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Phil Shapiro "educator/technology access activist" RSS Feed (Takoma Park, Maryland)
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Constitution Café: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution
Constitution Café: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution
by Christopher Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.86
80 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging and entertaining read, February 23, 2014
Length:: 3:39 Mins

This book is an engaging and entertaining read. It made me rethink anew the way I rethink anew things. And then I rethank everything that I rethunk until I was literally out of metaphorical breath. The book kicked some of my lazy cortex dendrites back to life, chastising them in the friendliest way: "Common you lazy dendrites. Get off your butt and start dendriting, won't cha?" By the time my brain reached chapter 2, all the pistons were pumping, the gears were turning and it was like: "Choo! Choo!" Christopher Phillips done good.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2014 8:46 PM PDT


The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers
The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers
by Mark Hatch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.13
63 used & new from $12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read that takes you inside TechShop and also the maker movement., November 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 3:37 Mins

A fun read that takes you inside TechShop and also the maker movement. The writing style makes you feel as if you're right there in the same room as the author. I've never visited a TechShop yet, but they're springing up all around the country and I relish visiting one sometime soon. Reading this book stimulated the creativity gears in my head. All of a sudden, a lot more seems possible.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2013 9:04 AM PST


The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
by Josh Hanagarne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.78
108 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and poignant. Provides lots of food for thought., November 18, 2013
Length:: 2:41 Mins

I love this book. It's both entertaining and poignant. Lots of human interest library stories are woven into this autobiography. This author is not only a treasure at the public library where he works, he's a treasure in the parking lot outside of that library, too. There's a very good chance his closest friends like this book, although he might have had to talk them into it.


Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff
Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff
by Scott Bedford
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.98
90 used & new from $6.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical and playful craft projects - this book gave me ideas, October 20, 2013
Length:: 3:39 Mins

This book, one of host of new books for "makers," gives instruction for playful and whimsical craft projects for youth. I giggled as I turned the pages. The illustrations in the book are sumptuous. Creativity is contagious and this book will spark the imagination of young and old alike.


The Mosaic Community
The Mosaic Community
by Rachna Rikhye
Edition: Perfect Paperback
5 used & new from $12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful book -- beautifully produced, September 13, 2013
Length:: 6:02 Mins

This short book has a lot to say about diversity, art and methods of building community. Told through the eyes of six elementary school children who arrived in Takoma Park, Maryland, from countries around the world. The children worked together on a Children's Mosaic that has been installed in the community center. The mosaic tells the story of their cultural, as well as their hopes and dreams.

A recommended book for any diverse community -- and any community that aspires to be more diverse.

Fair Disclosure: I appear in a small photo within this book, but otherwise had no involvement in its creation.


Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson (Caravan Book)
Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson (Caravan Book)
by Susan Burch
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from $5.36

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has much to teach us, May 28, 2012
Length:: 5:10 Mins

This book has much to teach us about cruelty, intolerance, and the mindset of those who perpetuate cruelty and intolerance. Every high school student in North Carolina should read this book -- as well as high school students in other states. While reading this book I picked up a copy of the New York Times and saw this headline: "Psychiatry Giant Sorry for Backing Gay `Cure'" When will we ever learn? Why do we not teach and talk about human cruelty in schools? Why is our collective aspiration for tolerance so feeble?

As someone who works at a public library, I was curious to see if the public library in Wilmington, North Carolina, carries this book. The New Hanover County Public Library carries two copies of this 2007 book. The library's web site indicates how many times this book has been signed out. Three times. We've got to do better than that.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2012 4:29 PM PDT


The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
by Richard G. Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.47
121 used & new from $6.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me think about this topic in new ways, May 20, 2012
Length:: 4:14 Mins

I came to this book after watching a spellbinding PBS documentary, Unnatural Causes, about the ways in which health disparities mirror income disparities.

This book made me think about this topic in new ways. The amount of sociological research that went into writing this book is substantial.

The quote from John F. Kennedy in this book made me think about Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age

Thanks are owed to Bruce Baker, in Takoma Park, Maryland, for setting me on this learning path.


The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
by Ben Casnocha
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.64
162 used & new from $6.47

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely expands upon ideas in Daniel Pink's Free Agent Nation, May 6, 2012
Length:: 3:50 Mins

This book expands upon the ideas first described in Daniel Pink's 2002 Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself This new book is informed by the great transitions that have occurred in the economy since Free Agent Nation was published. These days people need less convincing that they need to be nimble or face stark economic prospects. This book includes some good tips that I hadn't thought about before. I hope this book is adopted in some high school classes because by the time students reach college, they may be too set in their ways to understand and adopt the always-learning, always-in-beta lifestyle recommendations of this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2012 3:42 PM PDT


The Healing Power of Doing Good
The Healing Power of Doing Good
by Peggy Payne
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.06
53 used & new from $0.01

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book gets you thinking about the benefits of helping others, May 6, 2012
Length:: 6:55 Mins

I happened upon a mention of this book on a blog post somewhere and tracked down a copy of the book in one of the local public libraries. The primary author, Allan Luks, seems well qualified to write a book of this sort. The supporting author, Peggy Payne, helped make the book a fun and engaging read. The book has some useful appendices giving information on how you can get involved in volunteering in your community via various organizations. I found this book well worth my time. This book points in the direction of more people in the world helping each other, which is always a good thing.

I'm going to be recommending this book to colleagues on the Computer Refurbishers email list run by TechSoup Global. (Search Google to locate this Googlegroups email list, if you're interested. This list is free for anyone interested in computer refurbishing to join.)

For folks in the DC-area, I found this book at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library, within the DC Public Libraries. You can request the DC Public Libraries to transfer any book to a branch that is close to you. Do that yourself with your library card, thereby freeing up a librarian to help the public in other ways.


The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion
The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion
by Jonathan Mugan
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from $5.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, short read, March 20, 2012
The Curiosity Cycle is a short, interesting guidebook for parents, teachers and anyone else interested in promoting curiosity. The author, Jonathan Mugan, is a research scientist focusing on machine learning. His doctoral thesis centered on developmental robotics, which aims to understand how robots can learn about the world in the same way that human children do.

As someone with a philosophy undergraduate degree, who also studied a few years of engineering, I found this book to be richly deep in ideas. I found interesting parallels of the ideas in this book with some of the bold thinking that goes on at MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten program, part of MIT's Media Lab.

The preface lays out the reason for the book when it explains, "Curiosity leads to flexible and adaptive thinking. The world is changing fast: Rote memorization and brittle thought are not going to be sufficient, and being flexible and adaptive will be increasingly important as individuals have more power to determine their destiny." For me, as an educator, these words ring definitively true.

Mugan explains how the brain builds tentative understandings of the world that are constantly revised and updated. All that we consider true must be understood as tentatively true, subject to revision. This rings true to my mind.

The structure of this book makes the ideas easily digestible. Short sections of chapters recommend ways to promote curiosity in children: Encourage your child to act in uncertain environments; Encourage your child to predict the future; Encourage your child to articulate the current model.

The book hits in stride in chapter 3, Spinning the Curiosity Cycle. In this chapter Mugan explains how the curiosity cycle builds upon itself. This is chapter where I spent a lot of time thinking about how the minds of children are brought to life in the home and only refined in school. What of all the children whose minds are not brought to life at home? You cannot refine something that does not currently exist.
Where, outside the home, can we also bring children's minds to life? Museums? Libraries? Robotics teams? Where else?

What makes this book valuable is that I very much want to lend it to one of my most thoughtful friends. In the parenting that my friend does, he follows many of the paths suggested by Mugan. He wants his children to be flexible enough in their thinking that they'll succeed in whatever future arrives at their front door. We cannot know what that future will be, but we can know how better to prepare our children for it.


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