A love for Texas’ Spanish heritage shines through in the instructors at Creative Language Center, who are all native speakers, born and educated in Spanish-speaking countries. Working with groups of six or fewer students allows the teachers bountiful time to speak one-on-one or practice bilingual telepathy with their pupils. General beginner levels introduce basic conversation using pictures and mimicry to cover grammar and present tenses, and intermediate levels enhance students' conversation skills, preparing them to ask for directions and make purchases. In advanced courses, instructors expand students' vocabulary, bringing them the ability to speak on current topics, argue and hypothesize, and recite even the most complicated shampoo ingredients. In higher-level sessions, instructors conduct all in-class speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. General and topic-specific courses start anew each month, enabling budding linguists to join frequently or jump into ongoing sessions.
Considering his childhood heroes were Zorro and The Cisco Kid, it's not hard to believe that Barry Carstetter aced high school Spanish. He even became president of his school's Spanish Club. As his senior year progressed, however, his classes' textbook-bound style increasingly bothered him. Barry understand that the most effective way to learn Spanish is to immerse oneself in it, so at graduation he tossed off his cap and headed to Mexico. There, and in South Texas, he taught native speakers to read and write. And as his students put pen to paper, Barry's own Spanish skills soared.
This experience, paired with his exposure to a system called Accelerated Learning, encouraged Barry to open Rapid Spanish, where he serves as the primary instructor. Under his wing, no student suffers the boredom or ineffectiveness of a rote education. Instead, the curricula incorporate funny scripts, games, and music, immersing pupils in Spanish while having fun. Rapid Spanish' private lessons, group classes, and corporate training programs cultivate supportive environments in which students are not compared to one another or forced to hold 2nd language comedy roasts.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
Traversing the notes and frets of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals, the faculty of professional musicians at School of Rock instructs junior jammers of varying statures with an eye on achieving live-performance skills. Nudge your future noodler into a private 45-minute lesson that prompts him or her to explore the auditory excess of rock 'n' roll. Burgeoning bassists learn how to keep backbeats rumbling, and drummers in training hone rhythm abilities that may one day spark drumstick-twizzling flash mobs at rock venues. Craft musical nuances with epic keyboards and synths, or hone singing swagger via vocal training with one of the school's sound-savvy instructors. At the end of their foray into musical musings, kids gain creative confidence, artistic appreciation, and the desire to play air guitar in the presence of strangers.
At Capital Music Center, the piano isn't a low-fi instrument. At least, not necessarily. The music store stocks digital pianos as well as more traditional acoustic pianos, keyboards, and V-drum kits. The teachers embrace technology in their teaching style, too. During lessons, they use everything from iPods to YouTube videos to help their students master tricky chords.
A smartphone's tiny screen relies on the strange properties of liquid crystals. Check out Groupon's study of LCDs to learn how they create the vivid pictures in your pocket.
Liquid Crystals and LCDs: How Cell Phones Resemble Carrots
The term liquid crystal seems a contradiction, but a liquid crystal is actually neither a liquid nor a solid?it's both, stuck in a sort of chemical limbo with its molecules somewhere between the liquid and solid phases. When an electrical current passes through a liquid crystal, its molecular orientation changes, and so does the direction of light that passes through it. By sandwiching these crystals between polarized glass and manipulating the current passing through them, your phone is able to control the light they channel, resulting in the high-contrast images that appear on screen. Although our brains only see each pixel as a single dot, each consists of red, blue, and green subpixels that, when lit at various intensities, can emit more than 16 million colors.
Despite their advanced applications, liquid crystals are not a recent discovery. They were first identified in the late 19th century by a scientist studying cholesterol extracted from carrots?a natural source of liquid crystals, as are human beings and most other living things, which tend to have them in their cell membranes. Liquid crystals and LCDs were the subject of research and patent applications throughout the early 20th century?including one filed by Marconi?s Wireless Telegraph Company in 1936?and finally hit consumer electronics in the early 1970s, when they were introduced in wristwatches.