New technology and gaming for online learning and brain health

Doris alerted me to a touching New York Times article from 10/19/14 entitled, To Siri, With Love. The author, Judith Newman, wrote a love letter to Siri, the iPhone assistant, because of the positive “relationship” Siri has with her autistic, 13 year old son. Siri, far more patient than the author, provides him with endless facts to the subjects that he is passionate about and relentlessly interested in. But even more importantly, she helps him be more socially appropriate by modeling responses that are polite, kind, and socially acceptable. Judith reports that she can now have more extended conversations with her son, and that he actually compliments her and says please and thank you, things he did not do pre-Siri. For this autistic child, being an independent learner with Siri’s help has done more on a social as well as cognitive level to stretch his thinking and person-to-person interactions. The article goes on to report that children with emotional and cognitive challenges work well with these digital “sidekicks”, and that the tech industry is creating digital characters for this very purpose. The good side of technology! Read more

Women Networking to Lead

Our online Lean In circle led by Lisa has made me think about the power of networks and how women become leaders, especially in corporations. We had a rich resource list of videos and articles to fuel our discussion last week.

Background: Lisa started our circle online almost two years ago when the Lean In Foundation launched its discussion infrastructure to encourage women in face-to-face learning circles to take more risks and lean-in to their work challenges. Our distributed group needed to work online to connect with each other and has been online ever since.

The Foundation has provided the circles with interesting, timely, stimulating resources. As Lean In seemed to focus this year more on young women entering the workforce post-college graduation, our  experienced-women-in-the-workforce circle became more self-organizing and self-propelled, meaning that each of us brings in articles, videos, studies, etc. about leadership, women in the workplace, communication styles, and stereotypes to discuss.  We always leave our 60-90 minute discussions enriched with new ideas and perspectives, and valuing each other, too. Read more

Smile – You’re on Candid Camera (and could go viral!)

I remember watching Alan Funt’s Candid Camera on TV when I was growing up, and then again as an adult. Some of the situations created and  reactions of people caught on camera were amazing, and we always marveled at “who thought this up?”. Alan Funt’s son Peter has recreated the show on TV Land, and wrote an interesting Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on 9/27/14. In it he states his amazement that: “…after a 10 year hiatus …. people are more easily fooled than ever“. He attributes this to multi-tasking. Alan Funt had the problem of distracting people. Peter Funt does not have that problem – people are on their cellphones or other devices, and have less than full focus for his pranks. He fears this also makes them more vulnerable to real trouble and potential scams. Read more