Posted by: crudbasher | January 10, 2012

Why CES Matters To Education

(cc) minor9th

I’m decent at cooking. What I mean by that is if you give me a recipe, I can follow it accurately. I also can stray a little bit from it and still come up with decent food. I don’t however consider myself a chef.

A chef is a person who can just go into your kitchen, look around and come up with something amazing with what is just laying around. It’s an art and while I think you can sort of learn how to do it, there are some people who are just gifted.

I look at technology like cooking sometimes. Certain gifted people can take technology and make new things out of the ingredients. For example, the iPhone didn’t require any real technological breakthroughs, it just took some very creative people to put existing parts together in a new way.

The Consumer Electronics Show is a place where companies show off their newest products but what I am looking at are the ingredients they are using. These can then be recombined to create the next generation of products that will affect education.

Here are some things that have caught my eye so far.

Tiny Cameras  I love these tiny cameras. As more and more of these go around the world it increases the ability of schools to tap into recent information. I still remember watching movies in school (on a film projector!!) and wondering how old the information was.

The other things these cameras do along with cell phone cameras is make everyone a content creator. Creativity is enhanced when you get a chance to create! Update: I found this link to a new product that makes live streaming online a snap!

OLED TVs I love the technology behind OLEDs. That stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. The way an existing LCD TV works is they have a screen of LCD crystals and they change a large backlight behind them. This then has certain practical limits to size and thickness. If you want true wall sized displays with the thickness of wallpaper, OLEDs are the way to go I think. In the last few years we have seen them grow in size from postage stamp sized displays to actual large TVs this year. Somebody is going to take this technology and make wallpaper displays out of it. Imagine your classroom with every wall being a full sized floor to ceiling display?  Awesome!

Your Computer Is Watching You  One of the biggest limitations to computer technology is the keyboard and mouse. It’s not a natural interface and has to be learned. Our computers are starting to be able to see and hear now though. This will allow them to start to anticipate our needs and put information in context. For example, a computer can watch a whole classroom while a teacher is teaching and keep track of facial expressions. It will be able to tell who is paying attention, who gets it and who needs more help. This will also be very very useful in online classes where the teacher can’t see the student.

These technologies are just new ingredients in a fantastic technological kitchen. I am looking forward to seeing all the new dishes that creative people come up with, and how many of them will show up in classrooms in the near future.


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