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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

It’s hard to believe, but text messaging reached a milestone last week!

25 years ago – December 3rd 1992 to be exact – the first text message was sent by Engineer Neil Papworth when he wrote “Merry Christmas” on a computer and sent it to Richard Jarvis, the then director of Vodaphone.  It was an event which changed technology forever and along with it, set in motion a colossal shift in social norms.

While it’s debatable whether SMS today is being overtaken by social media platforms, the impact of texting on our lives has been profound.   Twenty five years is a very long time!  A generation of young people know no other way to communicate, a fact which raises a whole range of issues including whether or not the art of interacting face to face is being lost.  Have a listen to this discussion to gain a greater understanding:

I’ve been in teaching long enough to remember the days when fears for students’ ability to spell beyond texting shorthand was a serious concern.

Educational concerns however are constantly evolving.  As reflected in a presentation by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman at a conference earlier this year and repeated regularly since, he advocates the need to teach all children how to talk to each other on the internet and how to understand fact from fiction:

Believing in the importance of starting to educate children from a young age, the DQ Institute has developed a 15 hour free online curriculum aiming to teach digital citizenship covering a range of key skills:

Underlining the importance of school students learning digital civics, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) will, from next year, assess ‘global competencies’:

From next year PISA will test not only maths, science and reading skills, but “global competencies”, which its education head, Andreas Schleicher, described as young people’s attitudes to global issues and different cultures, analytical and critical skills and abilities to interact with others. The first results will report in 2019.  (“Don’t teach your kids coding, teach them how to live online” The Sydney Morning Herald, March 25 2017)

How appropriate it would be to see teacher librarians take the lead to ensure the introduction of digital civics lessons during library sessions!

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I’ve been desperately trying to get back into shape, so have decided to take the lead from this guy!

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Apple’s latest “baby” –  iPhone X went on sale in Melbourne this morning.

For my Apple addicted family, this is really HUGE!!

Needless to say, one of the family got up early enough to see the long queues snaking their way around Chadstone and was in the Apple store, ready to purchase, just after 9.00.  I’ve just come from seeing a live demo of just how good it is and well ….. the story goes on from there of course!!

A few days ago I had a look at a pre-release review by Engadget which by and large gave it the thumbs up!

 

Pretty impressive!

I’ve just gotten home from a coffee/chat with one of my sons for a real-live-look-see though and can confirm that like other Apple products, the iPhone X is indeed very sexy and beautiful.  The design and look, with its glass front and back and silver trim edge, really is an impressive creation!  Lots of other features, including it’s full screen, add much to the appeal of what is already a very ‘un-put-downable’ product.

I’ve been reading  lots lately about the impact of iPhones on our lives and indeed on our society.  I just look at my own behaviour and can see the incredible shift in how I think and operate – and realize that my iPhone is centre-stage of all my daily activities!!  I literally don’t move around the house without having it near me!  Is this compulsive or obsessive behaviour?!  Ye gads!  I never imagined I’d be like this!

But then – have a look at this incredible statistic about our smartphone use!

People tapped, swiped and clicked a whopping 2,617 times each day, on average.

Dig the last two words: on average! 

If you happen to be in the top 10% of users, that figure doubles to 5,427 touches a day! 

Hard to believe?  Research reported on this dscout article: Putting a finger on our phone obsession paints an incredible picture of our use of phones.  Some of it is outright scary.

Hmmm ….. Definitely food for thought!

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If you haven’t been following the argument about the benefits vs the dangers of AI, you can get a real feel of the controversy from this summary of a very public stoush between Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk just a few months ago.

 

Then out comes this announcement from Google just a few days ago:

Google unveils AI that learns on its own”

It seems like science fiction has come alive!

Within just three days, AlphaGo was able to master thousands of years of human knowledge about the game Go before inventing its own better moves!  Read more details here:  “It’s able to create knowledge itself: Google unveils AI that learns on its own”  (The Guardian, October 19th 2017):

Pretty incredible!

The only difference though is the fact that this is real!

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So much is written about encouraging STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) subjects  in our schools today.

As I looked through at an article listing 11 top Israeli innovations for treating wounds I was in wonder at the ‘can do’ attitude to develop solutions for seemingly simple problems. From an adhesive bandage which has a breakable capsule that releases a multi-compound therapeutic substance onto the sterile pad to a pressure bandage which features a unique built-in pressure bar to stop bleeding, the developments listed here are quite mind blowing!

Perhaps motivation for students in our schools could be as simple as exposing them to high tech solutions to everyday problems such as these that have been developed or are in trial testing or patent pending stages of development in overseas countries.

The power of one may well inspire the power of many!

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I blogged about animated gifs a couple of years ago when I came across the inspirational work of George Redhawk.

Just now though, I’ve come across another master of animated gifs: James Eads in whose work we can simply get lost!

 

Born in Los Angeles, Eads lives and works at the Brewery Arts in Los Angeles, I came across his work on a September 2016 blogpost by Moss & Fog.  Check out his tumblr and instagram profiles for more inspirational art.

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A 1000 years is a mighty long time for an invention to have never had a modification, but apparently that’s the case with the good old umbrella~

So ….. at first glance ….. it seems far fetched to think that there could be any kind of connection between ladybirds and umbrellas.

It seems though, that Japanese scientists, who created a see-through forewing out of transparent resin and transplanted it onto the wings of a ladybird, may finally be able to discover just how the wings of a laydbird so elegantly open and close to enable flight.

Information gleaned from this research, it is thought, may well be the key to building an umbrella that does not blow inside out on a windy day!

Have a read of the original article  Ladybird wings could help change design of umbrellas for first time in 1,000 years  written by Sarah Knapton and published in The Telegraph (15th May, 2017).

Be sure to watch the video in this article. It’s fascinating!  The implications of this research could be quite profound.

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