Education for free

My one take-away LSS from Avenue Q was Trekkie Monster’s mantra:  The internet is for porn.

While that may be true for most,  the internet has proven extremely useful for geeky SAHM moms like myself to keep up to date with the latest global issues and trends.   The internet has shrunk the world to the point where one need not travel thousands of miles to see Thomas Friedman expound on his theory that The World is Flat or learn from Kamal Meattle the exact number of plants needed to grow fresh air in an crowded office environment.

Thanks to the internet and the generosity of certain think-tanks and universities, lectures by global movers and shakers are now accessible to the public:  for FREE.

My favorite sites at the moment are the following:

1.  TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

TED is a small non-profit organization which hosts annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford,  bringing together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers  who  are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).    Videos of these talks are available online at www.ted.com.   I love their mission – to build a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.     Topics range from the environment to art to what makes us happy.

Must view video:  Sir Ken Robinson’s talk about “how we are educating our kids out of their creative capacities.

2.  FORA.TV
Hot on the heels of TED is Fora.tv whose mission is to “gather the web’s largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world’s top universities, think tanks and conferences.   We present this provocative, big-idea content for anyone to watch, interact with, and share –when, where, and how they want”  Be sure to catch George Kembel’s lecture on Awakening Creativity.

3.  Academic Earth

There is a revolution happening in campuses around the world and this is being led by the edupunks who espouse a do-it-yourself philosophy with regards to education.   MIT was the first to lead the pack — posting videotaped lectures on  ocw.mit.edu.  Other Ivy League schools such as  UC Berkeley, Carnegie Melon and Yale have followed suit.

It was just a matter of time before someone had the brilliant idea of aggregating all these videos on to one website.  Academic Earth now allows you to audit classes from various universities in the comfort of your own home.

As Thomas Friedman said,  The World IS Flat.

Planning ahead? Try using a Financial Calendar

I’m sure that we’ve all be in similar situations — plotted out our budget for the next 6-12 months —  only to wonder why it isn’t working.  Well, in my case,  I realized early on that I had forgotten to account for seasonality — big ticket expenses such as yearly insurance premiums and quarterly tuition payments.    I adjusted our budget excel sheet accordingly so we can now heave a sigh of relief ala Joseph during the time of famine.   =)

For those who would like to do the same and take a calendar-based approach to organizing personal finances,  there is a fantastic website called PocketSmith which can help you get started.  If you want to repay your debt faster,  see your savings grow, and track your expenditures against forecasts,  then PocketSmith will do the job for you.   pocketsmithUsers simply input their scheduled salary payouts,  bill payments, etc and have each of these categories repeat weekly,  fortnightly or monthly which is made relatively painless through integration with Google Calendar, iCal (for Apple users) and Outlook.  PocketSmith then calculates all incoming and outgoing transactions to generate a six or twelve month forecast.

What I particularly like about this online tool is that you can pick any given date and receive a predicted bank balance for that day.   If you see yourself being “in the red” right after Christmas,  you can adjust your scheduled ‘financial events’ and immediately see the changes reflected in the projected cashflow.    There are even dynamic, animated graphs which will give you an illustrated breakdown of your coming year’s finances.  It certainly helped us in finding ways to help us achieve our financial goals.

The basic version of PocketSmith is free, and subscribers can sign up for more premium versions at USD 5 and USD 12 per month.

Aug 15: Free Parenting Seminar with Queena Lee, Randell Tiongson & Francis Kong

SCHOOL TALK PHILIPPINES PRESENTS:

Today’s Issues on Academic Excellence, Values Formation & Education Funding

A parenting seminar that talks about parenting issues on: Academic Excellence, Values Formation & Education Funding.

Date: Saturday, August 15, 2009
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Eastwood Cinema
City/Town: Quezon City, Philippines

Featuring: QUEENA CHUA LEE, RANDELL TIONGSON & FRANCIS KONG

to register, please go to
http://www.schooltalk.ph/forums/blog.php/school-talk-presents-todays-issues-on-academic-excellence-values-formation-education-funding/

school talk poster