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Are Schools (Cognitively) Nutritive for Children’s Complex Thinking?

Today we host a very stim­u­lat­ing essay on the impor­tance of problem-solving and encour­ag­ing com­plex game-playing for children’s com­plete “cog­ni­tive nutri­tion”. Enjoy!

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Children’s Com­plex Thinking

– By Tom O’Brien and Chris­tine Wallach

Pop over to your neigh­bor­hood school and visit some class­rooms. Is what’s hap­pen­ing cog­ni­tively nutri­tive? That is, does it sat­isfy present needs and pro­vide nour­ish­ment for the future health and devel­op­ment of children’s thinking?

Or is it puni­tive, with lit­tle con­cern for present nour­ish­ment and future health and development?

The Genevan psy­chol­o­gist and researcher Her­mina Sin­clair said, Read the rest of this entry »

Cells that fire together wire together” and Stanford Media X

That is the goal of Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Media X: to fos­ter deep col­lab­o­ra­tions between indus­try and acad­e­mia, as high­lighted in Busi­ness Week’s recent arti­cle The Vir­tual Meet­ing Room. The 5th Annual Media X Con­fer­ence on Research, Col­lab­o­ra­tion, Inno­va­tion and Pro­duc­tiv­ity served its pur­pose well for the last cou­ple of days: very fun and insight­ful pre­sen­ta­tions by Stan­ford researchers (and a few exter­nal experts) and a great list of par­tic­i­pants to get to know.

No doubt, a great source of men­tal stim­u­la­tion for all of us. Charles House, Media X’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, framed the dia­logue as an effort to gen­er­ate the right ques­tions and then engage the best minds in answer­ing them.

Some of (my) main take-aways

  • The world does not come to us as neat dis­ci­pli­nary prob­lems, but as com­plex inter­dis­ci­pli­nary chal­lenges” (great quote by Dean John Hen­nessy)
  • Per­sonal Robot­ics is poised to explode soon-and soft­ware will be key (pre­dicted by Paul Saffo)
  • An incon­ve­nient truth: Al Gore had to be con­vinced to bring his pre­sen­ta­tion into a movie, since he was very attached to each and every of his X hun­dred slides. We are happy it happened!
  • Neu­ro­sci­en­tists know what pat­terns in the brain indi­cate cer­tain intentions-and are start­ing to use tech­nolo­gies to help immo­bi­lized patients com­mu­ni­cate with exter­nal devices based merely on their thoughts
  • We need to learn to embrace change– a lot of it is coming!

Now, some key points from sev­eral pre­sen­ta­tions (there were more than these, but I couldn’t attend all). I encour­age you to visit the web­site of each pre­sen­ter if you are inter­ested in learn­ing more about that topic.

a. Paul Saffo on Inno­va­tion

  • It usu­ally takes 20 years since basic sci­ence until appli­ca­tions reach inflec­tion point and take the world by storm
  • Next big thing: per­sonal robot­ics. Indi­ca­tors: Read the rest of this entry »

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