Posted by: crudbasher | September 26, 2013

4 Educational Tech Tidbits

Some days I don’t find much tech news I can relate to education. Some days I find a bunch. Today is one of those days. 🙂

Apple Patents Self Aware Phone

Apple has registered for a patent for having a phone be aware of the context of its location. For example, it might realize you are in a movie theater and set itself on vibrate automatically. Or you might be driving and it will prevent you from sending texts.

So imagine a child’s smartphone always being able to suggest educational activities based on where you are. Or else it can anticipate questions about the world around you.

Google Search Is Getting Even Smarter

Google has been working hard on establishing context in its data.

From the article (H/T Gizmodo)

Knowledge graph—Google’s new and improved sentient know-it-all answer engine—is growing up. For example, if you say, “Tell me about impressionist painters,” it will present a layout you can scroll through, showing you different types of impressionism. Click into cubism, and it’ll bring up some stuff about Picasso. It’s essentially adding more layers.

So your phone will know more where you are, and what you are doing, and be able to pull up better information that is more relevant. Cool and very useful for adhoc learning.

Amazon Adds A ‘Mayday’ Button To The Kindle Fire To Help Technophobes Make Their Tablet Work updated their Kindle Fire tablet yesterday and added a really interesting new feature. You can press a button at any time and get connected to a video chat window of a tech help desk person.

From the article (H/T Business Insider)

Here’s how it’s supposed to work. In the settings, there’s a button you can hit. It takes you to live video support. A person pops up on the screen. You can see the person, but they can’t see you. That person can see your device and what’s on the screen.
My mind immediately thought about what if students had a button to summon a teacher or tutor when they are stuck? That’s an interesting business model eh?

And finally…

LAUSD halts home use of iPads for students after devices hacked

More government waste. I know I’ve been picking on California recently but dang if they don’t just provide a lot of material. 🙂 LA is spending a billion dollars to provide every student with an iPad. They’ve started rolling them out and low and behold:

It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district.

Oh my I think I’m going to laugh myself silly over this! One of the first things I learned when doing web development is whatever you give your users is theirs. Don’t expect them to do what you want with it.

These students aren’t going to be content with a crippled iPad. Thanks to the Internet, when one person figures out how to unlock it, they will all know how to unlock it.

Of course there are Android based tablets that have customized software that will provide a holistic, safe environment between the students and teachers. Unfortunately a decision like this has more to do with politics and kickbacks than actual education efficacy. We can only sit back and laugh.


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