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Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

Using ICT in the Morning Assembly

A recent development in the Vidyalaya has been the use of ICT during the morning assembly. An overhead projector and PC are being used as an aid in meditation, visual aid during the conduct of assembly (thought, new word, special item, etc.) and also to show the students a short film on a topic.

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E-Books and E-Readers

While there are millions of e-books available for download, not every book published is put into a digital format. The new bestseller that just came out might have to be purchased in paperback form, or the publisher can choose to make it available as an e-book only. Many e-books are available for free, or at a lower cost when compared to a huge paperback novel. So a person has to compare cost to book availability when choosing to go with e-books. However, the availability of e-books and the convenience of using them may encourage more people to read, especially in the young. “Advancing technology offers incredible opportunities to improve children’s literacy”. (Gold) Electronic books take up no space on the bookshelf, but an avid reader may need to purchase an additional storage or memory device to keep their entire library. As stated before, e-books come in a variety of formats. E-books may not be able to be returned if the format is not compatible with the reading device. Paper books can be traded, gifted, resold, and lent. However, a gift card for an e-book is not as personal as a nicely wrapped paper book, and an e-book can’t be resold in a garage sale. Some e-books are allowed to be lent from one reader to another, but only for a short period of time. Money spent on an e-book is an investment that can be lost if the data is destroyed or if the book was not enjoyable.

The most obvious disadvantage to purchasing an electronic reading device, made solely for reading e-books, is simply cost. E-readers can cost around $200.00 in some cases, and not everyone can afford one. Other electronic devices, such as a laptop computer or the new iPad, can be used to read e-books and are multifunctional, but those items are still fairly expensive. Sticking to paper books can be more cost effective, even if it is less convenient. E-reading devices are easy to use and easy to transport. They take up much less space when traveling than a paper novel does, plus they can store multiple books without adding weight or bulk. An electronic reader can even save a person from a trip to the bookstore by offering wireless downloads and book browsing.

An E-reader is a very convenient piece of hardware to possess, but there are a few drawbacks to owning one as well. All electronic devices are subject to failures, and an e-reader could malfunction. A paper book can be read without worrying that the words on the page will disappear. A book does not need to be plugged into the wall to be read, but an e-reader needs to be charged repeatedly, which can be inconvenient when sitting on the beach. Not every reading device comes with a wireless feature, and downloading a book may have to wait until a more suitable time. E-readers are also easier to damage than a paper book. A short fall can crack the reader’s screen, or cause other irreparable damage. A paper book can withstand a fall, and is less likely to become severely damaged or unreadable. In addition, electronic readers rarely accept all e-book formats. Purchasing an e-book that has the wrong formatting is an unfortunate incident since e-books are seldom returnable. The factors of cost, convenience, and hassle are important to consider when purchasing a dedicated electronic reader.

Article courtesy:

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Future of touch computing

Where is personal computing headed?
As a technology industry analyst I get asked this question quite often. My answer, although it’s hard to wrap our brains around now, is that we are moving away from a keyboard- and mouse-centric computing experience to a touch computing experience. Tablets represent the beginning of that shift and are the devices that will usher in the touch computing era.

Just to put the astonishing growth of tablets into perspective: This year alone tablets will see 255% unit growth to about 55-58 million units respectfully. By 2015, tablets will have seen 750% shipment growth. During the same timeframe laptops will only see 83% growth.

Although tablets are compelling devices on their own, it is my opinion that the touch computing element they bring is the cause of this incredible growth.

Why Touch Computing?
Touch computing represents a much more expansive opportunity for computing in the post-PC era primarily because it fits into the category called “Natural User Interface,” which basically means it’s a more natural way to interact with electronics. Speech is another example of natural user interface we will see more deeply integrated into next-generation devices but that is still at least another 3-5 years out.

Devices that have little or no learning curve for all demographics break down barriers that typically exist when adopting new technologies.

A good example of this is how the iPad has been gaining traction with older adults and younger children. For kids, the iPad delivers an easier and more natural experience using a touch computing device, like an iPhone or iPad, than a PC does. And with older adults, we have found in our research that they are much more comfortable using touch as a computer interface than they are with using a mouse.

Learning to use a mouse and a keyboard takes some time to master. Both my kids—who are six and eight—still have issues using a PC, but they have no issues whatsoever when using my iPad.

To further emphasize my point, consider this: 41 of the top 50 education apps in the iTunes app store are for kids under the age of 10. Furthermore, 32 of those 41 apps are for kids under the age of six. We are finding that especially with children, the touch interface has no learning curve and they adapt to it very quickly.

But the learning curve barriers that get broken down with touch computing are not just limited to kids or older adults.

What about the billions of people on the planet who have had little to no PC experience at all? The touch computing platform that exists on tablets can bring computing to entire generations of new consumers where the PC could not. Because of this we will likely see the adoption cycles of these devices happen much quicker.

If you add all of that up you begin to see that touch and speech will become the predominant ways we interact with devices in the future. To do this, however, there is a tremendous amount of technological innovation still needed. Innovations in hardware and software, specifically, are still needed to bring touch computing to its full potential.

Next Generation Software
Over the past 30 years the software industry has written software for devices with a mouse and keyboard; imagine what the next 30 years will bring for touch computing platforms.

Also, think about the reach of the PC as we know it today. Industries were created, transformed, and many are still transforming.

Touch computing and the next-generation software that gets created will even further transform industries like health, education, entertainment, media, agriculture, government, business and more.

We are already seeing iPads being used by doctors, educators, students and field researchers in amazing ways, all made possible by touch computing.

The point can be made that the PC as we know it today can technically do all the things a tablet can do. Although true, the tablet is a better suited form factor for touch computing because of its design and portability.

We will see a range of form factor innovations around tablets, too—for example, designs like the Asus Transformer, which has a tablet dock with a keyboard. We are seeing designs of tablets with slide out keyboards, similar to mobile phones with slide out or flip out keyboards.

For those still skeptical, touch computing is coming to traditional PCs as well via the trackpad.

Apple has been integrating multi-touch gestures into the Mac operating system for several years now and with its next release—OS X Lion—there will be even more. New and exciting software for the Mac operating system that utilizes touch computing is just around the corner.

For the Windows consumers, Synaptics, a leading provider of trackpad technology, is developing new innovations aimed at bringing mutli-touch and touch computing gestures to the traditional PC.

These innovations and more are what will lead touch computing to be used on a range of different devices—which will lead to a wider range of consumer choice in form factors built around touch computing.

What’s encouraging to me as a life long student of the technology industry is that we are only half way through our computing journey. The last 30 years brought some of the most amazing innovations ever created. However the next 30 years worth of innovations will truly change the world.

[ By Ben Bajarin in ]

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Book Highlight

Told in diary form by an irresistible heroine, this playful and perceptive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the May Bird trilogy sparkles with science, myth, magic, and the strange beauty of the everyday marvels we sometimes forget to notice.

Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

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