Yak’s Corner
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Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 02, 2015

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

Cartoon-like emojis soon will look as diverse as their text messaging users around the world

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1.gifIdentify at least one example of diversity in an article, photo or graphic illustrations. (Remember, age and gender also count.)

2.gifFind another electronics-related article and tell why it does or doesn't interest you.

3.gifLook at pictures and other visual elements, including ads, for a face or gesture that seems like an emoji.

Small details can matter a lot, even in those whimsical emoji symbols we add to text messages, social media posts and emails. That’s why Apple's new operating system update and future iPhones will allows a wider choice of cartoon-like icons to add ethnic diversity. Users will be able to pick six different skin tones and hair color by tapping or clicking and holding on any emoji. Also, 32 additional countries' flags will be available when the update rolls out soon. About 300 new emojis should be added, reports say.

Apple was criticized for featuring predominantly white emoji characters and only about 10 national flags, mainly from North American or European countries. Pale faces and hands reflect a standard set by Japanese designers of the original emojis, though an Apple executive acknowledged on MTV last year: "There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set." The changes come as emoji have exploded in popularity, spreading beyond Japan to be embraced worldwide as a quick, fun, easy way to share emotions and thoughts, usually within messaging apps.

A post at the tech blog Gizmodo welcomes Apple's move. "It's been a long time coming," Adam Clark Estes wrote last week after Apple's announcement. "Obviously, there are more than six combinations of hair and skin color among the many billions of humans on Earth. But hey, these new emoji are certainly a step in the right direction." Still, it's tough to please everyone – as shown by a Gizmodo reader’s comment: "Why no redheads?"

Apple says: "Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity." – Company statement

Blogger says: "Equality is important, even in digital winky-face form. And sometimes when it comes to the biggest challenges we face, no step is too small. Although it may 'just' be an emoji, representation of all races and genders is an important part of working towards a more equal society." – Joey Parker, posting at act.mtv.com

African tech exec says: "Diversity is not about skin color — it's about embracing the multiple cultures out there that have no digital representation." -- Alpesh Patel, chief executive Oju Africa, an emoji developer

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2015
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