Books on they way out? Teacherbytes December 30, 2009

I hope everyone had a great holiday but is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come pointing its bony finger at the demise of traditional, paper books or students armed with smartphones invading your classroom. Is doom and gloom what some teachers see as more technology comes their way and they can't seem to stop it? No but here are glimpses of what the ghost is pointing to.

Another sign of the apocalypse

Some will see this as another sign the apocalypse is coming but on December 25th Amazon reported more e-books were sold than physical ones. Before you head off to your bunker to wait out the doom you should realize the Kindle was the most gifted item in the history of Amazon. While in the near future traditional books should not worry but if more e-readers are coming, and speculation says 2010 will see a flood of them, then will we have neighborhood bookstores by the end of the coming decade? Yes but they won't look like they do today. Source Engadget and Mashable.

More on Pico Projectors

Pico projectors started coming out in 2008 but have not made much of an impact yet. The biggest reason is you almost need a completely dark room to see a mediocre picture at best. This is starting to change, slowly. RoyalTek announced the RPJ-2000 which is supposed to be the first of five new pico projectors coming out in 2010. The $315 device can project a 65 inch image at 640x40 resolution with 14 lumens of brightness. A very dark room is still needed but it is getting better.  You will also need a $43 converter kit if you have a Mac. Pico projectors can be useful for teachers who are not assigned to one classroom or does not have access to a regular projector or does not want to lug around a projector. Source: Engadget

What can you do with a pico projectors?

Other than the obvious Logic Wireless has the 150LGW Projector Phone. This little device sold at Skymall (the catalog you browse waiting for your plane to take off) will set you back $499. The projector is said to project an image up to 64 inches but no word on resolution or brightness. The phone is built to be a portable office with dual SIM card slots so you can use it on different carriers and Quad Band GSM. Software for the Symbian-based phone includes a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF viewer. This is the second phone to be bundled with a projector. The other phone is the LG eXpo which will offers a projector as an option. Cell phone use in classrooms is coming, just think about the first time a student pulls out one of these to show their project. Source: Engadget

Get it while it's hot!

Apple dropped the price of its entry-level MacBook to $728 for educators and students. It is not known how long this price drop will last so if you still have some Christmas cash left and are wanting to dip into the Mac waters this might be your chance. Source Engadget

Verizon sees slates everywhere

Last week OLPC announced they are working on a thin tablet PC for the education market. Almost everyone is speculating on the rumored Apple slate computer which is supposed to be announced early next year. Well Verizon apparently wants to take advantage what many think will be next computer craze and make sure you can access the Verizon network on slates like you can on some netbooks. Source: CNET

Easy Shot Videos

Concord Keystone is going to announce the Easy Shot Clip camcorder at CES next month. Specs on the $70 camcorder is it can shoot 640x480 at 30 frames per second. The 2GB memory will allow for up to 2 hours of video. All this will be in a 2-inch package you can hang around your neck or mount in various places. This could be useful to have to quickly shoot video of class activities that may be unplanned. Source: Engadget

Odds and Ends December 16, 2009

Evernote for Android

Mashable reports Evernote has released an app for the Android Smartphone platform. I have used Evernote to take notes on my BlackBerry at conferences and it is a great way to take a organize notes on the Internet.

Speaking of Android

An e-reader based on the Android operating system called the Entourage Edge has been released according to Engadget. This device has been billed as a textbook replacement. At $490 and some bugs in the system, this device won’t be lightening backpacks until it stops lightening wallets.

Increasing Community Involvement

All schools are looking for ways to get better community involvement through better communications. Mashable has listed 10 ways for increasing community involvement. Some of the methods recommended include make easy to participate, interact with your community, welcome newcomers, and engage with popular existing communities such as Twitter and Facebook.

Santa 2.0

When I was younger, the only ways to interact with Santa was either a face-to-face meeting at a local store or write a snail mail letter. Mashable describes five ways to connect with Santa on the Internet. There are some tried and true methods such as e-mailing Santa and my favorite Norad Track Santa. However, seeing Santa live on a webcam seems a little weird. I thought he was supposed to be watching us to see if we are naughty or nice.

Excuse me, is that a projector in your pocket?

I have always been interesting in pico projectors since they were first announced. However, current devices still work best projecting an image on a postage stamp in a pitch black room. However, the AAXA M1 micro projector is another step in the right direction. Engadget announce the newest pico projector. A projector that will connect with a computer will cost $359.


As if children’s obesity rates are going up like their weight, McDonalds has a new way to get people sit down and eat more fattening Big Macs and other artery clogging food. Engadget reports McDonalds will offer free WiFi in most of its restaurants starting in January.