Science Textbooks to Contain Illustrations by XKCD’s Randall Munroe

The popular webcomic XKCD has shown for years how well science, technology and humour can be mashed together through the medium of stick figures. Fans of the webcomic created by former NASA roboticist, Randall Munroe will be glad to find that his skills are going to be put towards more than just entertainment, with his artwork to feature in a number of textbooks in America published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).

Munroe’s art will be taken from one of his books titled Thing Explainer, which contains simply drawn and annotated blueprints for objects varying from rockets to bombs and even household objects like pens. This art will feature in three of HMH’s 2017 textbooks, HMH Chemistry, HMH Biology, and HMH Physics and are known to include The Pieces Everything is Made of (aka The Periodic Table), Bags of Stuff Inside You (The Human Torso), and Heavy Metal Power Buildings (Nuclear Reactors).

It won’t all be reused assets either, as HMH have commissioned Munroe to provide a number of exclusive new illustrations and digital animations of some of the pieces featured in Thing Explainer. These new works will be part of a new series of science materials from HMH that will be utilized during the 2017-18 educational year.

“Randall’s wit, originality, and deep scientific knowledge elevate our curriculum and is a great way to engage students,” said Peggy Smith-Herbst, Senior Vice President, HMH Studios. “His sense of humor and ability to make science fun will encourage a love of scientific inquiry and creativity, both within and beyond the classroom, and we are proud to be bringing his engaging insight exclusively to our customers.”

Hopefully, Munroe may just be able to take the typical droll science textbook and make it into an interesting and entertaining piece that can help a new generation of students get interested in science. Now all I have to ask is where was this when I was growing up?

Amazon is Creating a Platform to Share Educational Materials

When you are a teacher, or anyone involved in training, you often spend more time creating resources and finding ways to reinforce a message rather than just hammering it home time and time again. In order to help with this Amazon are looking at creating a new site designed around being able to share educational materials around the world.

Amazon Education is still in its early stages but you can now sign up as part of their waitlist for the scheme here. The page states that the “future of education is open”, and with all signs pointing to the scheme working similar to Amazon’s retail site, users will be quickly and comfortably able to share resources around the world.

In recent years companies have made a big push on technologies and Amazon are one of the companies that have pushed the most in this regard. With the Kindle being accepted as a standard for eBooks, being able to share classroom text through kindle’s would save schools hundreds on replacing books and with systems like Whispersync already in place to share materials, Amazon seems keen on getting into the business of educational resource sharing.

Do you think that being able to download and access your textbooks, homework and research topics through a popular platform like Amazon would help schools or would it make them reliant on a technology they have no control over?

Touch Screen Devices are ‘Eroding’ Digital Skills for Children

Hands up if you own a touch screen phone? How about a touch screen laptop/tablet? How many of your devices use a touch screen these days? It would seem that this may not be amazing news if you’re handing these devices to children as an Australian educational body noted that there was a ‘significant decline’ in what is classed as IT literacy among some students, in part due to the wide adoption of touch screens.

Think about how you open up a link or perform an action on your phone or your tablet compared to how you would do it on your computer, now think about how often do you use a touch screen for office work.

The report produced by Australia’s National Assessment Programme states that 16-year-olds have a lower than average IT proficiency than any other year. Among the tasks to complete were creating invitations using graphics software, setting up a tablet and installing apps and even promoting an event through social media.

The lower results could be due to the use of mobile technology, an area where skills are developed but are not commonly associated with ICT literacy. A new emphasis was put on teaching relevant knowledge and the skills and understanding to use this knowledge in both personal and professional environments.

AI Program Beats Average Entrance Exam Scores in Japan College Exam

Artificial Intelligence has been progressing at an impressive rate due to technological advancements in cybernetics. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies suggests AI is a form of biological replication and further understanding of the human brain can help create a more advanced reproduction. In the next decade or so, it’s perfectly feasible the robotics industry could create service droids to perform rudimentary tasks. According to a study in Japan, AI is already surpassing the capabilities of the average human being.

Japan’s National Institute of Informatics programmed the AI to complete a standardized college entrance exam. The system correctly answered 511 questions out of a possible 950. In comparison to this, the national average score is 416, which means the AI system has an 80% chance of being admitted into the country’s 33 national universities and 441 private colleges.

The test revolves around five core subjects including History, Maths, and Physics. As you might expect, the AI scored highly in Maths questions and retained information extremely well to achieve excellent History results. On the other hand, the AI system struggled to cope with the Physics questioning due to processing language’s limitations. Overall, the test scores illustrate how far Artificial Intelligence has come, and robotics is a field which could revolutionize society.

Image courtesy of TweakTown.

Afghanistan To Open Coding School For Girls

Neil deGrasse Tyson is known for a lot of things. He has advertised science and technology to thousands and even found Krypton (okay he found a planet roughly where Krypton would be and got it named after Supermans home planet). This week though he presented a session at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. He was joined by two speakers, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology’s (MIT) professor and biomedical engineer Sangeeta Bhatia and the founder and CEO of code to inspire Fereshteh Forough. Amongst their things to discuss was a school that is set to open in Afghanistan with a purpose.

Forough explained that they plan to open a programming lab that will be targeted at women aged between 15 and 25, with the hopes that it can be used to teach women in the middle east to code and program in a safe place.

She hopes that the school will be the first of many in middle eastern countries while Bhatia suggested that they could make changes closer to home to help increase the number of women that took part in computer science programs. This comes in the same week where Stanford has reported that it has 214 female students in its Computer Science major. This figure would make it the most popular major in the University for women.

With more and more people feeling safe and confident in Computer Science, the number of people taking up the subject could soon see an even greater boost as more governments and schools make programming a part of their standard curriculum.

Thank you Huggington Post and Engadget for the information.

Image courtesy of Code Condo.

BBC Micro Bit Computer’s Finalized Design Revealed

The BBC has revealed the final design of the Micro Bit computer and it brings along a few changes over the earlier shown prototypes. The Micro Bit is a pocket-sized computer and that even goes for child-sized pockets and there is a reason for that.

The Micro Bit is not only designed for children, it will also be given away for free to them. It will be given away to every 11 and 12-year-old child in Year 7 or equivalent at school. This isn’t the first time BBC dipped their feet into the hardware learning pool, but the BBC Microcomputer System released in the 80s costs hundreds of pounds.

The Micro Bit features a programmable array of 25 LEDs, has two buttons and a variety of sensors and connection options. It has a built-in motion sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. Earlier models had a thin battery attached, but this one will require an add-on power pack fitted with AA batteries to be mobile.

You can program the Micro Bit from any system you’ll want, may it be Android, iOS, or PC based. It is also compatible with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and Galileo to carry out more complex tasks.

The idea is to teach children at an early age what technology can do and get them started on the right path for a technological future. The possibilities are almost endless.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Not Everyone Will Get Windows 10 on the 29th of July

If you were eagerly waiting to get your hands on Windows 10 on the 29th of July, you might be a bit disappointed. Microsoft just ruled out some updates on the upcoming Windows distribution timings, so bear with us on this.

The company said that Windows Insider program members will be the first to get Windows 10 when it launches, with other users who have reserved their copies being notified by email. Once you get notified, you will be able to get on downloading the Windows build. However, the company will be rolling it out in waves, which will increase in size gradually. This means there won’t be a lot of users who reserved Windows 10 getting it when the clock hits zero.

For regular home users, Microsoft will release the notification once it gets enough information from your system and considers it “ready” for Windows 10. Users who do not have a PC fitting Microsoft’s requirement will be notified by the Microsoft team and be given details as well as contact information on what they should do to get the build.

Business users have something else to deal with. Windows 10 Pro businesses will be able to download the build alongside Windows Insider users on the 29th of July, but larger companies have to wait. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education will be available through the company’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting on the 1st of August.

In addition to the above, all Windows 8.1 versions sold from retail stores will be given out with additional information on how to upgrade to Windows 10. More information about what Microsoft has planned for the Windows 10 rollout can be found over at their blog here.

Teaching Resource Site For Minecraft?

Minecraft is a game where very little is ever the same. This means you can build a castle in one map with ease, but in the next building the Starship Enterprise is a lot easier. While attracting to a whole range of audiences, from the young to the creative, Minecraft has developed a large following amongst gamers, but this may soon expand as Microsoft are soon to launch a new website with a different focus.

Minecraft In Education is a plan that hopes to bring the talents that Minecraft reinforces to the classroom, enabling teachers to use the game as a teaching tool.

With the option for schools to purchase licenses for a whole classroom at a reduced price, history lessons could soon take place in Minecraft reconstructions of Egypt, while next door an Electronics class are working together to help fix a circuit. With the option to mod in new features the tool could become limitless, and Microsoft want to reinforce this by giving teachers a place where they can share and discuss their resources, lessons and ideas with others so that everyone can benefit from Minecraft.

Are you a Minecraft player? What do you think about being taught something though Minecraft? Should we be encouraging some of the skills games teach us more often?

Thank you Education Minecraft for the information.

Image courtesy of WallPaperUp.

Apple WWDC 2015 Could Bring 12-inch iPads and Dual-App View Mode

We are nearing that time of the year when Apple will unveil its stuff at the annual World Wide Developer Conference. Out of all rumours, the most interesting ones consist of 12-inch iPads, dual-app view mode and a multi-user login feature.

Since Microsoft released their Windows 8 and provided split-screen app support for both desktop and Surface devices, Apple has been keen on adding the same thing to their iPads. However, up until now, the feature gave the Cupertino-based company a lot of headaches, which eventually forced them to push back the feature release date.

The latest iOS 9 firmware is now rumoured to bring the aforementioned feature, which might debut at the WWDC in June. Word is that the feature will support 1/2, 1/3 and 2/3 views and could be shown on current iPad models.

Aside from the above, Apple might introduce two new 12-inch iPads codenamed J98 and J99, which could be the long anticipated iPad Pros we heard about in the past. Due to their size, Apple is now rumoured to be working on tweaking the iOS and resizing core apps and features such as Siri, the Notification Centre and others in order to make them display properly on the larger displays.

Last but not least, Apple might even introduce support for multiple users. Similar to the Macintosh OS, users will be able to sign into their own accounts and have access to their own personal apps and files. Rumour has it that the feature will not come with the first iOS 9 build, but since Apple is strongly considering to enter the business and education sector, we might see the feature added in an update by the end of the year.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information

Machines are in Control and are Making Kids Stupid Says Wozniak

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak has moved on from scaremongering about the evils of artificial intelligence, claiming now that machines are too important in our lives and that computers are making our kids stupid. During a speech at the Springfield Public Forum, Woz pontificated on the role that technology plays in the modern life of humans, saying that we are beholden to machines, that they control our lives, and he’s as guilty as anyone in facilitating that.

“The machines won 200 years ago. We made them too important,” said Wozniak. “That makes us the family pet.”

“I love technology, to try it out myself,” he added. “I’ve got at least 5 iPhones […] I have some Android phones.” I suppose anyone who owns around a dozen smartphones has probably made technology too important, but I don’t think many of us have that particular problem.

On the subject of education, Wozniak lamented overstuffed classrooms and placing technology above creativity, saying, “Creativity is the most important thing we have. A lot of our schools slow students down. We put computers in schools and the kids don’t come out thinking any better.”

Though Wozniak made some cogent, potentially worrying points, he went on to admit that he’s excited by the prospect of driverless cars, suggesting that he’s quite happy to be a “pet” to the machines.

Thank you CNet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of MassLive.

Use of Search Engines In Exams, is it Inevitable?

The executive of one of the UK’s major exam boards is facing criticism after suggesting that the use of Google in exams should be allowed.

Mark Dawe, an executive of the Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), appeared on the Radio 4’s Today Programme and suggested that students should be tested using the same conditions they would have in the real world.

Dawe suggested that the use of the internet in exams is “inevitable” and would better reflect how students learn in the modern education system, focusing more on students understanding and using their basis of knowledge to quickly search and interpret information within a certain time limit.

While being allowed access to the internet students usage would be monitored, with rules forbidding any communication with other students or people.

If the UK were to allow the internet in exam’s it would be following the trend that Denmark started back in 2009. After a trial period, several schools in Denmark started allowing the use of the internet in exams in order to “take the focus off knowledge recall and writing speed”.

Should exams be testing how we look up information and understand it or do exams need to be about recalling facts and information you learnt in class?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you Cisco for providing us with information.

Image Courtesy of UOIT.

Microsoft Is Planning to Release $149 Laptops Running Windows 10

Microsoft is said to be working on delivering record low-priced laptops running Windows 10 which are due to launch this summer. The company is aiming for a $149 price tag for the cheap laptops, which are intended to target the educational markets.

The laptops are expected to feature a 11.6-inch display and be powered by Intel’s Atom Bay Trail-T CR SoC. Other specifics are not yet known, but rumours are that it will come with around 4GB of RAM, low-end SSD storage, Wi-Fi support, USB 2.0 (or possibly even 3.0) and other necessary features required for a laptop to function.

Elitegroup Computer Systems is said to take the centre stage in making one of the laptops and selling it through the educational channel which Intel and ECS built for their Classmate PC products. The final price for the laptop is stated to be $179.

Another Chinese-based PC maker is said to be planning on making consumer versions of ultra-low priced personal computers designed by Microsoft and selling it at around $149. The company is said that it will sell their product “via brand vendors”, but it is still unclear if the products will be China-based or would sell in different parts of the world as well.

Microsoft might also make this move as a response to Google and its attempt to dominate a significant share of the low-end PC market with its Chrome OS devices. However, the move might also backfire on Microsoft due to the fact that offering low-end PCs could degrade profit margins for its partners in the long run.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

BBC “Make it Digital” Scheme to Give 1 Million Micro-Computers to Kids

 

Back in the 1980s, the BBC, as part of a new computer literacy initiative, launched its own computer, the BBC Micro (a modified Acorn), in an effort to educate children about emerging information technology. Now, over thirty years later, the BBC are repeating the enterprise with the Make it Digital scheme.

Make it Digital aims to provide a new micro-computer to over 1 million 11-year-olds in the UK, starting this Autumn. The computer, the Micro Bit, is a tiny board, smaller than a Raspberry Pi. Though the final specifications may change between now and its launch in September, the Micro Bit is known to run on an ARM processor, have an on-board Bluetooth controller, and be compatible with C++, Python, and Touch Develop.

BBC Director-General Tony Hall described the Make it Digital project: “This is exactly what the BBC is all about – bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions.”

“Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future. Only the BBC can bring partners together to attempt something this ambitious, this important to Britain’s future on the world stage.”

Gareth Stockdale, developer of the Micro Bit, added, “The BBC’s role is to bring focus to the issue, and then we will withdraw from the market.”

The Make it Digital scheme will also include a documentary on Bletchley Park – the famous code-breaking site during World War II – and, bizarrely, a drama based on Grand Theft Auto.

Source: BBC

Meet the MeArm – A Kickstarter that Promises Robotics for Everybody

Meet MeArm – the robotic arm designed to teach anyone and everyone about robotics. Benjamin Gray from Nottingham, UK, has so far raised £13,966 for his small robot arm project that’s meant to make the science of robots accessible to all.

The product is simple – it’s a plastic arm that can be easily programmed to do pretty much whatever you want it to do. The guys behind it had already developed a successful but more complex variant and wanted to make it more accessible with this new version.

At the most basic level, the MeArm can be controlled with two supplied joysticks, while at the more advanced end it can be programmed using a programming language. I say advanced, but the designers have tried to make even that accessible to all – the MeArm can be controlled using Scratch, a very user-friendly language that utilises drag and drop procedures for its operation.

The MeArm currently has 256 backers amounting to £13,966 of funding – miles past their £5000 goal. The product looks like a pretty nifty way of teaching robotics and could work well in schools. See the source link to read more about it.

Source: Kickstarter

GCHQ Launches Kids Cryptography App

GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters of the UK, otherwise known as Britain’s NSA, has launched a an app targeted at kids with the intention of teaching them about cryptography.

The organisation that spends most of its time circumventing encryption has decided to teach kids the basics of scrambling data from prying eyes. Cryptoy, as it’s called, is an app for Android tablets (no iOS or Android phone support yet) that allows you to learn the basics of encryption, the history of cryptography and gives you the chance to encrypt your own messages with which your friends can then decrypt.

The Next Web points out that the app stems from a project created for Cheltenham Science Festival that had the intention of teaching school kids about encryption. This new app is meant for students at Key Stage 4 of the national curriculum and is to supplement their school studies on the subject.

Read more at GCHQ’s website.

Source: The Next Web

President Obama Writes His First Ever Line of Code

Barack Obama just finished his first ever line of code. The “Coder-in-Chief” wrote a line of Javascript with 20 middle school students as part of the Hour Of Code programme by Code.org.

Code.org and The Hour of Code was set up with the intention of teaching as many people as possible, especially children, how to write code. Code.org has the backing of a host of Silicon Valley luminaries, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. The website features game-like apps that allow kids (and adults) to experience coding visually, before moving onto more challenging tasks.

The site and project is certainly a great initiative – it’s terrible how the use of computers and technology has grown so rapidly, but that so few of us know how to write software. It’s bizarre how computers and computer education was focused more on programming in the 70s and 80s, while today ICT lessons consist of how to use Microsoft Office and little else.

Source: readwrite 

Student Hacks Microscopes – Saves £100,000

A student at Brunel University in London has saved £100,000 by hacking USB microscopes.

The PhD student needed a highly sophisticated microscope for his research into cell movement. However, the best microscopes available for this type of work can cost upwards of £100,000 – something he couldn’t afford.

So, he bought 3 USB microscopes from the internet, costing around £30 each, and modified them to get the higher magnification he required. His modifications turned out successful and Adam Lynch ended up saving himself thousands of pounds.

He spent a whopping £160 on his invention that now allows him to use tools that were meant for kids to look at leaves, to look at the inextricably small movements of cells.

Source: BBC News

Harvard Academics Build Robot That Teaches Kids How to Write Code

Harvard researchers have built a $10 robot that has been designed to teach children how to write code.

The small AERobot can be connected to a computer via USB and programmed in a specially modified language called minibloqs. The language is similar to Scratch, which allows kids to learn programming by dragging and dropping pictures into a sequence. The robot has been designed with school’s tight budgets in mind, as it uses simple manufacturing techniques and materials to keep costs down. Using its vibration motors, LEDs, sensors and actuators, the bot can be programmed to move along a particular course, switch lights on and off or avoid objects and obstacles.

The robot won the top prize in the software category at the 2014 AFRON Challenge – a competition held to help researchers develop low-cost robots to be used in education.

Source: Wired

Harvard University Secretly Tracked Attendance Using Cameras

The prestigious Harvard University has revealed it conducted an experiment using cameras to track attendance.

The experiment which used security cameras and custom software to analyse the number of empty seats in a lecture hall, was conducted without the consent of the 2000 students involved.

Unsurprisingly, this has prompted a backlash from those students, who have reacted not so positively to the notion that they were being spied on. While the cameras apparently couldn’t distinguish individual faces, it’s worth noting that none of the experiment’s participants had any way of opting out.

The researchers have defended themselves by noting that they did follow all the correct procedures, such as submitting the experiment’s plans to a review board and ensuring all the images taken were deleted by the end of the project.

The university has listened to the concerns however and is bringing the issue to an oversight committee, with the hope of preventing ethical issues like this in future experiments.

Source: Boston Globe

Image: tpsdave at Pixabay

Chromebooks to Hit Sales of 5.2 Million by End of 2014

Chromebooks are getting big, their popularity is increasing, especially within the educational areas, their cost is attracting schools everywhere to replace the expensive IT rooms we all used to use. People who buy a Chromebook aren’t hardware enthusiats let me assure you, their specs are minimal, I’m amazed they even open Office.

Research firm Garter has conducted some, well, research into the Chromebook market and revealed that the sales by the end of 2014 will be 5.2 million units sold worldwide. Back in 2013 Samsung launched their Chromebook and sold 1.3 million units, Samsung are estimated to have 64.9% of the Chromebook market by the end of 2014. Acer has 21.4 percent, relying on the cost-effective ARM-based CPUs, while Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo have 6.8 and 6.7 percent control of the market, respectively.

” Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,”said Isabelle Durand, Gartner Principal Analyst, in a press statement. ” Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst.”

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Kickstarter Campaign ‘Reading Rainbow’ Most Successful Campaign To Date

Back in the 80’s, Reading Rainbow was one of the best known educational programs going, teaching kids of all ages how to read and when it came off air in 2006, many thought this would be the last we would see of one of the best educational programmes of recent times. This however has been far from the case as LeVar Burton has been busy working away behind the scenes to give it a more modern comeback. A couple of years back saw part of the homecoming with the launch of a mobile app for tablets and smartphones and whilst this is a great way to spread the tool out to the masses, Burton has wanted more so he turned to crowd funding site Kickstarter, asking for $1 Million to help him to develop Reading Rainbow for all platforms.

Compared to some of the most well know campaigns of recent times however, Burton could not have expected to get the amount of backing that he has had to date. In the space of 11 hours from the point of launch, Burton’s campaign hit its target and since then it has gone on to reach close to $5 million with only a couple of days left to go. Not only this, but the campaign has seen support from over 90,000 backers – more than any other campaign to date – working out at a rough bid of around $50 person.

Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from ROOTS, or Geordi La Forge, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

You also may have grown up with me on Reading Rainbow.

It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could “go anywhere” and “be anything.” Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.

Over the past year, I have watched Kickstarter bring communities together to support artists and inventors. Again and again, I have been inspired by watching like-minded people team up to accomplish impossible dreams, and to change the world.

Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.

Together, we can change the lives of millions of children. But you don’t have to take my word for it: just keep reading!

With so much funding on tap, LeVar and his team are looking to push out the reading programme to as many schools and platforms as possible, with the aim to reduce the number of children that have difficulty in reading at their age levels.

If you want to find out more information on the Reading Rainbow Campaign or you want to help towards the eduction of children around the world (as that is effectively what you are doing, but on a massive scale) head over to its campaign page over on Kickstarter.

Denmark Created 1:1 Scale In Minecraft

The team at Geodata agency have recreated the whole of Denmark in 1:1 scale in the world of Minecraft. Simon Kokkendoft and Thorbjørn Nielsen used data taken from their Geodata Agency to make a block-for-block remake of the country.

While of course the whole project has been done with fun in mind, the teams ambitions are focused on the environment and educational purposes. They’re hoping that their work will be taken into Denmark’s schools, allowing studios to learn about everything from urban planning to environment preservation.

It is a great idea to let people get hands on and explore the country. Of course they haven’t reproduced every build and office block, but the landscape that the country is built upon, allowing citizens a clear look at the terrain around them and to understand why and how people use the land.

With Minecraft more popular than ever with a younger audience, I can’t think of a better medium to help them convey their message.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6rMebJWiNUQ[/youtube]

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TweakTown.

 

Neswaiu Mummy Goes Digital At Stockholm Museum

Stockholms Medelhavsmuseet museum has taken its display and research of the Egyptian mummys to the next level, and their latest exhibit sees the mummy of Neswaiu, son of Tekeretdjehuty is the latest to get some extra attention with the aid of 3D scanning technology. It has taken years of careful scanning to create, but now visitors can digitally unwrap an Egyptian mummy.

Using an interactive touch table, you can explore this 2300 year old mummy, something that has never been done on this level of detail before. Not only have the introduced 3D scanning and touch screen technology, but also 3D printing. When the museum digitally recreated the mummy using tomography and 3D photogrammetry techniques, they also discovered a golden amulet beneath the layers of wrapping. Unable to take it out with damaging the exterior, the amulet was 3D printed and now visitors can hold the 3D-printed copy along side using the touch display.

“3D digitization technology enables us to describe the health and fate of individuals, as well as ancient Egyptians’ beliefs about the afterlife,” said Medelhavsmuseet director Sofia Häggman. “Our new exhibition focuses on the human aspect, while also offering new perspectives on Egypt.”

“It is truly inspiring to see how technology, now so much more powerful yet so accessible, can offer unprecedented new ways to experience, explore and learn about our past,” said Tatjana Dzambazova from Autodesk, the company that helped the museum with the scanning.

Thomas Rydell from the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT added: “In this project we worked with mummies, but the same methods could be used on large variety of objects, such as natural history objects and other historical artefacts.”

Touch screen, interactive 3D models, 3D printed items that you can handle, all sounds pretty cool to me, I was at an Egyptian exhibit in Glasgow just a few days ago and you couldn’t touch anything, maybe if I’m ever in Stockholm I’ll check this new exhibit out.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/u5ncNCH4MNc[/youtube]

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Wired.

Apple And Other Companies To Donate Free Hardware And Services To Schools

With the US Government launching its ConnectED initiative, which will help get US classrooms into the internet era, several major companies have joined The White House to give them a helping hand. Apple alone plans to donate a whopping $100 million in iPads, MacBooks and software to underprivileged schools.

Autodesk and O’Reilly Media will also be giving away free content and software, while Microsoft will heavily discount Windows to lower the prices of educational computers. Mobile networks will be lending a hand too, AT&T and Sprint will be offering free wireless and broadband for several years, and while Verizon aren’t giving away free services, they’ll still be donating $100 million in cash to other needs for these schools.

There are many issues that need fixing in schools all around the world, not just America, and these free or discount services, as well as donations, aren’t going to solve problems, but they’ll certainly ease the burden on the system and a lot of good can come out of it in time. Either way, it’s great that these companies are willing to help a new generation, but only time will tell us how effective the scheme has been.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Kerbal Space Program Mod “KerbalEdu” Takes The Game Into The World Of Education

Teachers and students can now work together to learn rocket science and the joys of space travel with the official launch of KerbalEdu, an educational modification of the popular, award-winning space agency game Kerbal Space Program game which hit steam in 2013.

Squad, the developers of KSP, have partnered with TeacherGaming to launch this project. Still in early development, interested educators and students can go to www.kerbaledu.com for more information on the game, which is available on compatible Windows, Mac OS and Linux computers. Squad will continue to develop KSP, which is currently available through early access on its website as well as Steam and other popular online gaming retailers. TeacherGaming, like its prior popular release MinecraftEdu, will modify KSP to enhance its value to professors and teachers in a classroom setting.

“KSP is about making rocket science fun, which is why we didn’t need any complex algorithms to realize an educational version is a great extension,” said Squad co-owner Adrian Goya. “TeacherGaming’s experience makes them an ideal partner and we believe KerbalEdu is going to be a great tool for science teachers throughout the world to teach our next generation of rocket scientists and astronauts.”

TeacherGaming hasn’t released the first KerbalEdu mod but is planning several features specifically for teachers, including:

  • Metric system and other systems for easier data comparison and integration with other school topics
  • UI alterations to include analyzer and data collector tools for easier data gathering, data summarization and problem solving with ship designs
  • Premade lessons that introduce or need a specific scientific method or formula to be solved, such as a rocket with too small of an engine needing more thrust
  • Valuable materials outside of the actual game, but with heavy connections to it, that help educators drive home important lessons

While Squad will remain focused on making sure every new feature in Kerbal Space Program is fun, TeacherGaming has the same goal – with an educational emphasis.

“KerbalEdu is going to help players do more than just dream of the stars in their classroom. It’s going to give them the tools to learn how to reach them,” TeacherGaming CEO Santeri Koivisto said. “Squad is a great partner and a believer in our mission to use games to help educate the next generation of students.”

Schools and other educational institutions interested in KerbalEdu can purchase the educational version of Kerbal Space Program for a discounted price and schools who do decide to use the software will also have the opportunity to offer their students a discounted price on Kerbal Space Program. Of course everyone else can still get it on Steam Early Access and see if they can make something that doesn’t rip its self apart and explode, although getting it wrong can be just as fun.

Thank you Kerbal Space Program for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kerbal Space Program.

27-inch All-in-One Touch Workstation Announced By HP

HP today unveiled the second generation of the world’s first and only all-in-one workstation with a 27-inch diagonal display, the HP Z1, now available with Windows 8 Touch and Intel Thunderbolt 2 capabilities making it HP’s most powerful, innovative and fully featured all-in-one workstation.

Ideal for knowledge workers and specialists in CAD, graphic arts and university education, the HP Z1G2 offers fast data transfer speeds for compute-intensive workloads and new technologies like Thunderbolt offer the flexibility for high-performance external expandability. Whether it’s being used by an engineer creating 3-D components, an architect designing buildings or a videographer editing event footage, the HP Z1G2 gives creative professionals the power they need to bring ideas to life faster.

The HP Z1 G2 is joined by three new all-in-one PCs ideal for use in small and midsize business (SMB) and enterprise environments, including the HP Slate21 Pro All in One, HP’s first commercial Android all-in-one PC. The HP Slate21 Pro offers seamless integration with Android-based phones and tablets, along with access to efficient manageability tools, security enhancements and apps available through the Google Play app store.

“Since its launch in 2012, the highly acclaimed HP Z1 has opened the eyes and ears of customers hoping to solve business problems no longer being met by current vendors,” said Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP. “Today’s professionals demand high-performance products that are serviceable and easy-to-use, all wrapped in a sleek and elegant design.”

HP is the only workstation vendor to offer Thunderbolt as an option across both desktop and mobile workstations. Thunderbolt enables cutting-edge creative work, and the addition of this technology to the HP Z1 G2 expands HP’s leadership in innovation and demonstrates its commitment to the professional market.

The HP Z1 features Intel integrated HD Graphics, 4th Generation Intel Xeon and Core processors, ECC memory, and RAID storage options, providing users with more reliability and performance. Additionally, the HP Z1 features the latest NVIDIA Mobile Quadro GPUs for professional use and the best graphics performance for demanding applications. All HP Z Workstations are tested and certified for professional applications.

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation is regarded as one of the most important, innovative and prestigious architecture schools in the world. As one of the first architecture schools to provide individual workstations for every student, it always has been a leading program in uses of design technology, including the use of more than 100 HP Z1 Workstations.

“Our architectural students, from approximately 50 countries, have an endless thirst for experimentation,” said John Ramahlo Jr., executive director, Technology, School of Architecture, Columbia University. “To quench that thirst, we must provide our students expertise in the state of the art in architecture and computer technology so that they can decisively assert themselves around the world by producing remarkable buildings, plans and policies — the HP Z1 gives our students that edge.”

A powerful workstation
The HP Z1 enables designers to streamline the workflow with key features such as:

  • The power of Thunderbolt. Connect in a flash with up to four times USB 3.0 bandwidth using optional high-performance Thunderbolt 2.0 ports located on the side of the HP Z1G2.
  • Professional display. Let ideas shine on the HP Z1 G2’s brilliant next-generation, 27-inch diagonal IPS display. Choose from 10-point touch with stunning edge-to-edge glass or non-touch with antiglare capability.
  • Tool-less chassis. Change most parts or make upgrades without tools or a service technician. Simply snap open the chassis and customize as needed.
  • Bold and bright. A wide range of 3-D professional graphics options, including NVIDIA Mobile Quadro GPUs, gives users the power they need to bring their creations to life.
  • Astounding sound. Premium audio features on the HP Z1 G2 Workstation include dual-tone, front-facing speakers and DTS Studio Sound Audio.

Pricing and availability
The new HP Z1G2 Workstation is expected to be available in late January. U.S. pricing starts at $1,999.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Dell Chromebook 11 To Arrive In January 2014 For Less Than $300

Dell announced its education-focused notebook called Chromebook 11 at Dell World 2013, having it be the first Dell device with Chrome OS. The new Dell Chromebook 11 is an affordable and highly portable device, having an education-focused notebook designed to facilitate integration of technology in the classroom and at home for teachers, students and administrators. The chromebook is fast, secure and allows easy-to-manage access to Google apps for education with Dell resources, services and support.

In terms of specs, the 2.9 pounds Chromebook 11 has an Intel HD graphics display with a resolution of 1366×768, 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U processor, 16GB internal memory, 2GB or 4GB RAM depending on your preference, front-facing 720p webcam and up to 10-hours of battery life, having its embedded 16GB Solid State Drive feature a fast boot-time of less than 8.4 seconds.

“Dell believes that when implemented successfully, teachers, students and technology work together to enrich the learning process,” said Neil Hand, vice president, Tablet and Performance PC Group, Dell. “The Dell Chromebook 11 will give schools and districts another tool to consider as they plan their digital content and curriculum strategies, and its competitive pricing will help open access to technology for more students around the country.”

The Dell Chromebook 11 will be available in two models, One 11 model shipping with 4GB of internal DDR3 RAM in January 2014. The Second model will have only 2GB of RAM and is expected to arrive later on during the first quarter of 2014. Both of these models will provide options for the education ecosystem. It will allow students, teachers and administrators to access, create and collaborate throughout the day at a price point that makes widespread student computing initiatives affordable.

Now in terms of pricing, the Dell Chromebook 11 is expected to hit the retail stores at a price somewhere below $300 in the US, and should be available for around £180 or below for the UK.

Thank you I4U for providing us with this information
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