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Applicant success belies SAT’s value: Across North Carolina and the nation, high school seniors are sweating their college applications and fretting about one number: their SAT score. But not students aiming for Wake Forest University, which no longer requires students to submit the standardized test score. Wake Forest was the first highly ranked research university to announce the move away from the SAT in 2008.

Since then, the university in Winston-Salem has become more racially and socio-economically diverse. Pell Grant recipients almost doubled. Students of color increased from 18 percent to nearly 23 percent.

Along the way, the university also noticed an uptick in the number of students with an exemplary high school track record, which, research shows, is the best predictor of college success. The percentage of Wake Forest first-year students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes grew from 65 percent in 2008 to 83 percent last fall.

“We feel like we have attracted students that have achieved a great deal in the classroom, who are very talented, who are very bright, who are very hardworking students but who had one thing going against them and that was the SAT,” said Martha Allman, admissions dean at Wake Forest. “When we became test-optional, we started seeing these wonderful students that perhaps we would not have seen in our applicant pool before.”

The university’s results are reported in a new book, “SAT Wars,” edited by Joseph Soares, a sociology professor at Wake Forest. The book undercuts the notion that standardized tests are a good indicator of future academic achievement.