The Consumer Electronic Show is happening and there are a number of interesting announcements so far. A few have some application to education.
As I have noted before, if you take apart a tablet like an iPad, most of it is composed of battery and the display. The computer itself is actually pretty small and getting smaller all the time. The latest wireless technologies show the promise of separating the computer and the display into different devices. NVIDIA showed off their new Tegra 4 processor for cell phones, which is hugely powerful (it’s almost PS3 level graphics). A cell phone with something like that inside would be limited by the small built in screen but if you could wirelessly connect to other (larger) displays it becomes more useful. Broadcom announced at the show they would be putting 802.11ac wifi chips into certain smartTVs this year. That is the latest wifi spec and is fast enough to do wireless HD video streaming.
One display shows at CES was a new flexible display prototype that looks pretty good. It’s still just an e-ink type of display so it’s one color and slow to update. I also have some issues with some of their metaphors of how they are transferring files by touching the paper but still, they have some great ideas. (H/T Engadget)
Another thing significant at the show is that NVIDIA is creating their own portable game console. This shows that the bar to entry is significantly lower now for decent 3d graphics. I predict that the next generation of dedicated game consoles will be the last. We will use our phones in the future, connected wirelessly to our TVs.
So what does this all add up to for education?
As always, technology is getting faster, smaller and cheaper and it will be coming to school. The best thing for schools to do is to prepare their infrastructure to be ready for it. I know, SMART boards are more sexy and get more funding but investing in routers, wireless and highspeed internet connections make a lot more sense and is a lot more future proof.