For her birthday I just gave my Mom a handmade bowl from the SF-based e-retailer company Lydali. Like the other gifts I’ve bought on the site, it went over (very) well, in part because each item on the site features a story about the artisans who made it.
The online store, which “brings together well-designed jewelry, accessories, and home furnishings from around the world,” sources from 21 countries. It was launched eight months ago by Ali Price and Lydia Harter (whose combined names gave the company its moniker), two friends who met at Wake Forest before working at Kiva.org and Pottery Barn, respectively.
Where will February 14 find you this year? Dancing with your neighbors, friends, and co-workers, of course!
This 15th V-Day will be the largest ever: when women and men around the world dance, sing, and shout in defiance of violence against women. I’ll be at City Hall with thousands of other San Franciscans, DJs, and Mayor Lee between 4 to 6 PM–consider it if you’re local.
One Billion Rising was created to show our collective refusal of violence aimed at women and girls. Your stomping–your sharing, your hip-waving, your shouting–is part of a global call for a better reality for 50% of the world’s population (and the people who love them). more
Fellow Ohioan (and, oh, Congressman) Tim Ryan has been in the Bay promoting his new book, “A Mindful Nation” with foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The former quarterback said he knew he was struck by the contemplative bug when a recent Superbowl Sunday found him flying to visit a meditation master–and away from much-loved beer and brats.
His interests in education and preparing learners with social and emotional skills are timely ones. In Palo Alto today he asked, “What can we we do to combat inattention, instead of just yelling at kids? How might they come to the technology they’re using?” Being able to teach effectively today, he says (and I believe), involves considering our collective expectations of immediacy. One answer is mindfulness-based practice, a technique Ryan said he’s observed kids bringing to their stressed parents. Now here’s an experimental idea to bring to electorates.
I loved trying one of the new Nimble Scooters, and not just because they’re made locally (and beautifully). When cargo bicycle fan John Kim tried to bring hauling capacity to the scooter form, he wanted to make one that could be sold for less than $500. City dwellers have reason to rejoice. Kim, a Bay Area designer and blogger, skipped the complexity of modern bicycle components (think fixed gear scooting) to offer colorful transport at a friendlier price.
This weekend marks the introduction of a Vice and Intel collaboration, the art/music/technology mashup the Creators Project, to the City by the Bay. (Lest you think the image at right is a local representation, it’s actually a miniature model of Lisbon collected as part of the project’s global art undertaking.)
Fort Mason is hosting workshops and large-scale installations (not to mention a performance by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; free tickets were all spoken for earlier this week). Especially of interest is The Artist as Researcher panel which will bring United Visual Artists, Casey Reas, Quayola, and Sosolimite together with to discuss how “artists are playing a critical role in making technology more human” and whether they might employ the same data-driven practices that drive research at engineering-oriented organizations.
The annual Digital Media and Learning Conference has come to SF this year, and “motivation” has been the magic (or at least most-used) word. Both in scientist/strategist John Seely Brown’s kickoff statement (which included the idea that the half-life of skills is now five years max) and conversations about learner engagement, reasons for participation–and how they might be recognized–have been dominant. more
What do laser cutters, confidence, and trucks have in common? Besides being things we’d secretly like to have more access to, they’re part of an innovative project out of Design Garage at Stanford that looks to get young students making (in spite of the budget cuts that have recently plagued local districts).
The SparkLab team of product designers has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25K to outfit a truck with tools and take it from school to school and stimulate students along the way. Take a peak at their fun story to see how the project intends to get local kids learning in highly hands-on ways.
I’m grateful for Edutopia’s new short story “How meditation transformed a school.” Beautifully told, it shows the transformation of Visitaction Valley Middle School (where many students suffer post-traumatic stress after witnessing gun violence) following the introduction of a meditation program into classrooms. Call silent meditation during the school day a coping mechanism, behavior modification, or simply progressive: whichever way you look at it, the reduction in stress and truancy is staggering.
This thought from SF superintendent Carlos Garcia also seems to have ramifications not just for education but for workplaces and personal development as well: “If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got…Is that good enough? I don’t think it’s good enough for the 21st century.” Watch, won’t you?
When entrepreneur Thor Muller suggested getting educators, parents, and child advocates together to talk about the future of experimental learning, my only question was when. (The answer: March 1.) We’ll be getting together at the Code for America offices in SF that evening for an Edgeucation Salon that will explore learning–anytime, anywhere–and how new forms of project-based learning are being evaluated. Speakers will tentatively include TED fellow Gever Tulley (SF Brightworks, the Tinkering School), Gigi Carunungan (Synapse School), Daniela Digiacomo (Flex Academy), Ellen Hathaway (San Francisco Rock Project), Rebecca Dakes (SF Schoolhouse), Marina Gorbis (Institute for the Future), and Wayee Chu (NewSchools Venture Fund). I hope you’ll join us for an evening of discovery and conversation about what’s happening at the edge of K-12 education design in San Francisco, on the Web and beyond.
Visiting the nearly-open supper club Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco’s Bayview has more than made my week. In working to offer “marketable employment skills in the restaurant industry to youth,” particularly previously incarcerated populations, it has started hosting one-night only events before opening more widely for brunch and dinner this spring.
As apprentices, local young adults work as chefs, waiters and entertainers in a surprisingly warm atmosphere for what was once the Potrero Hill Police Station. That is, before founder Teresa Goines, a corrections officer who had worked with teen men, decided to do something about the correspondence she’d noticed between high crime and unemployment in the city. The resulting restaurant is a supportive environment not just for the people who work in it–but see for yourself when it hosts a New Orleans night on February 25.