Education

Sphero SPRK edition unboxing: robot education inside-out

Sphero SPRK edition unboxing: robot education inside-out

This morning we're getting our first opportunity to take a peek at the Sphero SPRK edition up close. This device is transparent - as is its charger - aiming to show students how the robot rolls. SPRK stands for Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids, and here we're taking the machine out of the same box the public will, one step at a time. Here we witness the insides of the remote-controlled sphere for the first time - without having to tear the ball apart.

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Sphero SPRK edition gets education rolling

Sphero SPRK edition gets education rolling

Sphero might have been commissioned to create what could be the new Star Wars mascot, but it's definitely not pouring all its resources into that lone one hit wonder. While its main focus is still on its programmable robot ball, it is expanding its reach beyond just grownups. With the new SPRK edition, Sphero is trying to entice inquisitive young minds to take and adventure into the world of robotics, programming, and, in the final analysis, science and technology. All the while probably thinking they're just playing with a rather sophisticated toy.

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Livescribe Echo smartpen 8GB Pro Edition stores up to 800 hours

Livescribe Echo smartpen 8GB Pro Edition stores up to 800 hours

Livescribe smartpens have been around for a long time now and they all do the same thing, record your notes digitally and record audio synced with your notes. Livescribe pens are used widely by students and business pros who need to take lots of notes at meetings or seminars. Livescribe has unveiled its Echo Smartpen 8GB Pro Edition that is on sale now for $199.99.

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Apple’s new 2015 Back to School offer: free Beats headphones with Mac purchase

Apple’s new 2015 Back to School offer: free Beats headphones with Mac purchase

While many have been left wondering what happened to Apple's annual Back to School promotion, last week retail chief Angela Ahrendts promised an update, and here it is: Those who qualify for the education pricing discount and buy an eligible Mac will get a free pair of the Beats Solo2 headphones. Unfortunately for potential iPad customers, no part of the promo applies to tablet purchases, unlike the last few years. The offer is not yet highlighted on Apple's website, but begins today, July 23rd in retail stores, and on August 6th on the online store.

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Apple promises info on ‘Back to School’ promo this week

Apple promises info on ‘Back to School’ promo this week

Many students and others involved in the education industry know that summer is one of the best times to buy a new Apple computer or laptop, as its annual "Back to School" promotion gives customers a $50 or $100 gift card good at either the Apple Store or the App/iTunes Stores. Unfortunately, that promotion usually starts in early July, and there's been no word from Apple on this year's program. But late last week, word got out that Angela Ahrendts, Apple's retail chief, is going to reveal some new information this week on the situation.

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White House announces ConnectHome initiative to bring internet to low-income homes

White House announces ConnectHome initiative to bring internet to low-income homes

The Obama administration has announced a program today that aims to increase the number of low-income households who have access to high-speed internet. The initiative is called ConnectHome, and will see Google, along with internet service providers including Cox, Sprint, and Century Link bring broadband service that is either free or at a very cheap price to 275,000 families across the US, in 27 cities.

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Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

For a platform called Android, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to see it jump into robotics, but if FIRST and Qualcomm have their way a new generation of young people will make it the de-facto standard. FIRST - the organization set up by Dean Kamen of Segway fame “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” - announced back in March it would drop LEGO for Android for one of its robotics tournaments, and while those games don’t start until 2016, I stopped by this year’s FIRST Championship in St. Louis to get a preview of the system.

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Apple Watch to be tested as learning tool in Penn State University research

Apple Watch to be tested as learning tool in Penn State University research

Researchers at Penn State University have said they are planning a research program that will look how wearables can be used as learning tools for students, with the Apple Watch serving as the basis. The school's Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) program says it wants to explore the effect devices like smartwatches have on human behavior, and see how effective they can be at improving students' study habits and learning achievements.

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BBC announces Micro:bit, a pocket-sized programmable computer

BBC announces Micro:bit, a pocket-sized programmable computer

The BBC has revealed the final design of its Micro:bit mini-computer to rival the likes of the Raspberry Pi. The project was first announced back in March, and serves as a spiritual successor the old BBC Micro of the 80's. The Micro:bit is a tiny, programmable computer about the size of a credit card, meant to teach kids about programing and building computers. To help facilitate this as a learning tool, the BBC says it will be giving away 1 million of the devices for free to UK school kids around 12 years old, starting this October.

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Minecraft in Education launched to help teachers build with students

Minecraft in Education launched to help teachers build with students

Inside the game Minecraft, users are able to very easily create 3D models using square blocks. It's the perfect point between entertaining and educating, creative and mathematical. Microsoft recently acquired the company that made Minecraft - now they're aiming to make a more concentrated effort in education. Inside this video game environment, inside the computer, teachers are able to have students "practicing collaboration, problem solving, digital citizenship, and leadership skills through creative thinking and innovative design." It's about taking the vast potential built-in to Minecraft and making it work for education, in a big way.

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HP goes back to school with convertibles, Chromebook

HP goes back to school with convertibles, Chromebook

School may just be ending but it's never too early to prepare for the next academic year, especially when it comes to purchasing a new laptop. To make things easier, or perhaps even more difficult, HP is announcing its own batch of PCs designed with students and teachers in mind. Or maybe "re-labeled" might be a better term, as the HP Spectre Pro x360 G1, the HP Pro x360 310 G2, and the HP Chromebook 11 G4 are practically minor updates or even rehashes of existing HP products.

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Schools that ban smartphones will (likely) improve test scores

Schools that ban smartphones will (likely) improve test scores

It’s always important to backup the seemingly obvious with an actual study, and such is what the London School of Economics did. The school conducted a study that looked at the test scores of students and the effect smartphones have on them. As it turns out (and no one is surprised), banning the smartphones caused the test scores to improve, lending credence to some schools’ push for anti-smartphone zones. Underachieving students see the most improvement.

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