IGZO glass

This new display material seems to be just on the verge of coming to the consumer market.  There are 32” displays available for around £2000 at the moment but then that is for an outstanding display that would cost in excess of £1000 using traditional technology.

One to One is doomed?

Most discussion about the takeup of individual computing devices that I get involved with quickly becomes about apple vs PC or iOS vs Android.  Sometimes we spin off in the direction of better infrastructure or maybe even about physical problems (labs or not, charging etc)

It’s seldom that I talk to anyone about what really matters – changing the way that pupils learn.

Focussing on the technology is (IMHO) doomed because there will always be a different piece of kit tomorrow (same applies to teaching ‘software skills’).  It was just over 3 years ago that the iPad was launched, until then we didn’t know we needed one.

This interesting short article from Alan November sums up some of the key concerns about technology in Education.  It’ll take just a minute to read.

I’m keen to say that OF COURSE you need to teach how to do things – we teach the mechanics or writing so that pupils can communicate – the physical act of writing is never an end in itself.  To continue this analogy – much of the time we’re not worried about which device is used, pencil, pen or chalk.

Unless the school leadership has a clear focus on where they want to take teaching and learning any technology driven program will not return the investment.


Another tablet

A couple of days ago Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp launched the Amplify – a tablet for US Schools.

The tablet will sell for around £200 and should be ready for the 2013/2014 term.  I don’t know if there is any availability in the UK yet but the price point seems good.  The ‘stand out’ feature for me is that there will be a structure of support behind the tablet that is specifically for education, provided by ex teachers.

There are probably more questions than answers when it comes to using mobile technology in schools, a ‘standard’ device is certainly attractive – I’m not sure that it’ll be attractive to the pupils though … the debate continues


BBC Article

More uses for a USB stick

Some nice ideas on www.makeuseof.com.

  1. Make a key to lock your PC. Uses the free ‘Predator’ software – basically does a Win&L I think.
  2. Connect to a WiFi. – Basically store the WiFi profile on a stick for easy access.  I don’t think this stores proxy details but there are easy scripts for this
  3. Using ‘ReadyBoost’ can sometimes speed up boot times.
  4. Install Server2Go for a portable web server – WOW – this is SO handy.
  5. Install a series of Software apps so you have your favourite software always available
  6. Don’t forget to ‘lock’ your stick.  3 Ways listed here

usb password


Changes, challenges and opportunities

The only certainty in life is change and the change is happening faster and faster.  Many conference keynote speakers start with a trip through the ‘old days’ and it’s not that long ago – can you remember when the ‘must have’ console was the Wii? – that was 2006.

Teachers of ICT are acutely aware of this and it presents us with a constant stream of challenges.  This is why it’s essential to have a clear handle on what it is we want the children to learn rather than focussing on either the hardware or the software (this isn’t the same as knowing ‘about’ hardware and software).

My own list of change frustration would include:

  • Windows8 – I use my desktop for all serious work, I don’t want a touch interface (I think)
  • iGoogle – I’ve spent ages getting my iGoogle sorted and have a home page that REALLY works for me.  Now it’s going.
  • iPhone5 – Not another new docking connector surely – Due for launch in October? – maybe
  • The curriculum – don’t get me started

XBox SmartGlass

I’ve just has a look at there two trailers and am trying to get my head around what is going on here.

Initially I was thinking that it looked like the sort of functionality found in Apple AirPlay/ Apple TV but clearly there is a LOT more going on. I note the ‘Windows 8’ design influence in the gaming and web experience designs – both seem very ‘touch enabled’.

The worry (for me) is that whilst the technology looks developed and thought through the user experience is the critical thing.  Microsoft Surface and Kinect both look fabulous but both mean little to the man on the street.  The voice activated remote control COULD be superb, coupled with Kinect then it’s possible that you could really have something.

Microsoft Unveils XBox SmartGlass

SmartGlass Demo

Of course the ‘leap’ that we spoke about a few weeks ago could superseed all of this, who knows?

Full 3D Control for £45

The ‘Flying graphics’ scene beloved by Tom Cruise in ‘I Robot’ and the ‘Mission Impossible’ films are fun and are great for the cinema but I have wondered if they would ever be of any use to me.  Kinect seems good to a point but seemed to lack both any real application and an real precision.

Have seen 3D mice for £1000+ and often wondered if Kinect would ever get to a stage where if could do this sort of thing.  Now it looks as if we’re a step closer.

Leap Motion have announced a small device (about the size of memory stick), that simply plugs into a USB socket  and allows tracking of all 10 fingers to an accuracy of 1/100th of a mm.  Best of all the price looks to be in the order of £45 ($70) and is available for pre order now (release early next year).

I think that this could really be something if applications are developed with it in mind.

engadget article

Leapmotion Website


Learning how to use the Rasberry Pi

A webinar is available to help users get started with this new piece of kit …. to quote the website:

Programming the Raspberry Pi in less than 40 minutes with Eben Upton

When you receive your Raspberry Pi, what will you do with it, how will you use it and what can it do for you?  The possibilities are only limited by the imagination, so to help you get up and running quickly, in this live session I’ll talk you through the simple set up procedure for the Raspberry Pi.

You’ll learn how to–

  • download and install the Operating System on the SD card
  • run the boot up script
  • use the script editor and begin to create applications using the pre supplied Python scripts

All in less than 40 minutes

Webinar is run by Element 14 (a branch of Farnell)

Rasberry Pi – First sightings

The credit card computer has finally gone on sale.  There are two models:

Model A – £14.61 (+VAT).  256Mb Ram.  HDMI. Audio Out.  RCA Video (+SD Card?)

Model B – £24.55 (+VAT) as above with 2xUSB and Ethernet

Currently only the Model B is available.

The Raspberry Pi is available at either Premier Farnell or RS Components but both sties were struggling with demand yesterday and had to be taken off line.

I’m hoping that someone is going to help me understand where this initiative is SO much better than the BASIC stamp and other PIC based projects (given that PIC chips are < £1.00).

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