Today’s the big day for many students…back to school! My younger sister just left for her first day of college today nervous like just about any other freshman would be. Wondering about what to wear, how early to leave, and most importantly making sure she has all the right supplies. The most important items on her list included things like, iPad, MacBook Air, Smartphone, etc. 10 years ago the most important items would be a notebook and pen and the school would just buy desktops for those computer labs which are on the verge of extinction. Boy have things changed!
Technology is a central part to learning in not only many college classrooms, but also k-12 education as well. For example, a nearby school district issued thousands of laptops to students in a 1:1 implementation and test scores and graduation rates are up!
As any educator knows it is essential to keep students engaged. With today’s tech-savvy generation the key is using technology like laptops, smartphones, and iPads in the classroom. Today’s students have grown up with all this technology, so schools must change with the times and adapt to the way students learn best. Classrooms all across the US have already or plan to implement 1:1 (1 device per 1 student) and BYOD (bring your own device) solutions to facilitate the use of all these great technological learning tools.
Technology is a central part of our everyday lives now, so of course it should be a key aspect to education in order to prepare students for the real world and their future careers where they will most likely be using mobile devices. Technology in the classroom is changing education as we speak, and here’s how:
1) Education now extends beyond the classroom walls.
With devices like iPads for example, students are no longer confined to a computer lab. As soon as an assignment is available students can work on it inside their classroom, at home, while waiting on the bus, in between classes, etc. Mobile classroom technology can bridge the gap between classroom and home learning.
2) The textbook is becoming extinct.
I remember one of my favorite back-to-school activities (I always got excited about going back to school) was making book covers for my textbooks. This fun, crafty back-to-school ritual will soon be unheard of with the impending extinction of the textbook. With all these mobile devices in the classroom, eBooks are becoming more popular. Which makes sense; they are cheaper, more up-to-date, quickly accessed, and more interactive.
With technology in the classroom the traditional student and teacher roles have changed. The student has become a lot more active and engaged. Rather than just the teacher relaying information while the student absorbs and regurgitates, the teacher has become more of a facilitator than just a dispenser of information.
4) Classrooms are becoming more collaborative.
One of the characteristics of the modern classroom is collaboration and technology helps to empower it. With classroom technology students can collaborate with other students and their teachers in and outside of the classroom quickly and easily.
5) Technology in the classroom allows teacher to deliver more personalized learning.
Lessons can be customized to fit each student’s progress and learning style. Through these learning tools educators can provide opportunities for students to be able to work and excel at their own level and pace.
These are just a few examples of how mobile technology in the classrooms is enhancing education. The list goes on and on and will only continue to grow. What an exciting future our kids have to look foward to! Technology in the classroom is changing the face of education as we speak.
If your school has not implemented a plan to integrate mobile devices on your school wireless network, it’s important to start considering different options to do so. Classroom technology solutions like BYOD and 1:1 are not just a cool, new thing to do; they are the present and imminent future of education. If you have any questions or for more information about where to start,contact us here. We have worked with schools all over the country and can help you get started off on the right track whether you are considering BYOD, 1:1, or any combination of the two. Good luck!.
These days most of the devices that we are carrying are Wi-Fi enabled. Still, when you are traveling, be it for business or pleasure, it may be difficult to connect to the Internet, especially when you plan to use several devices that need access at the same time.
The good news is that portable Wi-Fi routers are here to stay, and each new product generation has a bigger signal range, a greater autonomy and other useful features. If you buy a portable Wi-Fi router, you will be able to create a hotspot, allowing all your devices to connect to the web.
Right now, most portable routers have the size of a credit card, but their features can range from basic to very complex. Read on to discover the things that really matter when it comes to buying a pocket Wi-Fi router.
The number of simultaneously connected devices
I have mentioned that you can connect “all” your devices to a portable router at the beginning of the article, but the reality is that even standard, big sized routers have a limit. Most portable devices allow up to five connections, which should be more than enough for most people’s needs. Make sure to read the manual before making the purchase, though.
High speed Internet / 4G support
We’ve all enjoyed Internet at 3G speeds, but it’s time to say good bye to it. Standard 3G connections can only provide up 7.2 Mbps, while 4G can easily reach 50 Mbps. Need I say more? Go for a portable router that supports 4G data cards, even if your current Internet provider only supports 3G speeds for now. You will thank me later, when they’ll update their infrastructure. Or when you change your Internet provider…
You want to purchase a router that boots up really fast, especially because you don’t want to waste precious battery juice waiting for things to happen. It is known that some providers optimize their routers, managing to get boot times of under 4-5 seconds.
Some routers allow you to plug in pen drives, and then are able to share the content on all the connected devices. If you need to share files on the go, be sure to pick a portable Wi-Fi router that has native support for external storage devices.
Portable routers are small, so their internal antennas are small as well. And a small antenna size leads to a small gain, and thus a weak Wi-Fi signal. Still, some manufacturers allow you to connect an external, high gain antenna using a cable like this. Sure, if you go this route you are sacrificing portability somewhat, but this is the perfect setup when you need to stream video to your devices on the go, for example.
Portable routers include small sized batteries. Someday, a clever engineer thought about making a router with a larger battery, with the goal of providing power to other devices as well. And this is exactly how routers that double as power banks were born. If your phone battery is empty most of the time, you will certainly benefit from purchasing a portable Wi-Fi router that offers this extra feature.
Armed with this information, you should be able to purchase a good router that ticks all your boxes. As always, don’t forget to ask your friends’ opinion, and even borrow a router that’s similar with the one that you intend to purchase – if it is possible to do so, of course.
It looks like Apple, which has previously used only chips from Qualcomm, is now making a move towards Intel, whose processors will power at least some of the next generation iPhones.
According to Bloomberg, Apple will use Intel’s modem chips in the iPhones that will be sold to AT&T. It may look like a small win for Intel, but the reality is that the CPU maker has been struggling for quite some time now, in an effort to sell more of its chips. It’s also good news for the shareholders, who have been unhappy with Intel’s profits lately.
So how will this move affect Qualcomm? Well, it looks like the business will continue to grow for them, mainly because they are also selling chips to Samsung, and the North Korean giant is doing better than ever, especially due to its fantastic smart phones. Some analysts suggest that Qualcomm’s modem chips are better than Intel’s chips.
Things aren’t working that’s fine for Nokia, though. The company may fire over 10,000 people in the near future, according to Reuters. Nokia has already fired close to 3,000 people in Finland and Germany a few months ago.
Nokia employs over 100,000 people worldwide, and is now trying to cut its losses to a minimum. According to them, the Alcatel-Lucent deal has led to redundant R&D and sales teams. The company has reported a decline in revenue, which was characterized as disappointing by Nokia’s CEO.
Let’s move on with some positive news, though. Spotify has grown to over 100 million monthly active users. Sure, you would expect it to have a big number of users, because they are also offering a free service. But a big surprise comes from the fact that about 30% of the users actually pay for the service.
According to Mobile World Life, Spotify is the music service with the largest paid subscriber base. Surprisingly, its losses continue to exceed its income. Spotify has recently introduced its “discover weekly” feature, which provides custom music recommendations.
Apple does not intend to make significant changes to this year’s iPhone, according to Wall Street Journal. This will discourage some of its fans, who were eagerly waiting for a new iPhone each year. Apple has a two-year product update cycle, so it may have kept some goodies for next year’s update, which marks iPhone’s 10 years’ anniversary.
What we know so far is that Apple will eliminate its own you out plug, routing the audio to the lightning port. This way iPhones can be made thinner and water resistant, a feature that some of its competitors have been able to implement years ago. Also, it looks like Samsung high-quality displays will make it into next year’s iPhones.
4 Simple Reasons Why You Need More Classroom Technology
“Books will soon be obsolete in public schools… Our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years,” said Thomas Edison in an interview published in The New York Dramatic Mirror in July 1913.
Edison saw the potential of classroom technology in changing the way students learn but he underestimated the American education system’s remarkable resistance to innovation.
In the 100 years since Edison’s prediction, it wasn’t until recently that technology really started to get ingrained in the classroom experience and even now we’re still barely scratching the surface.
In the past, school decision makers saw classroom technology as a disruption on the long-established methods of learning.
However, today more and more school districts are finally realizing that technology (specifically mobile devices and Wi-Fi) are already a major part of your students’ lives. They already live and breath technology, so why should that stop when they get to school?
Schools need to continue to integrate classroom technology and let students learn the way they want to learn; to use the devices they’re going to need to master to be successful in their careers.
For many this might mean using iPads in the classroom, or integrating a LMS (learning management system) but that’s really just the beginning.
With new technology like beacons, sensor-enabled devices, customized applications and big-data analytics, schools can now offer their students an experience that is both highly personalized and interactive.
In fact, an annual survey on the impact of technology in higher education, sponsored by e-learning platform company VitalSource and run by Wakefield Research, has questioned 519 students currently enrolled in college through an online survey.
The results show how students see technology as a means for learning and why YOU should in turn put more tech in your classrooms.
1. Increasing demand for digitized learning
Around 56% or nearly six in 10 students prefer a digital class than the conventional in-person class
74% expressed how they think they’d do better in their courses if only their instructors would use more technology
61% said they would likely learn more from homework if they were interactive, with videos and such
2. Enhancing learning through digital collaboration
61% said learning would be more effective if their communication with their professors could be done instantly
55% said they prefer instructors to track their progress in real-time
48% said the addition of digital collaboration would enhance learning
3. Growing enthusiasm for online classes and use of technology for studying
51% said they received better grades in online courses, a number that has grown from 42% in last year’s survey
87% use technology to read course materials, up from 63% in 2011
78% said they used devices to read digital materials “frequently,” from 48% in 2011
4. Increasing proliferation of mobile devices
Laptop ownership stayed at 90% between 2014 and 2015
Smartphone ownership rose to 90% this year from 83% last year and only 47% in 2011
Tablet ownership grew to 50% this year from 43% in 2014
Undoubtedly, the biggest obstacle in the adoption of classroom technology is the limited financial support. However, there is another huge issue that could be holding your school back and that is the wireless challenge.
With more classroom tech comes more “smart” devices and more potentially bandwidth heavy applications. This can become very tricky to support and your success depends on your wireless infrastructure.
This takes more planning than some may think, in fact from our point of view your planning will never really end.
There is one more piece however to this challenge and that is that many schools simply don’t know what is possible when it comes to wireless. In other words, what wireless can do.
This conversation always begins with the application, or what are you trying to do or what pain-point are you trying to solve. From there its a process of knowing what wireless can do and applying the right solution to fit your needs.
At SecurEdge we have helped schools all over the country discover that no matter what you are trying to do with technology, wireless can make it happen .
If you need help integrating the latest technology into your classrooms, just contact us here, we’d love to talk.
By Nicholas Wright, CEO at AppInstruct
There are many different reasons to create an app: maybe you see a need for a business app, maybe you just have a great idea. But regardless of the reason, you still have to start at the beginning. In recent posts, I’ve addressed the most common questions about getting your app off the ground:
The next step in the process is to understand a bit about the technology choices involved, so you can be more informed when you discuss the options with your mobile app developer.
What are your options when it comes to mobile app development technology? First you have to decide what type of app works best for you: native, hybrid or web.
Native mobile apps
Native mobile apps are likely what come to mind when you think of apps. A native app is one that is developed to be ‘native’ to a specific platform: Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Windows Phone or (decreasingly) BlackBerry OS.
The principal advantage of a native app is that it optimizes the user experience; the app will operate more quickly because it’s been designed specifically for that platform.
The principal disadvantage? If you wish to build and launch your app on more than one platform (e.g. a chat messenger) you almost need to start each one from scratch. Let’s look at each platform more closely.
If building for Apple’s iOS, your developer will need to use the Objective-C language—one of the hardest programming languages to master, even for professionals with experience. The good news is that Apple provides its developer community with very good tools. The main one, Xcode, is the tool your developer will use to create your native app.
Building for Android requires Java. Java is a more common language than Objective-C and has less of a learning curve, so it’s not as challenging to find proven developers. However, the tools available to create apps for Android—including the most popular tool, Eclipse—aren’t as good as Xcode; but a new tool called Android Studio could eventually deliver the same quality of development support as Apple’s tool.
Windows Phone, while still more popular than BlackBerry, is back in third place. However, it’s strongly supported by Microsoft and is particularly worth considering if building an enterprise app. Apps for Windows Phone are made using the C# or VB.NET languages. Microsoft’s Visual Studio is a great tool for building an app—it’s probably the most developer-friendly of the three main platforms.
Tip: If a native app is the best option for you, make sure the developer you hire has proven experience specifically in the language(s) you need, not simply experience with programming.
Hybrid mobile apps
What makes an app a hybrid? A hybrid app can be installed on a device like a native app can, but it runs via a web browser. These apps are built using a language called HTML5.
In 2012, HTML5 appeared to be the future of mobile; leading companies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Xero had jumped in and it was getting a lot of attention. The last year, however, has seen many of these companies ditch their existing HTML5 apps and start again with native apps.
The reasons for this are simple—these hybrid apps are not as fast, reliable or smooth as native apps.
Despite these challenges, the debate continues. The potential for HTML5 is certainly enormous as there’s a definite benefit in not having to build and maintain apps for separate native platforms, an endeavor that involves significantly more time and resources. Facebook, for example, employs 300 designers and developers on its iOS team and 300 on its Android team.
So when is hybrid still a good option? If your app will primarily deliver content, and if it’s important to the business outcome for the app to be cross-platform, you should still consider it.
There are actually three types of web apps: traditional, responsive and adaptive.
Traditional web apps include any website. But what are responsive and adaptive web apps?
A responsive web app takes on a different design when it’s opened on a mobile device (i.e. phone or tablet), altering its design to suit the device it is viewed on.
A ready example of a responsive web app is the Upwork blog. Below, you can see the tablet view on the left and the mobile view on the right.
An adaptive web app, in contrast, doesn’t change its design. It will display the same design, but will adjust it to fit the different screen size of a mobile device.
The biggest benefit of web apps is that they are built using the most popular programming languages—so developer talent is readily available. However, a responsive web app has two principal drawbacks:
It can’t use any hardware on a device (i.e. an iPhone’s camera)
Its “discoverability” will be reduced because it won’t be in any app stores.
To learn more about the app creation process, AppInstruct’s online course explains the technical elements of mobile app development in greater depth.
In my next post, I’ll explore the technology and commercial factors you should consider if you need to choose between the two largest native mobile markets: Android and Apple.
Creative Minds: Stretching the Limits of Wearable Devices
Whether it’s a pedometer dangling from a belt loop or a skin patch to monitor heart rate and hydration levels, wearable and mobile devices have become essential gear for many of today’s fitness minded. But Darren Lipomi, a nanoengineer at the University of California, San Diego, envisions even more impressive things to come for optimizing workouts and bringing greater precision to health care. Lipomi is helping to build a future of “stretchable electronics,” semiconducting devices that will more seamlessly integrate with the contours of our bodies, outside and even inside, to monitor vital signs, muscle activity, metabolic changes, and organ function—to name just a few possibilities.
Lipomi and his colleagues specifically want to create a new class of semiconducting polymer that has the mechanical properties of human skin. This transparent “electronic skin” will have a soft elasticity to conform to shape, sense contact, absorb blunt force, and even self heal when dinged. It will do all of this—and possibly more—while continuously and wirelessly performing its programmed health-monitoring function. To help Lipomi build this future of real-time health monitoring, he has been awarded a 2015 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. This NIH award supports exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects with the potential for unusually high impact.
Like a lot of kids raised in in the 1980s and early 1990s, Lipomi grew up watching heavy doses of the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The character Data, an android with electronic skin, particularly intrigued him and helped to spawn his fascination with science and engineering.
After earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry, Lipomi attended Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, as a graduate student and began producing miniature chemical and biological sensors. Lipomi planned to continue along this track when he headed to California for a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, Palo Alto. That’s where he was introduced to the emerging field of stretchable electronics, which involves developing mobile technologies made from extremely elastic materials. For a kid who grew up on Star Trek, it was the perfect challenge.
Lipomi certainly isn’t the first to engineer electronic skin. But he is among the first to merge organic and synthetic chemistry with device engineering in an attempt to produce electronic skin that possesses biological properties.
Lipomi’s search for stretchable materials starts with the molecular structure. He and his team rely on computational tools and frequent meetings around the whiteboard to tweak the most promising chemical components. Once a stretchable and electrically conductive structure has been designed, they must hammer away to fold in functional elements, such as the ability to sense pressure, interact with a particular biochemical, self heal, and biodegrade.
As daunting as this might sound, the lab already is well on its way to producing a material that appears to have many of the features he’s looking for to serve as electronic skin. Intriguingly, the main component of their material is derived from furan, a conductive, organic compound distilled from pine wood. Once they’ve finalized and thoroughly tested this material, the next step will be to incorporate it into skin-like pressure sensors for possible prosthetic limbs, biochemical sensors for wearable health monitors, and photodetectors for artificial retinas. They also plan to develop an implantable pressure sensor for continuous monitoring of intracranial pressure.
An important goal of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program is to take advantage of advances in mobile technology to better evaluate health and treatment outcomes. Just think what will become possible in Lipomi’s view of the future, in which stretchable, organic bioelectronics will not only provide real-time monitoring of our health and vital signs but also restore vital bodily functions. Sophisticated, wearable, and implantable devices might also detect and immediately treat disease. Now that’s a world I’d love to see, and not just on TV.