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    Posted July 18, 2012 by
    Jacksonville, Illinois

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    New CNN iReporters Bring World into Focus


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mediaman spoke to a group of students about social media and CNN iReport at Illinois College as part of grant program from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 'I lectured to the group for two days, showing the Wisconsin Recall story, human interest stories, and weather items. I showed how iReports can be picked up by the national media, blogs, and Twitter feeds,' he said. The students hail from various countries and some of them shared stories of how iReport had been used in their homeland.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    A group of faculty members and several student technology assistants learned the power of social media and in the process became new CNN iReporters to share their world, with the rest of our world. In an intensive two-day institute, funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, faculty at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL learned how social media can be seen as “history in real time.” The faculty learned how they can use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and CNN iReports to help to engage students, and to make their curriculum more authentic and relevant.


    Accounting professor, Nausser Jamali, originally from Iran, was the first faculty member to upload his CNN iReport, drawing praise from his colleagues. He said, “This is the greatest thing in the world…keeping the world current.” He remembers how Iran was in the early 1970’s as a student, and is quite aware today how the government watches how the news media portray the country. He said, “I am excited about the Internet because it allows me to share. The general public can upload a story to CNN. What people have seen, or what I have seen can be shared with the entire world.”


    One student technology assistant at the college, Tracey Ankoma-Bempong is from Ghana. She had not heard of iReporting until today. She commented, “CNN iReports allows you to tell the world what goes on locally. We don’t always hear these stories on the national scene. These local stories do matter.”


    Jafar Qutob, another student assistant is from Palestine. When he came to Jacksonville, IL he had no idea what it was like. In Palestine he lived in the city of Nablus which is in the occupied area like the West Bank and Gaza. He said, “I can’t wait to go back to my homeland to use CNN iReports to tell his story what it’s like there.” Life can be scary where I lived. He told the story as being a kid and being rounded up by Israeli soldiers. They were made to take their shirts off, and threatened to be brought to “the camp” for further interrogation. Eventually they were released but he still remembers how frightened he was. He said, “What I like about iReporting is that it gives me a voice, one that can be heard around the world.”


    As the day drew to a close, each faculty member was given homework to create their first iReport and upload it with images or video. Pat Headen, Educational Technology manager at the college and coordinator of the institute says the Mellon grant has been a great success. She said, “Providing the technologies and tying it to a specific project ensures that faculty actually use it in their teaching. It has transformed our campus.”

    In Jacksonville, Illinois there are now 15 new iReporters, and their stories are now circling the globe. When the fall semester comes to Illinois College, a new group of students and faculty may have the opportunity to “bring the world into focus, as they use CNN iReports to share their own world.

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