Thursday, October 29, 2009

Idle Mind A Devil’s Workshop? Au Contraire!

[Cross posted on SmartBean - Idle Mind A Devil’s Workshop? Au Contraire! – SmartBean]

Ever wonder why Archimedes got his “a-ha” moment while lounging in his bathtub? Or why Newton unraveled the secrets of gravity while daydreaming under an apple tree? If recent research is to be believed, it may well be because the wandering mind is fertile ground for creative problem solving!

The findings of a couple of separate studies (finally) legitimize the preoccupation of choice for most of the human race – good old fashioned daydreaming. These studies focus on the type of activity that goes on in the brain during mental drift – a cognitive state that can occupy as much as one third of our waking lives.

“Mind-Wandering (or, mental wandering, wandering mind, drifting, daydreaming) is a cognitive phenomenon in the brain wherein one’s attention becomes distracted from the task at hand and one’s mind strays into unrelated thoughts, often for long periods of time. Thoughts can include reliving or regrets about the past, fantasizing or worrying about the future, or simply enjoying imaginary moments away from whatever task one is supposed to be carrying out.” (Source:

One study reveals that when the mind drifts, the temporal lobes — which are associated with processing long-term memories — become busier. So when one floats off into a reverie, there’s some important data-storage work going on. Another study has reached an even more interesting conclusion – that the idling mind is likely doing deeply creative work, tackling hairiest long-term problems. This theory is supported by scans that have found that the wandering mind utilizes the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that’s involved in problem-solving.

So the next time you’re struggling to solve a complicated problem, you might be better off switching to a simpler task and letting your mind wander. And if you find your child indulging in some unfettered mind wandering, refrain from the usual “don’t just sit there daydreaming, DO something!” Who knows, that brain might just be addressing some knotty big-ticket issues. :)

[See the referenced articles at: and]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

10 Reasons Your Child Will Love Astronomy

10 Reasons Your Child Will Love Astronomy – SmartBean

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy and marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of a telescope. From October 22-24, the Galilean Nights Project is sponsoring events around the world to encourage amateur and professional astronomers along with the general public to point their telescopes to the objects that Galileo observed.

In parallel celebration, SmartBean offers 10 reasons why your child will love to learn about astronomy. An awesome post with links to fantastic resources (and great pictures too!).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Lego NY – Simplicity, Inspiration and Constructionism – SmartBean

I Lego NY – Simplicity, Inspiration and Constructionism – SmartBean

"Although Lego dutifully sells a plethora of kits accompanied by detailed instructions for creation of specific and intended objects, which are becoming increasingly big - in size and complexity, the greatest benefit perhaps is to be derived from allowing children to be completely unburdened and simply indulge in open-ended and free format creation and construction. The result would most likely be experimentation that draws from the world around the child in what the experts call "constructivism" and "constructionism". Like these incredibly simple, creative and cute artifacts."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Introducing your Child to Linux and other FOSS tools

Introducing your Child to Linux - SmartBean

The Linux operating system offers an excellent learning opportunity for children, whether for educational software and games, programming, or general computer skills. Charles Profitt, a K-12 systems administrator, shares the nuts and bolts of introducing kids to Linux, Ubuntu, Edubuntu and other exciting FOSS tools. His guidelines for the why, what and how of getting going with Linux and open source computing at home are lucid and helpful.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Redefining "Success" to Raise Healthier, Happier Kids ? SmartBean

Redefining "Success" to Raise Healthier, Happier Kids - SmartBean

This is such an important issue that parents in India need to give some attention and thought to...Kids 13 and up are stressed out and burned out by the time finish their 12th grade exams and college entrance exams. Their lives for those 5 years is a blur of books and tutors, and extra classes and tests and exam prep. Help kids reclaim the joys of their teen years. Their health and happiness is at stake...this madness must stop!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Google Internet Bus Reaches Hindi Speaking States

After its successful tour of South India, the Google Internet Bus is now touring small towns in the Hindi heartland of India.