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Camy

Be Inspired!

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Thanks, Camy. The first was excellent. Watching the second one now.

One of the most basic problems, even for our technologically blessed and mostly not so poor, developed countries, is the simple problem of availability of computers and connectivity. It does no good for someone low income, whether child or teen or adult, to have an iPad or laptop or cell phone (etc.) if they cannot keep the battery charged, if they cannot get on the internet long enough without heavy cost and with high speed, or if they simply can't afford that pricey, shiny luxury gadget... that gadget that is as much a tool for knowledge, information, learning, informing, access to opportunities, as it is about the chance to gab to your friends and sweetie, or to play games and listen to music and watch videos and read books. (I am not knocking the entertainment. I believe that's necessary, in order to get some relief from the weary world and play and imagine new things.) (I was and still am mostly a liberal arts kind of guy. I think it's important.)

What good is putting a computer in a classroom if Johnny and Janie (and kids with less English names) cannot use them at home? What good is it if their mom and dad (or whoever they live with) can't use one, because little things like food and shelter are more important? How much good is it, if utility and communications companies and hardware and software makers price their wares out of the reach of a large number of "working stiffs?" Those kids and those adults are not any more stupid or lazy than the wealthier folks. No, really, I mean that. I used to be upper middle class. Not any more! And I've gotten a better look at how the other half lives. Been there myself some.

Not to mention, when Hurricane Ike went through, I found out first hand what it is like to live without *any* modern conveniences. For weeks...bordering on a month and a half or more. (Not to mention doing without internet access most of that time. No electricity, no batteries charged, no web. Luckily, once things began starting up, friends could charge cell phones and other items for each other at work or other emergency locations.) -- And by "no modern conveniences" I mean running, drinkable, clean water, refrigeration, gas and electricity, telephone and cell phones and internet, absolutely anything. Instant regression to pre-1900 living. It was challenging!

But the lesson from that is how fragile it all is, and how urgent it is for everyone to get their fair share, their chance to get a piece of the pie. If Johnny and Janie and their families can't get access to the wonders of computers and the web, and if someone like me is starting to look at the budget and wonder how much longer I'll have before I go on public web access points, then we have a major societal problem to solve. It doesn't do much good for society if only the lucky rich folks can get access to be the technocrats.

But that's only one small point from the first video. That video says so many great things about learning and teaching, about being excited about what there is out there. -- The language geek in me is very interested to find out just how likely it is for even a small number of kids to learn to read from those resources provided. My feeling is it needs a good guide who already knows how to read, to get them through it. But it is also quite possible a few kids will "get it" and they'll teach the others. The ones who are able to "get it" are really something. -- But then, there were people who invented writing and reading independently across the planet, including the famous example of Sequoyah, who did have some exposure to the idea that it could be done and a basic idea of how; he just invented the solution for his people on his own, a remarkable achievement. If a bright someone like him could do it, then there are other bright kids and adults out there who could figure it out, given the right self-teaching methods. There's alwo always the chance someoen would invent it again independently.

All very interesting. -- Power consumption: My own fancy portable computing gadgets (cell phone, tablet, whatever) all have to get plugged in once every one to three days, or they complain they're about to pass out from low batteries.

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