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Screens or No screens? Battle lines are being drawn

Which side of the fence are you on when it comes to screens in the lives of your children?

We all have stories to tell. So as I regularly pose this question to my friends and colleagues I like to stay armed with evidence, and more importantly, other parents’ findings. You may want to read the story by Anya Kaemnetz on NPR this month. she quotes may different people. From a sleep researcher parent, to a pediatrician, to an obesity doctor.

  • The obesity doctor has this ‘rule’ in the home: The 5- 2- 1- 0 formula. It’s basically servings of fruits and vegetables a day. No more than hours of screens. 1 hour of physical activity, 0 sugary beverages.
  • The sleep researcher doesn’t allow screens to be used before bed time as t impacts sleep quality and of course sleep time.

Meanwhile the cell phone ban in schools has many advocates, including in France. Would it kill the Ed-Tech supporters? And the one-on-one movement?

What’s your take?

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in Ed-Tech, Education, Technology

 

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‘Design thinking’ mindset re-imagines education!

The term ‘design thinking’ is used in the STEM approach to education. Here’s what that looks like. The founder of Riverside school in Ahmedabad, India gave up her design business to create a school in which the students ‘design’ much of what they do at school. Including designing the uniform and some of the architecture.

Let founder, Kiran Sethi explain.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2018 in Disruptive, Education

 

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Robotics Team to represent Sri Lanka in Mexico

If you’ve been following my robotics coverage here, I am happy to report on this year’s Team Sri Lanka, who will represent the country at the second Robotics Olympics. The event will be in August, in Mexico City.

I met with the team coaches in Colombo in mid June to find out how they have been progressing. They have been building the robot from the kit they received from First Global, under guidance of a engineer and IT teacher, Shankar. His expertise is in CAD design and he seems excited –though unfazed! — about his students who must build a robust competition-worthy robot.

At the time of writing they are working on a lift mechanism –a so-called ‘cantilever lift’ mechanism — that will allow the bot to move objects to the area that earns them maximum points.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what last years Robotics Team looked like.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2018 in Education, Robotics, STEM

 

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Could robots cross the line?

There are four ‘Laws of robotics’ that are seldom discussed whenever the topic comes up. There were written by the late sci-fi author, Isaac Asimov. More like guide rails, these are practical laws.

With the rapid rise in automation, AI, and robotics from battlefield robots (developed by South Korea, the US, and who knows who else) and surgical bots, these issues are worth discussing. Why leave the issues of automation and robotics to academic and/or politicians?

In this month’s column in LMD, I discuss the pros and cons of robotics. You can read it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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S.T.E.M, skyscrapers and suicidal Tuk-tuks

One month isn’t enough in Sri Lanka!

 

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in Education, Sri Lanka

 

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Goodbye to a dear friend – Chanaka Goonewardene

The network went down on Saturday the 16th June. It was more like a system malfunction when our dear friend Chanaka Goonewardene left us. Each of us – and our spouses, and our children, and our parents – have stories to tell of Chanaka. Not just Peterite stories but tales of banking, of spontaneous trips on trains and buses, of backstage events at the Lionel Wendt, of birthday parties, rugger matches, and job placements for school leavers…. the chapters about Chanaka and his involvement in people’s lives would fill a small library.

To say Chanaka was a doer is an understatement. He juggled so many projects the word multi-tasking was coined with him in mind. He never failed to call us on birthdays, or remind us of important days, to shuttle people around to events. If we wanted to know something or plan something we didn’t need Siri or Alexa – we would first ask Chanaka. When I met him a week before, he managed to say, “Machang, you have my mobile. Call me!” I said I would; Like most of us, I needed to figure out so much, but could not make that call.


And on top of all his accomplishments, he was a truly faithful Catholic, supporting every church and priest he came into contact with. I like to think he formed his own ministry. God loaned him to us as an evangelist, an example of what but means to love our neighbour, and as an unassuming friend. The lending terms were short and seemingly unfair. But in his short span of time, the dividends snowballed. Chanaka accomplished what would otherwise take several lifetimes.


Today as I write this, soon after we laid him to rest, I am sure St. Peter must have been thrilled to have Chanaka back home – to set up and manage that eternal network we could all plug into.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Communications

 

Bandarawela, a hideaway too often misunderstood

Don’t believe Lonely Planet. Don’t look at the once-sleepy up-country tea-trading town of Bandarawela only as a place overtaken by tuk-tuks and buses. That’s just one part of a town that’s outgrown it’s status as a hub for tennis tournaments, a wholesale vegetable trading route, and where some of the finest tea comes home to roost.

The Bandarawela I know is still in tact, if you care to look. The quiet three-mile walk past old churches, convents, and a haunted house. The breathtaking switch back (in these parts we call them ‘hairpin bends’) up to Pilkinton Point. A quick dip in the waterfall on the way to Diyatalawa, and so much more.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2018 in Sri Lanka

 

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