Exploring the intersection of technology and the arts

Inspire Her Mind

This video from Verizon suggests that the messages we are sending to girls push them away from math and sciences. I have a girl who is in middle school, and seems to have lost some of the love of learning in these areas, not because she’s been discouraged at home. I think it is much more complicated. One of the big reasons is that she is made to sit at a desk all day at school and read in books about others who have explored and learned, but rarely gets to do so herself.

At home, we have done plenty of hands-on activities, though admittedly less often in recent years than before, because I have been busy trying to finish a doctorate. Hopefully, after that is completed, there will be more time for home-based learning activities.

I also think, in general, kids don’t go outside as much and do things with their hands as much. My daughter is more inclined than most kids in this area. I haven’t yet given up hope on her entering a STEM career field, but I really don’t feel like school supports this path well.

She actually had a great year this past year in the sixth grade. Her math teacher really built her confidence up. Early on, every test day would put her in tears, but by the end of the year we rarely heard about it as she caught on and realized she could do it. The teachers are doing what they can within the constraints that they are given, but in general, I think there are to many tests and is too little joy in learning.

Next week, Emily and I will travel to K-State Salina (where I work) to do a Virtual Worlds – Minecraft Edition camp. I’m really excited to get her into object oriented programming using Minecraft and Scriptcraft. She will also be learning about electronics, and 3-D printing… several different areas of engineering and STEM. None of it will be quietly listening to adults filling their heads with information. It will instead all be about setting up an environment for learning, and letting kids explore.

I Can See My House!

Evidently, a neighbor of mine purchased a new quadcopter and filmed our neighborhood this week. This video shows a pretty good view of the whole town where I live.. I think he’s planning to use it as part of his farming operation to inspect his crops. Recently, I spoke at the Arthur Capper Ag CooperativeContinue Reading

Manual Dexterity of Millenials

A couple of weeks ago I made a presentation to a group of agricultural cooperative CEOs about the implications of technology in rural communities along with implications for future employees. I talked about a number of things that I usually discuss, including the use of social media and the Internet as tools for doing businessContinue Reading

Life’s Paradoxes

I have been reading Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search For Meaning┬árecently. My daughter, who is struggling with the novel assigned in her 6th grad reading class, asked my about the book I’m reading. I told her it was assigned for a class I took several years ago, but admitted that I never actually read itContinue Reading

The Contest Nobody Could Win

This is a mash-up of six songs, one second each. In the classic sitcom episode WKRP in Cincinnati: The Contest Nobody Could Win, disk jockey Dr Johnny Fever accidentally promotes the entire year’s prize budget as the prize, instead of the $50 it was supposed to be, so they had to come up with aContinue Reading

Reimagined Roadsigns

This is a visual communications assignment we are working on in my Digital Media 1 class. The idea is to take an ordinary road sign and reinterpret it to show what is going on beyond the sign’s borders. I love playing with negative space, so this is what I came up with on the fallingContinue Reading

Don’t Know How

One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is waiting until they know how to do something before they begin. This is especially a problem in our information-rich world. If you hesitate, if you wait until you are fully qualified to begin, it might be too late. Get going now! Don’t worry ’bout whatContinue Reading

Hosting Websites

I think every professional should have a website of their own. I have had numerous websites over the years. Most of them are no longer available. Do you know why? Because I didn’t own or control them. I was entirely dependent on someone else’s ability to stay in business and keep the website doors open.Continue Reading