Tag Archives: Education

SE3D Offers 3D Printing for Living Cells at CES



While 3D printers struggle to find a place in homes and offices, they’ve revolutionised the world of prototyping and the development of “one offs” within design and manufacturing. SE3D hope to push 3D printing into education and science, and Todd discusses the possibilities with Dr Mayasar Lim from SE£D.

SE3D’s printer differs from other devices through the substrate used for the models. Instead of plastic or metal, it uses organic materials to build the structure. By using plant or animal calls, the model can then be used within demonstrations, experiments and trials to show the response to, say, enzymes or therapeutic treatments.

Aimed at both education and laboratory markets, the basic printer unit is around US$4,000 and SE3D can provide a package for schools that includes curricular materials along with reagents and other materials.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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CourseSmart On-Line eTextBooks



CourseSmart logoCourseSmart is a higher education content delivery system that delivers e-textbooks to over 2.5 million students and faculty members. Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart talks to Jeffrey and Andy about the system.

CourseSmart brings together content producers and content consumers, typically publishers, lecturers and students in over 7,000 universities and colleges. The organisation is owned by a group of publishers but it distributes content from a wider range of content producers. Over 30,000 original textbooks and other products are on-line at their website and the publications can be integrated into the college’s electronic learning environment.

As with most things digital it’s not possible to buy or sell e-textbooks secondhand and the book is really just rented. The CourseSmart books are typically 60% cheaper than a new paper book and naturally they’re always in stock. For today’s mobile student the books are delivered through multiple devices – web browser, web app, iPad, iPhone and Android apps.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Andy Smith of Geocaching World.

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Learn to Play Guitar with Raw Talent Guitar



Todd Cochrane talked to Marc Quadagno and Shaun Fisher of RawTalentGuitar about their product at CES 2011.  The RawTalent Guitar program works with any guitar that you can plug in. It comes with a guitar to USB cable. Plug one end into the guitar and the other end into a PC. The program offers performance feed back in real time. As you play your notes are place on top of the the correct cords and notes. The music scrolls as you play so there is no need to turn pages.

The program includes a Amplitube X-gear an industry-leading amp and FX modeling tool, so you can get the effects you want, without having to pay thousands of dollars for the equipment. It can even teach you how to tune your guitar and there is a metronome to help you keep time. There are 15 license songs included in the program. They said one of the hardest things they had to do is trying to get licenses for the songs. Rawtalent Guitar is available now for $199.99 at this time it is Windows only, although they are working on a Mac version

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Ectaco eBook Readers and Translators



Todd and Tom get together with Jerry Cimadomo and Greg Stetson of Ectaco to review their range of ebook readers and translators.

First up was is the Jetbook Mini (shown right) at $99, which runs off 4 AAA batteries giving 90 hours of continuous reading. It comes with free software which converts a wide range of ebook formats into a one suitable for the device.

Second was a new model that will be out in a couple of months. Aimed at the school market, it will come preloaded with a pile of educational material. It goes beyond being a simple ereader with features such as voice recognition so that language programs are able to give feedback on pronunciation. Around $250.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Valet Wireless From Cisco – Surprisingly Easy?



An Oakland, California high school is receiving a gift of Cisco Valet Wireless routers and wireless adapters for its students.  The Valet Wireless Router, a new offering from Cisco intended for home use, purports to be one of the easiest to use and set up in the industry.

The purpose of the gift is to give students at the high-risk ARISE high school the access they need from their homes.  The ARISE program prepares low-income students to be the first in their families to attend college.  The graduating class of 2010 had a 100% college admission rate, which is phenomenal.  With the help that Cisco is now offering, it can only help to continue this high rate of transition to college.  Students with online access have a much better shot at success than those without, and Cisco hopes to breach this digital divide for the ARISE program.

What is unique about the Valet is how easy it really is.  As a person who has had to set up multiple home-based wired and wireless networks, I know what a pain it can be.  And after you’re gone, the client is left having to deal with the network and its complicated setup and potential issues.  No wonder many routers supplied by phone companies and other ISP’s have the SSID hard-set and the password printed on a sticker on the bottom of the device.  Really unsecure, but easier for the client to access and work with than some complicated setup a geek did for them.

Valet promises a 3-step setup process and an easy access system right from your computer to enable parental controls, open or close guest access, and add devices like the XBox to the setup.  Both the Valet and the Valet Plus devices offer four ethernet ports for expansion to non-wireless devices, as well.

The routers are a bit pricier than the Linksys model Cisco is known for, but still reasonable.  I paid not much less for my latest Netgear router, purchased because my six-year-old Linksys router box had finally failed.  I should have held out for the Valet.


Casio fx-CG10 Prizm Graphing Calculator



Tom and Andy interview Mike Reiners from Casio America, who’s brought along the Casio fx-CG10 aka Prizm graphing calculator. This calculator is a long way from the 9-digit, 8-segment LCD calculators I used in my school education as the Prizm comes with a hi-res LCD color display (216 x 384 with 65k colours) making it the “first” full colour graphing calculator. There’s no touchscreen but there’s a little joypad for navigation.

You might be thinking that a colour display will munch through the batteries but Casio’s new Blanview LCD is extremely frugal and 4 alkaline AAAs will give 140 hours of typical use. Which is great because you really don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of an exam.

The video also demonstrates the use of a Flipbook, a series of photographic images which demonstrate an effect, such as acceleration or simple harmonic motion. The Prizm can then help the student understand the nature of the effect.

The Prizm won Design & Engineering Showcase Honors at CES in 2011. Congratulations, Casio.

Children today just won’t know the joy of putting in 5376606 and turning the calculator upside down.

Available now for $129.99 in Best Buy and on-line.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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NEC Dual Screen Android Tablet



Jeffrey takes a look at NEC‘s cool dual screen Android tablet. Each touch screen is 7″ and while there are many uses, one target market is education. One screen can be used to show video or diagrams with the accompanying text on the other. It’s powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex CPU rather than the more usual Atom processors. The video shows that the tablet comes with plenty of features such as SD card slots and USB ports in convenient places.

Available in Japan in 2011 and later worldwide.

Interview by Jeffery Powers from Geekazine.com.

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