I came across this nice magic show with iPod on TED
I met Rajesh Jha in California a few weeks ago at Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, California. It was raining non stop and there were no seats in the restaurant. So we sat outdoors with a tiny shade above our table. My hair got wet and so did my burrito. But I was very impressed by the SimNewton project Rajesh's company was working on.
SimNewton is a collaborative web application for mechanics simulation designed for use in introductory physics courses at high school and college freshman levels. Teachers can create a challenge by building a mechanical system in the simulation with customized variables and learning scaffolds such as texts, images, videos, and dynamic charts. Then the teacher can export the scenario and share with groups of students. The students in turn will work alone or in the group to solve the problem. Students can also view and comment other groups' work online. Once the problem is solved, the students can export their solutions and share with the teacher for assessment and feedback.
I encountered this cool and powerful tool called Highcharts, which uses jquery to create interactive data visualization. The benefits of using jquery are 1) it works perfectly in environments without Flash (e.g. iPad, iPhone), and 2) it's HTML 5 compatible. The tool is free for non-commercial use.
Two demos below.
1) You can supply data (e.g. such as from a static spreadsheet file, dynamic JSON data from server, or even an HTML table) and customize the type, appearance, and interactivity of the chart. You can put multiple graph types in a single chart. And you can even print the chart or download as images/PDF.
2) It's possible to allow the user to interact with data source.
I just love it.
Google is now hosting a test drive for its new Chrome OS. In the Chrome OS, everything is online with the free 3G data support by Verizon. They are giving away free laptops with the Chrome OS to eligible users in business, education, non-profit, development, and also on an individual basis. Here is a link.
This is a promising concept as the Chrome OS reflects the current ubiquitous, participatory learning culture. I can foresee tablet devices with Chrome OS in the near future to make it even a greater tool for learning. I wonder if we are interested in applying to the test drive and getting a couple for testing and researching.
MTA has contracted Transit Wireless to equip NYC subway stations with Cellphone and WiFi signals. Read this article from Wired
I encountered this website which summarizes the history of e-reader products. It covers e-reader products from digital books on CD-ROM as early as 1985 to the Apple iPad in 2010. It also leaks some notable potential products such as the Microsoft-HP Slate PC and the Google Tablet PC.
I came across a three-week-old article at Engadget previewing the ASUS Eee Tablet which is going to hit the market after September this year. From the Engadget article as well as some Youtube videos, it seems this device is closer to what we have envisioned for an e-reader for learning:
1. Has some computing power
3. Graphic note-taking (should use a pen because it's really hard to write with a finger on iPad)
4. Relatively less expensive
In the YouTube video below, an ASUS employee said the price range will be $199-$299. We are waiting to hear about more details about this product.
Stephen and I are interested in conducting a research on eBook reader tools for the iPad. Like many people and publishers, we think the iPad is a great reading device offering the comfort and efficiency that no other device have. Most importantly, its positioning between a computing device and a traditional e-book Reader makes it highly versatile for both casual reading and academic learning tasks. It has stronger computing power than Kindle and Nook so that it can be used as a research tool to accomplish tasks such as managing literature, composing texts, creating charts, Internet research, and online collaboration, among others. Aslo, it has better portability and display than a laptop and it can be taken anywhere for reading and learning.
However, we think the iPad's great potentials provided by its hardware are still largely limited by the availability of good applications for reading and learning. We started by looking at some popular eBook reading apps for iPad including the iBook app by Apple, the Kindle app by Amazon, the B&N eReader app by Barnes & Noble, and the Good Reader (GR) app by Good iWare Ltd. The first three apps are developed by big businesses and their book stores are the only resource to obtain books. The last app, GR, is the NO. 1 selling e-book reader app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod due to its great features and functionality, but it isn't affiliated with any online bookstore. Next I will share a summary of these four apps. I will describe these apps in 6 types of tasks: file management, customization, navigation, content interaction, social interaction, and extended tasks.
If you didn't know, Apple announced the launch of iPhone 4 today. They boast four selling points: video calling, 960x640 display, multitasking, and HD video recording.
I complained about iPad's lack of multitasking capability in my previous blog. Now it seems Apple is heading towards removing this limitation, now on iPhone 4, and probably next on iPad 2.
So, I have been testing an EdLab iPad on some learning tasks as well as some natural tasks that I am interested in. Overall the experience is good, but not outstanding enough to persuade me to buy one for myself. I really like iPad's portability, excellent screen display, as well as the multitouch and accelerometer capabilities. Shopping (or windowshopping) at the app store is also a nice experience, except that the apps specifically designed for iPad still cannot meet my expectations in terms of availability and quality. However, I really hate the fact that Apple is having so much control over the iPad and user behaviors. Next I'd like to share my experiences and thoughts in some tasks I have tried.
The App Store app is perhaps the most used app on a new iPad, as everyone would want to customize a comfortable and efficient working environment on a new computing device. I love the fact that there are a lot of free apps that I can install and try, and I indeed keep some apps that are cool and useful. For apps that cost money, most of their prices are reasonable (for example, $0.99 for GoodReader, an eBook reading app; $0.99 for Angry Birds, an addictive slingshot-pig game). Best of all, every app has descriptions, screenshots, user ratings and reviews to help me choose which apps to purchase. Also worth mentioning that iPhone apps can also run on iPads (although iPad apps can't run on iPhones), so even if I cannot find my desired iPad app, I may find an iPhone app as a temporary alternative.