Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thanksgiving in NYC

Hal and his Uncle B
Here are some pix of the kid at the playground with my awesome big bro Ben taken in NYC. It was so nice to see everyone, including my nephews and brother/sister-in-law. We had a terrific time and celebrated with lots of family.  We had some great NYC pizza ,twice, and good home-cooked food too.  There were cats, lots of running around, and general kid shenanigans. What fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Libraries are awesome!

I love going to our small local library with my kid.  We have a terrific time looking through potential books that we might bring home,and critiquing the books as we flip through them.  My little one, H, loves to choose books that have colorful covers, and I like to peek at the endings. JG likes to look at the writing and art style. . Discovering new books and new authors is definitely an adventure. So far we have discovered many great authors like Chris van Dusen and Mo Willems. We've also enjoyed interactives like Peek-A- Pet and Pat-A-X Books. Little H learns about sharing, and taking care of things that are not his. And we all enjoy getting great recommendations from our librarians, Yan and Christy, who are the best librarians ever.
The best feature though are the community events held by our librarians. Almost every day of the week, there is something like a toddler sing, lap sit, story hour or language exchange.  Once a month there's a potluck and the neighborhood has really come together to enjoy meeting each other.  The decorations are always festive and bring up lots of conversation. The O'Connell librarians are superb in their curation of books and cultural events.  There are always Mandarin and Portuguese, and Spanish language books and movies around for the local population, and this branch hosts many cultural events to discuss different cultural holidays. My kid loves to see the familiar faces at the desk, and says hi to the librarians everytime.  He enjoys talking to Christy about her colorful sweaters and seeing what books she's holding for us. He loves talking to Yan and getting new updates on recent library events. I think our little local library is just exceptional in its level of engagement with the community and kids of many different ages.
We try to get new books every week, and many of the books we've checked out we've ended up buying. So its done wonders for helping us develop H's interests in science, art, and storytelling.  Best of all, it's free and reduces house clutter because we bring the books back. Go Public Libraries!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Today Hal touched a Lobster

Hal loves this bead center and sees this as the reason for checking out the Aquarium. Luckily, he was able to take some time away from the table to touch the presentation Lobster. The volunteer brought the lobster in a white tupperware bin, along with a bubbler. It was cool (literally, there was a blue ice pack floating in the same water). He did it twice.  Hal liked to touch the bubbles even more than the lobster. Today we also saw jellies (blue ones are his favorite), and touched the stingrays.  I think Hal touched one stingray, but I couldn't be sure. After he touched it, he said "You don't like this." So we left to go back to the beads. He is so focused...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hal exploring colors and architecture

I was cleaning off old photos from my phone, and realized I had taken a bunch of Hal at different art events. Here's the link to Hal surrounded by RGB lights, balloons, and inside a cardboard tent fort.

Workshop on Technology and Change in Developing Countries

Next week,  I'll be giving a talk at the media lab for the developing countries workshop based on my research. I'm really looking forward to presenting my work alongside my colleagues Rich and Leo, who have also done some pretty cool things in remote places.

The workshop was one of the first to fill up, but here's the abstract:
 "Inside-Out: How Developing Countries are Pioneering New Technologies in Health, Education and Civic Media"

While new technology is often associated with developed countries, the most radically innovative ideas are often deployed first in developing countries, where the need is greatest and out-of-the-box thinking is plentiful.  The most creative technologies, business models, and emerging trends can be seen in developing countries often years before they take root in countries like the USA.  In this workshop, we will briefly review a few of the developing country projects the Media Lab has spearheaded over the past 20 years and point to disruptive emerging tends in Healthcare, Education, and Civic Media that are currently transforming the world.  Many examples will be given, followed by open discussion with participants.  1-hour session, repeated twice.

Dr. Rich Fletcher -- Mobile Tools for Health Care
Dr. Angela Chang -- New tools for Education
Dr. Leo Burd -- New Tools for Civic Media 

Rich Fletcher teaches the MIT class "Technologies for Developing Countries," and is currently Assistant Prof at UMass Med School, Director of Mobile Technologies, Dept of Psychiatry; and is also Research Scientist at Mass General Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Global Health Division.

Angela Chang is a post-doc specializing in new technologies for literacy and is currently part of the research team creating and testing new scalable approaches to literacy in remote parts of the world.

Leo Burd is Research Scientist in the Center for Civic Media and has devoted the past 15 years to developing new communication and social media tools for use by communities and children around the world.