Wednesday, May 27, 2009

DrumBot Project

Robot drummer from Michael Una on Vimeo.

Caffrey and I are going to work on a project similar to this once school gets out. Inspiration comes from an article called "Drumbot Activate!" by Michael Una in Make: 15 (


Highly Liquid MSA-R MIDI decoder kit
MSA-R firmware docs
Video of Drumbot

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards

How Our Children Really Learn - and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

From the Publisher: Children don't come with instruction manuals, but sometimes it seems like everyone has an opinion on how to make your child into a mini-Einstein. A winner of a Books for a Better Life award, this book sifts through years of developmental research to give you a clear message: learning really happens through playtime. As the authors explain how to make the best of your time with your child, they show you how to practice their own three "R's":

REFLECT: Stop and ask if a formal, structured activity is right for your child and whether you're reducing the time that she could spend learning through play.

RESIST: Just say no to stuffing your child with information and do so knowing that the research in this book backs you up.

RE-CENTER: Reassure yourself that you made the right choice, because growing up should be full of play, not work.

More than a book about parenting, this guide is a joyful celebration of childhood and the imaginative and nurturing play that should be so much a part of it.

A Nation of Wimps

"Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they're breaking down in record numbers.

...With few challenges all their own, kids are unable to forge their creative adaptations to the normal vicissitudes of life. That not only makes them risk-averse, it makes them psychologically fragile, riddled with anxiety. In the process they're robbed of identity, meaning and a sense of accomplishment, to say nothing of a shot at real happiness. Forget, too, about perseverance, not simply a moral virtue but a necessary life skill. These turn out to be the spreading psychic fault lines of 21st-century youth. Whether we want to or not, we're on our way to creating a nation of wimps....

Read the full article
By: Hara Estroff Marano

Nanny State Playgrounds

My son started at a new elementary school (4th grade). The only complaints I've heard is how they can't run on the playground equipment and how they keep getting kicked off it. He says recess can be boring! Is this what we want? A bunch of quiet, slow moving but super safe, non-risk taking wimps? What kind of adults will they become?

see the video

Monday, May 4, 2009

Minyan Land

MinyanLand, a virtual community designed to teach kids and families about earning, spending, saving and giving through games and interaction that are entertaining and educational.

The world was conceived by Minyanville, a leader in financial infotainment and home to the icons of Wall Street and finance, "Hoofy" the Bull and "Boo" the Bear. Joining the effort is the Council for Economic Education, the nation's leader in economic and financial literacy.

MinyanLand as a platform to entertain and educate a young generation so they understand the concept of a market and the basics of economics and finance on a real-world level. The economic system of MinyanLand mimics the real-life pricing of general goods and services. As players participate in the system, their actions will affect the overall MinyanLand economy. This is how they will learn. MinyandLand is best suited to kids in grades 3-5 but can be used by all ages.

MinyanLand will also offer incentives to encourage such behavior as charitable giving.