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Child Labor or School


Posted on 31st January 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

The Human Rights Watch has here a litany of the horrors that can result from child labor. Certainly no one can argue with the tragedy of these horrors. The only mention in the summary of anything positive coming from a child being part of the work forces is this statement:

In some cases, a child’s work can be helpful to him or her and to the family; working and earning can be a positive experience in a child’s growing up. This depends largely on the age of the child, the conditions in which the child works, and whether work prevents the child from going to school.

There is an assumption here which is accepted as an article of faith in our times: the place a child learns is at school. We have gone to such an extreme with this point of view that apprenticing is demeaned and usually illegal. There is nothing in the above quotation that would hint the child might learn something on the job. The more practical it becomes to learn from the internet, with less need to attend school, the more feasible it will become to integrate apprenticing and learning.
Our goal should be to shape the future for the welfare of children even if schools turn out to be less necessary or not necessary at all. Michaelangelo apprenticed at nine in the Medici court. When Ben Franklin was twelve he was taken in as an apprentice in his father’s candle shop. At age fourteen Alexander Hamilton was managing the books for a mercantile establishment. These three achieved levels of learning attained by very few.

Poking the eyes of tyrants


Posted on 30th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Terrorism Undermined

These words of an Iraqi describing his thoughts as he voted today in Iraq unveil the deeply self-known unalienable equality of every human being:

I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world’s tyrants.

His full account is here.

Coach Carter Expectations


Posted on 29th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

The movie Coach Carter surpassed my expectations. It pulled no punches about what goes on in high schools where grown-ups cheer when someone manages to graduate, whether or not the graduate can read, write or do arithmetic. Coach Carter does not expect small victories, only real ones. It is about time half a success is recognized as no success at all.
Carter does not accept lowered expectations. Winning is harder for some than others but that does not lower expectations for any person. Once you do that you have lower persons.

Open Access News


Posted on 28th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Open Content

This blog posts news from the open access movement, defined here as:

Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature on the internet. Making it available free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Removing the barriers to serious research.

The contributors roster is outstanding.

Forgotten New York


Posted on 27th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

New Yorker Kevin Walsh hosts a web neighborhood here that is full of twists turns and surprises, all capturing urban history of the city he loves. When I finally tore myself away from the lamposts, subway tunnels, ancient theaters and forgotten streets I realized I had learned more about old New York in ten minutes than I could have in a day or two of touring the town with an expert guide. Actually that is just what I had been doing – virtually.
Walsh’s web work is an outstanding example of an exciting place for a student to engage knowledge.

Right to Go to School, or Right to Learn


Posted on 27th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

The article here describes the plight of the millions of girls who are not in school. A worst example of school absence: only 2% of girls are in school in Sudan. Civil war in Sudan and other factors that keep girls away from school are described.
The article argues girls have a right to an education. That right, though, is not quite the same as the right to go to school – at least in the sense that school attendance is a means to the end of education. We are fast approaching the fork in the road to learning where giving a girl out of school a Wi-Fi-receiving laptop is a more effective way to fulfill her right to education than going to school would be.
I don’t think the traditional colonial type brick and mortar schools will ever be built in Sudan, nor updated and replaced where they still exist. Nor do I think if that were to happen the girls would get the equal access to learning by attending them as they will from the laptops. The real learning deal is quickly moving online.
Thanks pointing to this article goes to Edutopia.

Gravatar Frog


Posted on 26th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Open Content

When I just signed up for my gravatar – the golden frog shown above – I took a look at the GRAVATAR rating guidelines.
It is facinating, and reassuring, to watch human nature at work in guiding people away and toward PG, R and X materials. There are few individuals of any age who are sick enough to encourage children to visit the streets of the red light district in their town. There are plenty of other people who will hunt down the few that do and stop them. I am convinced that is the reason children will continue to become safer and safer in the open internet.

Wow! Wi-Fi and Wind


Posted on 26th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous

Reader James in London emailed me about his Alternative Energy blog here. His posts discuss wind as a way to get electrical energy to rural and remote areas. With my single-minded focus, what jumped into my mind was that power captured from wind could be used for charging the batteries of wireless laptops, handheld computers and cell phones.
My previous posts on Wi-Fi in Afghanistan and Nepal did not mention how to provide electricity. Wind and other alternatives to wire grids are very promising for moving Wi-Fi across our planet by using her natural energy.

Well-Driven Nails of Scholars


Posted on 25th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

I was chastened a bit by these words from Ecclesiastes 12 which I came across posted on La Shawn Barber’s Corner. Golden Swamp is a place about the substance of many books and much study – both activities that have moved on to the internet in our time.
My goal is keeping the spirit of the Swamp in accord with the admonishment of Ecclesiastes. The internet gives digital wings to what the Good Book has to tell us, bringing it to is in a click or two. For certain: God will bring every work into judgment, including the blogsphere and its internet platform. I hope and believe He will find great good in them and that we are called to make our virtual books according to His wisdom and truth. That sounds hard, but there is encouragement in the Good Book’s lines before those quoted above:

10The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright–words of truth. 11The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars[b] are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.

Wind Power Tutorial in 4 Languages


Posted on 24th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

The Danish Wind Industry Association is not kidding when it promises here to tell you everything to know about windpower – “short of becoming a wind engineer.” This site’s first class detail-supported tutorial removes the need for textbook coverage on the subject of wind power for any student in places that speak Deutsch, English, Espanol and Francais. There is even an animated section for “kids of all ages.”
Certainly the association openly promotes wind power; that is its job. The students who spend time here get a lesson in the winds of advocacy as well as just plain wind.

End of the Road – Patagonia


Posted on 23rd January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

This geographical Flash concoction is a 2004 state-of-the-art cognitive stopping place. Spend several minutes clicking around in it and you will know a lot about Patagonia. You will be connecting things in Patagonia and in your mind. Thus it is cognitive: related to thinking. The End of the Road is glimpse of a powerful new format learning emerging from the golden swamp of the internet.
Link source: Scout Report

Biographies of Distinction


Posted on 22nd January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

The Nobel website includes here a biography of each person it has honored with a Nobel Prize since it began giving them in 1901. Many of the biographies were written at the time the recipients received their prize, including this one of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was posted in 1964, four years before he was killed. King’s biography is updated in places, which are annotated, and accompanied by his acceptance speech and other resources. The Peace Prize King won is shown above.
The Nobel website is a unique biographical resource for many of the leading figures of the 20th century.

Talk about the Space Weather


Posted on 21st January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

Space weather can be bad just as earth weather can be. You can learn about space weather and geomagnetic storms here if you are weary of talking about the weather on our planet’s surface.

Saturn Sojourn


Posted on 21st January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

The new Scout Report reviews an Exploratorium jewel about Saturn. It includes an overview of the Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft that probed Saturn’s moon Titan last week.

Simple and Powerful


Posted on 20th January 2005 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

This very long page about basic machines and their components is, like the mechanisms it explains, simple and powerful. It takes little energy these days to find out anything you want to know.