Shared Experiences: Reason #1 Why Afterschool Activities Are Important

EXCERPT FROM BIG (1988)

MR. M: Piano lessons?

JOSH:  Three years.

MR. M: Me too. Everyday, after school….Chopsticks….What department did you say you were in?

JOSH: Oh, I’m in computers.

A Kid’s Brain On Siri: What Generation Z May Lose From The World’s Most Impressive Application

Apple’s most popular application for the iPhone has saturated the blogosphere, coffee breaks and skits on late-night television. For parents, Siri is a dream come true – a personal concierge at the tip of your fingers. But, what about children? What effect will Siri have on the next generation? Below is a snapshot of what children may be losing from a personal assistant on their cell phone.

1) The Ability To Make Decisions

Siri makes decisions for you. When you ask Siri for the best pizza shop, the application streamlines the decision making process by providing a suggestion. This recommendation is not the byproduct of an independent search, but filtered from a list of Apple affiliates. It is one thing to type a question into Google or Bing and you decide which result is more reliable, and it is another for an application to reach that conclusion for you.

2) The Ability To Ask Questions

Siri eases anxieties of asking classmates, colleagues and neighbors questions. You ask a question, and it can provide you the answer or research responses on the web at your request.  You never have to worry about sounding unintelligent because Siri is so polite.  But, learning how to ask “dumb” questions at a young age is integral to personal and professional development. What are the consequences if the next generation evades asking their peers questions? Maybe we should ask Siri.

 3) The Ability to Interact With Others

Siri is funny. We know this. For the existential questions about life and current events, Siri has a response and even better, Siri is witty. Yet, if we are looking for humor or engagement, do we want to be reliant upon technology? Communicating through social media is a major innovation in sharing ideas and cultivating communities. Communication with Siri may be a tremendous diversion from that path because instead of communicating with each other, we are communicating with a machine.

While we cannot deny the potential of Siri, we do need to be cognizant of its implications. Siri certainly will reduce the time handling administrative tasks, and as a result, ideally will create more opportunities for us to do what we enjoy. However, as we teach the next generation to think for themselves, ask questions and develop friendships afterschool, let’s encourage them to look around and not down.

The Best Thanksgiving Event in Los Angeles for Families: Saying Thanks on the Westside

Join over a thousand members of the Los Angeles community on Thanksgiving Day and volunteer at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Volunteers will decorate for the festivities, serve food, write thank you cards and carve turkeys. In 2010, more than 1,200 volunteers served 2,500 meals. The event is free and welcome to everyone— families, students, singles, and seniors.

Details: “Westside Thanksgiving”

Cost: Free

Location: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica, California

Date: Thanksgiving Day – Various Time Slots – 7am to 7pm

Website: http://www.westsidethanksgiving.org/thx2011/volunteer.html

The Best STEM Afterschool Activity in Los Angeles: Inspiring the Next Einstein

Is your kid the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie? The Department of Astronomy and Physics at UCLA is hosting a free, dynamic and innovative day of events called “Exploring Your Universe 2011.” The family friendly event will have activities for all ages including workshops, planetarium shows, solar telescope viewing, comet making, weather tours, and dinosaur fossils. Topics for the activities highlight Stellar Evolution, Bottle Rockets, the Science Behind Optical Illusions and Constellation Detectives.

Details: “Exploring Your Universe”

Price: Free

Location: UCLA Campus

Time: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Saturday, November 12, 2011.

Website: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~outreach/eyu2011.html

The Best Art and Exercise Event in Los Angeles for Hipster Kids and Parents: Folk Art Bike Ride!

Is your kid a hipster? Are you an urban bohemian parent? Are you looking for an off the beaten path cultural and recreational activity this Saturday? Bring out your Polaroid camera, old-school sneakers and thick-rimmed glasses for the Folk Art Bike Ride in Historic South Central LA.

The Craft and Folk Art Museum is leading an exploration of art, neighborhoods and unique community gathering spots. The bike ride will journey through Historic South Central LA, which includes LA’s historic and underground jazz district and visit the African American Fire Fighter Museum. The event is free to everyone and RSVP is encouraged.

Details: Folk Art Bike Ride in Historic South Central LA

Price: Free

Location: Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90007

Time: Meetup 10:45am / Ride at 11:00am

Website: http://www.cafam.org/folkarteverywhere.html

RSVP: rsvp@cafam.org

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