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MS unveils class of future

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Microsoft South Africa in partnership with the Cape Town Science Centre has unveiled the Microsoft Classroom of the Future, an exhibition that showcases the latest and greatest educational tools available to teachers today.

This interactive showcase at the Cape Town Science Centre will also provide attendees with a peek into the evolution of the classroom, along with the new approaches to learning such as gamification that will help teachers challenge, inspire and engage their students.

“Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation in South Africa to achieve more. Technology cannot replace great teaching, but it can make great teachers even greater. We are inspired to work with educators, with students, and with school leaders on their journey to redefine learning in and out of the classroom,” says Zoaib Hoosen, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.

Microsoft has been working closely with the Western Cape Department of Education since early 2015, as both entities believe that technology in the classroom should be transparent and empower educators and students to focus on learning outcomes. This means providing learning experiences built on simplicity, engagement and digital skills development. The exhibition – one of several projects that the two have partnered on – will facilitate this development by allowing on-site professional teacher development through workshops and various demonstrations. The exhibition is a critical part of Microsoft’s goal to bring about widespread digital transformation in schools, harnessing technology that fosters collaboration and the sharing of ideas to provide children and young people with the relevant skills they will need in an ever-changing world.

“By providing visitors/participants with a progressive view of the classroom – one that allows for creation and collaboration, that enables exploration and assists with the accommodation of any learning style while focusing on student-based learning outcomes – the exhibition also serves as a celebration of change and technology’s role as an enabler of that change, “says Julie Cleverdon, director of the Science Centre.

“While educators can continuously update the technology available in their schools, it’s the shifting expectations for students and the learning process that matter,” says Hoosen. “These factors need to be the driving forces of conversations about how best to use technology in the classroom. Rather than leading with technology, the conversation needs to focus on the skills students need and how new curricula should be implemented. Discussion must encompass a foundation set – or the long-term vision – of how technology can impact students’ learning outcomes.”

Anticipated outcomes of the exhibition are therefore learning how to use technology as an enabler in imparting skills such as critical decision-making and creativity to adapt to the changing world.

“By leveraging technology in the classroom, students will learn how to provide solutions to tomorrow’s problems, create opportunities for self-employment, generate innovative new business models and create thriving businesses that will employ tomorrow’s digitally empowered workforce,” says Hoosen.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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