Archive for November, 2008

Latinos and Computers

Monday, November 24th, 2008

    I’m just back from Chicago where I presented the last workshop of the RMHC/HACER series in five cities throughout the country. It was another very successful event with close to 800 participants.

We had around 300 parents in my Spanish workshop and around 60 in the English one. And even though the program took place at Benito Juárez High School people came from many different high schools in the area.

I talked about what parents could do while their kids are in high school to make sure they get into college. One aspect that I feel needs to be addressed very seriously is the importance of buying a computer for your home. Most Latino households have more than one TV and many have a high end flat screen TV. However, they don’t have a much more needed tool for students to succeed in today’s education environment: a computer.

Computers are not only crucial for students to do research and be up to date with technology, but it’s key for parents to understand what their children are doing online, and to support them in searching for scholarships and colleges and to get other information. There are great resources available on the net that both parents and students miss out on because they don’t have a computer at home.

Setting priorities straight will help you and your loved ones get ahead. Forget the expensive sneakers or the truck you don’t need. Invest that money in a computer. It’s one of the best ways to show your children that education is important for you.

Leonardo Da Vinci, an old, new genius

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

If you live in California, you have to make it to San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation to see the “Leonardo, 500 Years into the Future exhibit” which is, in reality, two exhibitions put together for the first time: the Mind of Leonardo and the Renaissance Engineers.

If you thought you new that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genious, you are in for a surprise. He was an INCREDIBLE genious! An artist, scientist, engineer and inventor who was interested in anatomy, in the hability of men to fly, in inventing all sorts of machines, in water, in art…

The 200 artifacts that are part of this exhibit spread over 30,000 square feet. You’ll see Leonardo’s drawings on the wall next to the wooden models built from those sketches. From the first model of what a flying human would look like, to the majestic Sforza horse that welcomes you at the entrance of the museum, you’ll be in awe of the variety and ingenuity of these creations.

Leonardo lived in the late 1400s and early 1500s and he was the quintaescencial Renaissance Man. A time of great inventions and progress that followed the darkness of the Middle Ages. Very likely, this spurr of creativity was also in part a response of the Bubonic plague that had killed half of the population in Europe and made the other half think that maybe it was time to live for the present life and not only for the after life.

I walked away from the museum wondering if we are now at a crossroads similar to the one faced by people like Leonardo during the Renaissance period. Will this financial and environmental crisis help us show the best part of ourselves? Will it force us to come up with new priorities and ways in which we can get back on our feet and save our ailing planet?

My guess, and hope is that there will be an explosion of creativity as people try to redifine themselves and their priorities. As we all realize that we can solve our problems by thinking outside the box rather than by keep on doing what we’ve been doing.

Funny, as I posted the picture above, I realized that the museum is on South Market street… so the connection with the exhibition and the current market situation, was apparently out there, not just in my head…