Saturday, August 20, 2016

Virtual Reality for Education!

Any Star Trek fans reading??? Well, NetDragon Websoft Holdings Ltd, a leading company in implementing Virtual Reality for Education sure has one cool lair designed replicating the USS Enterprise. As a Star Trek fan myself, this excites me!!

 

Photo: NetDragon Websoft

Earlier this month, a Bloomberg Article reported on the topic of virtual reality and it's possible entrance into education, especially in China. It explained that many parents in China wanted to "give their kids an edge", which as an immigrant from Hong Kong, I could testify towards. We're interested in using Virtual Reality to acquire this so called advantage. This would make China a perfect testing site for this product. NetDragon wants to perform a variety of tracking tests which could help the release of these products. For example, tracking the pupil activity of the children using these products in the classroom. The program also hopes to be able to evaluate human behavior while using digital products to detect diseases within a person. In terms of education, they hope that virtual reality will be a useful resource in detecting interests in children from a young age as well as their learning abilities.

Yes, there are unlimited benefits involving the implementation of Virtual Reality in education. However, Virtual Reality also has many negatives to the program. An issue which was mentioned in the  Bloomberg Article  a few times is piracy. As of now, many tech giants have a plethora  of knowledge for every person that touches technology. For example, a search engine such as Google basically knows the ins and out of your entire life. From your browsing history to your purchase history, Google collects data about every aspect of your life. That's how they tailor all their ads towards your areas of interest. The issue with Virtual Reality and NetDragon's tracking (such as human behavior and pupil activity) is that it takes knowing a person to another level. Before, it was only knowledge of your personal life, now it has escalated to  knowledge of your entire body. Obviously, if this valuable information is used responsibly, it should not be an issue. However, the determining usage will come down to trust, and parents in China sure feel that the rewards of a good quality education outweigh the risks.

Personally, I 've had multiple chances to try virtual reality. It sure is an exhilarating experience, but I do admit that sometimes I feel dizzy from using a VR device. However, in my case, the fun outweighs the dizziness. If you want to try a VR device, you can easily find tech stores such as Microsoft or Best Buy and sometimes they do VR demos at no cost. If you want to buy a VR device, the budget  ranges from $10- $800. I  recommend the Google Cardboard if you just want to experience Virtual Reality. It is  very affordable, while still providing a modest experience. If you haven't tried out Virtual Reality, I really recommend it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"The Web's Most Extensive Mathematics Resource"- Wolfram Mathworld

For many  high school and college students, the turning of August means school is right around the corner. A fairly common subject, such as Mathematics always has summer work. I was searching the web for helpful sites that will provide great information regarding mathematics. I wanted a site that could help younger children and  first year college students. When a certain site claims to be the most extensive for information on a subject, it may not always be believable, so I browsed around Wolfram's site and it sure was extensive.


In the picture above, you can see on the right that there are the broad subjects of math such as algebra or calculus and analysis. Then if you click on calculus and analysis, you reach a folder page with many different subcategories. After reaching this page, click on calculus and you will find even more subcategories such as integrals or continuity. A good example of an explanation page is the jump discontinuity page (picture below). A good explanation alongside a graph is provided.
   
Wolfram not  only gives explanations every single math theory, it also has "Recreational Mathematics". This really is the category which applies math to everyday living. For example, kids that play baseball may find a baseball numerology page interesting. 


Wolfram MathWorld is definitely what they claim to be, an "...extensive mathematics resource. " However, I believe that it is much more than simply that. Not only does the site apply math to the world it also  bring fun to the subject. You'll find an "extensive" collection of game theories such as bowling here, for those interested! 

P.S. The bowling site gets really in depth and I dare y'all to look at it. Kudos if you can understand all of it!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Will Online Learning replace Traditional Learning? (VIDEO)

 Based on the rise of online educational resources, some people may wonder if traditional learning methods such as physically attending a college will be replaced in the future. Sal Khan discusses this topic and also explains other possible methods being a "catalyst" for more affordable college. Additionally, he also mentions that there are "obvious" tools which could drive down college costs.

The video could not be posted directly on this post, however click here to view the video on bloomberg.com





Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Democracy Web!

America seems like such a large continent that some may consider it another world. From the tropical climates of Florida and Hawaii to the deserts of the Southwest to the Frozen Tundras in Alaska, America seems to have every type of climate in the world. It is only fitting that the government which oversees the vast landscapes of America is just as complex and unique! Due to these reasons, many residing within the jurisdiction of the United States Government may forget about the rest of the world. It is important that young adults be educated on  government's overseas as well as the United States Government. It is important for people to understand and appreciate the freedoms that Americans enjoy relative to some nations around the world. Democracy Web is a useful online educational resource which provides information regarding freedom around the world.

Democracy Web, which links to Freedom House Organization, rates countries in terms of freedom using an extensive measuring tool. The two large categories that are part of the rating are political rights and civil liberties. Democracy Web nicely organizes all the freedom ratings by using a color code on a world map.


The rating scale that is used measures freedom from 1 to 7. 1 being the highest level of freedom while 7 being the lowest level of freedom. 

In addition to simply ratings on freedom, Democracy Web provides a study guide for rights in specific countries. Clicking on individual countries on the above map actually provides many historical and current resources for the user to understand the country's ideologies. 


Understanding governments and their ideologies is essential to anybody looking forward to contributing to humanity. People come from different paths of life  and it will only foster cooperation if  there is an understanding of different cultures. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wyzant History Lessons!

Wyzant  is definitely one of the best tools for stacking up your knowledge of United States history from the 20th and 21st century! On this great website, you can find descriptions of many significant leaders and listen to raw audio of their speeches. You can easily find civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King to  President Clinton.

The descriptions of each leader is rather extensive. For example, on President Reagan's page, it provides an overview from  his career of acting  to his president campaign to his death from Alzheimer's. After the description page there  is a page displaying one of his speeches given in 1964. Rather than just providing an audio feed, there is  a transcript  provided. In addition, a specific description for his speech is also provided above the transcript.



Some people don't like politicians, and that is totally fine on Wyzant! Rather than just having speeches of political leaders, they also display world class athletes. For example, they display Lou Gehrig's description and his speech regarding Lou Gehrig's disease. Without a doubt, Lou Gehrig is a baseball legend and deserves a firm place within history books. Wyzant is a great educational resource, its history section is a great tool for young adults in school or simply folks with a desire to become more knowledgeable of history.

Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Short, quick overview of OER

Here is a short but aesthetically pleasing animation/explanation of Open Education Resources. It covers many of the benefits previously explained  in earlier posts. For example, the ability for teachers to modify online materials.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Merck PTE as a Chemistry Reference

Often students taking chemistry classes will find a variety of data is needed to solve a problem. A great all-in one reference for chemistry data is found in the Application Merck PTE. Merck PTE is available at no charge and can be downloaded on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

What is Merck PTE?

Merck PTE is essentially a three dimensional interactive periodic table. The periodic table is color coded for the type of element, such as Alkali metal or Halogens. Sliding your finger over each element pops up a window with the element's name, the original name (Greek, latin, etc...), and the atomic mass. This feature is  the simplest aspect of this App, but a very helpful one. If you click on an individual element, it provides three tabs of information, general, basic information, and discoverer.

In the tab labeled "general", information such as the designation, classification, group, period and relative atomic mass are provided. In addition, a brief summary of the element on where it is commonly found, and the element's daily uses are given.

In the "Basic Information" tab, there is more technical information given. (I know...I know it says "basic" but relative  to the general tab, it is more technical.) Information from electronegativity to ionization energy about the specific element is provided.

In the final tab labeled, "Discoverer" information about the year , the country  and the scientist which made the discovery is provided.

The three tabs above are the only tabs found inside an element on Merck's interactive periodic table. However, if you go on a side application tab from the periodic table, there are even more features.

The developers of this app  ranked all the properties of  the known elements. 

They created a molar mass calculator with elemental mass compositions.

They provided a glossary explaining many important chemistry terms and concepts.

You can filter the periodic table based on properties

Atomic Radius Chart

I strongly recommend both science enthusiasts and chemistry students to download this app because it is such a great all-in one tool! In addition it's a no cost app!

Have fun!