How Cloud Computing is changing traditional education

It is amazing how teaching style has evolved over time. They are simply so different from those in which we remember learning. The blackboards have replaced with whiteboards; the rulers have been replaced by smartphones. And now the whole education platform has changed to Cloud Learning. From a teacher’s point of view this is an exciting time and to look into and explore all the possibilities for the future. It is not uncommon these days to see classes taught entirely or partially on computers. The amount of learning technologies which have found their way into the classroom is amazing. And they have helped facilitate teaching and student learning over the past decade. Some of these educational technologies are class websites, mobile devices, podcasts, e-learning products and Cloud Computing.

At present, cloud computing is one of the highly searched and talked-about topic among the education system. It provides some great advantages of creating, conducting, and delivering products, solutions, and events online. The learning industry has also started recognizing the importance of cloud computing applications to hold classes over the Internet. Different learning management systems that are hosted on the cloud helps educators share and exchange course materials, images, and such other documents with the learners, both fast and without any hassle.

As a teacher devices like Chromebook and cloud based learning has been a revelation. It’ѕ easy to get started with a Chrome device, whether you are an IT administrator, a teacher or a student. Thеrе’ѕ no steep learning curve standing in the way of learning, teaching and sharing, and the web-based management console makes it еаѕу to administer a fleet of Chrome devices.
With Chrome devices, there is no need to install software: web apps run seamlessly alongside the astounding array of education sites and tools on the web.

Lеt’ѕ take a close look at how іt’ѕ beneficial using Cloud-based plans for teachers. Firstly, you can enhance your ability to produce lesson plans. Secondly, the search content function located within cloud lessons can be used to find old archived work. Thirdly, the group shared folders makes collaboration with other teachers easier. However, there іѕ one thing that all of these features have in common, they will save you time.

Every teacher spends hours making lesson plans each week. Thus, when most teachers start using cloud software they immediately fall in love with them. First off, it makes organizing your lesson plans easy. This in turn makes finding and editing much easier. This means teachers no longer have to email themselves the files, or use a flash drive. Plus, if you forget to do either of these, it puts making lesson plans on hold. Cloud lessons remove the possibility for this human error. Pius, File search file makes writing new plans easier too.

Collaboration in itself makes teaching easier. It may come in the form of sharing ideas with co-workers or helping another teacher that has a similar class. Yet, in all of its forms, collaboration is powerful. Therefore, with a cloud group shred folder the fellow teachers can share lesson plans, homework assignments, and ideas. Plus, with the file search function, a group-shared folder is a lot more efficient than email. What about that one particular lazy co-worker you don’t want to be able to access your hard work? Although this is unfortunate, It does happen. That is why many cloud software also has file access security. That means you can control who has access to your work. That way you are only collaborating with teachers that you want to. In summary, Cloud based lesson plans can help any teacher. The future of education is here; and the Cloud learning is here to stay.

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MK802 and Streaming Media Players

Rikomagic MK802IV: The Pro Brand Mini Android Pc

Basic access to your favorite applications and games are consistently available for everyone though stick PCs and streaming media players. Sure, using your laptop or phone for streaming is good; yet most fail at meeting wireless standards like streaming programs without abrupt pauses and low connection issues. An easy solution for everyone’s viewing preferences is an android mini PC such as the RikoMagic MK802IV. This android mini PC picks up where regular PCs fail by hooking in your tv  and attains thousands of fine viewing elements you could only find on a smart TV. RikoMagic is a sleek device compatible with most gadgets which would fail at horribly attaining TV shows and internet access which has made it a valuable tool among regular shoppers.

 The device itself is known for it’s smooth controls with an preeminent rate of performance only few rivals try to imitate. It’s progressive features help ensure your using a brisk mini PC with a higher amount of memory cache you can use over and over again. It is easy to get lost in scrutinizing about the long-term performance rate, but RikoMagic is able to hold its ground against competitors whose product may work rapidly; yet lack precision in each application. The Loading and streaming does not even come with the cost of waiting 2-4 hours for each operation to work properly. As many consumers would like to have a brand that values quality. An android mini PC can give all around access to the visual goods your love and  enjoy tapping into regularly.

 Add on a quad core, 3d graphic design, built in Bluetooth, OS 4.2, and an unyielding jelly bean android 4.2 system; you have the recipe for better mini PC. Rikomaigc provides smaller PC along with better services best used for avoiding massive failures with launches and repairs. Now, not every man is setup for having this type of innovation in their home, most find the androids mini PC a little to low for their taste. True, it is no flashy, but it does work overtime to give better access to email, internet, subscription based services, Facebook, YouTube, and even twitter. You have a clear and synoptic view of what you want to watch without having your fun interrupted by messy wiring  and bad connections.

RikoMagic MK802

Basic access to your favorite applications and games are consistently available for everyone though small PCs. Sure, using your laptop or phone for streaming is good; yet most fail at meeting wireless standards like streaming programs without abrupt pauses and low connection issues. An easy solution for everyone’s viewing preferences is an android mini PC such as the RikoMagic MK802IV. This android mini PC picks up where regular PC fail by hooking in your TV and attains thousands of fine viewing elements you could only find on a smart TV. The MK802 is a sleek device great at attaining TV shows and internet access, which has made it a valuable tool among regular shoppers.

 

The device itself is known for its smooth controls with a preeminent rate of performance only few rivals try to imitate. Its progressive features help ensure your using a brisk mini PC with a higher amount of memory cache you can use repeatedly. It is easy to get lost in scrutinizing about the long-term performance rate, but RikoMagic is able to hold its ground against competitors whose product may work rapidly; yet lack precision in each application. The Loading and streaming does not even come with the cost of waiting 2-4 hours for each operation to work properly. As many consumers would like to have a brand that values, an android mini PC can give all around access to the visual goods your love and enjoy tapping into regularly.

 

Add on a quad core, 3d graphic design, built in Bluetooth, OS 4.2, and an unyielding jelly bean android 4.2 system; you have the recipe for better mini PC. RikoMagic provides smaller PC along with better services best used for avoiding massive failures with launches and repairs. Now, not everyone is setup for having this type of innovation in their home, most find the android mini PC a little too low for their taste. True, it is not flashy, but it does work overtime to give better access to email, internet, subscription based services, Facebook, YouTube, and even twitter. You have a clear and synoptic view of what you want to watch without having your fun interrupted by messy wiring and bad connections.

Privacy and the Internet

If you have a computer and access the Internet, odds are you have been subject to spam mail, ad bots, emails from people you don’t know from foreign countries, etc.  Do you ever stop to wonder why you are receiving ads from a company you are not familiar with targeting you with information you were searching for on another company’s website?  Or have you ever wondered why you are receiving spam emails from Nigeria requesting money from you?  Many of us have and we wonder why.  It simply boils downs to privacy and the Internet.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any laws governing who can track what we do on the Internet.  Simply put, there is virtually none to very little privacy laws protecting the Internet user.  Sounds shocking I know and you would think that more would be done to protect people from being infiltrated by all these trackers.

Here are some ways on how you are targeted:

  • IP address* – some Internet providers will either assign you a permanent IP address which makes you and easier target to track as opposed to one that changes the address.  However, IP addresses do not give out any personal information about you, just where your computer is located.
  • Email lists* – if you use email lists to do any kind of discussion, all of that information can be gathered and sold to third parties, who in turn will target you with information that can be related to the original list you are on.
  • Search engines* – such as Google or Bing, they will store your IP address, the subject you are searching for, time of day, and other information for well over a year. Be careful if you want to see if any of your private information is online, doing this kind of search will save your personal information that you provide the search engine.
  • Cookies* – information that is saved on your hard drive after visiting such shopping sites as Amazon.com or BestBuy.com, so the next time you visit that website, your information and similar items you searched for are displayed for you.  However, even though these are secured sites, you may be subject to ‘third-party’ cookies that will give your personal information to advertising clearinghouses who in turn, give your information to online marketers.  And all of this is legal!

*Copyright © Privacy Rights Clearinghouse/UCAN. This copyrighted document may be copied and distributed for nonprofit, educational purposes only, viahttp://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs18-cyb.htm#PART_TWO.  This is a fantastic website as it will educate you on how your information is being tracked.

Now, the next obvious question is:  What can I do to minimize my personal information from being exposed?  Here are a few solutions:

  1. Avoid filling out unnecessary forms that ask for too much personal information.
  2. Delete your search history frequently.
  3. Download books, music, videos, etc. from reliable sources and not those that attached adware to your downloads, as they will report your Internet surfing habits to third parties who will target you.
  4. Avoid scams.

The above solution examples were used with permission and attribution via the website http://websearch.about.com/od/anonymoussurfingsafety/tp/Ten-Ways-To-Protect-Your-Web-Privacy.htm.

The bottom line is to simply be careful of what information about yourself you put out there and make sure you are using only very reputable sites if you have to give out information such as addresses and credit card information.  Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on this as there are many resources out there that can save you a lot of trouble and annoyance down the road.

Gbox Midnight MX2

Let me start by saying that I have been waiting for a device like this for years. Something that would allow the world wide web to come to your living room without the need to connect your Mac/PC or other HTPC that would cost a couple of hundred or more. Something inexpensive but simple to launch and operate. Now that being said, the device is simple enough but it’s not plug and play. The MX2 requires work and research, but once that’s over the device is a true wonder.

I had hoped the Boxee box or google TV might have been the answer to bringing unfettered access to the internet into the living room, but too many restrictions and limitations made those options not viable. I jailbroke my ATV2 but encountered to many bugs and once you’ve jailbroken more than once it gets tiresome after awhile and the bugs just…well they bug you enough to outweigh the benefits.

Now comes the Mx2. I did not own the first Mx and I will admit I am not a android fan (think the OS is sloppy and really not very user friendly). I love Mac and always will but it’s an enclosed system that limits and nothing, not even a jailbroken ATV2 was enough to give me want I want.

The Mx2 does and more. It’s purely the best way, as far as I know, to access a ton of media, whether it’s your own or located on the web…all with barely any restrictions or limits.

The Mx2 comes with a browser ( a good one might I add ), android apps ( and access to the android app store ), and XMBC, a true portal to ultimate entertainment. BE WARNED this device could engage you for HOURS…so if you got kids and a spouse be prepared to be yelled at! But seriously, it does so much you will be truly entertained for hours!

Now the Mx2 is not perfect. It does have it’s quirks and there is still more development work to be done and Matricom has admitted as such. It’s a work in progress and hopefully Matricom will continue it’s support for years to come. But in it’s current state the Mx2 clearly outdoes anything other than a HTPC. It’s not perfect but it’s damn fun!

I haven’t loaded any apps yet or played any games. I primarily use the Mx2 to stream movies, TV shows, watch TV and surf the web. For me that’s all that I was looking for and this does it all…extremely well.

I cut cable long ago. I have a WD media player, OTA DVR/Media player, and a House antenna ( giving me over 100 channels of free HD media) to entertain me. But I wanted to step it up and the MX2 does that…multiple times over. If your looking to cut cable this is a viable alternative that will honestly make you glad you did.

Remember the MX2 isn’t perfect. Like I said it’s quirky and a lot of work and research needs to be done to get it to the point where you can start having fun. But it’s not complicated and there are a ton of instructional videos and forums you can tap. But once that’s done the Mx2 becomes a great little machine.

For 100 bucks it’s worth a try. If it works you’ll find it’s probably the best 100 bucks you’ve ever spent.

Oh and get the OGEAR GKM681R 2.4GHz Wireless Compact Keyboard with Optical Trackball. It’s a great companion remote/keyboard that works well the MX2. Obviously there is the logitech K400 or the iPazz options but the Iogear seemed right for me. Besides I wanted a trackball and not a trackpad which for me is better.

Overall great little device that was worth the money! Hope it lasts! If it does sweeeet!!

 

About G-Box Midnight MX2:

The G-Box Midnight MX2 by Matricom brings high performance HD streaming from the internet and local media to your TV. The powerful dual core MX processor with the Mali-400 3D graphics engine provides stellar performance for high definition video playback. XBMC runs smoothly with 1080p hardware decoding from local media and your favorite XBMC streaming add-ons.

More Features than Roku and Apple TV Combined

Looking for more than just a simple streaming box? The MX2 does it all. Running the full Android 4.2.2 OS gives you the ability to run virtually any Android app on your TV. Streaming just happens to be only one of the many things that the MX2 is really great at.

Automatic Online Updating:

With over-the-air updating, the MX2 will ensure that it’s software is up-to-date and brings the newest updates and bug fixes for Android and XBMC to your device seamlessly.

G-Box Midnight MX2 Specifications:

* Amlogic A9 Dual Core Neon HD CPU
* Mali400 Dual Core High Performance 3D GPU
* 1GB RAM (DDR3)
* 8GB Total Internal Storage
* USB Storage Extendable (Flash Drives/HDD)
* SD Storage Extendable (Up to 32GB!)
* 802.11b/g/n internal Wifi
* HDMI v1.4 video output
* 10/100 Ethernet Port
* Coaxial SPDIF Digital Audio Output (Surround Sound)
* Composite Audio/Video Out
* 4x USB 2.0 Ports
* Android 4.2.x Jelly Bean installed
* Supports Wireless USB Keyboard/Mouse
* Google Play Store installed

G-Box Midnight MX2 Support:

This device is manufacturerd by Matricom and features a 1yr extensive device warranty. Support is available online by Matricom and through the G-Box community.

 

FitBit Project

I must admit that I am not a fan of “group” projects, however, this group project went well as compared to ones I have been part of in the past.  I am not really sure how many of my fellow group members were familiar with designing and editing wikis, but I had never done either until this project.  Along with not having designed or edited a wiki, I do not really consider myself social media savvy, so this project looked as though it would be challenging (at least to me!).  Our group divvied up the workload by assigning a different outlet of the social media company report to each member.  That member was then responsible for researching that social medial outlet for activity trackers and citing their sources.  Some members then summarized FitBit ‘s social media policy and made recommendations to help improve the social media policy.  In all the project went very smoothly and was done in a timely manner (before the due date :).

We found that FitBit utilizes a plethora of social media outlets.  FitBit uses Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin and even has their own blog!  All of the social media outlets allow FitBit to promote their many products from activity trackers to fitness trackers to sleep monitors.  They are also able to sell new on many of the sites as well.  Social media also permits FitBit  to connect with their customers.  Customers of FitBit  can post messages and photos while working out on their Facebook fan page.  They can also tweet about activity trackers on Twitter and with the FitBit  blog customers can interact with FitBit  team members!

I learned how companies, such as FitBit and Jawbone use social media to promote products, advertise and connect with customers on a daily basis.  FitBit ‘s company webpage shows the companies history, policies, financials, products and what the company is doing to giveback to communities.  FitBit also has a social media policy in place that embodies the companies core values of leadership, collaboration, integrity, accountability, passion, diversity and quality.  They also encourage good judgement and common sense while using social media.  In all, I would say that the project was a success!

Group Projects

Web-based group projects can be a gamble.  If you do not know the key players on your team prior to the project, it can be difficult to collaborate and accomplish tasks.  Other concerns may also arise throughout the project such as miscommunication, lack of communication, troubleshooting, file transfer issues, poor planning, or inequitable allotment of work.  These and other factors can have dire effects on the success of a project.  Thankfully, for this web project, my group and I were able to avoid major problems, communicate effectively, and deliver our project successfully.
My team and I were assigned to research a company’s social media policy and online activity and provide our analyses and recommendations for how the firm could better their online presence.  We selected Nike and began distributing research among our team.  Each of us chose two social media sites to monitor Nike’s posts and drafted mini reports containing our findings.  The reports included our thoughts on Nike’s tactics and screenshots of the websites.  We posted our documents on our class’s online discussion board and determined who would be responsible for drafting the wiki and social media policy/recommendations.
One of my teammates had suggested that we share e-mail addresses as a means of additional communication.  This was a key factor in coordinating our project.  My teammate also asked that we determine a tentative schedule for our project.  I voluntarily drafted a schedule that outlined the components of our project and gave a proposed deadline for each.  This helped keep the group on track and allowed us to complete our assignment prior to the official deadline.
Personally, I was very impressed with how well my team and I worked together.  We each contributed to the project and communicated with each other regularly.  This helped make the experience less stressful and ultimately ensured successful completion of our project.
This assignment enabled me to experience collaborating with a group in a web environment and allowed me to practice organizing and coordinating an online project with a team.  Overall, the experience was beneficial.  Web projects are becoming widespread among businesses and it is, therefore, imperative to know how to engage in online projects with others.  The social media assignment allowed my team and me to get a taste of this and will provide us with an advantage in our careers.

Data Warehouses

In this week’s module, I found the information on data warehouses to be the most clear to me.  A data warehouse is essentially a warehouse that stores a HUGE amount of data. A data warehouse basically copies information regularly from transactional data into the warehouse.  In other words, it takes live data from operations and stores it. Sometimes when live processing of data takes place, a customer might have to wait for a response on a particular website and therefore, might choose to visit a buy from another site.  Data warehousing is useful because it allow analysis of the data to take place in the warehouse opposed to live online processing of data.  This gives the customer instantaneous data analysis allowing the customer to have a pleasant shopping experience.

Data warehouses can most definitely be useful in the business environment for several reasons.  One reason, as previously mentioned, is it stores a massive amount of data.  This is beneficial in the business world because it allows the business to analyze data from many different areas and manipulate it however they would like.  Another reason this could be useful is for the fact that it analyzes the data in the warehouse.  On a live online center, they are not able to analyze data like they would be able to in a warehouse. A data warehouse is also useful because it has the potential to make the customer’s shopping experience more enjoyable.

This simple picture illustration helps explain the concept of a data warehouse.  All these different elements of information are combined into one data warehouse.  The website above also helps explain the concept of a data warehouse a little bit more.  The website explains data warehouses to be an important tactic for any business.

Microsoft’s Cortana – Evolution of Siri

What — or who — is Cortana?
For all the non-gamers our there, Cortana is an artificial intelligence character from Xbox’s Halo series. But Microsoft seems to be planning to make her much more than that. ZDNet reported earlier this week that Cortana may be the base of new AI “shell” that could power the personal assistant features in Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows Phone.

In July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a memo that the company was working on, “a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell.”

He went on to say, “Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.”

In sum, a voice assistant that knows what you’re saying and in what context you’re saying it, before you ask it, and tied into all of the important services you use on your devices. It’s a pretty tall order, and it could give existing personal assistants a run for their money.

Been there, done that
The personal assistant skeptics may be saying that we already have features like this, and that they aren’t that great. Siri was first released two years ago in its beta version and users generally have mixed feelings about it. Although improvements have been made, it’s often considered a novelty rather than necessity. Apple says the new non-beta version of Siri coming out this week will process questions faster, check more sources, and can handle more tasks, like playing voice mail or changing iPhone settings.

But Siri lacks the anticipated information sharing that Google. Now boasts. The Now app can tell you when a package is delivered, how long it will take to get to work, and when your next appointment is. Much of which can be had without even having to ask.

Up until recently, Google’s predictive information was strictly reserved for Android users, but a recent update to the iOS Google Search app added the same features for iPhone users as well. While iOSers actually have to open the app to get the info — as opposed to Android where the information just shows up — it’s more than Apple currently offers its own users. Google pulls information from Gmail, Google News, Navigation, Maps, and its other services to give users the real-time data. With reliable voice searching and predictive data, Google Now is one of the most advanced mobile personal assistants.

Though Microsoft may be excited about creating a new system shell that can anticipate a user’s requests, talking about what you want a mobile artificial intelligence system to do and actually getting it work are two different things. The company is set to release the next version of its smartphone platform around the holidays, called Windows Phone Blue, so it’s possible we could see Cortana sooner rather than later.

Microsoft is in desperate need of something that can lure iPhone and Android users away from their devices to Windows Phones. Holding onto just 3.9% of global smartphone shipment market share isn’t making investors happy. We really need to see new features from Windows Phone that prove Microsoft can create devices that users really want. Cortana could be a great first step in the right direction.

US Uses 11 Times More Energy than the UK

Last week, we called attention to America’s massive energy inefficiency problem. The amount of energy wasted by the US economy in 2012, we noted, could power the United Kingdom for 7 years.

But of course the United Kingdom is more than just a reference point. It’s an interesting energy case study itself. The UK is the European Union’s largest oil producer, the country’s renewable electricity use has quadrupled since 2000, and last year the UK was crowned the world’s most energy-efficient major economy. Not to mention its capital city is home to Opower’s European headquarters.

us energy efficiency uk energy efficiency

Given our company’s inclination to make insightful energy usage comparisons, we’d love to be able to present a side-by-side comparison of total energy waste in the US and UK. Unfortunately, each country takes a distinct methodological approach to evaluating economy-wide energy efficiency  – making it unfeasible to do a clean apples-to-apples comparison.

Source: UK Energy Flowchart, Department of Energy and Climate Change (July 2013)

Source: UK Energy Flowchart, Department of Energy and Climate Change (July 2013)

But, based on our knowledge of the energy economy in the US and UK, and equipped with their recently published Energy Flowcharts for 2012, we can still draw some meaningful conclusions:

  • In 2012, the US’s primary energy demand was 11 times bigger than the UK’s
  • The efficiency of electric power generation and transmission is roughly 35% in both countries
  • The average American household uses 2.7 times more electricity and 1.3 times more natural gas than a British household
  • Transportation, dominated by petroleum in both countries, is also their largest energy end-use
  • The countries’ electricity generation portfolios in 2012 were uncannily similar (Coal ~40%, Gas ~30%, Nuclear ~20%, Renewables ~10%).

The first point above, regarding the sizable divergence in per-capita energy use between the US (313.9 million people) and the UK (63.2 million people), may be the juiciest tidbit of all. Why does the average American consume twice as much energy as the average Brit? The answer is multifaceted and complex, but we can begin to identify a few key drivers.

First, consider transportation — the largest energy end-use in both countries. The average fuel economy of UK cars is currently 65% better than US cars. Americans also drive almost twice as many miles per year than Brits. More gasoline per mile, combined with lots of miles, is the perfect recipe for a bloated energy flowchart.

Second, compare a typical home near London, England with one in New London, Connecticut. You’ll see some clear energy-related differences: the UK home will neither have an air-conditioner nor a swimming pool (both are exceedingly rare there, largely due to a milder climate); they’re also far more likely to be hang-drying their laundry. These kinds of factors add up.

Third, UK energy efficiency policies have become increasingly ambitious. Last November, the UK Government unveiled a national Energy Efficiency Strategy, that included a £39 million investment in research on how to empower consumers and businesses to adopt more energy-efficient behavior over time. And starting soon, the UK will join other European countries in a regional effort to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020.

While the US has also made strides in boosting energy efficiency in recent years, especially at the state level and through innovative utility programs, the UK’s concerted nationwide initiatives to cut energy use have positioned the country as a leader…as evidenced by its #1 ranking in ACEEE’s 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard. And these efforts are borne out by the 2012 data: as shown below, the UK’s weather-adjusted primary energy consumption inched downward for its 7th straight year.

UK-Primary-Energy-Consumption_20122

The UK’s primary energy consumption (weather-adjusted) has declined for seven straight years (Source: UK Digest of Energy Statistics, 2013)

For its part, the US has also seen a general downward trend in total and per-capita energy use in recent years, but it hasn’t trickled down quite as consistently as in the UK.

There are many interesting insights to be drawn from recent energy trends in the States and the Kingdom — including how the Super Bowl and the birth of little Prince George exerted a surprisingly similar effect on national energy use. To dive deeper into the data from both sides of the pond, check out the 2013 Digest of UK Energy Statistics and the most recent US Energy Flowchart Analysis from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


Author’s note: The UK’s Energy Flow analysis is constructed on a “primary fuel input basis,” which differs slightly from the “useful energy basis” adopted by the US version. Interested readers can read more details about the UK’s flowchart calculations here and US calculations here. 

Special thanks to Nate Kaufman and Ashley Sudney.

Follow @OpowerOutlier on Twitter

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/31/us-uses-11-times-more-energy-than-uk-with-only-5-times-more-people/#PBuigQCFHzxEc02u.99