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The first difficulty is that the game can be considered as a means and not an end; but without strategy, a game is doomed to remain an isolated practice. Choosing to play games comes with implications for the academic library.
We must start by gathering information from the public through focus-groups or direct interviews, best practices from our colleagues, contacts, ideas and some expertise from gamers and theory teachers, researchers and practitioners. We must think about how to build our programme: How will we inscribe it in our charts, policies, strategy and communication action plans? How do we plan to manage this knowledge in our institution and also with our professional community? How do we plan to make our missions evolve if and when the gaming activities get successful?
With no claim to being exhaustive, and without providing a catalogue, let us have a look at the diverse, relevant and creative French gaming landscape in academic libraries, at a time when researchers and professional school institutions and associations are taking interest in gaming activities in French libraries. It aims at conveying a sense of belonging to a community. Their article followed the campus-scaled Humans vs.
Zombies operation that involved a thousand students. The same kind of games has been set up in France since the beginning of the s.
These LARP games Live-Action Role Playing drag the participants into a virtual world in which they are playing a part, but with real documentary venues and purposes. They have to dig deep into electronic resources and printed documentation, compare results to deduce some clues, make concrete searches to unravel a mystery. Some of these initiatives were highlighted, even rewarded. It took around 7 months to build such a big event, as described by Gorsse Completely viral and virtual at first, the game ended up in a unique and real evening event at the Lyon INSA library.
An interactive game with motion recognition presents zombies invading the library. Other projects are less technical, more flexible, completely web-based, and conceived to evolve. The game then relies on a heavy documentary research work by the game designers, who have to create permanently new and harder puzzles, enigmas and riddles to maintain the activity. We can take up two examples from Facebook: It is placed in a display case at the library, a few clues are given, and people are invited to submit hypotheses or guesses about the use of this object, both through Facebook or using a ballot box located next to the object.
The winner is asked to become the ambassador for the next OSNI. Even lighter, you can find chess and Go boards scattered throughout many science academic libraries, recording the impact of mathematical arithmetic or combinatory games on scientific culture: Bachet described them, and which delighted more than a Lewis Carroll.
The gaming call is now gradually spreading to the training of users, both in STM Sciences and SHS Humanitieswith a large variety of ambitions, projects and budgets. The BUPMC already offers trainings for undergraduate students built as police-teams enquiries, implying the use of special pedagogical and gaming equipment quiz, construction games… supporting active learning methods.
The Dauphine University library, mainly oriented towards management, business and economy, is considering a serious game to train its public to documentary research. The gaming aspect lies in the avatar of a student freshly out from high school, whom you need to turn into a fully equipped 1st-year student.
Despite this new trend, games are not part of the traditional missions of a library yet. They are present mostly in hard science libraries, or in innovative, fun and active training activities. The pedagogical trends in blended learning—both classroom and distant learning—and active learning have not decisively spread in France for the moment.
Research Background and Public-Oriented Practice So how can we legitimate our gaming activities at the library, if French teachers have no career motivation to put more efforts into this trend? Well, we can look at the national and European research field, instead of the pedagogical field, if we feel like we need to justify our innovative actions.
The European academic research field is strongly supportive of gaming activities for research purposes, which can easily be translated into library actions.
All sorts of lab initiatives are emerging in our universities, and are ready to welcome us and allow us to play an active part in their activities: Collecting similar experiments and related feedbacks can also be useful for our activities. For example, we can base our activities on what has been done at the national library, which can be a good seal of quality for hesitant decision-makers.
They programmed more than 3 weeks of workshops and a study day in about serious gaming. The strongest resistance does not come from decision-makers, but from library staff. Interviews revealed that the interest of the staff is aroused when the project is openly publicised and supported by the authorities, and comes along with internal information and training.
This will enable us to widen, enhance, and renew our traditional field. Successful experimentations led by highly and personally motivated teachers or mediators frequently turn into failure when managed by less motivated or untrained staff.
Which may happen when a remarkable but personal initiative is suddenly turned into an institutional action, massively and quickly imposed, especially if neither set up with training nor change management.
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More disturbingly, the public targeted by the gaming offer can also show some resistance, sometimes in a radical way. Which implies that it is necessary to re-think the gaming objectives of the library, and adapt them closely to the context and to the targeted public, rather than to put an end to the initiative.
Such failures have been examined in recent studies. Students have very concrete expectations, and demand to see the link between studying, training and the next step—working. Fully aware of the possibilities offered by the digital world, they show very little indulgence for clumsy ludopedagogical experimentations.
This way, the interest of and for the game is preserved. We can assume that there is a strong necessity to closely connect the content of training and gaming to both disciplinary and utilitarian aspects. This implies a deep motivation within the staff, and a direct and strong mediation between staff, hierarchy, end users and advisers like teachers, cultural services, etc. All this underlines the importance of a concrete and physical mediation, and reasserts the distinction between ludus or play, without rules and paidia or game, implying constraints that was made by Roger Caillois and by Gonzalo Frasca Once the operational phase has been completed, comes the time to face and deal with knowledge management issues in order to promote, manage and disseminate experience and achievements.
This track record tracking and evaluation time is crucial to plan further actions and set up strategic plans. It takes long to audit annual results and feedback, to analyse and interpret them, to write reports mentioning perspectives, not to mention budgeting… even longer than expected, since this often initiates long debates and discussions.
In the following years, a rather long time must also be dedicated to adjusting and updating the gaming service or activity. Choosing to open up and democratise the library and its services, and proposing innovative—if not expensive—cultural activities, might modify substantially the organisation of the library and its chart.
Attracting new patrons and building the loyalty of the users are tasks that involve change, and a good knowledge management can also turn out to be a revealing indicator and powerful leverage for this change. Some pragmatic changes can be undertaken in the library to build a bridge between the services presently offered and gaming activity as a new entrance door for new patrons.
Gaming at the library will attract new people. They can be inquisitive and wish to discover what is at their disposal at the library aside from games. Sometimes, even for advanced students, this can be a real and complete surprise!
Yes, we do lend books. Yes, we do practice interloan services. Yes, we enable you to make copies, scan, book private boxes, work late, surf on the Internet and find people to help you search the documentation you need. Let us warmly welcome these new users. Sometimes this can also lead to a different kind of discovery: This also works for public, metropolitan and national libraries where gaming-focused events or visits are created to attract new publics and give them a possibility to discover the library itself: Games can also provide the library with a specific and very active public for crowdsourcing or collaborative thinking… even for co-creation, which builds a direct link with creating and animating labs, as mentioned earlier.
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Besides the steps of decision, creation, realisation, motivation, there is one more topic we should quickly address—the art of convincing. Decision-makers need to see the interest and utility of a change, and we need them to give us their support and formalise it.
This interaction and the importance of formalising and taking responsibility for our gaming projects and initiatives are underlined in French national reports and studies. Christy, Patient Care Coordinator Christy is often the very first person that new patients speak to.
She handles new patient enrollment, medical records, referrals, and so much more. She is bubbly, professional, and a joy to have here!
She has over 12 years of experience as a Medical Assistant and Medical Front Office; this experience brings so much enthusiasm and knowledge to us!
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She also loves music, Broadway plays, and anything Disney or Harry Potter! Nursing Department Our nursing staff is caring, knowledgeable, and most of all fun. They are committed to treating our patients and family members with compassion, dignity, and respect.
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