Highcharts: interactive data visualization tool with jquery

Submitted by Zhou Zhou on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 6:28pm.

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.

Trends in Ed: 01.12.2011- K-12 Schools Adopting iPads

Submitted by George Nantwi on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 5:57pm.

Since its market debut last summer, the iPad has sold more than seven million units and though its stranglehold on the tablet market is currently under challenge from Samsung, and HP, among others, it is gaining momentum among K-12 educators across the country.

For most teachers, the iPad allows for greater correspondence between teachers and students as students can complete and submit homework using the iPad and can even serve as a depository for them to keep their work. Among its many strengths, the iPad’s relatively lightweight makes it easier for students to carry compared with their heavy textbooks. There are over 5,400 apps available for download with 1,000 of them free of charge.

With many school districts facing budget shortfalls and agonizing over crucial decisions such as slashing teacher pay or outright layoffs, spending lavishly on iPads may not seem the right move, according to critics. Some have even expressed whether the iPad can even actually have a positive effect on student performance since there has yet to be extensive research on its effectiveness as an educational tool. Critics also note there are far more and cheaper options in terms of technology for schools than iPads. They cite mobile phones as a prime example of a tool that is cheaper and offers much of the same capabilities as an iPad though proponents will be quick to point out the iPad, among its many features, has a larger screen.

Wolfram/Alpha Course Assistant

Submitted by Julia Martin on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 2:35pm.

Wolfram Alpha just released their first series of course assistants for high school and college level "common" courses. The apps are designed for mobile devices.

full article here

Probo: The Huggable Robotic Friend

Submitted by Julia Martin on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 3:33pm.

The University of Brussels in Belgium has released information on a new tool they've developed called "Probo," an interactive robotic friend. Early studies they've done has had success with rehabilitation activities with autistic children.

The picture looks a lot creepier than it does in the video when it's "live". More info on the Probo Site.

Poverty's Influence on Cognitive Development

Submitted by Julia Martin on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 2:55pm.

A recent study by the University of Texas-Austin shows differences in cognitive abilities of children by the age of two, correlating with the income level of the families. The lead author notes that this is more a reflection of the effect of early access to resources than of any sort of innate superiority of wealthy children. He says often wealthier families have more resources as well as more time to spend with their children, which directly influences their cognitive development. It is interesting in light of schools like the Harlem Children's Zone, which requires heavy involvement from parents at an early age. It could also mean that efforts to increase graduation rates and close achievement gaps may need to start much much younger.

Full Study published in Psychological science available through Sage Publications here.

Trends in Ed: 01.11.2011-Education Week Releases State Rankings

Submitted by George Nantwi on Tue, 01/11/2011 - 2:45pm.

Education Week today released its annual list of state public school rankings and for the third consecutive year, Maryland takes the top spot with New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, Arkansas, New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia rounding out the top ten. The District of Columbia is included in the final rankings though it is worth noting it is not a state and the standards on which the rankings are measured may not apply to it and hence why it is ranked next to last place Nebraska. Four key areas determine a state’s rank: chance for success, transitions and alignment, school finance, and K-12 achievement.

The chance for success index essentially measures 13 indicators from a student’s childhood through to adulthood to capture three life stages: early-childhood years, participation and performance in formal education and educational attainment and workforce outcomes during adulthood. The K-12 achievement measures current state performance, improvements over time and equity as measured by poverty-based achievement gaps. Transitions and alignment measures states’ ability to better coordinate the connections between K-12 education and other crucial segments in a student’s education such as early-childhood education, and college readiness. School finance measures a state’s school spending patterns and the distribution of resources within that state.

Trends in Ed: 01.10.2011-Blackboard Supports Industry Standards

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 5:39pm.

Blackboard announced today it would be supporting two industry standards: Common Cartridge and Basic Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), both of which help teachers share educational content and resources. The Common Cartridge standard allows educators and instructional designers to use educational tools and content across different platforms. The sole purpose of this standard is a greater promotion of content and resources across all the educational community. The LTI standard provides users with more options for integrating external learning tools within Blackboard Learn courses. It also allows publishers to develop high quality content that can be distributed to the teaching and learning community more easily.

Blackboard’s decision to support the standards is not surprising considering the company has been moving towards a more open platform for teachers and learners alike. The announcement also comes on the heels of growing popular support in educational circles for Blackboard’s Learn platform, which is the “is the premier platform for delivering learning content, engaging learners, and measuring their performance,” according to Blackboard.


Submitted by Andrew Mount on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 5:08pm.

It's fortunate to find that there is still time to get to this event at NYU, as it is run by AIGA and connects directly to some of the things we are working on in the design area of EdLab...

The World's Newest Country

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 12:53am.

The people of Southern Sudan are quietly and peacefully voting to secede from the northern part of the country to form the world’s newest country. The last independent country to form was Kosovo a few years ago.

For most of its post-colonial history, the Arab North and the African South of Sudan were engaged in a long-standing civil war until a peace agreement halted the war in 2005. The fragile peace agreement called for a referendum in which citizens of South Sudan will be given a chance to vote for formal reunification with the North or secede and form an independent nation. Though the voting is in its early days, few doubt the outcome.

Though many observers, Western nations, and Southern Sudanese see secession as the best solution to the crisis, a host of challenges await the new nation: ending internal fighting among rebel groups, lack of infrastructure, forming a government, creating jobs, and more importantly, finding a lasting peace with the North, who will have a keen interest in the affairs of the South since most of Sudan’s oil is located there.

A Warehouse for Innovators

Submitted by Gary Natriello on Sun, 01/09/2011 - 11:30am.

Wondering where we might get some cool new materials for our next design event or exhibition? Check out this Fast Company piece on Inventables, an online store of amazing products.

What would you do with sound recording paper or translucent concrete?

Or even transparent aluminum?

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