1 – 2 : : DesignTools : :

1 – 2   : : DesignTools : :

This week has been the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas. An annual event, up until a couple of years ago, it showcased primarily electronics
that focused on TVs, video capture (VCR/DVD player, etc), consumer gadgets……

With the introduction of the iPad this year (an event not held at CES), the tech world has scrambled desperately to try to catch up to Apple’s seeming unbeatable lead in
tablets, slates, pads – whatever you choose to call them. Most, will be designed to operate using Google’s hugely successful ANDROID operating system. One of the first to market – but 6 months or so after the introduction of iPad – was Samsung’s TAB. Microsoft, with it’s now predictable humbly/stumbly approach to tech development (let me play….let me play…..) is trying to convince companies like HP and others, that Win7 is really the true owner of all things good in the world of technical innovation. Remains to be seen how the tablet market will align itself in the next year. Fact is – simple fact is, and perhaps this is a major contributing reason which explains why Apple has surpassed Microsoft in market cap value, to be now in 2nd place globally, behind Mobil/Exxon – the iPad has reached a critical mass which is not about to allow any shortening of the distance between itself and all the tab wannabe’s  ……that’s not to say that the Android/Msoft offerings won’t be good devices, or have their place in the world of business or home use……but, they will never be, an iPad.

Apple has, unwittingly or otherwise, discovered the Holy Grail of tech supremacy – relentless determination, in the definition of a new product, to anticipate, harness, innovate – develop the most outrageous ‘new ideas’……not only does Apple think outside the box, they clearly now own the box and all rights to whatever may now, or in the future, be found inside. And, quite literally, Apple’s packaging design – sleek, simple, non-intrusive – bears that philosophy out.

So – following are just two of this week’s stories, releases from, and around CES….. the first is from the New York Times:

Math That Moves: Schools Embrace the iPad


Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Max Mashal, a sixth grader, used his iPad at Pinnacle Peak Elementary School in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Published: January 4, 2011

ROSLYN HEIGHTS, N.Y. — As students returned to class this week, some were carrying brand-new Apple iPads in their backpacks, given not by their parents but by their schools.
Roslyn High School on Long Island recently started a pilot program using iPads in some classrooms. Michelle Mahepath teaches her students with the device.

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Kaitlyn Zmek, left, and Madison Justice, both sixth graders, using an iPad at Pinnacle Peak Elementary School in Scottsdale, Ariz. The school has an iPad lab.

Roslyn High School in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., has begun a pilot program using iPads in classrooms.
A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through “Jeopardy”-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problems.

As part of a pilot program, Roslyn High School on Long Island handed out 47 iPads on Dec. 20 to the students and teachers in two humanities classes. The school district hopes to provide iPads eventually to all 1,100 of its students.

The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios.

“It allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,” said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn who now posts all his course materials online.

Technological fads have come and gone in schools, and other experiments meant to rev up the educational experience for children raised on video games and YouTube have had mixed results. Educators, for instance, are still divided over whether initiatives to give every student a laptop have made a difference academically.

At a time when school districts are trying to get their budgets approved so they do not have to lay off teachers or cut programs, spending money on tablet computers may seem like an extravagance.

And some parents and scholars have raised concerns that schools are rushing to invest in them before their educational value has been proved by research.

“There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, who believes that the money would be better spent to recruit, train and retain teachers. “IPads are marvelous tools to engage kids, but then the novelty wears off and you get into hard-core issues of teaching and learning.”

But school leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications, including thousands with educational uses.

“If there isn’t an app that does something I need, there will be sooner or later,” said Mr. Reiff, who said he now used an application that includes all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Educators also laud the iPad’s physical attributes, including its large touch screen (about 9.7 inches) and flat design, which allows students to maintain eye contact with their teachers. And students like its light weight, which offers a relief from the heavy books that weigh down their backpacks.

Roslyn administrators also said their adoption of the iPad, for which the district paid $56,250 for the initial 75 (32-gigabyte, with case and stylus), was advancing its effort to go paperless and cut spending. In Millburn, N.J., students at South Mountain Elementary School have used two iPads purchased by the parent-teacher organization to play math games, study world maps and read “Winnie the Pooh.” Scott Wolfe, the principal, said he hoped to secure 20 more iPads next school year to run apps that, for instance, simulate a piano keyboard on the screen or display constellations based on a viewer’s location.

“I think this could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector,” Mr. Wolfe said.

The New York City public schools have ordered more than 2,000 iPads, for $1.3 million; 300 went to Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, or enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time.

More than 200 Chicago public schools applied for 23 district-financed iPad grants totaling $450,000. The Virginia Department of Education is overseeing a $150,000 iPad initiative that has replaced history and Advanced Placement biology textbooks at 11 schools. And six middle schools in four California cities (San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno and Riverside) are teaching the first iPad-only algebra course, developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Even kindergartners are getting their hands on iPads. Pinnacle Peak School in Scottsdale, Ariz., converted an empty classroom into a lab with 36 iPads — named the iMaginarium — that has become the centerpiece of the school because, as the principal put it, “of all the devices out there, the iPad has the most star power with kids.”

But technology advocates like Elliot Soloway, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan, and Cathie Norris, a technology professor at the University of North Texas, question whether school officials have become so enamored with iPads that they have overlooked less costly options, like smartphones that offer similar benefits at a fraction of the iPad’s base cost of about $500.

Indeed, many of the districts are paying for their iPads through federal and other grants, including money from the federal Race to the Top competitive grant program, which administrators in Durham, N.C., are using to provide an iPad to every teacher and student at two low-performing schools.

“You can do everything that the iPad can with existing off-the-shelf technology and hardware for probably $300 to $400 less per device,” Professor Soloway said.

Apple has sold more than 7.5 million iPads since April, the company reported, but it is not known how many went to schools.

The company has been developing a school market for the iPad by working with textbook publishers on instructional programs and sponsoring iPad workshops for administrators and teachers. It does not, however, appear to have marketed the tablet as aggressively to schools as it did its early desktop computers, some of which were heavily discounted for schools and helped establish a generation of Apple users. School officials say that Apple has been offering only a standard educational discount of about 10 percent on the iPad.

About 5,400 educational applications are available specifically for the iPad, of which nearly 1,000 can be downloaded free.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which developed the iPad algebra program in California, said it planned to compare the test scores of students using a textbook in digital and traditional book formats. The iPad version offers video of the author solving equations, and individualized assessments and practice problems.

Many school officials say they have been waiting for technology like the iPad.

“It has brought individual technology into the classroom without changing the classroom atmosphere,” said Alex Curtis, headmaster of the private Morristown-Beard School in New Jersey, which bought 60 iPads for $36,000 and is considering providing iPads to all students next fall.

Dr. Curtis recently used a $1.99 application, ColorSplash, which removes or adds color to pictures, to demonstrate the importance of color in a Caravaggio painting in his seminar on Baroque art. “Traditionally, so much of art history is slides on a screen,” he said. “When they were able to manipulate the image themselves, it came alive.”

Daniel Brenner, the Roslyn superintendent, said the iPads would also save money in the long run by reducing printing and textbook costs; the estimated savings in the two iPad classes are $7,200 a year.

“It’s not about a cool application,” Dr. Brenner said. “We are talking about changing the way we do business in the classroom.”

: : The second is a press release for an iPad accessory……rather innovative, somewhat quirky, but ultimately a cleverly conceived device……

Ten One Design Launches a New Joystick for the iPad

By dag | January 4, 2011 | 

Tired of not having a real joystick to play your favorite iPad games? Ten One Design, the maker of the Pogo Sketch stylus for iPad, just launched a new device for gamers: the Fling tactile game controller. The device is designed to be attached to your iPad, and looks just like a full-blown joystick.

The Fling gives you control over most games that offer a virtual joystick, such as action games, or role playing games. The Fling’s design makes the iPad feel like a typical game console pad, by giving you the feel of an analog stick.

The Fling is a neat concept, as playing on the iPad’s flat screen can prove to be quite challenging. Simply secure the Fling’s suction cups to the iPad screen to keep the joystick secured, then use the thumbstick to control the game.

…….and as of late Friday night, yet a new iPad accessory/tool, due to arrive in February, the NomadBrush. It is, by all appearances, an artist’s long, slender paintbrush.
My concern and complaint these last few months has been my struggle to find good iPad stylii – pens, input pieces. This week at CES a slew of new arrivals were released…..oh joy!
Take a look at the NomadBrush here:

…and the short video demo is:



And, last one – promise (for this week) –

Crayola ColorStudio HD

Griffin partners with classic crayon maker to digitize the timeless act of coloring

by Josh Rubin in Tech on 4 January 2011

The excitement of attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show often has us feeling like giddy school kids, with its overwhelming display of new technology and gadgets. For 2011 this sentiment is seemingly right on with today’s announcement of the new partnership between Griffin Technology and the revered color masters at Crayola, who will be on hand at CES with their Crayola ColorStudio HD.

Updating the timeless activity of coloring for today’s tablet technology, the ColorStudio is an interactive drawing application designed for the iPad that works by using their Crayola iMarker digital stylus.

While the iMarker acts as a marker, crayon, pen and paintbrush, the application’s intuitive technology can differentiate between the iMarker and a finger, which is used to control the rest of the sound effects, animations and challenges the ColorStudio offers alongside simple coloring.

The Crayola ColorStudio HD and iMarker will sell as a set beginning Spring 2011 for $30.

One Response to “1 – 2 : : DesignTools : :”
  1. Rita Edwards says:

    Looks like I am going to have to keep up with my kids!!

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