Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home from ASTRA

It's Sunday night, and I'm still not quite down to earth after the amazing American Specialty Toy Retailers Association (ASTRA) show in St Paul. The toy business is a business of play, and the ASTRA people set the bar for high energy and excitement. I have a long list of posts highlighting some of the things I did,found and learned this year, stay tuned!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Ghosts of Summers Lost

We've unpacked about 19 bazillion workbooks this week. Math, Reading, Writing (all the parents want to work on writing!) and your general Summer Bridge workbooks of course. It makes for busy days, and much less blog posting. This thought struck me suddenly. What if all those workbooks are extracting a karmic toll? There's a legend that Sarah Winchester was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles. It may come to pass that I will be haunted by the ghosts of Summer idles, ruined by workbooks from the Golden Apple. Terrifying.

Friday, June 5, 2009

TED Talks

If I haven't blogged about TED talks before, I should have. If you are learning junkie like me, the TED talks are pure heaven, once you get passed the American Express ads. I posted about Gever Tulley "5 Dangerous Things For Kids" talk a long time ago, but I also enjoyed Ken Robinson's talk on Education and Creativity. Watch, then come back and discuss!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maker Faire Report

Yesterday I went to Maker Faire, which did not disappoint. If my head had the capacity for 3 amazing innovations, I found them there. If my head had the capacity for 300 amazing innovations, I could have found them there. Overload came quickly.
The absolute best part of Maker Faire is the focus on kids. The media coverage misses this part, because all the dazzling, mind-blowing, flame-belching machines are the first thing you notice. But if you look around, all you see are kids going nuts. It's a huge playground, and the smart guys have latched on to it.
The Exploratorium had a big spot, Stanford's Kids Tech Program, the Tinkering School, Robotics Clubs, Model Rocket Clubs and dozens of other science outreach programs were putting on a show for kids. This one event probably does more for boosting science enthusiasm in the Bay Area than all other venues combined.
The sponsors of Maker Faire should host a preview day for schools on the Friday before, and invite field trips. Every kid deserves a chance to see this event.
I'm working on putting together some of the video I shot at the Faire, but I was excited to see one of our fun companies, Hape, had a booth that featured Quadrilla, and the the German inventor of the toy was on the floor playing with the kids! I'll post more as I get it put together.