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Scratch – A Visual Programming Language for Lifelong Learners

Scratch is a visual programming language designed for learning and education. As learners create and share projects in Scratch, they develop important design and problem-solving skills, think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Scratch is used in many different settings: schools, museums, community centers, and homes – or even in introductory computer science classes in higher education, for example in Harvard’s edX-course CS50. That’s how I discovered this great project by MIT media lab’s lifelong kindergarten, and I was really impressed seeing the learning and teaching opportunities of Scratch in action.
Download Scratch and give it a try. It’s really easy and fun to learn!

https://scratch.mit.edu/

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B.

Big Edutech in a little package

Siftables aims to enable people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approach interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives.

David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi of Sifteo first came up with a prototype for game cubes when studying human-computer interaction at the MIT Media Lab. During their research they realized that the way humans typically interact with physical objects is by picking them up to examine and arrange them. So they decided to create a digital gaming platform that incorporates the physical experience of playing a boardgame. They called it “Siftables” and David demonstrated their invention in an inspiring TED Talk in 2009.

“Traditional game consoles have lost the tangible and interactive nature of classic tabletop games like Mahjong and dominoes, that bring people together,” said Jeevan Kalanithi, co-founder of Sifteo. “Players tell us that Sifteo cubes reduce „screen stare?, banish tired thumbs and give families and individuals a more „natural? way to have fun,” said Kalanithi.

In January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Sifteo got a lot of coverage in the media and won some nifty awards. Early Access packs have been sold out within a few days. You can sign up here for updates on when more will be available: www.sifteo.com/early_access

In my opinion these cubes may be the next big thing in technology and education because they let your ideas flow outside the box (or the screen). Watch the video from 2:23 and you will immediately see the great potential for mathematics education packed in these small cubes.

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W.

Welcome To The Moon!

Nasa Logo
The Apollo 11 space flight landed the first humans on Earth’s Moon on July 20 1969. The mission, carried out by the United States, is considered a major accomplishment in human history. Images of the first manned lunar landing were received and broadcast to 600 million people on Earth. Apollo 11 was a victory for the U.S. in the Cold War Space Race with the Soviet Union who, in 1961, had sent Yuri Gagarin to the Cosmos to become the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth.

From time to time people complain about “the frustrating gap between NASA’s deeply inspirational work and the toothless official communication about it” as Maria Popova put it recently. Fortunately there are some people out there who come up with creative ideas to close the gap.

To celebrate the 40 year aniversary of the first moon landing Google released Google Moon. Now, a New Zealand based company came up with the idea to use these images to play around and land your own Eagle. This is especially exiting, as during the final landing phase of Apollo 11 it became apparent that the computer was steering directly towards a crater and big boulders. Neil Armstrong took manual control and landed the Eagle safely with only seconds of fuel to spare.

Now you can “Take control” and experience those final seconds of the landing phase. Land the Eagle vertically and softly on the target. Use arrow keys to tilt and spacebar to ignite the engine. Land on the target before you run out of fuel. An amazing game! Click on one of the images to start.

www.planetinaction.com
www.nasa.gov

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