SimCity is a video game that allows you to build, run, and even destroy your very own city. One of the things I always liked about SimCity was building up your city and then setting loose monsters or other plagues on its inhabitants. A lot of schools are using video games to help kids learn while having fun.
Shakespeare has been brought kicking and screaming up into the iPad generation, with the launch of a new set of apps intended to leverage the tablet's multimedia flexibility with a splash of Leonardo DiCaprio. The Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth apps, the handiwork of developers Agant and Cambridge University Press, match the classic texts with audio recordings featuring actors such as Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale, interactive timelines showing key themes, and glossaries to better understand arcane English.
Microsoft has revealed the pricing for its Office 365 version for college students, Office 365 University. Cloud-based and very similar to the desktop variety of Office, Office 365 University has low pricing and a subscription term that compliments the user's student career. The product can be snagged for $79.99.
This week evolutionary ecologist Peter Mayhew has presented a set of findings which show the rate of climate change in the Earth to be detrimental to the number of species of animals on our planet. While findings in the past have shown that periods of warmth on our blue globe have also been times when the number of different species of animals has risen, the speed at which the Earth is warming here in the present is, as Mayhew suggests, too rapid for the increase in species to outweigh the number of species that are becoming extinct. The new study Mayhew presents works with a new way of looking at the number of species in each geological period studied with only well-sampled periods rather than with simple tallies of the first and last appearances of each species.
Leap Frog has announced that its LeapPad2 tablet is now available, and it's aimed squarely at your children. Leap Frog says that this is a significant upgrade over the original LeapPad, as it comes with a better CPU - an LF 2000 processor to be precise - and 4GB of memory. It also comes with a pretty tough exterior, which will definitely be a major selling point for most, as children aren't know to have that delicate touch required for more conventional tablets.
Education-minded minds at Samsung have come forth with a deal made perfect for the upcoming school season: the Galaxy Tab 2 Student Edition bundle. This bundle includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (7-inch tablet) in a limited edition white color included in a package with a keyboard dock and a USB adapter as well. This package will be sold by Samsung for a competitive $249.99 to keep up with recent releases of rather inexpensively priced competitors such as the Nexus 7 by Google.
There's a huge benefit to going digital with textbooks compared to traditional print textbooks. Not only are digital textbooks significantly smaller and easier to handle than a traditional print textbook, they can also be changed and upgraded much more easily than a print book that would need to be reprinted to change the information. One of the biggest benefits of digital texts for education is the ability to add 3-D models and video to make learning more interactive.
Amazon has announced that it is kicking off a new program that allows students to rent textbooks rather than purchasing new or used at their local college bookstore. Amazon is promising some significant discounts on the textbooks with up to 70% off on rentals, up to 90% off on used textbooks, and 30% off on all new books. Anyone who's been the college knows that textbooks are very expensive.
This week it appears that Valve and their wildly successful Steam platform for computer games are taking a giant leap into the realm of education. With their upcoming program Teach With Portals, they'll be bringing a new edition of Portal 2 to the classroom for teachers to utilize its Puzzle Maker engine for teaching physics with computer-based creation tools. This program will have a limited number of Steam platform releases sent to schools for free for use in the classroom very soon!
This week it appears that the universe will be hanging together with a bit different set of rules than we've been lead to understand for the past 40 years may be disproven in a variety of ways thanks to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. This location has scientists in Menlo Park, California researching collisions between electrons and the antimatter that love them. What they've done here is to suggest that a subatomic particle (a B-bar meson) decays more often than it should according to the Standard Model.