NAO, the Humanoid Robot!

Submitted by Dana Haugh on Thu, 07/10/2014 - 12:07pm.

Meet NAO, the 58-cm tall humanoid robot!

Born in 2006, it's been constantly evolving to "please, amuse, understand and love you. In short, to one day become your friend." A robot that can love? A.I. anyone?

NAO has been making quite a stir in the education world, both as a teaching tool and classroom assistant. It's been used in 70 different countries at all levels of education and it's fully programmable to meet the needs of it's target audience. Classrooms have integrated this little bot into STEM curriculums to promote hands-on, interactive learning which in turn gets students excited about these important subjects.

I'm currently writing a Research Digest piece on a study that introduced NAO into a classroom of preschoolers to measure its effectiveness as a classroom assistant. In the study, NAO was loaded with KindSAR software, a modified version of the SAR application, that is appropriate for the age-group and setting.


Submitted by Ting Yuan on Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:45am.

For library researchers and parents who are interested in children’s literature, EarlyWord is a good resource for the latest books recommended by children’s librarians. Nora Rawlinson, who was the editor of Library Journal, is the cofounder and editor of EarlyWord. One of the librarians who contribute to the site is Lisa Von Drasek who was the children’s librarian of Bank Street College for over 15 years and now is the curator of children’s literature research collections in University of Minnesota. She wrote prolifically for the book review column of New York Times.

Add a Design Method to your Madness: IDEO Method Cards

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 07/10/2014 - 10:49am.

(Image via IDEO Site)

In the spirit of Carmen & Chingfu's wonderful EdLab seminar and Yang's recent EdLab blog post, I thought I would introduce IDEO's Method Cards to the mix. Used by engineers, researchers and designers, this analogue deck of cards (and optional, corresponding app) are a great way to organize and push the creative, human-centered design process. Organized by four "suits" (Ask, Watch, Learn & Try), the cards are meant to help facilitate creative problem-solving and include real-world use cases of each "suit."

Description from IDEO's site:

IDEO Method Cards is a collection of 51 cards representing diverse ways that design teams can understand the people they are designing for. They are used to make a number of different methods accessible to all members of a design team, to explain how and when the methods are best used, and to demonstrate how they have been applied to real design projects.

Higher Education Video Game Alliance

Submitted by Youssef Ballo on Thu, 07/10/2014 - 2:17am.

Higher education leaders have created a group, the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, to demonstrate the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of college and university video games programs. The alliance is hoping their efforts will further improve relations between educators and professional game developers. The goal is to support America’s competitiveness by improving the collective power of the video programs.

According to the alliance, about 400 schools offer video games design programs. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S association that represents U.S. video games publishers, supports the programs. According to this article, the alliance hopes to raise the profile of schools that use the video game programs.

AAU to Launch STEM Website

Submitted by Khalil Abubakar on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 11:36pm.

The Association of American Universities (AAU) is creating a website with the hopes of improving teaching and learning opportunities in STEM at the undergraduate level. In an effort to accomplish this, AAU has partnered with Purdue University’s Hubzero, a platform for scientific collaboration. The website allows current AAU member schools to highlight their innovative work in STEM and creative teaching practices. When launched, the website will be available to AAU member colleges, non-members and general public. The long-term goal of this initiative is to improve innovative learning opportunities for students and educators in STEM.

Physical Education and Physical Activity

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:33pm.

While schools work tirelessly to ensure the academic progress of students, these same schools overlook the benefits of physical education and physical activity in students. It is widely known that students perform better in school when they are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Engaging in physical activities such as sports help students stay away from risky behavior in and out of school. This article sheds more light on the benefits of physical activity and physical education on the academic performance of students. Interestingly, some schools are reducing physical education programs just to ensure that students concentrate on their academics. This is not the right choice; a physically active mind helps speed up the thinking process of students.

Takeaways from Human Computer Interaction Design Seminar

Submitted by Yang Yang on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 9:59pm.

This afternoon, Manav, Mason and I attended a HCI seminar by Professor Daniel Fallman, hosted by Columbia University's Computer Science department. It is interesting to know how similar the design approach is for science and education. Data is good, but is it almighty? What makes a good human computer interaction (HCI) design?

  1. Design thinking is the KEY

    Adopting the-state-of-art computer technology, the creation process of HCI is very similar to EdLab's design thinking discussions. He introduced the process of design HCI system with keywords such as “client needs”, “empathy”, “user-centered”, “prototype”.

  2. Purpose-driven design

    Hopefully the graph at the beginning of this blog that I duplicated would be self explanatory. Design for different purposes requires distinctive focus. He illustrated his ideas with a few cases: The ABB Eye-Catcher project was an example of client-oriented case, while the voice harvest and homeless sleeping bag were more of research and exploratory design. More of their innovative ideas including those mentioned above can be found here. To keep the good work, there will be many loops through all these three focuses.

Best Interview Tips For College Graduates

Submitted by Henry Adjei on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 7:05am.

What is the best way to prepare for an interview? One of the challenges most graduates face is properly readying themselves ready for an interview. This Forbes magazine article might help students prepare for a job interview. Some of the reasons college graduates struggle with interviews is due to lack of communication. The article highlights personality as one of the things most graduates must bear in mind: their attire, body language and verbal communication. The article highlights other important tips to keep in mind before you go for an interview.

Building Safer Schools to Protect Students from Disasters

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 11:39pm.

Building school infrastructure has become one of the difficult tasks for many undeveloped countries due to lack of money. Additionally, their government invests a small portion of their country's GDP in education. As a result, students are often found learning under extreme and uncomfortable conditions. On the contrary, some countries have managed to build classrooms for their schools, but they face another issue. In Mozambique, many students' lives are at risk due to the country's extreme exposure to natural disasters. Natural disasters have caused a disruption of education in Mozambique for many years. Thus, the Ministry of Education plans to build stronger classrooms that will withstand disasters and provide safety measures for students.

In 2012, a Tropical storm called Dando and Cyclone Funso damaged 1,000 classrooms along the eastern coastline. Similarly, in 2013, 250 classrooms were affected by heavy flooding. The World Bank's Africa Disaster Risk Management Group (DRM) will be helping Mozambique build strong classrooms that will protect their students. They have developed effective strategies to help build school safety guidelines for classrooms facilities, which is financially supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Hopefully students in Mozambique hope to learn freely and not feel disturbed by natural disasters.

Designing Interactions Beyond Desktop and Mobile

Submitted by Manav Malhotra on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 9:31pm.

Professor Daniel Fallman is giving a talk tomorrow called "Designing Interactions Beyond Desktop and Mobile." He's done some neat work in HCI, and it should have some good ideas (particularly around methodology) for our work. Details and abstract are below.

When: 1:30pm, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Where: 620 Schapiro CEPSR, Columbia University

Host: Columbia Vision and Graphics Center

The next great frontier in Interaction Design and Human-Computer
Interaction (HCI) is the move beyond the screens of our laptops,
tablets, and mobile phones out into the environment; that is, to blend
interaction, information, and data with the activities and experiences
that users have "in the wild". Over the last decade, my research group
has been involved in a large number of such projects in areas as diverse
as highly automated manufacturing and process industries; extreme sports
environments including downhill mountain biking and climbing; as well as

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