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Four facts that make tablets right for the classroom

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Tablet computers have become a part of everybody’s life, largely due to the fact of their ease of use and affordability, ERNST WITTMANN, Country Manager for Southern Africa at ALCATEL ONETOUCH outlines four facts as to why they are playing a role in the classroom.

When you see how comfortable four-year olds are with touchscreen devices, it’s easy to appreciate how quickly mobile phones and tablet computers are changing the world. Over the past few years, we have seen tablet computers evolve from toys for geeks and execs into affordable everyday computers.

Now, they’re increasingly forming part of the educational landscape. They’re cost-effective (especially entry-level Android-based models), offer decent battery life, and functional and flexible enough to help learners get their work done. Here are some of the key benefits we see from tablets in the classroom:

1. Simpler IT support

The beauty of tablet computers lies in their simplicity. They are easy to use because of their intuitive touchscreen interfaces and pose a lower barrier of entry for students who are not yet familiar with computers.

Because they have fewer components than a traditional PC, they tend to be more reliable from a hardware perspective.

Provided their owners don’t “jailbreak” them to install pirated apps and other unauthorised software, tablet computers are more resistant to malware.

And since their operating systems are slimmer, lighter and less customisable, there are fewer ways for a learner to accidentally make a configuration change that renders his or her device unusable. This all translates into a lower overhead for IT support.

2. Mobile lifestyle

Today’s schoolchildren and youth are a mobile generation. Even kids from poorer homes are usually familiar with cell phones and feature phones. Tablets are a perfect fit for their lifestyle since they are personal, light, portable, and offer good battery life on a single charge.

Learners don’t need access to a computer lab to do their work because they always have their tablet computers with them. If a child is sick at home, for example, he or she may still able to do some of the day’s work from the tablet computer. As long as they have an Internet connection, children can keep learning.

3. There’s an app for that

There are millions of apps available for the most popular tablet operating systems, including a rich selection of educational apps. From maths to physics, from English to biology, schoolchildren have a wide range of content at their fingertips.

4. Personalised and interactive learning

Tablets offer schoolchildren a range of learning tools in one place and help them to engage deeply with educational content. They can record the classroom session for later review, use calculators and other tools, and do so much more on one interface. They may no longer need to, for example, buy a separate scientific calculator, take a separate camera on field trips, or carry a lot of textbooks around.

Tablets can also make educational content come to life with video, audio and gamification. Rather than simply seeing a picture of Nelson Mandela in a textbook, they can view video footage of the day he was released from prison. If they’re reading a book, they can look up a word they don’t know from a dictionary integrated into the e-reader app. This up to a richer learning experience.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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