Weather-aware fashion

Wearable tech gets more affordable and sophisticated each winter.

On cold days, kids waiting for the school bus might choose from three different heat settings in their parka. And the temperature might self-adjust when a child goes from the frigid bus stop to the unpredictable temperature in the bus back to the cold wait in the playground.

Wearable tech continues to evolve both in levels of comfort and degrees of fashion. It’s nice to see these innovations available not only for adults, but kids, too.

Overexposure

Some kids call Facebook the “old person social media.”

These tweens and teens have been featured on parental posts since their first sonograms. No wonder Aunt Mavis keeps talking about “how much you’ve grown” or “how long your hair is now.”

In a digital-first world, there’s no escaping ancient life history, even if it’s embarrassing.

From STEM to STEAM

We’ve seen a natural progression this fall, as STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) has shifted toward STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, math) in “maker-focused” schools.

As students explore ideas and attempt solve problems, creativity begins to surface. After all, kids need to experiment with different strategies and approaches. This adds a layer of innovation to their critical thinking.

“Makerspaces” are exciting places to learn and grow. That sounds like the perfect definition of a school!

Photoshopping flaws

“Fixing” the annual school photo results in a perfect image. However, the cost is often astronomical to remove a spot of acne or close the tooth gap.

Parents who pay to “fix” school pics are often motivated by a desire to boost a child’s esteem, especially during emotionally fragile years or seasons of stress. And editing apps are certainly popular for personal use on social media.

I wonder if parents feel as positive toward advertisers who fine-tune flaws on models.

Alexa, prepare!

Amazon’s Alexa might dominate the market now, but your child will probably grow up talking to Siri, Google and a host of other smart speakers.

The battle between voice ecosystems is just beginning. One of the biggest differences in the future will be the appearance of ads. (Remember when YouTube was ad free?)

Voice activation is so big, I wonder if students will still need to learn to type?

Makerspaces

The decade-old maker movement has morphed into fully fledged maker education this fall.

Maker-centered learning is booming across the country, as kids return to school after being engaged in a vast variety of activities at camps, museums, science centers and community centers. Teachers, too, are returning from workshops in which they learned from engineers, programmers and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)related professionals.

One of the greatest benefits is that students are typically excited about learning in a maker space environment.

And isn’t that what every parent hopes happens for their child during this school year?

Beyond “real” meat

The grocery store shelves look nothing like the school menu for September.

Plant-based proteins are available throughout our local store. There’s obviously a strong consumer desire for more diverse sources of proteins. Added to a growing wave of concern for animal welfare and more creative approaches to preparing meat substitutes, saying “No” to meat has become easier.

Except at school cafeterias this fall.