Learning: Is There An iPad App For That?

Joan.ganz.cooney.logo A new report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center takes a look at the mobile media revolution that is changing the lives of adults, and now children of all ages, under way across the globe.

This report focuses on how new forms of digital media are influencing very young children and their families in the United States and how we can deploy smart mobile devices and applications-apps, for short-in particular, to help advance their education.

It does so in three parts: Part One discusses new trends in smart mobile devices, specifically the pass-back effect, which is when an adult passes his or her own device to a child.

Part Two presents the results of three new studies that were undertaken to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of using apps to promote learning among preschool- and early-elementary-aged children. Though designed to complement one another, each study approached mobile learning from a different angle.

Finally, Part Three discusses the implications these findings have for industry, education, and research.

Learning. Is There An App for That?

Download the PDF

Blackawton Bees: Eight-Year-Olds Publish Bee Study in Respected UK Science Journal

image from www.lottolab.org Royal Society Publishing science journal Biology Letters is releasing a paper about the way bees use color and space to navigate between flowers. It was written by 25 co-authors, all of whom are between the ages of 8 and 10.

Really: The 25 kids, all from the Blackawton Primary School in Devon, England, designed the experiment from the ground up, and wrote every word in the paper.

The students who published the paper were participants in "i, scientist," a project set up to engage kids with science in a hands-on way. A very hands-on way.

I Scientist film from Storymakers TV on Vimeo.

With help from neuroscientist Beau Lotto (whose son is in the class), the 25-person team began by thinking about the way animals—in particular, bees—perceive the world. You can read more about the Blackawton Bees study and other projects by Lotto by clicking here. The Blackawton Bee paper is available here.

This is a briliant and hands on way to teach kids science. Instead of sitting in classroom and listening to a teacher, these kids are getting a hands on experience that makes science move from theory into actual practice and proves that anyone can do science.

via gawker.com

Going Native: The Anthropology of Mobile Apps

Think of mobile OS platforms as cultures. Deciding which platform to target and how to design for each—whether web or native—doesn’t hinge only on tech specs or audience reach.

In an era where consumers suddenly perceive mobile apps as richly personal, where software is content instead of tool—culture matters.


Josh Clark is a designer, developer, and author specializing in mobile design strategy and user experience. He’s the author of the O’Reilly books "Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps" and "Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders."


Trend Watch: For College Students, Mobile Web Is the Norm

While most children and teens still rely on feature phones, college students have graduated to the world of mobile internet devices—including smartphones, tablets and mobile game consoles.

Ownership of internet-enabled handheld devices increased by more than 11 percentage points between 2009 and spring 2010, with the number of students planning to purchase such a device in the next year holding steady.

As the devices have become more common among undergraduates, they have also begun to play a bigger role in students’ lives.

In 2009, fewer than half of respondents who owned an internet-enabled handheld device said they used it at least weekly, with fewer than a third reporting daily use. By 2010, 42.6% reported using the devices every day and two-thirds did so at least once a week.

via www.emarketer.com

How Angry Birds Became a Hit [VIDEO]

Angry.bird.logo I'm totally addicited. I have dreams about Angry Birds. I tweet about Angry Birds. I have opinions on which cartoon birds I like (those awesome yellow birds) and which ones I don't (those tucan-ish birds).

For those of you living in a cave, Angry Birds is the addictive game that has become the top iPhone app in the world.

The game has over 7 million downloads and is poised to be the next big entertainment franchise. Think Sponge Bob. Mark my words, Angry Birds is going to be huge.


via gigaom.com

Does Dr. Drew offer Angry Bird rehab yet?


Houle: Your Kids Are Different and It's Okay!

20100319-david-houle-millennials-300x205.jpgFuturist David Houle has an interesting series of articles over on Oprah.com that explore the world of Millennials and the challenges of raising kids in the digital age.

The thing that I really like about Houle's column is that he takes a rational and, unlike so many other guru's, non-alarmist approach to the subject.

There are so many fear based stories out there about kids, digital technology and social media, so it's refreshing to see such a balanced approach on the subject.

The one area where I disagree slightly with Houle is his use of the term "digital natives." I'm sure from his perspective and based on his conversations with CEO's and other corporate types, that Millennials in the workplace, compared to their older colleagues, appear to be super digital, technology gifted whiz kids.

Coined by author Marc Prensky in 2001, the phrase has its usefulness in helping us adults grasp the major media shift we're experiencing and embrace young people's openness to it.

But two leading new-media thinkers – Sonia Livingstone of the London School of Economics and Henry Jenkins at the University of Southern California – both have concerns about the phrase becoming too definitive.

Sure kids can work an iPod or update their status on Facebook, but what about using technology in an authentic, useful context? But when it comes to using technology in a situated context to complete a task, navigating privacy settings and all around digital literacy, or using technology at school kids still come up a bit short

Over the last decade there has been lots of talk, in both the press and educational circles, about the technological prowess of digital natives. We've heard a lot about what's exciting in educational technology, but the reality is that teachers still see a lot of kids struggling to use technology.

In the end, what's important here, and I'm sure Mr. Houle would agree, is to take a balanced position when it comes to kids and technology. As a parent or teacher, don't be afraid to jump into the technology and social media pool and get your feet wet. Use this as an opportunity to spend time with your kids and  learn more about how they are using technology, mobile phones and social media in their lives.

Most importantly, don't panic! As a wise man once said, 'your kids are different...and it's okay!'

Image Credit: www.oprah.com

Trend Watch: Is Starling the Future of Social TV?


Let's face it. The shift away from traditional broadcast media to the web isn't the only sign that social media is here to stay. Consider the changes in content development and distribution, audience measurement models and advertising.

As more and more people get iPads and other devices that allow them to sit on the couch and socialize with friends while watching their favorite TV shows, traditional broadcast media outlets will have to find new and interesting ways to connect viewers to their programming.

As we look to the future of TV, consumers can expect more interactivity, personalization and portability that allow viewers to easily consume TV entertainment on devices other than the idiot box in their living room. The implication of these changes is so strong that its time to begin considering the future of TV.

In this video Kevin Slavin, president of Starling, talks about how they are enabling social TV and how they expect this trend to impact both consumers and traditional broadcast TV/media companies.

Twitter Research: U.S. Demographics, Community Behaviors & Media Usage Stats

Twitter_icons_256 Twitter Usage In America 2010 is a new report derived from the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Series. This study presents three years of tracking data from a nationally representative telephone survey (via landline and mobile phone) of 1,753 Americans, and was conducted in February 2010.

The report details new data on the awareness and usage of Twitter, along with user demographics, status updating behaviors, brand following activity and even an early look at location-based social networking.

Twitter Usage in America 2010

Highlights of the study include:

  • Awareness of Twitter has exploded from 5% of Americans 12+ in 2008 to 87% in 2010 (by comparison, Facebook's awareness is 88%;
  • Despite equal awareness, Twitter trails Facebook significantly in usage: 7% of Americans (17 million persons) actively use Twitter, while 41% maintain a profile page on Facebook;
  • Nearly two-thirds of active Twitter users access social networking sites using a mobile phone;
  • 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks;
  • Twitter usage among African-American's hovers around 25%, more than double the percentage of African-Americans in the current US population. This could also be attributed to the fact that minority youth tend to use mobile devices to access the web and therefore are more inclined to participate in mobile social networking activities like Twitter.

Social TV: Relying on Relationships to Rebuild TV Audiences

"The viewership for live television broadcasts has generally been declining for years. But something surprising is happening: events such as the Winter Olympics and the Grammys are drawing more viewers and more buzz.

The rebound is happening at least in part because of new viewing habits: while people watch, they are using smart phones or laptops to swap texts, tweets, and status updates about celebrities, characters, and even commercials."

via www.technologyreview.com

Trend Watch: How TV Viewing Became a Social Experience

Image Credit: Mashable Do you ever watch television and surf the net at the same time?

If you do, you might already be sharing your thoughts about TV programmes on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social TV, where people exchange opinions about the content they are watching, is a fast-growing trend.

After nearly 75 years of television sets being at the heart of the living room, the focus is shifting away from the box to take in other technology in the home.

Now anyone with a web connection, a computer and access to the same TV channels can share comments live during a broadcast.

via news.bbc.co.uk

Related: TV Chatter iPhone App Helps TV Get Social

Trend Watch: Foursquare Graffiti

Foursquare.tear The Chronicle of Higher Education had an interesting piece about a new trend on campus where students are using mobile geosocial networking platforms like Foursquare to "tag" professors, students and campus facilities with "virtual graffiti."

Some universities, like Harvard, are using Foursquare's location-based service as a way to create a "virtual tour" by leaving tips and advice at various locations around campus. This is a brilliant way to use technology to deliver an useful information to the student community.

At North Carolina State University, mobile users are able to view historical pictures of campus buildings based on where users are standing, "including a snapshot of the first freshman class, from 1890, when the agricultural college's hot mobile technology was horses."

The article cites how one student "recently used it to leave some virtual graffiti on the spot of Mr. Kratz's office: Watch out for lame jokes!" Pretty harmless stuff.

But students at other universities are using (or have the potential to use) Foursquare in some, uhm, creative ways:

Since Foursquare's debut last year, students have diligently labeled, praised, and, in some cases, profaned college campuses. Take this note, easily Googled, that somebody calling himself Mock Redneck Jr. left at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte: "The library has Free Wi-Fi, Barely Legal girls and a warm place to drop a deuce."

Now imagine this nightmare scenario: A prospective student's mother goes on a college tour. She pulls out a phone. Her expression screams oh-my-gosh as she reads Mr. Redneck's note. Maybe she goes on to a dorm, and perhaps its residents have left other goodies online. The teacher they loathed. The room they smoked pot in. The couch they had sex on.

Now none of these activities are really out of the ordinary for most college students. What is different is that they are much more public. I'm certain that at some point, some college administrator will overreact and ban Foursquare from campus. Not smart.

Foursquare tagging should be bundled in that digital media mantra from the late 90s: think before you post. Just like Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services, most likely your Foursquare check-ins and tips will follow you for life. And students should just reminded that they are leaving digital crumbs that they may not be able to clean up later in life. And privacy? That's an illusion. Or is it?

But beyond the campus tagging, this article left me wondering what the implications for brands? There's nothing stopping a group of angry environmentalists from standing outside Nestle headquarters and tagging them on Foursquare with negative tips.

For me, this raises a lot of questions. Who owns Foursquare content? Me? Or Foursquare? Will a brand have to sue Foursquare to get negative content removed? If Foursquare removes negative content, how will their community respond?

Imagine another nightmare scenario where high school kids use Foursquare to bully a classmate by tagging their victims physical location with slurs (i.e. slut, fat, stupid, whore, gay). As many of us know, teenage cruelty has no boundaries.

While it seems like social networking has been around for eons, the reality is that for the most part this is still uncharted territory and we are still trying to navigate the pitfalls of this new world.

I'm the first to admit that at this point I don't have all the answers. The one thing I do know is that when these things do happen, and they will, we shouldn't overreact.


January 2011 Update: I ran across this example of Foursquare Grafitti for a high school in Australia. I wonder if the school has any idea?

One iPad Per Child: Seton Hill to Give All Students iPads

Ipad Remember textbooks? Yeah. Forget about textbooks. Students at Seton Hill University are all getting iPads and access to all their textbooks on the iBook store. I’d say it’s one of the biggest changes in pedagogy since the move from the one-room schoolhouse.

Check out Seton Hill’s website. It states, in no uncertain terms, that “Beginning in the fall of 2010, all first year undergraduate students at Seton Hill will receive a 13″ MacBook laptop and an iPad.”

Can you imagine? I remember I was about to go to Clarkson University in New York back in 1993 because they were giving out laptops. But a MacBook and an iPad? That’s like getting a pony and a unicorn.

via www.crunchgear.com

Related: Announcing The 2010 Totally Wired Teacher Award Sponsored By Dell