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Angry Birds-maker Rovio and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, are to collaborate on developing...
Angry Birds-maker Rovio and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, are to collaborate on developing “fun learning experiences” aimed at getting kids engaged with science. The collaboration is part of a new initiative by Rovio to use the power of the Angry Birds brand as a learning aid. The Finnish company has kicked off a learning program — under a new brand, called Angry Birds Playground (not to be confused with Angry Birds activity parks) – for 3 to 8-year-olds based on the Finnish National Curriculum for kindergarten.
Rovio said the collaboration will involve co-producing learning support materials with CERN — including, initially, books and a board game. More products will be added later. “Modern physics has been around for 100 years, but it’s still a mystery to many people. Working together with Rovio, we can teach kids quantum physics by making it fun and easy to understand,” said CERN’s Head of Education, Rolf Landua, speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair where the Rovio launch took place.
“It’s a great fit for both sides, combining physics and Angry Birds in a fun way. Rovio has a great platform, with a broad reach and highly engaged fans, which makes this collaboration very promising. With Rovio and Angry Birds Playground, we get a great channel to communicate what CERN does,” he added.
Google just announced that its Apps for Education suite is now being used by more than 20 million students, faculty members, and staff worldwide.
Google just announced that its Apps for Education suite is now being used by more than 20 million students, faculty members, and staff worldwide. The company made this announcement in a blog post celebrating the upcoming World Teachers’ Day on October 5.
Google Apps For Education launched almost exactly six years ago. The service seems to be growing at a rate of about 5 million new users per year. In 2010, Apps for Education had about 10 million users and last year, Google announced that it had signed up an additional 5 million users for the service since.
The education edition includes all of the standard Google products like Gmail, Calendar, Good Docs, and Drive. In addition schools can make use of Vault, the company’s archiving and e-discovery solution that helps them to be prepared for internal investigations, litigation and compliance audits. Schools do not have to pay for access to Apps for Education, and students get up to 25GB of storage space on Google’s servers.
With Office 365 for Education, Microsoft currently offers a very similar suite of products for schools. In 2011, Microsoft said its product (which was still called live@edu back then) had about 15 million users. The company hasn’t released any new numbers since, though it recently expanded its service to Europe and announced that it had signed up more than 4.5 million students through the Catholic International Education Office there.
The iPad is the first computer a generation of children will have access to - a shift in computing which has birthed an industry of kid-focused startups.
The iPad is the first computer a generation of children will have access to – a shift in computing which has birthed an industry of kid-focused startups. While some companies build apps purely for entertainment, others are attempting to leverage the technology for educational purposes. And some believe they can do both. A new entrant in this “edu-tainment” space is Kidaptive, a media and technology company building educational kids’ apps for the iPad.
That’s the big idea at Kidaptive, whose first product is an iPad app called Leo’s Pad. Like a TV show, Leo’s Pad engages children with a storyline that introduces a young Leonardo da Vinci, his pet dragon, and friend Galileo. But it’s also infused with educational activities which are masked as games. For example, kids drag shapes on the iPad’s screen in a puzzle game which has them building a telescope – Leo’s birthday present to Galileo. They also look for letters in the stars, fly their dragon into puffs of smoke, and perform other tasks which will focus on things like shapes, colors, number sense, drawing, letter identification, and more.
>> What’s Unique? Learning Performance Feedback <<
But Leo’s Pad will do something else, too, which makes it unique to the space – it will offer parents a “Kidashboard” that displays their child’s progress. The dashboard developed by Kidaptive is the most comprehensive we’ve seen so far. It goes beyond simply telling parents what their child did or did not do within the app to identify the child’s individual strengths and weaknesses, their overall personality type, their progress on each skill set (fine motor skills, shape recognition, etc.), and it will even inform parents how they can help continue the child’s education in the offline world with specific tasks.
“Under the hood, we’re building a high-dimensional learner profile, and that profile is going to guide all the subsequent actions,” explains Kidaaptive. “As your learner plays though the title, we will have approximately 150 gameplay experiences that will help us build out this longitudinal development profile of the learner across some 25 or 30 learning dimensions.”Or in other words, the app has a really, really smart backend.
>> What’s Unique? Parental Involvement <<
In addition, Leo’s Pad is the first kid-focused app which encourages parent-and-child co-play, meaning some puzzles and activities are designed for parent and child to do together. If parents don’t help, it doesn’t prevent the story from progressing, but offers parents concerned about the iPad’s role as “digital babysitter” a way to participate. And having parents participate keeps the child motivated to learn.
A startup wants to turn video lessons into something more interactive and immersive. It's like a Skype chat on steroids. Harvard Professor Michael Sandel is on board and his popular video lectures are now in a must-see iPad app.
One of the biggest problems many people have with Khan Academy and YouTube Edu is simply the format. It’s not the fault of Khan or YouTube … it’s just that the passive video format is just that. It’s passive. Khan and others are introducing more interactive technology that acts as an added level of learning to the lessons but no one has nailed it quite yet.
A San Francisco-based startup called Net Power & Light Inc. wants to change that. And they’re working with one of the most popular (in terms of YouTube views at least) Harvard professors to show off what they can do. Net and Professor Michael Sandel have partnered to offer a more interactive way to learn using the Apple iPad.
Net’s software is called ‘Spin‘ which essentially turns passive video watching into interactive group learning. It’s like project-based learning but with the entire planet instead of just your classroom. Right now, Spin lets you remix and interact with content from Harvard, Stanford, TED, and the National Geographic Channel. “Teachers felt web-based learning wasn’t giving them the full experience,” Tara Lemmey, Net Power & Light’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Education shouldn’t live by itself. It’s a world of together.”
So How’s It Work?
The Spin software lets you, like any video player, fast-forward, rewind, skip chapters, and pause videos. But it’s more than that. The software overlays video conferences you’re having simultaneously with other people in your group. You can pause the video and discuss it. It’s like a collaborative Skype session with the background being an informative multimedia presentation. Start the video, get your group to join in, watch a bit, then discuss. This could be a great tool for any distance learners or students doing PBL remotely.
The software also features a shared chalkboard so all the members of your group can draw right on the screen. It also lets you have individual audio controls since there will likely be more than one conversation happening simultaneously. In a fun twist, you can actually shrink or enlarge a person’s picture on the iPad screen to lower or raise their respective volume.