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Apple makes big education play with new iPad

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Apple’s first launch event of the year brings an affordable iPad to the education market, writes BRYAN TURNER.

Apple chose Lane Tech High School in Chicago for its first launch event of the year last week, underlining the fact that it is paying special attention to the needs of schools.

It was Apple’s first education-centric event in six years and second education event ever, with technologies focused on enriching the education experience of teachers and students.

The highlight of the event, the unveiling of the new iPad, marks the sixth generation of the iPad range. The new iPad features the A10 fusion chip, which boasts 40% faster graphics performance over the previous model. This iPad is the first Apple device not to require an Apple ID sign-in on setup, which is useful for schools that will be sharing iPads. Aesthetically, this iPad is no different to the previous generation of iPad, but includes a key selling point: the support of the Apple Pencil, which was previously reserved for the high-end iPad Pro devices. This will enable students to write on the screen while resting their palm, or even their other hand, on the screen while writing or drawing.

The Apple Pencil’s starting price is US$100 (R2000 from iStore South Africa), which may drive consumers away from the benefits of the new iPad. Logitech has partnered with Apple to release a stylus that is half the price (US$50) and only lacks the pressure sensitivity feature of the iPad. The price differentiation is useful for those who don’t require the iPad for making art. The Logitech Crayon is the first Apple-approved third-party stylus.

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Apple was once the leader in education technology in the USA, but Google has since claimed the schools with its budget-friendly line of Chromebooks for education. Chromebooks can be leased by students for a much lower price than Apple iPads, which has resulted in Chromebooks being used by 60% of US classrooms as opposed to Apple’s current 17% education market share.

This education event comes a day after Acer and Google’s announcement of the first ever Chrome OS tablet.

Apple also released a wide range of new education-focused features and applications to help teachers demonstrate learning concepts. The company is pushing for the adoption of augmented reality in the education space.

 

“Instead of dissecting frogs [in real life], students can dissect frogs with the Apple Pencil [on the iPad app],” says Apple executive Greg Joswiak. The iWork productivity suite, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint alternatives, is free to anyone with an Apple ID, which is free to create.

Pages, the Word alternative, now offers a space for teachers to markup papers handed in with the Apple Pencil. Numbers, the Excel alternative, allows students to write in cells with the Apple Pencil.

Apple’s ClassKit API can now be implemented by app developers to allow teachers to track progress and scores of exercises and assessments performed in those apps in the Schoolwork app. Schoolwork is a central dashboard, which allows teachers to place PDF handouts and bookmarks to ebooks and, more importantly, to assign “apps for homework”. The app allows tracking of task completion, the accuracy of answers produced in the task and the time it took the student to do the task. Apple also announced Classroom, a classroom management system, which allows teachers to track what their students are doing on their iPads in class, in real time. It also allows for universal control over students’ iPads, with features like universal locking of apps, silencing of audio and opening of apps, universally.

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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