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Comment: Re:What advice can I offer? (Score 2) 96

by SmarterThanMe (#47956667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?

Yeah. That's more or less the problem. Most teachers don't use them any more than as glorified blackboard/video projector hybrids. There's very little training available. The schools that are trying to make better use of them set up "user groups", where the teachers who have a bit more ability with them are expected to pass on their skills and knowledge to their colleagues (and be, more or less, completely ignored).

I'm pretty much at the top of the game regarding the use of the standard software, but, as I've got better with it, the clunkiness has really started to grate on my nerves. I know that the things cost a few thousand each, and I want to be able to use them to their full potential.

+ - Ask Slashdot: Alternate software for use on smartboards?

Submitted by SmarterThanMe
SmarterThanMe (1679358) writes "Teacher here, you can call me Mr. SmarterThanMe. I have a fancy smartboard installed in my room. Smartboards allow me to show students a whole range of other stuff other than just whatever I'm writing. I can prepare instructions and activities before the lesson and just move through the boards. I can pull up some students' work and display it through the projector. I can bring up some stimulus for use in a writing task. So much better than blackboards.

Except the software that comes bundled with this particular brand of smartboard is ridiculously clunky. Without naming this particular piece of software, and highlighting it's shortfalls, has anyone got any suggestions on alternatives (open source or otherwise)?

The main features that I'd like are:
  • Handwriting recognition
  • The ability to make and use templates
  • Grids or guides or *something* to be able to teach measurement

I have gold star stickers for any good suggestions. Thanks in advance."

+ - Original 11' Enterprise Studio Model Being Restored, Yet Again

Submitted by NormalVisual
NormalVisual (565491) writes "The original 11-foot U.S.S. Enterprise studio model from the original series has gone back into the shop again. The Smithsonian owns the model and has had it on display in a gift shop at the National Air and Space Museum for the last 13 years, but will be placed on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in 2016, to coincide with the museum's 40th anniversary. In the meantime, the model will be undergoing its fourth restoration to address a number of issues. The last restoration in 1991 was performed by Ed Miarecki, a professional modelmaker well known for his work in "Star Trek: The Next Generation", as well as films such as "Event Horizon". This previous restoration had Trek fans up in arms owing to the paint job, which many feel doesn't represent the way the model looked originally. Hopefully this next restoration will bring her back to her former glory."

+ - U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data-> 1

Submitted by Advocatus Diaboli
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user data that the company believed was unconstitutional, according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program. The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the National Security Agency extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Do not get your 4yo a phone (Score 3, Informative) 682

by SmarterThanMe (#44989875) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

I'm going to assume that this isn't just a troll post. It is a pretty freaking ignorant question.

Wearing every single one of my hats (teacher, parent, part-time academic in linguistics (and, in particular, child language acquisition), techie, etc.), I'm going to claims some authority when I say this: DO NOT GET YOUR 4YO A PHONE. Mostly I'm adding to the chorus above, so I'm not going to bother rehashing the reasons against that everyone has already given, but I will add a couple more in dot points:

@ We have enough problems with the social reliance on phones in adulthood, but in early adolescence it's a disaster, let alone infancy. For adolescents, phones bring with it all sorts of problems like increased risk of cyber-bullying, exposure to age-inappropriate content, and problems with Google/Apple sponsored apps^h^h^h^hscams. There is no good way to stop this for teenagers, so how are you planning to stop it for a toddler?

@ Remote parenting does not work, and fairly consistently causes problems - you know all those parents whose Dads were at work until late at night? How did they turn out?

@ There is no type of "play" involving a phone that isn't better done by a kid, physically, in the real world. A block sorting game on a phone? Brilliant, why not do it in real life?

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