Research about effects of Screen Time

Many thanks to Ann Schlesinger for pointing me to a new title: Into The Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth To Age Five. This book, aimed primarily at parents of young children, draws on dozens of scientific studies to explore the effects of television, computers, and other forms of screen entertainment on young children — both good and bad. Author Lisa Guernsey includes sometimes amazing statistics such as the fact that 39 percent of families keep the television turned on “at all times.” She also discusses the ramifications of screen time on children’s time for creative play, cognitive and emotional development, and physical health.

History of Photography

Since so many people send photo cards for the holidays, I thought Photomuse, a resource for scholarship in the history of photography, might interest some folks, especially kids during their winter break. Search for photos by title, date, description, photographer, country, and others. Discover the chronology of developments in photography, beginning with announcement on January 7, 1839, at the French Academy of Science in Paris that Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre had invented the daguerreotype.

Teaching Sustainable Home Design

The My Sustainable House game is a very cool way for kids (and adults) to learn about the concept of sustainability and how families might go about making their homes more energy efficient. It’s a well done flash interface in which players explore ways to build a sustainable house.

Prior to building a sustainable house, the cute little animé characters teach players how sustainable homes are built illustrating how to choose materials whose manufacture, transportation, use, and disposal, have the smallest environmental impact.

I built a straw-bale house with wood-flooring, soft-wood window frames, triple-paned glass, cellulose insulation, and a slate roof. Unfortunately, I ran out of money and couldn’t afford to finish my house. Remember kids – there are always trade-offs!

Give a Laptop, Get a Laptop

Until December 31 the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC) is offering a special deal, where in return for donating a laptop to a child in a developing country, you can buy one for the child in your life as well. The computer, which was in part the brainchild of Seymour Papert (and many others), runs free open source software on a Linux operating system. It has an impressive repertoire of functions. The total cost including shipping was $423.95, of which $200 may be tax-deducted.

Access to computers has a huge impact on learning; see the December 19, 2006, post for one example.

P.S. Seymour Papert’s granddaughter told me this morning that he is doing much better since last year’s health crisis.