RSS

Category Archives: Disruptive

What were they thinking? Water cannons used against those defending water rights!

File this under the How Ironic.

Protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to draw attention to the tribe’s water rights, were confronted by law enforcement officials using water canons yesterday.

When rubber bullets and tear gas didn’t seem enough, they resorted to H2O.

The pipeline is half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the sixth-largest reservation in land area in the US. The tribe has said the pipeline threatens ‘their waters and their sacred places.’

The events get more interesting as people like Neil Young, Dave Matthews and others chime in.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2016 in Disruptive, Media

 

Tags: , , ,

“World Peace” game proves kids can problem solve (without Apps)

A friend sent me a link to this story of a “World Peace Game” played by 4th graders. Sorry it’s not as fancy as MineCraft, or pointless as Pokemon. What I love about John Hunter’s concept is that there is no “win” and that it truly demonstrates how students can learn, sans smart devices.

If you need some background to this, watch John Hunter’s Ted Talk. You’ll be blown away.

One of the best performance reviews a teacher could get is what one of Hunter’s students says: “My brain, when I come back from his class, it feels like ‘jelly’ –it learned sooo much.”

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Is there a ‘Maker’ in you?

Given how we’re being swamped by all things digital, don’t you long for a life with more hands-on experiences? I’ve written about (and visited) ‘Maker Spaces‘ that have been popping up in cities.

If you need inspiration, check out Intel’s ‘America’s Greatest Maker’ series. It will blow your mind to see a movement picking up steam that had young people becoming inventors and ‘makers.’ It is a TV show (similar to ‘The Voice,’ or ‘America’s Got Talent’), and a resource for learning the basics with plenty of how-to videos.  Watch someone who did just that.

“Inventing is really cool, because you don’t need a factory, you don’t have to be a certain age… as long as you have the right tools, and the right people to seek out.”  Shubham Banerjee, Maker

Also worth looking at is a fellow named Paulo De Souza who came up with the idea of equipping ”bees with backpacks” – um, tiny sensors. He has been addressing one of the world’s biggest problems, a diminishing bee population –or ‘colony collapse‘ as scientists call it.

Another great space for the movement is Maker Faire at Makerfaire.com

maker-faireFrom Art, and Arduino, to Fashion and Robotics and everything in-between, this annual festival has been instrumental in getting people to go out into their garages and tool sheds and discover their creativity. Like our ‘STEAM’ activities, but even beyond it, this it’s a fascinating trend!

There was a time when we did repair our own shoes (which lasted almost a decade), and build our own tree-houses (instead of ordering one from Walmart). There is a maker in each one of us, paralyzed by our fixation on apps and shiny new objects.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

From ‘cardboard’ to fabric, wearable VR gets more affordable

Ever since those ‘cardboard’ VR headsets came out, I’ve been waiting to see how augmented and virtual reality would be adopted. One big drawback was the cost of the competitive headsets, and of course the phone.

Now it looks like Google has fired back with Daydream, a low-cost ‘fabric’ headset that could put the technology within reach of the rest of us.

Conveniently, the Daydream headset (which works with the Google phone, ‘Pixel’) was designed to be ‘dumb’ – as in minus the electronics. The phone does the hard work, not the headset. I wonder what could follow cardboard and fabric?

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 5, 2016 in Disruptive, Ed-Tech, Technology

 

Tags: , ,

Online textbooks could be fun (or completely annoying)

You’d think I would applaud the trend to digitize textbooks. After all, I’ve winced at the sticker shock of trying to busy a book for a college level class.

But the other day my daughter explained how ‘lame’ it was to have to jump through multiple hoops online just to get to a few pages she had to read for a class. The time spent would have been better spent elsewhere, she said. I had to agree. Sometimes to make things more ‘convenient’ and deliver them in a digital skin, we hide them in confounding folders, hidden behind firewalls that even the Russians my have trouble getting to.

The goal of reading is help students discover ideas and find meaning. Not to be able to check a box on a progress report. Books made from pulp have been a ‘technology’ many want to disrupt. The Nook and the Kindle made a few inroads, but could go only so far. We humans still crave the feel of paper, the tactile experience derived from objects that convey meaning.

I just ordered a book on Amazon. Indeed I read the reviews in the digital realm, but did not buy the Kindle version. Don’t get me wrong. I love reading material on the Kindle app. Just not books anymore.

If you like to read more about The Reading Brain, there’s an excellent Scientific American article which explains how paper sometimes triggers brain circuitry in a way that screens cannot.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Sri Lankan students shine at Intel Science and Engineering Fair

Lochana1

Lochana Fernando

I volunteered at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix yesterday as a translator for Sri Lanka competing at the international event.There were thousands of students from Azerbaijan to the Ukraine –and 24 from Arizona. There were outstanding inventions and research across the board. These three students’ work were very impressive!

  • 17-year-old Lochana Fernando had breakthrough research on cancer. His board was titled “Anti-proliferative and Apoptotic Effects of Ellagic Acid Functionalized iron Oxide Nanoparticles on Endometrial Cancer Cells.” In plan English it was looking at a way to use nano-technology to fight uterine cancer.
  • 16-year-old Abishek Gomes had a product, a smart glove, that would convert sign language to English. His board was titled “Wearable Device to Translate American Sign Language (ASL) into English.”
  • 14-year-old Chamindu Jayasanka displayed a pair of “Modified Adjustable Crutches” he had invented to help amputees in particular. It is easily adjusted, but the neat part is that it also serves as a foldable seat!
Abishek1

Abishek Gomes

Chamindu

Chamindu Jayasanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lochana is from Senanayake National College, Madampe. Abishek is from Belvoir International School, Colombo. Chamindu is from Rajasinhe Central College, Hanwella.

SmartGlovesTo make the pair of smart gloves, Abishek explained how he had to teach himself programming, and learn how to modify a 3-D printer (among other things) in order to give precision to the flexible connectors inside the gloves. This was crucial  to precisely convert finger movements to  the alphabet in real-time.

The stakes are high. Three first place winners are awarded $150,000 each!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,