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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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