CAM-Trax: Please not just for Games!

I haven't had much time to blog lately, just as I am sure you are all busy (with 8 days of school left) and don't have much time for your RSS Readers either, but I just had to quickly share these thoughts with you.

Last night, I stumbled across this post from Engadget in my Google Reader about some new software called CAM-Trax being developed for Gaming. It uses a web cam to track movement of colorful objects that can be "locked in" by the software and used as a controller. The best part of this is that the objects can be anything as you will see in this video.

So here it is (Enjoy the Bestie Boys music!):

The sad part about this whole thing is that it's only being developed for gaming right now! That is all well and good for games and the gaming community, as this would be a great step for them. However, What about the rest of the computing world? To think of gaming as the only application for this is a bit narrow, wouldn't you say?

I can imagine this being used for interfacing with PCs in a variety of ways. How about for an art application? or just as an interface to your computer without having to touch anything? I could see this being used in some type of science or Physics application to track movement, speed or velocity. The possibilities are countless in my mind right now, and I would love to here what kind of use you all can think of.

My worry is that because it is being developed for gaming right now, these guys may get an offer from some gaming company to buy the technology and who knows if it will make it out for other applications.

I have signed up for the BETA and when it comes out, I will be sure to share my experience with you all.

I hope you found this post to be at least thought provoking and somewhat informative.

Lets hear your thoughts!

Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope: Free! Yes I said FREE!

Apparently.... Microsoft is giving Google a bit of a run for their money. They have recently released an outstanding program to compete with Google Sky (the outer space portion of Google Earth that not many folks use or even explore).

Much like Google Earth, Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope allows you to navigate the universe with the greatest of ease. But don't let me be the judge, try it yourself! You can download it from Micro$oft for free here! Did I just use "Micro$oft" and "FREE" in the same sentence? Yes! But I wonder how long that will last, so download it soon.

As always, I would love to hear what you think, and what your students think about it. So please, let the commenting commence.

Also, if you need any help with downloading or installing it, feel free to contact me... if you work for Beauvoir that is. It looks like we have been getting some hits on this blog from a few places in the US and Europe as well. (updated: Asia now too!) Pretty cool! Check out the ClustrMap of visitors to the blog.

I hope you found this post to be informative and thought provoking.

See you all again real soon.

Video: Learning to Change

Wow! What a great, inspiring, and thought provoking faculty meeting yesterday. Thank you all for its success. A special thanks to all of you who presented with such true passion and enthusiasm. I have already received some great feedback from some of you this morning and I look forward to hearing more about your success.

I thought a lot last night about when Paula spoke about change in the beginning of our meeting and I would like to thank you [Paula] for your vision of innovation and support as this organic process evolves. Thank you!

It made me think about a video I would like to share with all of you that I came across while reading a post on David Warlick's Blog about Change. Please watch it, think about it, and share your thoughts or comments. (Just click on the comments link at the bottom of this post. If you are viewing this in a reader, or the automated email, you will need to go to the blog to leave a comment, and watch the video for that matter.)

OK! Let's hear it! Tell us what you think!

Oh, and in case you would like to subscribe to the Beauvoir Tech Blog in your reader, the feed is:

and my shared feed is:

and last but not least, here is a link to the post on RSS which has the video we watched yesterday, just in case you want to share it or watch it again:

As always, I hope you found this post to be inspiring and thought provoking.

See you all again soon!

Online Environments and Young Children: The Importance of Teaching Responsible Use

I came across an interesting article the other day about a study done by Warren Buckleitner, Ph. D. from the Mediatech Foundation for Consumer Reports Webwatch. The study was about how young children (ages 2-8) interact with online environments. I thought the findings were interesting but what I found even more interesting, and quite disturbing, was the focus of commerce aimed at this age group. It's not really a surprise to me. I see it all of the time on TV and on the web, but it reminds me to think of how important it is to teach responsible use for a variety of reasons.

An excerpt from the executive summary reads:

"We discovered that the digital world offers a wealth of opportunity for young children to play and learn. But even in this small sample of 10 families we found–too easily, in several circumstances–repeated examples of attempts to manipulate children for the sake of commerce."

"Like taking candy from a baby" as this study is appropriately titled.

Many of the thoughts that come to our minds when we think about responsible use have to do with protecting our children from online predators, or bullying, etc. Don't get me wrong, these are extremely important topics to discuss with our children and we should continue to address them. However, It might be easier for a child to identify and filter out an attempt by an online predator or bully than it would be for them to resist an enticing option or threat that their online creation (on sites like Webkins or Club Penguin) would become inaccessible unless a purchase was made. This goes beyond the realm of responsible use of technology and becomes a question of how we can help them become a better more selective consumer of media and information in general, and in all aspects of life for that matter.

Well before I get to carried away here... Let us also remember what our children can gain from their responsible online or digital experiences.

The video logs of the study can be found here, and again, the study PDF can be found here.

As always, we encourage you to comment, and we hope you found this to be informative and thought provoking.

See you next time! :)

RSS... What is it?

OK... Another "What is it?" post for those of you who are unfamiliar with RSS.

RSS is an acronym which stands for Real Simple Syndication, or as Oprah likes to say "Ready for Some Stories".

Wikipedia describes RSS as "a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts."

Basically, instead of going to all of the websites that you normally do to read new articles, news, or blog posts (like this one), you can make new ones come to you!

Check out the video that explains this a lot better than I can type it.

Now that you have seen the short video, your probably going to need an RSS Aggregator or reader if you don't already use one. I recommend Google Reader. You will need a GMail account which is free and only takes a minute to establish.

Google reader will keep track of the articles that you have read and let you know when you have new ones that you haven't read yet. You can organize them by category, "star" them to save them for later, and even share them with others as your own RSS feed. Here is my feed to my shared articles.

I warn you, it can become a bit of an addiction, so be mindful of how many subscriptions you have in your reader. Before you know it, you may feel yourself drowning in articles and posts.

I hope you found this to be informative. If you need any help with setting up your reader, please feel free to contact me.

Happy Reading! And as always, your comments are welcome here. It's nice to know what you think, or maybe you have a favorite reader or shared feed to share with us!

If you have any topics that you wish for me to post about, please submit them here.

See y'all again real soon.