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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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