Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Future of Learning?

What if you could hold pretty much everything you needed to know right in your lap?

Riding down the road, waiting at the dentist, lying on your couch, tucked into bed, and any time you needed to know something, or read something, or make a note, or jot down a poem, or whip out a sketch, or plan a trip, or add a doctor's visit to your schedule, or look up reviews, or watch a movie, or listen to music, or check the weather, or find out where, exactly, you are, anyway, (and which way is North), or how to get where you are going, or play a game or ten, or check your email, or look in on Facebook, or look up a recipe (and display it while you cook), or share photos, or write a report - or a letter (typed or handwritten), or research the habits of bees, or look up an address, or remember a birthday, or make out a grocery list (that you'll always actually have with you), or check the news, or find out what constellation you are facing, or play some Scrabble with your friends, or look up your bank account, or bid on an auction, or keep an eye on Craig's list, or look up a phone number, or check the store hours, or find the movie times, or learn a foreign language, or learn how to knit, or find a synonym or an elusive definition, or design a zen garden, or update your blog, or complete an iTunes University video course, or read all the classics that you missed, or meditate to a custom sound experience as you drift off to sleep - any time you need to do any of that, no matter where you are, you just can.

It is hard to explain what an iPad is. It is even harder to explain what an iPad is without coming across as the world's gushiest tech geek. Truthfully, the iPad does do a lot of things that other machines can do already. . . But not in your lap. Not in your purse. Not big enough to be beautiful and practical as well as convenient. Not long lasting enough to go all day, everywhere that you do.

No laptop is always there when you need it, as convenient as any paper notebook - just open and go, instantly, without taking longer to boot than to do what you needed to do in the first place. No cell phone has such smooth and appealing navigation. Things look the way they are supposed to, and you can type!

My bold prediction is that the iPad and its forthcoming competitors will be just as useful to jocks as to geeks. Especially if the jocks carry purses big enough to hold them.

My next big prediction is that because of that purse thing, women will find the iPad to be more insanely useful than men. . .

And there will be competitors coming out of the woodwork!

Competition is a very good thing for getting pricing down to the place where everyone can afford a tablet like this!

Until then, there's always selling things on Ebay to raise funds. Ask me how I know! (Just don't ask me where my poor Kindle is ...)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Many Rooms

In all my years as a homeschooler, and as a homeschooling parent (heck, as a human being!) I've learned ... that I have a lot to learn.

It's not so much a matter of the more I learn the less I know, but rather the more I learn, the more I seem to recognize how much there is to know ... and how little of it I've mastered.

Does that sound discouraging? I guess I don't really think of it as a bad thing, though I do frequently wish for more hours in the day. I feel as if rather than living life stuck in a few small, familiar rooms, I've had chances to open up lots of doors, I've seen lots of rooms, (more than some, less than others) and I've even made inroads into learning quite a bit about some of them.

I could have lived my life in those first little rooms, happy, but ignorant of the whole rest of the blueprint, the rest of the story. Maybe not even knowing how small those first little rooms were. And maybe even missing a lot of what's really going on.

My point here, though, is not that I am particularly special. Of course, we'd all like to think we are especially refined, but don't you think the truth is that nobody actually stays in those first small rooms? Pretty much everybody opens doors and broadens horizons throughout their lives, one way or another.

No, to me, the interesting question is:

Which doors do you open, and why?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Planitarium DVD from NASA

NASA and the National Museum of Natural History area teaming up to offer a free planetarium DVD to parents and educators. You are free to request as many DVD's as you need. Go to this page to request your copy. Non US residents can email them to request a copy, as well.

We are looking forward to getting our copy!