I heard a bit of disturbing news while listening to episode #1211 of CNET's Buzz Out Loud Podcast this morning. Apple rejected an Scratch application for the iPad because as a programing platform it could alter the functionality of an iPad.
For the sake of those who do not know what Scratch is, it is a programing language created by MIT. The purpose of this language is to teach basic programing skills to children with the hope to inspire some of them to become the programers of tomorrow. Scatch uses blocks that peform certain tasks. Children assemble the blocks in various orders to make things happen when the program is executed. I tried Scratch and to me it feels more like a video game than a programing language. I seriously doubt it could affect the functionality of an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.
This is Apple being Apple which is unfortunate in this case because they like to market themselves as an education friendly company. I hope they take another look or come to some agreement with MIT to allow Scratch on the The Apple devices. With the current attitude who will program Apple devices in the future if children are learning programing on Andriod devices?
I saw this video on today's Buzz Report by CNET. LG, a leading worldwide manufacturer of cellphones, is taking a stand against sexting and cyberbullying. The Korean company produced a video which has gone viral and website which urges viewers to "give it a ponder" before sending a text message. I applaud LG for taking a stand against sexting and cyberbullying. It is great to see companies encourage custom ers to use products in an ethical way. I am still disappointed in Apple in allowing a sexting app and nudity scanner (yes, I know it's a fake) on the iTunes App Store. Both apps on the popular iPhone and iPod Touch send the wrong message to the young people whom these devices are marketed to and desired by. I hope LG will continue their leadership in taking an active role in promoting ethical use. Also, I hope other companies will follow LG's (mangement principals) lead by promoting safe use of their products by not only young people but all people. Thank you LG for helping make Life Good! Also, thanks to Molly Wood and CNET for mentioning the video and site on the Buzz Report show.
Today marks the day most schools start their holiday break. Two weeks to rest and recharge the batteries for the push till the end of the school year. Hopefully, you will have a restful and happy holiday break.
3-D Heading this way
One of the biggest trends is the production of 3-D movies. While 3-D movies are nothing new, they have been around since the 1950’s, technology has made them easier to view. If you have ever been to Disney’s Philharmonic or The Muppets in 3-D at Disney World you know what I am talking about. The latest big screen version of A Christmas Carol and Avatar are pushing the 3-D viewing pleasure in select theaters this holiday season.
Naturally, the next step to help sell home videos is for home electronics to take advantage of 3-D technology. CNET reported the Blu-ray Disc Association has settled on a standard for Blu-ray devices to use. It will only be a matter of time before 3-D Blu-ray devices will start making their way into schools to add a different perspective to some lessons. Eventually, all kinds of educational titles will feature 3-D. Think how this might effect Science, math, and social studies.
Livescribe CEO Jim Marggraff sent an e-mail out today apologizing for the problems it’s new App Store beta has been causing the whole Pulse system. I blogged about my use of the Live Scribe Pulse Smartpen and I still love using it. The pen works just as advertised recording my notes and syncing audio for playback by touching a point on the notes with the pen. However, the Livescribe Desktop and Livescribe Online have more work to do. I had problems uploading a one-page note with audio to the online site. While on the subject of the online site, it would be nice to access my pencasts without having to go through the desktop app. (CNET)
iTunes U reaches 100 million downloads
One of my goals for 2010 is to better promote iTunes podcasts and iTunes U to the teachers at my school. Apparently, iTunes U is no longer the best kept secret of educational resources. CNET reports iTunes U recently reached 100 million downloads. For those of you who may still not know, iTunes U features lectures, instructional videos, and other educational media from schools, colleges, and universities from around the world. iTunes is just not for listening to music and you don’t have to have an iPod to make it work.
Underwater Volcano Caught on Video
CNET has some incredible video and photos shot from a robotic submarine of an underwater volcano erupting. This is the first time an underwater volcano has been recorded. Geography and Science teachers can probably find lot’s of uses for this media in their lessons. Here is some video from NOAA and CNN.
Forrester Research CEO George Colony makes a case that businesses cannot ignore Web 2.0 in an editorial on News.com. Colony basically says that the days where businesses dictate the message they want people to hear about their company are over. Thanks to the Internet, the world has become more interactive through websites, blogging, wikis, podcasts, and other interactive tools. This old way of thinking can also apply to the way schools wish to give out information. Of course there are schools that do things like allowing parents to view grades online, have e-mail lists of teachers and administrators but is that enough? The main thing that struck me about the Colony's article is how companies and their CEO's are oblivious to what customers are really saying about products. Products such as Kryptonite Locks almost got destroyed because company executives failed to acknowledge what was written in blogs was true about their product being deficient.
Think schools are above all of this? Think again. Here are two websites whose purpose is to gather parent and student opinions about schools and teachers. Greatschools.net rates schools and also allows parents to rate schools. I looked at my schools review and it was not good. Another site, Ratemyteachers.com's purpose is for parents and students to rate and give opinions about teachers in their schools. I recently looked at both sites for my school and the reviews on Greatschools.net was not good and alot of teachers were reviewed on Ratemyteachers.com. I am sure not too many of these teachers know what is being said about them on the Internet.
Again, you may ask so what? Probably some disgruntled parent or student venting about not getting a grade they felt they deserved or some discipline matter so it shouldn't matter. Well remember, as these sites become more popular more people will be writing in them and worse, reading them. A bad review in one of these sites could mean the difference between getting a student who actually do well in your school and parents who could be an assest or having them go to another school. A local newspaper has a very active blog section. One of the topics that gets the most activity is schools. Also, people who are considering moving to the community will get on the blog and ask about the quality of the schools.
I found this posting on Crunch Gear about an article by Stefanie Olsen of CNET about how teens prefer to communicate with each other by using social network sites such as MySpace and Facebook or text messaging instead of e-mail. In fact according to the teens interviewed for the article they claim that e-mailed is old-fashioned, out-of-date, so last whatever means of communicating with adults who don't get it.
These are not just any teens either. The panel discussion at Mashup 2007 was made up of teen entrepreneurs who are probably making more money than all of us put together. Most of the panelists said they only use e-mail to communicate with adults about business dealings which adults in the business world prefer. A few of the teens don't even use e-mail at all.
Interesting, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook are becoming the preferred method of communication. These sites and others like it have been used by kids for the last few years as a means of expressing themselves to friends and others. Apparently these sites that make many adults, especially educators, nervous have made a transition to cell phones.
Another method of communication teens use is text messaging on cell phones. Text messaging has been the way European and Asian kids communicate for years because of higher talk time costs. Text messaging is so widespread that Scottish schools allowed texting short hand to be used on year-end national exams. Now text messaging has made it to American kids as providers have lowered text messaging costs.
The interesting thing here is this could be a signal of a shift in the way people will communicate with each other in the business world in the coming future. Recent graduates entering the business world took their passion for instant messaging with them to work. What does this have to do with education? We should encourage young people to be responsible when using Internet communications by reminding them anything and I mean anything posted on the Internet can be found at some later date. The recent attempt of blackmailing Miss New Jersey should drive home this lessons since the "incriminating" photos where published somewhere on the Internet and found. Assignments using social networking methods also teach a more practical use of this communication and that you are watching.