February 29, 2012

By: Ara Aslanian

This past week I was honored to be invited to join and chair the
La Ca´┐Żada Flintridge Unified School District's Technology Review Committee. Being a graduate of La Canada High School, I am extremely excited to be a part of this evolution; bringing change by means of technology in an effort to improve peoples experiences is one of the major reasons why I love what we do.  


One of the main issues concerning the committee is planning a strategy to implement tablets and digital textbooks to replace the heavy textbooks each student carries everyday in their backpack. As iPads and other tablets become an everyday part of life, schools all around the world are faced with a fast changing educational platform. In fact, many schools have begun pilot programs which implement iPads in the classroom; thus far, the results have demonstrated significant improvement in the learning experience.     


While iPads and Tables represent a great addition to a student's learning abilities by introducing interactive learning tools, there are many challenges that parents and schools will face in the coming years during this transition. Apple has made it its new mission to replace every textbook with an iPad, partnering with major textbook publishers to transform the printed textbook to interactive digital learning tools.


Hawaii Volcano - 2011 Kamoamoa fissure eruption
Hawaiian Volcano
2011 Kamoamoa Fissure Eruption

Imagine a student in a geography class learning
 about the Hawaiian
volcanoes and being able to click a link that will take him or her to an actual satellite image of the volcano using Google Earth, or being able to watch a YouTube video of the actual eruption embedded into the textbook just like this.


All these great tools will come at a price for the parents and the districts; the vast majority of parents will not be able to afford the $499.00 price tag for an iPad or the licensing fees for the textbooks, estimated to be around $14.99 per student per textbook. Furthermore, ongoing budget cuts will make it more difficult for schools to purchase iPads or other tablets for every single student.


Many schools don't have the technological infrastructure in place to handle this adaption; many teachers are not familiar with the technology and will have a large learning curve to overcome. 


Recently, the Obama administration addressed the matter, stating, "We're not talking about the print-based textbook now being digital. We're talking about a much more robust and interactive and engaging environment to support learning." They have hopes that within 5 years, more schools will become a part of the evolution. 


If you are a parent with children in grades K-12, your point of view would be very helpful to me and the committee and I would highly appreciate your comments and feedback.



Visit our blog  Below are are some great articles written by Greg Boyrazian from CES 2012 which were featured on our blog. 
Recently at CES 2012, Intel showcased its latest generation chips dubbed the Medfield. Its highlighted product was the Intel Atom Z2460. The last time you heard about the Atom was probably when yIntel Atom Smart Phoneou were shopping for a netbook...speaking of which...I almost forgot what one was (thank you tablets).

The Atom Z2460 brings an impressive processing power to the smart phone world. In performance tests, the Atom Z2460 beats the Samsung Galaxy Nexus' dual core processor, as well as the iPhone 4S A5 processor in Java based scripts and applications. The processor is rated at 1.6 Ghz.

CLICK HERE to read what Greg has to say about the device that's capable of taking 10-15 pictures after another with no processing lag time.   
At CES 2012, we observed a growing number of companies integrating Skype with their television sets and smart devices.  
 SkypeThe free video calling service has been around for quite some time now and in early 2011 it was acquired by Microsoft. Skype has 663 million users worldwide of which 30 million are simultaneously online at any given time. Last year alone, Skype carried close to 40 billion international call minutes - yes that is quite some number for a free service.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article. 
Last month, Ara did an extensive review about his experience with the iPhone 4S. 

Anyone who know Ara  is probably aware that he has been using a BlackBerry since its inception. However, due to several encounters with hardware failure, he felt inclined to give the iPhone a shot.

Let's just say his rendezvous did not last long...

CLICK HERE to read about his experience and why he switched back to Black.
Issue 20 
In This Issue
Super Duper Smartphone
Skype Video Conferencing
iPhone v. BlackBerry: Ara's Struggle

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