Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interesting View of The Future...

The question is...just how far in the future is this?  All the technology exists.  How do manufacturers make this cost effective and turn it into reality? 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 4S

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseSo Apple's big announcement yesterday came as a disappointment to many.  The rumors that had been circulating for days centered around a new design, look and feel, and other hardware enhancements.  Apple instead chose to focus its efforts on this updated iPhone on the software side. 

So what is new about the iPhone 4S? 
  • It has a faster processor than its brother the iPhone 4.  It utilizes a similar processor found in the iPad.  This means faster access to apps, better multi-tasking experiences and better end user experience with streaming content.  
  • The camera's resolution and sharpness have increased.  With an 8 megapixel camera, it has an improved lens, shoots in 1080p, more light, faster time between pictures and much more.  Big improvement. 
  • Apple incorporated a feature known as Siri, hoping it serves as a 'personal assistant' for customers.  Siri isn't new, but rather a company Apple purchased over a year ago.  Smart move incorporating that technology into this release.  
  • iOS5, which features the iCloud is set to release October 12.  The biggest win here is the elimination of syncing devices.  iCloud allows a user to update, sync, etc. all over a wireless connection.  
  • The iPhone 4S is available on Sprint now, as well as AT&T and Verizon.  Although Samsung is threatening legal action around the technology that makes the iPhone more of a 'world market phone'. 
While there was no 'iPhone 5' that had been touted, I believe Apple provided a solid upgrade to its current product making feature enhancements that customers had been asking for.  Was it a silver bullet?  No.  In typical Apple marketing strategy, they will probably save that for the next major holiday. 

I have yet to make a decision on upgrading to the 4S, I'm obviously most interested in the iOS upgrade in a week and testing out the iCloud functionality.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on iCloud...


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Reflection on Steve Jobs

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseAs I sit here and ponder the life and legacy of Steve Jobs, I look at the devices surrounding me in my living room to get a glimpse at his profound impact.  iPhone to my right.  iPad to my left.  iTunes on my desktop.  Steve Jobs was an innovator. 

Think about the music industry.  Many tried, but many failed.  Napster.  Rhapsody.  iMesh.  It wasn't until iTunes that the music industry was truly revolutionized.  Steve Jobs and his vision has forever changed how, where, and why we listen to music.

Let's talk about mobile devices.  The iPhone is a given.  Pre-iPhone, Smartphones were a novel concept that no one really knew what to do with.  Then along came the iPhone.  The App Store.  It has revolutionized how we communicate, do business, play, and live our lives. 

The iPad.  Great consumption device for an individual.  It is slowly, but surely, becoming a device that can change the landscape in education and other arenas.  Many people have moved away from a PC or laptop as their primary device and are living 100% on the iPad.  That trend will continue to grow.

I firmly believe Apple TV will continue to grow and potentially change the TV landscape, much like the music world was rocked.  Jobs had it figured out.  Like him or not, like Apple or not - the man was a master at marketing, strategy, and, above all, innovation. 

Steve Jobs will be remembered for two key words, that I have used time and time again in the post.  Innovator.  Revolutionlized.   

RIP Steve.  Thank you. 


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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Equity and the Common Core

With the Common Core Standards starting to find their ways into schools across the country, many teachers, staff, and administrators are learning, sharing and discussing how the new standards will impact their students and classrooms. 

The Common Core is designed to provide schools across the United States with a uniform set of standards to better prepare our students for college and career.  Having a common set of standards allows for conversations between states and for the first time, districts across the country knowing that all students are learning from the same core content. 

One key component of the CCS that is embedded throughout are critical 21st Century Skills such as problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.  I personally think embedding these skills throughout the CCS is fantastic.  These skills are essential to our future leaders and workers. 

However, I see one glaring issue.  With the focus of these skills often comes the expectation of certain technology components and levels of access for students.  The need to have modern tools available as needed to collaborate, research, share, and have authentic learning opportunities is essential.  The issue is the fact that many of our schools across the country have a huge disparity in technological infrastructure, tools, and (most importantly) instructional support. 

Students need equitable access to these resources and appropriate support to ensure appropriate understanding and comprehension of the 21st century skills.  Without that level of access, how can we adequately prepare them for college or careers?  Obviously the biggest obstacle is funding.  With school districts across the country having to cut budgets in tough financial times, where do these funds come from?  Government funds?  We've seen this tried before, but without huge results.  Local taxpayers?  They are already pushed to the limit and tightening their belts at home.

My challenge is to IT leaders in the K-12 arena to find innovative ways to utilize existing funds and partner for future dollars.  Ensuring the appropriate utilization of funds already available is the first step to receiving additional support.  We can move forward in this area, but it is going to take a collaborative effort by all involved to ensure that the level of access across all of our schools is equitable. 


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