Embracing the Robot

Great to see technology helping children in need especially in education.

EdTech Digest

Meeting the autism challenge with advanced social robotics. 

INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero

R25ZenoKidsslideFirst there was humankind, now there’s RoboKind. When you hear it from Fred Margolin, CEO and co-founder of RoboKind, an advanced social robotics company, you begin to understand the power of what’s possible with robots, and why some of the nation’s top experts in robotics, artificial intelligence and electrical, mechanical and software engineering are all working so passionately. They are behind the technology that produces

When you put everything together, you have a tool that is completely attuned to special education.

the amazing RoboKind facial expressions for what they believe are the most lifelike robots in the world. The robots also have humanoid bodies, and even what Fred describes as “CompuCompassion” — which he talks about in more depth in this interview. For education, the implications aren’t just fascinating. Autistic and special needs children are…

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Asterix Books: Comics for the Roman Age

Asterix Books: Comics for the Roman Age

When I want to pass on my love for reading I look back to my fond memories of reading graphic novels as a kid.  Reading comics is one way to instill this joy of reading in a fun and engaging way.  Besides Tintin, another one of my favorites, is the adventures of Asterix and Obelix.  These adventures captured in over 30 books are set during Roman Empire Era.  Asterix are fighting to keep the Romans from invading their tiny village in Gaul (modern day France).  Each book is a delight to read about their comical interactions with the Romans.

My 9-year old, read three books, in one week because these books were so engaging.  He loved history, especially the Roman era,  so it was natural that he would love to read Asterix books.

Official Asterix website

http://www.asterix.com/books/albums/

Asterix books at Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=asterix

Learn Words the Fun Way with Pictures

Marie’s Words

From the product’s website: http://www.marieswords.com

Marie’s Words is a work of 550 original, full-color, hand-drawn vocabulary flash cards. It allows you to learn word definitions in a visual and meaningful way. The illustrations are unique, and many use historical, geographical, scientific, cultural and generational references as a mnemonic tool for easy learning. Marie’s Words harnesses the “Power of Pictures.”

Robert E. Horn, a noted professor, explains in his book Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century that “a diagram or picture occasionally accompanied text in medieval manuscripts. But . . . the visual and the verbal went their separate ways, becoming separate forms of communication.” Marie’s Words incorporates visual language, making it a unique vocabulary flash card product.

For instance, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’m good with faces, but I can’t remember names?” Well, Marie’s Words puts a face to each word’s name. To help you remember 550 “word faces” quickly and easily, Marie’s Words employs three different mnemonic methods: Word-in-a-Word, Pictorial, and Compare and Contrast.

Blog Review

Personally, our family bought this product at a home school conference in Long Beach this past summer after the incessant begging of our oldest nine- year-old son.  Our family has created word games with it along the way and now have gone through half of the deck so far.  Even though the words are high school SAT prep words, our youngest kindergartner now knows the word: acquit!  He proudly announces, “If the gloves don’t fit you must acquit!”  Better  than Sesame Street and Barney.  That is the power of Marie’s Words!

Great Work Marie’s Words!

Circuit Playground – Teaching kids electronics

Solidssmack.com reports:

CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND BRINGS ENGINEERING TO YOUR KIDDOS WITH PUPPETS

While there may be enough endearing puppet shows on the web waves, there are certainly not enough puppet shows that take on the build, hack, solder, crack, spark, squeeze and flow of electronics and circuitry. Adafruit is changing that with a new show airing next year called Circuit Playground. The show is set to premiere March 2013 via Ustream and Google+ tackling topics from robots to making.

see also Wired article

http://www.wired.com/design/2012/12/adafruit-childrens-show/

 

Common Core State Standards

In the near future states will harmonize around common standards.  Is it a higher standard or the lowering of educational excellence for all?

For further reading check out this article: http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/2012/201212170.asp

Highlights from the article:

  • President Obama added adopting the CCSS as a criterion for states to gain points in the Race to the Top education federal grant program, regardless of whether the state already had comparable or superior educational standards.
  • The National Governors Association first focused the CCSS on the general subject areas of math and English. However, there is now movement to create CCSS in numerous other subject areas. The National Governors Association is also urging states to align early education programs for young children.
  • National standards lead to national curriculum and national tests, and subsequent pressure on homeschool students to be taught from the same curricula.