Buy a kid a laptop and change the world

I’m really intrigued by the One Laptop Per Child project. For $200 you can buy a laptop (the amazing and cute little “XO” computer) that will be sent to a child in a poor country. “It’s an education project, not a laptop project,” says the project’s visionary leader, Nicholas Negroponte.

Imagine a kid with little hope of a decent education (and there are almost two-billion kids like that, with one in three not even finishing fifth grade) having access to Google and Wikipedia and being able to read books online and connect with other kids in his community or throughout the world. A child on a farm in Africa would have as much access to online information as an Ivy Leaguer or a Foundation Fellow. But the big deal is how a computer will transform a kid’s ability to learn and interest in learning:

“A computer uniquely fosters learning learning by allowing children to “think about thinking”, in ways that are otherwise impossible. Using the XO as both their window on the world, as well as a highly programmable tool for exploring it, children in emerging nations will be opened to both illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem-solving potential.”

And the laptop they’ve come up with is very cool. It can even be handpowered, by crank or pull-cord, for those kids will little or no access to electricity.

XO laptop

We rich Americans should consider putting a donation of at least one of these very cool “XO” laptops on our Christmas (or Hanukkah) lists.

The meaning of life…

I found this fun, almost South Park-esque animation of an Alan Watts speech that does a nice job of explaining the meaning of it all. I have this speech on an old cassette tape and have listened to it often. Watts could communicate the most complex philosophical thoughts in the most engaging and light-hearted manner.

Life is not a means to an end. There is no destination other than right here and right now. Watts’ music metaphor is compelling. There was a quote on the Orientation folder about this: “It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it’s the journey that matters in the end.” Ursula LeGuin

Student success tips

I came across this interesting post with lots of helpful tips on success for students on Lifehack.org, a cool blog you should add to your Google Reader. Most of these tips you already know and do, but your first-years might find it helpful.

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech

Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO (Adam and I are obsessed with him), gave this speech at Stanford’s commencement a couple of years ago. Jobs didn’t even make it through one year of college himself (and he explains that in the speech), but you will appreciate his wisdom.

The Buddha’s advice

The Buddha

Evon requested a copy of the quote from the Buddha that I shared at our meeting yesterday. Here it is:

“If it is not truthful and not helpful, don’t say it.

If it is helpful but not truthful, don’t say it.

If it is truthful but not helpful, don’t say it.

If it is truthful and helpful, wait till the right time.”

Break the ice

Icebreaker

For those of you interested in using icebreakers in your meetings, here are some resources:

About.com’s list of icebreakers

more icebreakers

Remember names

Aha!

Check out these article for strategies to remember names:

Remembering Names Through NLP

Games Can Help With Remembering Names

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