Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tango! An innovative augmented communication device from Blink Twice


According to the Blink Twice website:

"Blink Twice is led by our CEO, Richard Ellenson, a USSAAC board member and advertising industry veteran whose son, Thomas, has cerebral palsy. Wanting to incorporate some of the energetic communication technologies from his industry into the world of speech-generating devices—and drawing from personal experience—Ellenson reached out to many of the world's most well-respected companies. In the past three years, Blink Twice has worked with companies as diverse as frog design, Flextronics, and Nickelodeon to develop new approaches to building communication for youngsters and school-aged children."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Watch this video about a "super touch screen" for Google Earth from Perceptive Pixel!

This video is a great demonstration of how innovative human-computer interaction technology and techniques can be used with Google Earth (and more), via a wide screen touch screen. Can you imagine what it would be like to have this available to students in every classroom?! Be patient, it takes a while to load. You can link to it directly here or here.

I found this on the Google Earth Blog.

Read this article!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

GamaSutra article about children and games

Here are some interesting statistics about children and games from an article in GamaSutra:

"The NPD Group, which also tracks the monthly video game industry sales data in North America, has released findings from an online survey titled Kids & Digital Content, which found that children as young as 2 years old are playing video games and downloading digital content.

The survey, which was completed by U.S. parents, found that children have become increasingly in tune with technology, as children between the ages of 2 and 14 are downloading games and watching downloaded and streaming content over the internet through computers and other personal electronics."

Food for thought!


Youth, Technology, Gaming, and the Library

If you work with kids and teens, it is important to keep up with what technology. If you work in a low-tech environment, you might not be aware of some innovative programs that are offered through some public libraries. I thought I'd share some of the exciting things that are happening in my region, spearheaded by Matt Gullet, the Director of Emerging Technology at the PLCMC (Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg) and Kelley Czarnecki, a teen librarian.

Matt maintains the "Youth and Technology" blog. This blog focuses on the use of technology " in creative ways to enrich the lives of youth". This is a great resource!

Matt and Kelley are involved in the Teen Second Life Project and recently wrote the cover article of a recent School Library Journal, "Meet the New You".

More info:

"Charlotte, NC - Oct. 6, 2006 - The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) and the Alliance Library System are pleased to announce a partnership to collaborate on the "Eye4You Alliance," an island in Teen Second Life that will offer virtual library services to teens.

Teen Second Life is a 3-D, international gathering place on the Internet where teens 13-17 can make friends, play, learn and create. Teens create a digital version of themselves, called an avatar, that they use to travel around the "virtual world," meet new people and participate in a variety of activities.

The goal of "Eye4You Alliance" is to create an interactive and informative space for young adults within the Teen Second Life virtual world and to collaborate with other educators who serve youth and are already present in Teen Second Life and in real life.

"At a time when many libraries are offering collaborative spaces through social tools, a 3-D immersive environment is the next logical step to libraries remaining relevant to teenagers," said Helene Blowers, director of Information Technology at PLCMC. "This project is an opportunity to engage teens in services and activities that will excite them in a place they already are." -Second Life Library Blog (Note - the Second Life Library Blog was recently moved to


The PLCMC offers teen gaming events at various libraries throughout the county, and a Gaming Zone for all ages at the main library's Virtual Village. The library has a set of new AlienWare laptop computers, used for LAN parties:

more pictures of the Game Zone program


I'd like to see the library purchase Dimenxian, a 3D game that teaches Algebra. It has multiplayer capabilities, so it would be great on the new AlienWare LAN system. For more information, see the Tabula Digita site.

ImaginOn, the children and teen's main library, offers many opportunities that involve technology, including a video production studio,
Studio i. The library offers workshops such as " Take Photos for Your Webpage" , "Make MySpace Photos Come to Life", and events such as a Dance Dance Revolution tournament, Family Gaming Night, and video game club meetings.

If you don't know what is going on at the library these days, I urge you to find out. Share this information with parents, colleagues, and the young people in your life.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Link to Scientific Learning, developers of Fast ForWord.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools recently announced that it will be spending $300,000.00 on Fast ForWord software (from Scientific Learning) to support reading and related skills. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer:

"The program is an exercise in neuroscience disguised as a game. Kids see animated figures, for example, and must indicate whether a sound's frequency and pitch is getting higher or lower. Or they play a version of Memory that forces them to match sounds such as bit and pit.

The games slow the speech so kids can succeed initially. As they answer more questions correctly, the difficulty increases. If kids make mistakes, the computer tailors the games to improve weaknesses.

The repetition improves the brain. After eight to 12 weeks, students' reading abilities make an average of at least a year's progress, the software's maker says."

If you are a school psychologist, special educator, speech/language pathologist, reading specialist, teacher, or parent who is familiar with this program, feel free to comment about this on this blog!

I am particularly interested to learn if you are a graduate student doing research in schools using Fast ForWord. What do you think? How does this method compare with other methods?

(Note: I do not own Fast ForWord software- - and I'm not affiliated with Scientific Learning. )

Link to article from eSchool News: Six Ed-Tech Trends to Watch in 2007

Are you interested in learning about the trends in educational technology for 2007? This on-line article from eSchool News gives a good overview of what's coming in the near future.

Six ed-tech trends to watch in 2007
"Service-oriented architecture, ‘cloud computing’ among the developments sure to have an impact on educational technology in the coming year " By Gregg W. Downey, Editor, eSchool News