Apple rejects kid-friendly programming app

About 40 years ago, tech legend Alan Kay invented the idea of a lightweight tablet computer that children could use to learn programming. Apple’s iPad delivers on the tablet part of that vision–but the company has blocked a kid-friendly programming language based on Kay’s work from getting onto the iPad, Wired reports. Apple removed an app called Scratch from its iPhone and iPad App Store last week. The Scratch app displayed stories, games, and animations made by children using MIT’s Scratch platform, which was built on top of Kay’s programming language Squeak, according to MIT. John McIntosh, a software developer unaffiliated with MIT, made the Scratch app for the iPhone on his own and announced its removal in a blog post last week. Though Kay didn’t write the Scratch app, he wasn’t pleased about the news when contacted by Wired. “Both children and the internet are bigger than Apple, and things that are good for children of the world need to be able to run everywhere,” Kay told the publication…

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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

Survey: Teens’ cell phone use may cause tension with parents, schools

The vast majority of teens who own cell phones send text messages, a survey found.
The vast majority of teens who own cell phones send text messages, a survey found.

Teenagers have embraced text messaging as their main form of communication, but mobile phones are often a source of tension with parents and schools, a new survey found.

The frequency with which teens text has overtaken every other form of interaction, including instant messaging and talking face-to-face, according to a study released April 20 by researchers at Pew Research Center and the University of Michigan.

Three-quarters of teens now own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. Of those who own cell phones, 88 percent text, up from just over half in 2006.…Read More

iPad too much for some campus networks

The New York Times reports that the iPad has been touted as the next big thing in higher education technology, especially as more textbooks make the digital conversation, but according to a Wall Street Journal report, not all college campus networks can handle the mobile tablets. George Washington University students and faculty members who sprung for an iPad can’t access the campus wireless network. Princeton University has blocked about two dozen iPads that were messing up the university network. Seton Hill University, which is equipping every student with an iPad, has had to quadruple its bandwidth and charge students a $500-per-semester technology fee. Cornell University is also seeing networking and connectivity issues, similar to what happened with the iPhone hit…

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Apple iPad: The evolution of home computing

I have seen the future of home computing, and it is the iPad. I’m convinced of it, PC World’s Kenneth van Wyk reports. Yes, iPadurday has come and gone. Many of us have Wi-Fi iPads in our grubby little mitts. Early reviews have been mostly stellar. The device–and more importantly, the software running it–is superb, but certainly not perfect. And now we’ve seen Steve Jobs outline the next release of the operating system, iPhone OS 4.0. That’s all well and good, but largely secondary to my point. I’ve discussed the app store model here a couple of times , and the security ramifications it carries. Well, let’s consider the iPad in that light, now that it has been released. When I got my iPad, I immediately installed several software packages on it. Most of it was for entertainment (e.g., Netflix, ABC Reader), but I also installed a couple of apps that could at least ostensibly be used for business (e.g., Pages, Keynote). Each installation was simple: I ran the App Store application, found the tools I wanted, and clicked the purchase icon. Within moments, each package installed…

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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

Apple delays international iPad launch again

U.S. buyers have been snapping up the iPad so quickly that Apple Inc. is delaying the tablet computer’s overseas debut a second time, the company said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Apple said it will now start taking orders for the iPad from international buyers on May 10. In January, it said the iPad would be sold worldwide in late March. After analysts reported production delays would limit the number of units available, Apple postponed the U.S. launch to April 3 and delayed plans for the international launch until late in April. Word of the second delay didn’t faze Apple investors, who are eager to see signs the iPad is selling well. Apple shares rose $2.39, or 1 percent, to $244.82 in morning trading. “We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason — the iPad is a runaway success in the U.S. thus far,” Apple said in a statement.

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Integrating STEM in the elementary years: Your lesson plans may already hold the answer

It's easy to turn classroom lessons into engineering lessons.
It's easy to turn classroom lessons into engineering lessons.

Are you a teacher searching for ways to teach engineering in your elementary classroom, but want to start simple and are not quite sure how to begin?  Well, the answer may already be in your lesson plans.

As the mom of two elementary students, author of a children’s book about engineering, and an engineer, I have witnessed several of my children’s class projects that, with the addition of a sentence or two, become an engineering project.  When I can, I offer the teachers a few grade-level-appropriate sentences that relate the project to engineering.

Engineering Basics

Engineers do many different things, but the basic elements of the engineering method are generally the same:
•    brainstorming
•    planning
•    creating
•    modifying
•    team problem solving…Read More

Texas district streams video wirelessly on demand

Keller ISD installed a video-on-demand solution to enable the school district to deliver rich digital educational content to classrooms throughout the school district.
Keller ISD installed a wireless video-on-demand solution to deliver rich digital content to students' mobile devices.

A Texas school system has set up a wireless network infrastructure that is capable of streaming high-quality video to students’ mobile devices—enabling true anytime, anywhere learning to occur with the help of visual media.

The Keller Independent School District recently began using a wireless video streaming solution that supports its effort to put mobile devices in the hands of every student. Using the Video-on-Demand (VOD) and Digital Media Management solution from SAFARI Montage, Keller ISD can stream rich digital content to students throughout the school district wirelessly, which enhances their overall learning experience, said Chief Technology Officer Joe Griffin.

“Our existing wired infrastructure limited where and how users could access the content,” he said. “We needed a cost-effective solution that could provide high-speed, district-wide coverage and ensure seamless delivery of multimedia content to students and teachers, while supporting our efforts to expand these capabilities to all classrooms.”…Read More

Is better learning a click away?

Clicker technology has advanced, but some professors prefer simpler models that won't lead to distractions.
Clicker technology has advanced, but some professors prefer simpler models that won't lead to distractions.

The students in Michael Dubson’s physics class at the University of Colorado fell silent as a multiple-choice question flashed on a screen, sending them scrambling for small white devices on their desks.

Within seconds, a monitor on Dubson’s desk told him that 92 percent of the class had correctly answered the question on kinetic energy, a sign that they grasped the concept.

Student response systems, or clickers—not unlike gadgets used on television game shows—first appeared in college classrooms over a decade ago and have since spread to just about every college and university in the country, thanks to cheaper and better technology.…Read More