Listening to Bill Gates

Check out the large original photo! Photo Source AFP

In one of those weird coincidences, during the week that India was declared polio free — with lots of help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I had an opportunity to hear Bill Gates speak about education at a conference in Seattle. To appreciate the significance of this one only needs to ask a senior parent about polio and the terrible physical and mental anguish that this disease caused in our country until the mid 1950’s.

The picture thumbnail to the left is from Agence France-PresseClick on the image to visit a large picture of these people celebrating the eradication of polio. To learn more read this Kaiser Daily Health article, India Taken Off WHO List of Polio Endemic Countries.

Below I’ve shared some of the interesting points from Bill Gates’ education presentation at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference. The foundation is no less energized in the area of 21 Century and digital learning than it is in international health. Continue reading

Good-bye Steve Jobs: iPad for Dad, #19

Memorial messages cover windows at our local Apple store

Yesterday morning when my dad wrote his daily blog post — about the life and achievements of Steve Jobs –I realized, once again, just how much Jobs’ life, vision, and achievements are a part of our general culture. One doesn’t need to be digitally savvy, a gadget fanatic, an iPhone evangelist, or even a Macintosh loyalist. All that’s required is experience with one intuitive Apple product — in this case my dad, age 88, writing on his iPad — and an interest in the news.

Over the years that I’ve spent working in the educational technology field, that’s the way it’s gone again and again.  Give a senior, a teacher — in fact just about anyone — a Mac or an iPhone, and they use it and work with it, and the tech people barely see them. Now the same thing is starting to happen with iPads.

Boy would I love to have a dozen iPads to use with residents in an assisted living or other senior community. Continue reading

Conversations about Dying

“… old age is a place we have never been. We may see it up close as our parents age, but we will never know what it’s like until we’re there.”

Visit Perspectives.

The quote comes from a piece I just read, a post by Paul Staley at the KQED Perspectives site. Staley describes a conversation that he had with his father about dying (and living). Contemplating the end of life –mulling over the cycle of life — is one of the most interesting aspects of life as an adult child. The more I pitch in to assist my parents, the more I find myself considering the fragility of our lives, realizing that I am not really that much younger than my parents. I’ve never felt as close to the aging period of my life as I do right now, despite the fact that I have some distance to travel before I get there.

Somehow, as people get older, they learn to deal with it, and it will be interesting to observe myself as I learn to do just that, figuring out, I hope, how to live well.

Immunization Updates? For Senior Parents and Adult Children

When we are sick or injured or when we are planning to travel, we often try to recall past immunizations as well as determine if boosters are required. Yearly flu shots and the special pneumonia shots for our senior parents are fairly easy to remember. However, the boosters that update past inoculations are more difficult to recall. Most of us do not keep good enough records about our immunizations, and because we move from place to place, or at least doctor to doctor, our medical charts are not as complete as they should be.

The MedlinePlus immunization page gives a lot more information. If you are traveling the CDC’s Travelers’ Health page also gives vaccination information.

Early this fall, because of my work, I went to my doctor to get a booster for pertussis, and sure enough, cases are in my area right now. I am glad I got the booster. Check out my post on Seniors and Whooping Cough Vaccine.

For a great immunization review, take this Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz. When you finish click the My Results button.