Category Archives: ASU

Nano bots – clever or creepy?

It’s not difficult to envision robots that might be among us. After all, some already do: drones and autonomous cars.

But take this to a nano scale, and it begins to sound creepy. For instance nano-bots have been envisioned to seek and destroy cancer cells in our bodies. (A nano meter is one billionths of a meter.)

On a slightly larger scale are robots that could look like insects or other critters, and work together as a swarm –a project that a friend at Arizona State University is currently working on. These bio-inspired robots could have many applications.

So the smaller they get, and the smarter they build them, we could expect to see them be among us. What this means for students is that there will be a huge demand for those who understand, investigate and have a mindset ready to work on these curious ‘machines.’

Science and STEM teachers often bring up robotics as a way to open up this topic to young students. Most of us use bots with wheels, arms and sensors. It’s time to think small!

If you like to read more on this, there’s a wonderful blog post on Invisible Machines here at Blog Science-Teaching.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 20, 2017 in ASU, Robotics, STEM, Technology


Tags: , , , ,

A weekend on the Moon? Soon, says Jim Bell

So here’s ASU’s (School of Earth and Space Exploration) version of TED Talks – KEDTalks.(In case you’re wondering, KED stands for  ‘Knowledge-Enterprise-Development.’)

Perhaps, SpaceX and AirBnb are already holding talks on this!

KEDtalks: Weekending on the moon from ASU Research on Vimeo.


Leave a comment

Posted by on March 28, 2017 in ASU, Disruptive, Technology


Tags: , , , ,

Former copyboy, Scott Pelley’s optimism in the face of ‘bad information’

Last week, Scott Pelley, anchor of CBS News made some timely observations about the news business. Which, we should not forget is indeed a business. Pelley was awarded the Walter Cronkite award for Excellence in Journalism by the Cronkite School at ASU.

Now I regularly watch his broadcast, so I admire his candor  when he observed that:

“Never in our history have we had so much bad information.”

Let that sink in, against the other platitudes we hear that ‘never in our history have we had so much information at our fingertips’ etc. In 2013, Pelley warned that the media was getting the Big Stories wrong, over and over again. How prescient, considering most media misread the 2016 electorate. They are, after all our filters, and when their filters get trapped in the same gunk, we lose our faith in them.

At the ASU event he went further to warn, “We’re in our digital citadels, unchallenged by ideas. Biased reporting closes minds. Journalism is meant to open them.” Pelley, kicked off his career at age 15, as a ‘copyboy’ at a newspaper in Lubbock, Texas. If you’ve never heard of the job of ‘copyboy’ this person was, to put it nicely, a delivery boy who was given a sheet of butcher paper (on which stories were then written), to deliver it to the sub-editors’ desk.

Like Kelley, Cronkite was also optimistic about delivering the truth, alluring to the movie Network, when he said:

“We’ve got to throw open our windows and shout out these truths” 

Just for larks, here’s Walter Cronkite, as he signed off on March 6th, 1981.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Arizona, ASU, Events, Journalism, Media, Technology, TV


Tags: , , , , ,

As Rosetta mission ends, Osiris Rex soars

As an asteroid and comet watcher, the Rosetta mission designed to swing around and land on a comet ’67P’ fascinated me. I also used in for a class on animation last year, so that 6th graders could learn about the mission while learning to animate the path of Rosetta. The European space agency lost contact with Rosetta at 11:19 a.m. GMT today when the craft’s probe ‘impacted’ the comet, having reached it two years ago, on August 2014.


This year, my students focused on Osiris Rex, the NASA mission to study the asteroid Bennu. marsed_sept2016By some coincidence, this was one of the big themes of the Mars Education conference I attended at ASU last Saturday.)

Students have looked up facts about the mission and next week will begin animating the path of Osiris Rex.

Osiris Rex will reach Bennu sometime in 2018, and its probe will do something more daring, – use a probe to scoop up a bit of the asteroid’s material, while it is still moving! Fascinating to think of the planning and steps this involves.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2016 in ASU, Education, Technology, Workshops


Tags: , , , , ,

Best of Mars Day at Salt River Elementary


Students learn about constellations, galaxies and the solar system




Students investigate a ‘new planet’



Session on 3-D printing



Zak Wilson talks about 3-D printing


Pictures from Tuesday’s Mars Day at my school.



Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2015 in ASU, Education, STEM, Technology


Tags: , , , , ,

Podcasting kicks in at GreenNurture

I’m a big fan of podcasting, as most of you readers probably know.

I’ve talked about it, written about it, been on BlogTalk Radio, and experimented with other similar formats such as iPadio. Along the way I produced some as well, starting with podcasts for ASU’s Decision Theaterfound here, or at iTunes

Trouble is, I have not taken time to put them all in one place –something I will get to shortly. (Yeah right, that’s if the cobbler’s children syndrome doesn’t kick in!)

So I am excited to be able to do it at this venue, for GreenNurture. We call them Nurturecasts, and we just launched the series, starting today.

Armed with a much-recommended ZoomH4N (that tends to look a friendly as a Taser, and upset a few TSA folk in airports), I’ve started on a series of podcasts for Public Radius as well.

Here is where to find them.


Digidorm could ruffle feathers!

The idea of sharing in a 21st century university is a given. Terms like collaboration, cross-disciplinary, interactive get thrown around. The Open-source movement has also crept into class-room and curricular initiatives.

But what might happen when you take this to its logical conclusion, and invite participation and sharing at a different level? That’s what Digidorm is all about. A sort of a social network for colleges. I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that what Facebook was all about in its early days? It hopes to be more, engaging anyone in the education space –enrolled students, alumni, faculty, parents, employees, and even high school students.

Digidorm intends to tap into the culture and vitality of college life and the communities that sustain any college, mashing up knowledge, providing writing tips, and library info, and college applications.

Digidorm is a bold idea by James Palazzolo, formerlyof ASU. Bold because it compiles some 3000 universities and allows anyone -who registers– to publish writing, video, photographs, and documents.

Interestingly, James did his master’s degree at ASU on this topic, and has the chops to make this work. I’ve known him for years as someone always involved in collaboration and sharing, from wikis to text messaging (before the Virginia Tech incident forced every college to go this route) to live blogging.

Will it ruffle feathers? I can expect this for several reasons.

  • Not only because of the content that will show up there, but because it could become the defacto intranet for colleges that should have created this in the first place.
  • Being a third party space, it will be out of the range of those who must manage a college’s (or an individual’s) reputation. How will a professor dispute an inaccuracy? How could parents request a takedown of an embarrassing photo of a child?

Already people who are trying to cope with keeping tabs on a school’s image (that show up in Facebook posts, videos on YouTube, tweets and vlogs) have their hands full. Digidorm adds one more headache -or opportunity, depending on how you approach it.

CHECK THIS: video that explains how to get started with a contribution.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 23, 2009 in Arizona, ASU, Best Practices, Education, New Media