Lesson, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

Lesson - Muzaffarabad, Pakistan

My flickr contact Maciej Dakowicz has captured an intimate scene in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.

Note the framing of this image, with the face coming in from the left edge of the frame. Also note the state of the books and of course, the fourth boy in the back left. Maciej is an expert at framing and capturing scenes like these.

Note: One of the many reasons I love Flickr is that I have contacts and connections in all corners of the world. The images that these folks post are not put through a photojournalism filter, they’re just scenes from lives in different places. It’s brilliant and I’ve been watching many of these feeds for close to ten years. Flickr remains my very favorite social network and the only one I take seriously.

The Ox

The Ox is a biographical portrait of master woodworker Eric Hollenbeck and the mill and school he founded Blue Ox in Eureka, California (on the northern coast).

Eric is a Vietnam Vet who came back, struggled and got traction with doing things with his hands. Blue Ox works with kids who are having a rough time in school and Eric is planning to work with vets of our current wars who are coming back in desperate need of exactly what he’s offering: understanding and a way to use one’s hands to build useful things as well as self esteem. There is no doubt about it, engaging in the process of making things is a great way to feel better about yourself.

Maine laptop in schools program ten years later

Would a Laptop for Every Student Help? In Maine It Certainly Did

One of the many reasons Angus King and others in Maine chose Macs was the more mature “universal access” features on Macs. What Maine did with laptops remains one of the best implementations of computers in schools to date.

Given that writing is a large component of what these laptops are used for and a high percentage of students learn to touch type, iPads probably won’t be folded into the mix any time soon.

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Matt Richtel at The New York Times documents student use of technology at Woodside High School in silicon valley (Redwood City, California).

On YouTube, “you can get a whole story in six minutes,” he explains. “A book takes so long. I prefer the immediate gratification.”

What can we say, the generation of Cliffs Notes.

Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.

Watch the video: Fast Times at Woodside High.

Laurie Fais

Laurie at Averill Farm

Our dear friend Laurie Fais and two of her three daughters came to visit and it was an incredible time. We all headed up to Averill’s orchard to pick apples and look at the fall colors.

In 1986 Laurie hired me to start the computer program at The Forman School where she was the head of language training. I moved from Oregon to Connecticut and together, Laurie and I built what turned out to be one of the first computer-aided writing projects for dyslexic kids in the country. We only worked together for two years but what an intense and wonderful time it was. We did research, wrote groundbreaking curricula, wrote papers, traveled and presented and we were written up in The New York Times. Apple even made a video about our project and used it in advertising.

During this time, Laurie and her family became my family and later, after I met my wife Anne (indirectly through Laurie) they became her family too.

Laurie and her family moved to Japan where they lived for thirteen years only recently moving to Vancouver, BC. While they were in Japan Anne and I visited them and it was one of the greatest trips of our lives. Being in Japan was wonderful, of course, but being in Japan with Laurie and her family was what made it great.

So, when Laurie and her two daughters came to visit us last week it was a wonderful reunion and I got a nice whiff of both the early days of working with her as well as our great time in Japan.

I miss them already.

Lipstick in schools

According to a news report, a certain private school recently was faced with a unique problem.

A number of middle school girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers, and then there are educators.