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This column received assurance that it does keep the readership “wired for success”.  The December 2003 column discussed RFIDs.  These are microchips placed in merchandise.  The RFIDs are a monitoring system to counteract employee pilfering and shoplifting.  Trouble is that they are not deactivated so if they are implanted on clothes, a person can be tracked after leaving the store.  During WNBC-TV’s August 25, 2004 11 o’clock news broadcast, the science feature was about RFIDs.  Would you say that WNBC-TV is eight months late with that story?
Every August, TV viewers are entertained by a commercial involving an ecstatic father skipping as he pushes a shopping cart.  The background music sings, “It’s a most wonderful time of the year.”  Is it Christmas?  No; it’s time to prepare the kids for school.  While Dad skips through the store’s aisle, the young children glumly follow behind.  Why are the children glum about returning to school?  One would believe that school isn’t fun.  If you ask some New York students, they may tell you that they don’t see a connection between the subjects and life.
Education is meant to prepare youth for a meaningful life.  Education can be a stimulating experience.  The right tools and enthusiastic, encouraging teachers are needed.  Teachers come in all categories: parents, older siblings, relatives, friends and the licensed teacher.  Focusing on the tools, there is educational software that responds to a young mind’s need for interaction and progressive challenges.  Major educational software companies include Creative Wonders, The Learning Company, Atari, Topics Entertainment, Encore Software, Global Software Publishing, and Softkey Inc.  These companies produce software to meet the learning needs of toddlers through high school seniors.
Though phonics is not taught in New York City public schools parents may supplement education with The Learning Co.’s Achieve! Phonics, Reading & Writing Grades 1 – 3.  Encore Software offers a series of educational tools to make school a snap through all its stages.  Try their Elementary Advantage , Middle School Advantage  and High School Advantage .  The Elementary Advantage contains modules for fractions, spelling, Spanish, Earth Science, beginning typing, Social Studies, basic math and critical-thinking.  Topics Entertainment has a similar suite of tools called Educator’s Choice Middle School and Educator’s Choice High School.  These CDs contain modules for algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus.  If your child is still turned off by math and science, connect these disciplines to their heritage.  A great documentary for a personal or school library is Cosmic Africa.  This movie looks at the life of South African Astrophysicist, Thebe Medupe’s, trek through ten African countries to show Africa’s ancient study of astronomy and other sciences (log onto for details).  To sharpen critical-thinking try The Learning Co.’s Cluefinders series or SoftKey’s Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?  Topics Entertainment offers SNAP! PSAT/SAT to prepare high school students to ace college admission tests.  Tried and true programs include Atari’s Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble and Microsoft’s World Atlas and Encarta Encyclopedia.
The software isn’t expensive.  It can add up when a parent purchases many titles at once.  Websites to purchase the software are the individual software maker’s Website, Amazon, CNET and Barnes & Noble.  A shopper has the choice of purchasing the latest edition or an older one.  Remember parents: don’t just throw your kids into the computer room with dozens of CD-ROMs.  Be in the room together.  A child learns by hearing, doing and seeing.  When a child sees his parent enjoying something, he is more inclined to want to do the same thing.  In fact, when Dad gets stomped but keeps at it, the child learns the value of failing and persevering.
pardHomework Assistance Sites
Another learning tool is online homework assistance.  Some Websites are interactive whereby the user receives a response moments after submitting a question.  Other sites may require more time to respond.  The Websites tend to use certified teachers.  A few sites to investigate include,,,, and the  This column does not seek to socialize children to be overly dependent on technology.  Rather, it is balancing high-tech with high-touch.  Families need to access technology to facilitate living-not to substitute for a life.
pardScholarship Websites
Hopefully, the effective use of technology together with a concerned and involved parent produces an academic powerhouse.  Your genius wants to go to Fisk, Howard, Morehouse, Harvard or Dartmouth.  Do you have the money?  Not to worry; there’s money available to cover college expenses.  It is estimated that there are 600,000 scholarship programs.  One need only research to find one.  No time to research?  There is scholarship research assistance.  These are search engines that specialize in identifying scholarships or grants.  A scholarship seeker logs onto a site and registers with the site, which includes providing information to customize a search for your demographics and field of interest. is a popular assistant as are,,,, and

Hunter College Biotechnology Curriculum

Interested in a career in Biotechnology?  Contact Prof. Patricia Rockwell, at Hunter College’s Biology Department, about the Accelerated BA/MA program.  The program features a Biotechnology workshop in recombinant DNA, laboratory internships, and a seminar series featuring talks by industry leaders.  The first graduating class was in 2003.  Include yourself in the class of 2009.

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