Students soon could learn with handheld 3-D devices

DS systems will be used in elementary and junior high classrooms in Japan (TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nintendo DS systems will be used in elementary and junior high classrooms in Japan.

Thanks to new developments in handheld technology, students soon could have glasses-free 3-D displays in the palms of their hands.

Sharp recently announced its latest in 3-D displays that work without the cumbersome glasses commonly associated with 3-D video, though as of press time the technology worked only on a three-inch screen held a foot away from the viewer’s face. These smaller screens are intended for mobile devices such as cell phones, game machines, and digital cameras, Sharp said.

According to one reviewer, the 3-D animation on the handheld screen is like a miniature version of the 3-D animation viewers are used to seeing on larger TV screens, though images were less convincing than those seen in a darkened cinema.…Read More

Northern Illinois professor brings video games to class

Coller says video games allow him to create assignments that are more authentic to engineering.
NIU instructor Brianno Coller says video games allow him to create assignments that are more authentic to engineering.

Brianno Coller is showing that video games have a place in the classroom. Coller, an associate professor of engineering at Northern Illinois University, realized several years ago while showing students computer-generated NASA footage from the Mars Rover landings that there might be a better way to teach content that previously had been restricted to the pages of worksheets and tests.

“Students would always be sort of on the edge of their seat watching this thing, because it’s just so cool to see how it works,” Coller said of the video. “But that sentiment ended as soon as you turned off the video, and then they’re back to their boring old homework again.”

This led Coller to imagine a simulation that allowed students to design a desired movement or action using the required formulas and algorithms that apply to all types of engineering. In his mind, this would allow students to do the necessary work and to see firsthand the success or failure of that work.…Read More

Six technologies soon to affect education

Several important technologies are becoming more relevant to K-12 education.
Several important technologies are becoming more relevant to K-12 education.

Cloud computing and collaborative learning environments are set to take hold in K-12 schools in the very near future, with mobile devices, game-based learning, and other education technologies to follow suit in the next few years, according to the 2010 Horizon Report’s K-12 Edition, released by the New Media Consortium (NMC).

NMC researchers examined 100 different technologies and whittled them down to the six most prominent technologies that are on the verge of classroom adoption in the next five years. Those six technologies were placed into three categories according to how close schools are to implementing them on wide scale.

The report also identifies the challenges facing K-12 technology leaders, noting that while digital media literacy continues to rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, educational practices are changing very slowly, said Larry Johnson, NMC’s chief executive, during an April 13 webinar sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking.…Read More

Student-driven film spotlights young gamblers, online betting

With sports betting at his fingertips and a poker table a mouse click away, it was all too easy for Max Shona to spend hours gambling on the internet. But as hours turned into days and the urge to win bigger began to consume him, the 22-year-old realized he had a problem, reports the Canadian Press. “It was an addiction. I can admit to saying it,” says Shona. “It still haunts me.” The Toronto native is now sharing his experiences in a youth-driven documentary that takes a hard look at the impact and experiences of gambling on his generation—and online betting is an element that features significantly. “Deal Me In” was produced by a group of students out of the Youth Voices Gambling Project at the University of Toronto. Put together last year, the film is rapidly gaining an attentive audience as it appears at film festivals and gambling awareness workshops around the country. While Shona’s gambling began when he was still in high school betting on $5 poker games, the move to cyberspace saw what had begun as a pastime spiral out of control. “I went to online gambling, which is the devil. It’s probably the worst thing in the world,” he says. “It’s so accessible … and you just don’t cash out.” Shona is among a handful of youth who have spoken out on camera as “Deal Me In” tries to bring the story of young gamblers to their peers…

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How video games have trained a generation of athletes

For more than 30 years, sports video games have been focused on simulating real-life athletics more and more perfectly. But over the past decade, games have moved beyond just imitating the action on the field, Wired reports: Now they’re changing it. “These games nowadays are just so technically sound that they’re a learning tool,” says Tim Grunhard, an All-Pro center for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1990s who now coaches high school football in the Kansas City area, where he encourages his players to use Madden NFL to improve their knowledge of football strategy and tactics. These days, Grunhard says, high school players have a much deeper understanding of offensive formations and defensive coverages, a development he attributes to their long hours on video game consoles. At the Pop Warner Super Bowl in 2006, the winning team had 30 offensive plays, which it had learned through Madden. (“I programmed our offense into Madden to help me memorize our plays,” one 11-year-old told Sports Illustrated. “It was easier than homework.”) Dezmon Briscoe, an all-conference wide receiver for the University of Kansas, credited Madden 2009 with teaching him how to read when defenses “roll their coverages”—move their defensive backs to disguise their strategy. Chuck Kyle, a high school coach who has won 10 state championships in football-mad Ohio, has programmed his team USA playbook into Madden and uses it to teach players their assignments. So have coaches at Colorado State, Penn State, and the University of Missouri, among other schools. An offensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the video game as a preparation tool for an entire season, scouting his opponents digitally. While even-more-sophisticated software is available for virtual sports training, coaches and players at all levels of football say that Madden’s off-the-shelf simulation is good enough…

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Warner Brothers to produce ‘Sesame Street’ video games

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has signed a deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that produces “Sesame Street” in more than 140 countries, to create and publish a series of interactive games for various platforms based on the 40-year-old children’s series, reports the Associated Press. The partnership comes three months after Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros. announced Warner Home Video would distribute “Sesame Street” home videos. The companies said they see the latest partnership as an opportunity to create entertaining and educational interactive content for preschool-age children, an audience they said is underserved by game publishers. “There’s a big open hole in the market,” said Russell Arons, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment senior vice president of marketing. “This is the first generation of parents who grew up as gamers. Unlike prior generations where people weren’t sure of the value of video games, these are people who know there’s value and fun for the whole family.” Arons said the publisher hopes to utilize video and motion controller technologies, which will be available for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 later this year, for the new “Sesame Street” games, making the games easier and developmentally appropriate for preschoolers…

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