Grounds of future play

21 09 2010

Two weekends ago I went to an education resources expo at the Brisbane Convention Centre – mainly as a bid to get freebs. I arrived a little late but still managed to catch some of a seminar, a few free posters, petted a snake and a lizard, and entered in as many lucky draws as possible (and possibly signing my boss up for swades of spam – sorry…).

Two things caught my eye in particular. And I’ll share one now – The SmartUs Digital Playground (their Finnish website).

The whole set up is very futuristic. Kids are issued with RFID smart cards that can be recognised by readers scattered throughout the playground. They login at the main portal and are assigned a task (run from point A to B via C three times, or something more complex) and the computer records their time. This time is recorded on an international online network where kids from different schools, or even different countries, can compare each others times and records.

Additional tasks and learning can also be integrated by assigning different nodes answers to a multi-choice quiz. This also comes into play by the presence of a dancepad hooked up to the main video monitor of the playground as well. This can be used for quizzes, fitness, dancing or simon-type games.

In Finland, it even became the basis of a family/children’s gameshow which involved celebrities and national atheletes, called FunTzu. Again, these TV scores were uploaded online, so schoolkids could challenge their idols. Unfortunately I can’t find any videos of the TV show – but after some searching I have found a news item of Asia’s first SmartUs playground in Hong Kong which shows how it works.

Tapping into children’s natural competitive behaviour, and then combining it with social media and massively multiplayer gaming Lappset have really hit the mark (or market). The only real downsides to it I can see are the initial outlay costs (which you can guess would be quite high) and also the pitfall of having ‘standardised cookie cutter playgrounds’ that don’t have their own individual community flavour. There also might be other hudles here in Australia given EQ’s stance on students and social networks.





Some teachers are pricks, and then some

12 09 2010

A simple investigation experiment looking at the pH of blood at a Tasmanian high school has turned into a biohazard scare after teacher somehow thought sharing needles would be totally fine for adolescent boys. In some muddled form of defence the teacher did “attempt to sterilise the needle with methylated spirits between tests.” (Methylated spirits its not really suitable for sterilizing).

Pretty much any official is saying that this was a major balls up by the teacher, and I’m finding hard to believe that with all the red tape (in the for of occupational health and safety) present in Australian workplaces these days, that this investigation was ever approved. I have no problem with hands on experiments. In fact, I think these should be encouraged. On top of that, if we expect to have smart and scientifically literate graduates from high school, experiments involving potential biohazards should be allowed. However (or even because of that) it still very important to recognise that risks are involved and the appropriate precautions be taken.

Do read the comments on The Mercury article too.

There seems to be some sections of the world who are somehow thinking that the teacher has not done anything wrong, because there are no schoolboys in Tasmania with bloodborne infectious disease. Perhaps they could do well to investigate the Health and Ageing website which show that historically (prior to vaccinations) they have been one of the highest risk groups for Hepatitis (which is probably the largest worry in this instance, rather than HIV). Blood-borne transmission is probably the number one risk that health organisations try to minimize to prevent the spread of disease.





Date with Grace: Reverse facestalking

12 09 2010

I wonder if Grace knows about this?

Sydney facebookers can try to woo blondeshell Grace Carter by petitioning the event page. If she likes your “vibe” and your offer on the RSVP, she’ll go out with you. Could be more authentic than Kate’s Party.

I stumbled across this through a sponsored ad, so I don’t know if this venture is actually cheaper than more conventional internet hook up websites (unless it was free trial advertising).

Would be suitors, might be wise to check Grace Carter’s personal profile, she has a tattoo (not that there’s anything wrong with that*), has a gambling problem (likes “Winning at Life”), and perhaps has a thing for 2 girls: 1 cup^ (likes “Heaps of Shit” & “Authentic Shit”). If that appeals and you’re African (likes “Kenya” and “Oxfam”) who likes taking your gurl “to da movies” and random yet public internet hookups, go for it tiger!

*plus, at least it’s not a tramp stamp

^if you don’t know, you don’t want to know





Future blast from the past

12 09 2010

via Here’s Why

Take in some futurology from the past in these videos – A combination of industry propaganda and promotions from the early 20th Century.

“Frontiers of the Future” (A Screen Editorial With Lowell Thomas) (1937) Archive.org

“To New Horizons” (1940) Archive.org

“Century 21 Calling” (1964) Archive.org

“Connected Earth” (1969) Youtube

Can you see some modern day inventions, perhaps in a slightly different form? And how about those inventions that never eventuated – was it because they were impractical, or an industry related reason, or perhaps they still might-someday-be?

What things did these futurologists never take into account? Perhaps the inverse growth relationship between the size of a TV screen and the size of a mobile handset…





If you are having trouble understanding the election

21 08 2010

Hat tip: Dave the Happy Singer

You can learn much from this video which offers a brief overview of recent politics and issues in Australia.

Yes. It is true. In Australia we choose our leader by dangling rancid meat and political portraits before a crocodile pit and hurl beer cans at those crocodiles.





Reality Boats

20 08 2010

I sort of wish Get up would spend their funds putting non-partisan and worthy public education advertisements like this one on TV rather than random Abbott quotes.

(That said, this one was pretty good too)





Can they pull off the election?

20 08 2010

Real ad. Real political party.








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