Tuesday, December 22, 2009

iPods and educational applications

For fourth-grader Gabe Rivera, running vocabulary drills and solving mathematical problems on his classroom iPod Touch is a fun way to learn, in part because it's "something that is more newer than paper."

The student at Somerset Elementary School in Mendota Heights is one of many enthusiastic about the Apple touch-screen media players and handheld computers. The devices are becoming fixtures in U.S. schools as educators become aware of the various applications that can be installed on the gadgets to help students learn.

Read more

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Olympic Ideas

Contributed by

Melinda Bossenmeyer
Peaceful Playgrounds



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Electronic Circuits That Melt Into Your Body

It makes me nervous too. I'm not so keen on the idea of circuits enveloped in a silk substrate, which melts into your body leaving just nanometers-thick layers of electronics. But it's for the best, trust me on this one.

Until now, body-embedded circuitry was very limited. The electronics were hard, or had to be separated from the body. With this new technology, flexible circuits can be directly implanted anywhere in the body, protected by a cocoon of silk, which is human friendly. The silk melts away over time, leaving a small substrate of silicon circuitry inside that can't be noticed.

Read more

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Microsoft researchers build muscle-computer interface

Legendary DIYer Johnny Chung Lee may have only been with Microsoft for a few months, but it looks like he's already making his presence felt, even when he's not working on projects himself. His latest effort involves getting videos from the User Interface Software and Technology (or UIST) conference online, including this look at a new muscle-computer interface developed by Phd student Scott Samponas and some other folks working with Microsoft Research. While it obviously has a number or potentially exciting and practical uses (like controlling devices when you're hands are full, or when you're running), Samponas et al apparently just couldn't help themselves from demonstrating one of its most obvious applications: an true implementation of air Guitar Hero.

See video at http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/27/microsoft-researchers-build-muscle-computer-interface-play-air/

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting It Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn

For years, many educators have championed “errorless learning," advising teachers (and students) to create study conditions that do not permit errors. For example, a classroom teacher might drill students repeatedly on the same multiplication problem, with very little delay between the first and second presentations of the problem, ensuring that the student gets the answer correct each time.

Read more

Friday, October 9, 2009

The General Mills Foundation - Champions for Healthy Kids Grant Program

The General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President's Council on Physical Fitness, developed the Champions for Healthy Kids grant program to fund community-based groups that help youth adopt a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

Deadline: January 15, 2010

For more information - click here

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Picasa 3.5

The free photo editing software from Google now has name tags and more

Read more

Monday, September 14, 2009

iTune 9 Woes

After installing iTunes 9, you may find that the updated version refuses to connect to the iTunes Store.

Here is a solution.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nike Plans iPod nano-compatible heart rate monitor

In addition to a built-in pedometer, the new fifth-generation iPod nano will be compatible with an upcoming Nike-branded heart rate monitor for fitness-minded users, AppleInsider has learned.

Evidence of the device exists in the latest Nike+ iPod user guide, posted on Apple's Web site. The 28-page document includes a section entitled "Linking a Nike + iPod Compatible Remote or Heart Rate Monitor." It states that only the fifth-generation ipod nano, announced Wednesday, is compatible.

Read more

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sony to link Readers with libraries, allow e-book borrowing

At a press event hosted by the New York Public Library, Sony put their recently announced Reader hardware on display and provided an overview of its recent announcements. But the event was more than simply a recap of past announcements. The library location provided context for a program, run through Sony's e-book store, which will allow users to identify their local public library borrow books through its site. There is also new hardware: by the holidays, Sony plans on having a 3G-enabled Reader with a tall seven-inch screen.

Read more

Apple drops Palm OS HotSync conduit from Snow Leopard

Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard's iSync 3.1.0, according to sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, requiring users of Palm OS devices to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X's Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models to synchronize with its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple's Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

Read more

Monday, August 24, 2009

Apple to Ship Mac OS X Snow Leopard on August 28

— Apple® today announced that Mac OS® X v10.6 Snow Leopard™ will go on sale Friday, August 28 at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple's online store is now accepting pre-orders.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Scientists make bendable, transparent LEDs—without organics

Organic LEDs, or OLEDs, promise to bring flexible, transparent displays to the market, but some researchers have found a way to get the same effect by printing microscopic inorganic LEDs onto plastic and glass.

Organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs, promise to bring a great deal of flexibility to where we can put a display—literally. Because of their organic components, it should be possible to create flexible and transparent displays, opening up a large number of potential uses. But now, just as OLEDs may finally be ready for the consumer market, some engineers have figured out a way to get many of the same properties using inorganic LEDs (ILEDs), using a method that's so simple, even a biologist could understand it. It's a few years away—at least—from commercialization, but it's a significant advance.

Read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom

A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion: “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

Read more and download the report - click here.

Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite for iPhone

It’s taken a while, but the mainstay apps in mobile computing—those intended for mobile business users who need to stay productive—are making their way to the iPhone. Take Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite, a full-blown suite for viewing and editing both Microsoft Word and Excel files.

Read more

Monday, August 17, 2009

Naitonal Technological Literacy Test - Draft Release

A draft of proposed national technological-literacy exams has been released by the National Assessment Governing Board. The computer-based test, which will be given to a sample of students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades in 2012, will gauge students' ability to use and communicate with technology as well as their understanding of technology's advantages and drawbacks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

$11 Billion Stimulus Set to Launch Early

Education stimulus money can be used to purchase technology fro your program

Instead of waiting until Sept. 30 for the second round of economic stimulus grants, states can claim their education money a month sooner.

Read more.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

GPS Phone Sales Seen Rising - Strategy Analytics

STOCKHOLM (Dow Jones)--GPS smartphone sales are expected to grow rapidly in the current year, driven by improved applications and strong consumer acceptance of navigation devices, Strategy Analytics said Wednesday.

Shipments of GPS smartphones, like Nokia Corp.'s (NOK) N97 and Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone, are seen increasing 34% to 77 million units in 2009 from 2008, the research firm said.

"GPS smartphones...are a high-growth segment that continues to expand even during the current, tough economic times," said Strategy Analytics Navigation Director Joanne Blight.

Read more

Obama Pushes for Education Reform with $4.35 Billion in Competitive Grants

President Barack Obama is calling on states and districts to set higher standards for student achievement. In a speech delivered at the United States Department of Education headquarters in Washington, DC Friday, Obama highlighted some of the top reforms he thinks will help accomplish this and also announced $4.35 billion in competitive grants designed to help support innovative reform efforts.

Read more

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Schools slowly add phones, PDAs to curriculum


Smartphones now have hundreds of applications meant to educate kids — from graphic calculators to animation programs that teach spelling and phonics.

And while most public schools don't allow the devices because they're considered distractions — and sometimes portable cheating tools — some school districts have started to put the technology to use.

The key, educators say, is controlling the environment in which they are used.

Read more

Draft Content Standards Elicit Mixed Reviews

A draft of common academic standards, meant to bring greater coherence to the nation’s English and mathematics lessons, is drawing a mix of enthusiastic, ambivalent, and barbed responses from those who have seen it.

The working document, which was unexpectedly put out for public consumption yesterday, is meant to serve as the first step of a standards-writing process, led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The crafting and review of those academic guidelines is expected to play out at least through the end of the year.

Read more

Monday, June 15, 2009

Work on tests means cash for states

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to the Triangle on Sunday with a promise of $350 million for states to work on establishing national standardized tests that will allow students from around the country see how they stack up against each other and with their counterparts around the globe.

The states have taken a first step, with 46 states, including North Carolina, agreeing to develop standards in English and mathematics that all high school students should meet to make them ready for college and work. The states will also develop basic grade-by-grade and course-by-course standards.

Duncan spoke at a governors' meeting sponsored by the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

Read more

Friday, June 12, 2009

EPEC Announces Distribution Agreement with Bonnie’s Fitware

EPEC Announces Distribution Agreement with Bonnie’s Fitware
Alliance Means Increased Offerings for Physical Educators

LANSING, Mich. – EPEC (Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum) will partner with Bonnie’s Fitware
in order to provide additional physical education materials and products to teachers around the world.
The agreement for EPEC to immediately assume worldwide distribution responsibilities of the products
was announced today.

EPEC is an award winning standards-based physical education curriculum for grades K-12 which is
built around the NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) learning standards.

Bonnie’s Fitware Inc. was founded by Dr. Bonnie Mohnsen, and is a leader in providing the physical
education profession with state of the art technological instructional solutions and standards based
physical education curriculum.

“The decision to assume distribution of the Bonnie’s Fitware products was based on our fundamental
commitment to ensure quality standards-based physical education for the nation’s youth. We believe
that the best way to address the child obesity problem is to physically educate our youth, which will
lead to ahealthier nation,” said Dr. Glenna DeJong, EPEC’s vice president of educational programs.
“Bonnie’s products compliment and reinforce our EPEC products and will serve to assist us in meeting
the needs of the physical education community.”

EPEC will integrate the Bonnie’s Fitware products into its marketing and sales efforts and be prepared
to fulfill orders for the 2009-2010 school year. Bonnie’s Fitware Inc. will continue to offer selected
resource products, on-line instructional learning and conduct professional workshops. The organizations
have also agreed to co-promote both the EPEC and Bonnie’s Fitware product offerings.

Dr. Mohnsen is a nationally acclaimed author in the areas of physical education and technology, and
has conducted hundreds of workshops on the use of technology in effective physical education

EPEC has become the leader in the physical education community in providing standards-based
physical education. Their marketing and sales efforts have proven both effective and impressive,
” Dr. Mohnsen said. “This alliance will allow me to concentrate my efforts on the development of new
products in the area of technology and on-line instructional resources, while being assured that our
current products will be effectively offered to the physical education community.”

In 2002, EPEC received the award for Excellence in Prevention Research and Research Translation
in Chronic Disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Research done in
2005 by the CDC reported that students who were taught with EPEC increased their skills in the
measured motor skills over students taught using other curricula. In addition, students taught with
EPEC showed more knowledge of physical activity and greater motor-skill self-efficacy. For more
information about EPEC, visit www.EPEC4kids.com.


Setting the Standard by Meeting the Standards

EPEC P.O. Box 27187 Lansing, MI 48909 Phone 877/464-3732 Fax 517/347/8145

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Apple Announces New iPhone

Apple has introduced the iPhone 3G S, the latest and speediest version of the popular smartphone. The device boasts an improved camera, the ability to record video and a set of voice controls that enable users to upload all those videos directly to YouTube. Apple will offer the 3G S as 16G and 32G versions, priced at $199 and $299, respectively.

Check out this video on the iPhone 3G S: Video

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Has the Time Come for National Standards?

At the initiative of state governors, education leaders and the Obama administration, fresh efforts are under way to jump-start a conversation about developing national standards for U.S. schools. The latest ASCD Infobrief examines how adopting national standards would help students moving to different areas or school systems, describes how Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has challenged states to raise standards and become models for the rest of the nation, shares states' opinions on the issue and highlights some concerns about further federal involvement in education. The brief also looks at what national standards could look like, and how we can turn the vision into reality.

Research to Assess Impact of Technology

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - June 2, 2009 - Lenovo today announced the Global Education Research program, an initiative that will analyze and measure the impact of technology on students' educational experiences at various levels, ranging from first grade through higher education, both inside and outside the classroom.

The new initiative aims to gain a complete view of the role and impact of technology in all aspects of education. The program kicks off during Lenovo's 12th annual Think Tank education conference hosted this year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC on June 1-3.

Lenovo has created a network of education centers that will contribute the best practices in education from around the globe and across all disciplines, in and out of the traditional classroom. Initial program participants include the following centers:

University of North Carolina Center for Faculty Excellence, Chapel Hill, NC

Institute for International Leadership, Honolulu, HI

Tiger Woods Learning Center, Anaheim, CA

Lenovo is developing the Global Education Research Centers in partnership with Microsoft and Intel. For more information see www.lenovo.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scientists Unveil ‘Thought-Controlled’ Smart Home System

06.01.2009 — Scientists in London are close to perfecting a smart home system that is controlled by the user's thoughts.

The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) uses electrodes attached to the scalp that allow the user to turn lights off and on, change the channel on the TV or open a door "by just thinking about it," according to Science Daily.

g.tec, an Austrian medical engineering company, developed the (BCI) to assist the disabled. But it could have applications for the general population. g.tec teamed with several international universities to test the BCI technology in a smart home created in virtual reality. Check out the video below.

"[The virtual smart home] has a kitchen, bathroom, living room … everything a normal home would have," says g.tec CEO Christoph Guger. "People are able to move through [the virtual smart home] just by thinking about where they wanted to go."

Read more

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All Signs Point to a New iPhone Next Month

The closer Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2009 gets, the louder the next-gen iPhone buzz grows. In the week since last issue's editorial, the question of whether or not June's WWDC event will yield a new iPhone now seems more like a foregone conclusion--for starters, AppleInsider reports AT&T is running low on the current iPhone 3G model, and customer service representatives are telling subscribers they don't expect the operator to restock. (For what it's worth, an AT&T spokesperson has denied the iPhone shortage claims, adding the customer rep supplied "incorrect information.") Then last week T-Mobile Austria briefly posted a website placeholder advertising a 32 GB iPhone--as Engadget points out, T-Mobile Germany made a similar gaffe two years ago, promoting the iPhone just prior to officially announcing it would sell the device. And now the Daring Fireball blog, which boasts a superlative track record when it comes to reading the Apple tea leaves, says it would "wager heavily" on a new iPhone for commercial release in July, speculating the device will feature roughly double the CPU horsepower and an improved video-capable camera.

Read more

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Microsoft Wishing Up a User 'Magic Wand'

As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, will users adopt something like a Magic Wand -- really a high-tech universal remote control -- to help them interact with the world around them via gestures and other movements?

If Microsoft has any say, they will.

That's because Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has applied for a patent on a "Magic Wand" -- literally.

Read more

Monday, April 27, 2009

Verizon Wireless and Apple in iPhone talks

Verizon Wireless is reportedly in talks with Apple to introduce a CDMA-based version of the iPhone. Citing sources familiar with the situation, USA Today reports Verizon and Apple entered "high-level" negotiations several months ago, while Apple CEO Steve Jobs was still overseeing day-to-day business at the computing giant; although Jobs is presently on a six-month leave of absence due to health concerns, the talks between the two firms have continued. If the reports prove true, the deal would herald the first iPhone optimized for CDMA networks; Verizon Wireless co-owner Vodafone sells a GSM-based version of the smartphone in Europe.

Read more

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Anti-bully pulpit

It's OK to play video games at Bridgewater-Raynham middle and high schools. It's even encouraged.

Of course, the schools choose which games. And they all share the underlying goal of teaching students about the dangers of bullying on the Internet and in real life.

"Braincells," created by the Canadian software company LiveWires Design Ltd., is a series of interactive computer games and quizzes.

Read more

Education program adds personal touch

Students in grades six and nine in 15 of the state's schools will develop an educational road map for themselves next year as part of a pilot program recently announced by the state Department of Education a prospect that some area schools are already excited about.

The two-year pilot program will allow a sampling of interested schools to implement personalized student learning plans, a component of the DOE's high school redesign project to prepare students for the workforce and college.

Read more

Physical activity may strengthen children's ability to pay attention

New research from the University of Illinois identifies the academic benefits of physical education classes, recess periods, and afterschool exercise programs. Research has shown time and again that exercise and play time benefit learning, yet these opportunities during the school day have diminished significantly over the past few years.

Read more

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Exercise Linked to Attention and Academic Achievement

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found a positive link between physical activity and attention and physical activity and academic achievement in children. Children in this study were better able to pay attention and performed better on academic tests after bouts of physical exercise. Particularly in reading comprehension, students tested performed a full grade level better after exercise. The study has prompted some curricular recommendations: integrating physical activity into lessons, daily outdoor recess, and 150 minutes of physical education per week at the elementary level and 225 minutes at the secondary level.

In other studies, and previous ASCD Inservice blog posts, brief, planned recess breaks were linked to better behavior. In monitoring the "healthy" component of a whole child education, we've noted that nearly 40 percent of elementary schools have eliminated or are considering eliminating recess, according to the National PTA, even though 75 percent of parents and teachers think elementary school recess should be mandatory.

Read more

The new TV remote: Your bare hand?

I see great implications here for physical education applications:

The TV remote control of the future isn't an expensive device with an LCD screen and blinking lights. It's your hand.

The classic TV remote control most of us have grown up with has been around in essentially the same incarnation for half a century. It's been tweaked over the years, but now one company is looking at ditching the remote altogether and using a camera mounted below a TV screen that senses hand motions instead of button pushes. The result is something that seems right out of Minority Report.

But the high-tech user interface Tom Cruise coolly manipulates onscreen isn't even all that far-fetched now, thanks to incremental improvements. Until now, the most innovative new input for entertainment in the living room has been the Wii-mote, the motion-sensing remote control/wand that has made Nintendo's game console a cultural phenomenon. Swing it like a tennis racket and you can pretend you're playing tennis, point it at the screen and use it like a mouse to navigate menus.

Read More

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blackboard Brings LMS App to iPhone

Ed tech developer Blackboard has released a new LMS tool for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. The free app, Blackboard Learn, allows users to access information in their Blackboard accounts and to receive notices through their iPhones.

Read more

Friday, March 6, 2009

Konami Announces DDR for iPod Touch/iPhone

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced the release of DanceDanceRevolution® S, now available in North America for the iPhoneTM and iPod® Touch. The next iteration in the popular music rhythm franchise has been re-designed to take full advantage of the iPhone's capabilities by utilizing the Accelerometer and Multi-Touch interface. With 26 songs and 18 playable characters, DanceDanceRevolution S allows players to perfect their dance moves with innovative new gameplay modes.

Read more

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Signs of a Significant Disruption in the Traditional Textbook Model

Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the December 18, 2008 issue of the New York Times in which he gave advice to the car companies. Friedman was saying that the car companies were giving the public what they wanted, but that was their problem. "Their job is to make the cars people don't know they want but will buy like crazy when they see them." He noted Apple's success with the iPod and Toyota's success with its hybrid. His point was that companies that are too market-driven are in danger; they need to show customers the possibilities because often customers don't know what they don't know until they see other options.

Indiana DOE Redefines Textbooks
An example of being too market-driven has flamed onto the education scene in Indiana. In October 2008, the Indiana State Board of Education issued a Statement and Action Regarding Social Studies Textbooks. In short, they found that while the submitted textbooks met minimum criteria, they "... do not provide content that is interesting, engaging and supportive of effective student learning...." In the statement, the board told local districts to go ahead and review the submitted books so they could be ready for spring adoption, but the board was going to conduct a deeper review to find content (emphasis mine) that was more interesting and engaging. And the board formally expressed its concerns to publishers and asked "for their input and assistance in improving the quality of educational materials they provide."

Read more

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stimulus Package Signed into Law; What It Means for K-12 Education

United States President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed by the House and Senate Friday. The Act assigns significant funding to a variety of education and education-related programs, beefing up educational technology, broadband, and teacher professional development and providing funds that can be used for school modernization.

Read more

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Samsung to Launch App Store for Symbian, WinMo

Samsung will unveil a new mobile applications storefront for Symbian and Windows Mobile devices during this month's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. The virtual storefront (an extension of the Samsung Mobile Innovator developer program first announced last year) will offer consumers over-the-air application browsing, purchasing, downloading and installation.

Read more

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

India's $20 laptop plan challenges our thinking about system design

According to the Financial Times this morning, India is planning a $20 laptop computer as a way of making distance learning accessible to that country's enormous rural population. Coming after MIT and Intel pretty much fought each other to a standstill trying to create a machine for six or eight times that amount, the plan is a wake-up call to anyone in the US who is thinking about serving developing-world markets.

Read more

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Teacher Observation Program

The iPodTouch/iPhone version is now available.


Standards-Based Record Book

For use on the iPod Touch/iPhone is now available!

Check it out at http://shop.pesoftware.com

Fitness Report

For use on the iPod Touch/iPhone is now available!

Check it out at http://shop.pesoftware.com

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heart Monitor Report/Pedometer Report

For use on the iPod Touch/iPhone is now available!


Locker System

Is now available and works on IpodTouch and iPhone.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


For use on the iPod Touch/iPhone is now available!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Artificial LIfe touts 2009 iPhone game Slate

Mobile technology and applications developer Artificial Life announced it plans to introduce at least a dozen new iPhone and iPod touch products in 2009, following up on the success of its first iPhone game, Amateur Surgeon. Artificial Life's 2009 slate includes a series of three racing games developed in conjunction with an unnamed German auto manufacturer as well as a real-time, first-person shooter game and real-time airplane racing title, both in 3D. In addition, the firm will publish games including Solo Backstreet Soccer 3D, Verminator, Scorched!, Space Bumpers, Junkyard Skeet Shooter and Going Postal. Artificial Life adds it will also roll out business apps for iPhone users, including Mobile Diab (a mobile health monitoring system) and Mobile Property (a real estate application).

Read more

Monday, January 12, 2009

AT&T, Dell push $100 laptop with built-in HSPA link

AT&T Mobility and Dell are offering the Inspiron Mini 9 for $100, after a $350 mail-in rebate and a two-year LaptopConnect service contract, which costs $60 per month.

The device features Wi-Fi and HSPA connectivity to the carrier’s broadband network, a nearly 9-inch display, an Intel Atom processor and Windows XP Home Edition.

The offer is good through Jan. 31 direct from Dell.

Read more.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Teachers' lessons go virtual on education video Web site

Thousands of teachers are sharing lessons through Teacher Tube -- a Web site similar to YouTube that launched in 2007 and now has about 54,000 videos and averages 800,000 users each month. "It is allowing teachers from all over the world to share with each other and learn from one another," said Jason Smith, the co-creator of Teacher Tube and superintendent of a Texas school district. "We want to create a grassroots movement in transforming how teachers teach and students learn."

Read more

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

iPod Touch/iPhone Physical Education Software

Here is the most recent update from FM Touch:
"I continued to explore this issue throughout the day today along with a number of other issues we are investigating. I appreciate your patience and shortly we should be able to help you resolve this issue once and for all."
FM Touch

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iPod Touch/iPhone Physical Education Software

Still waiting to hear from the FM Touch developers. However, we have completed the directions so that we can move quickly once we have their answer.

E-books Catch On With Children

It's scary to think that print media could really disappear. There could be a day when students don't even own paper, pencils and textbooks. Their worlds could really be digitized: only typing and reading on an electronic device. Alana Semuels from The Los Angeles Times reports about the sales decline of print books and the increase in e-book purchases -- largely driven by digital natives.

After he's finished his homework and his chores for the day, 8-year-old Skye Vaughn-Perling likes to read Dr. Seuss. He's a particular fan of the hijinks that ensue when the elephant Horton hears strange voices emanating from a dust speck in "Horton Hears a Who."

He doesn't read from a dog-eared copy of the children's classic, though. Skye, who lives in Agoura Hills, Calif., often reads on his computer, pressing the arrow button when he wants to turn a page. Sometimes the characters move around on the screen like animated cartoons on TV. If he wants, Skye can have the computer read a book to him while he's curled up in bed.

"It's a whole new level of exploring the books," said his mother, Victoria Vaughn-Perling.

Readers and publishers alike are embracing a digital future. Electronic-book sales increased 73 percent in October compared with the same month last year, according to the Association of American Publishers, while sales of adult paperbacks decreased 23 percent and children's paperbacks declined 14.8 percent. Sales of higher-education books, including textbooks, fell 443 percent.

The jump in digital sales is strongly related to the increased popularity of the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader and even the iPhone. Once readers have bought the hardware, digital books are much cheaper than hardcovers or even paperbacks. For example, you can buy a hardcover of Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed" for $17.97 on Amazon.com, but it costs only $9.99 on the Kindle. And "100 Words to Make You Sound Smart" is $5.95 in print but only $2.99 in Apple's App Store.

Today's kids have grown up around technology and don't think twice about learning from computers and sleeping with their iPods. In some cases, watching a book on a computer might even make them enjoy reading more, publishers say.

Businesses are starting to focus on the children's market. Kidthing, a Los Angeles firm, makes the digital player that lets Skye read "Horton." Speakaboos, a New York company, offers children's classics that are read by actors as pages are displayed on the screen. Now publishers are rushing to put content online and create games, and in some cases, whole virtual worlds, about different books.

For many, it's a way to generate revenue and shift to a format that in the long run isn't as expensive as print to produce. But it's also recognition that children live in their own wired world, and that digital releases can goose print sales.

Read full story.

More and More, Schools Got Game

Lifelong gamer Russell Alford, 15, usually has to wait until his homework and chores are finished before he can play Call of Duty 4, but this semester he got to play another video game at school. His finance class at Marshall High School in Fairfax County designed avatars and saved a virtual city from an oil spill -- earning points for teamwork, research on the world's water supply, business ethics and negotiating skills.

As Net-generation teachers reach out to gamers, classrooms across the country are becoming portals to elaborate virtual worlds. Business and science classes from Woodbridge to Frederick are sampling sophisticated software that allows students to try out potential careers, practice skills or explore history through simulated missions in national parks, ancient cities or outer space.

Teachers have long yearned for the rapt attention students lavish on mutants and aliens, but stereotypes of video games as violent or brain-numbing have slowed their entry into schools. While the military and even medical schools are turning to "serious games" or simulations for training, the Software and Information Industry Association estimates that instructional games make up only a tiny portion of the $2 billion-a-year educational software industry.

But lately, researchers and educators say sentiment toward gaming is changing. Advocates argue that games teach vital skills overlooked in the age of high-stakes tests, such as teamwork, decision-making and digital literacy. And they admire the way good games challenge players just enough to keep them engaged and pushing to reach the next level.

Read more

LG Debuts Sunlit LCD Panel At CES

Seoul, South Korea — LG’s display division has developed a 14.1-inch LCD panel for notebooks that is illuminated by sunlight instead of the backlight when used outdoors.

LG said its backlight data signal switching technology uses selective reflection plates in existing backlight panels to enable the switch from reflective mode in sunlight to a “transmissive” mode indoors and at night. The switch can be performed with the touch of a button.

According to the company, the display consumes about one-fourth the amount of energy in its sunlight mode than it does when it uses the backlight, which increases battery life.

Read more

Monday, January 5, 2009

iPod Touch/iPhone Physical Education Software

Well the Fm Touch folks took off for the holidays - but they are back today and working on the last issue we have. I will update you every day this week as to the status.