Read 180 is a Scholastic intervention program that aims to improve the reading level of kids in the US with a combination of different software, independent reading and group work.
It's been around since 1999 but only recently has it been adapted to include a layer of gaming to the learning process. Fast Company likens Read 180's new functionality to the way FourSquare utilises game mechanics to reward its users and present them with badges, or the way Nike apps let users track their progress and set goals.
Let's hope we can learn a lot more from many of the popular networks, games and software that we usually view as purely recreational. The more we analyse what makes certain things successful and popular online the more chance we have of applying these learnings to education.
Via Fast Company.
Even though dating should be about having fun and meeting new people, it's also about finding out if this person is potential mate material. I mean you want to know if the person sitting across from you has had serious run-ins with the law or has picked their nose since age seven. Thanks to this new iPhone and Android app, you might not be able to check about the nose picking habit, but you can get the deets on just about everything else.
Created by information commerce company, Intelius, Date Check does what the company does best, dig up dirt.Date Check is an app that lets users pull up all those juicy secrets that you want to know, but might be too shy to ask on the first or second date. With a flick of the wrist you can find out if a person has a criminal history via the sleeze detector. You can also see if they own real estate, or if they're living with someone -- say a spouse they might have forgotten to mention.
The app is currently available for free on the Android Marketplace and the Apple App Store.
Skin care is a billion dollar industry worldwide. Obsessed with keeping our skin as young and healthy as possible we spend an inordinate amount of money on the latest cream that promises to stop the aging process, help our combination skin, or simply fend off adult cases of acne. But with all the different skin types out there, how do you know if you're purchasing the product that is the best fit for your unique skin type?
Electronics maker Philips may have the answer to the billion dollar question. According to the New York Times, has a new way of analyzing skin. The Crystalize system uses a special video camera to take an extreme close up of clients skin. The camera is set up to scan certain parts of the face to compile an accurate assessment of the viewer's skin. Once that happens, a list of products that would best suit your skin is displayed starting with the cheapest product going to the most pricey purchase.
When the system displays your ideal products, you shouldn't have to worry about Philips trying to pawn off strategically placed products. Philips does create products in the health care industry, but does not make any skin care products. They also aren't receiving any incentive to recommend one company's product over another's, so the system should be corruption free for now. Let's hope it stays that way. It's far too easy to go down that slippery slope with an ad or a featured product.
What is Google Wave? The latest from Google Labs, for now available only as a limited-distribution preview, Google Wave is---what? The ultimate collaboration tool? Really superior e-mail? The most ambitious (and confusing) web application ever created? These things and more, according to The Complete Guide to Google Wave.
The Guide itself is a free, ever-changing experiment in publishing that seeks to explain one of the most elaborate and bewildering Google inventions of all. Sample:
"Google Wave treats an email conversation with multiple recipients and senders as a document with multiple editors and writers. If you can make the conversations-as-documents and documents-as-conversations leap along with Wave, the system makes 100% more sense. "
The Guide is written by Gina Trapani with Adam Pash, both of Lifehacker fame. And it's also written by you, if you care to join.
The online version of the Guide will remain free and be updated continuously. The Guide will also be available eventually as a DRM-free PDF and an independently published softcover print book, due out early next year. (These will presumably not be free, but no details about specifics yet.)
Most of the cell phone applications we write about are fun, or somewhat useful: not many of them save lives. But AT&T has just launched new technology in partnership with Mednet which monitors heart patients' health and transmits the results to their cardiologists via Bluetooth. There is a monthly fee and it requires a tech-savvy doctor who is already signed up to the scheme but it could save on appointments (and save your co-pay) which is no bad thing.
Last week, Apple announced the impending arrival of iPhone 3.0 software, an update to the iPhone OS to be released this summer (along with, probably, a third-generation iPhone).
So what's exciting about the 3.0 OS? Believe it or not, one of the most talked-about features added is the ability to cut/copy/paste - functions that were noticeably absent from the iPhone but available on competitor products like the Blackberry.
But beyond cut/copy/paste, OS 3.0 also offers a search function, expanded MMS abilities, peer-to-peer Bluetooth between iPhones and nearby iPod Touches, and what could be really significant for many people: hardware APIs that might let people use an iPhone to check blood glucose or blood pressure levels, for example, and transmit the info to a parent or doctor.
Also, some guy supposedly figured out how to get his iPhone 3.0 to tether to his laptop, providing an Internet connection, but he promptly forgot how. Oops. Stay tuned - I'm sure it won't be long til someone else figures it out.
Parental control has spread its claws e-verywhere and it is no surprise that the iPhone too, hasn’t been spared. An application called the iWonder Surf can now be installed on your iPhone and iPod touch to monitor and control your child’s surfing activities.
This software, based on the Safari web browser, gives you the complete details about your child’s web visits – the date/time, the specific websites that were visited and even what they were looking at on a particular website. Once you track what your child’s surfing, you can decide on how to filter sites, to allow all traffic or to totally block the device from any location – even without having physical access to the device itself. How is that possible? Every installation of the software is assigned a unique email and password combination which can be used to login to the iWonder Surf website to remotely manage all the devices associated with your account. Simple enough. Though parenting to perfection always gets that much more complicated, in my personal opinion.
iWonder Surf is available at $15 from the App Store.
Via Yahoo! Tech.
Don't be content just to send your name to Mars. Go there yourself, virtually.
Google Earth has now ventured into the Solar System to circumnavigate the Red Planet. You can too.
Microsoft has announced the public release of Internet Explorer 8.0, which it claims is faster, safer, slicker, and better in every way. Astonishing.
Yawn. I'm a Firefox myself.
My entertainment needs on my iPhone depend on the environment I'm in and the amount of time I have to sit around. If I have twenty minutes, I'll read my Kindle app to pick up where I left off reading a book on my Kindle reader, but if I just have a few minutes while waiting for the doctor or in line at the movie theatre, I usually don't have the attention span to really read anything that requires focus.
The New Yorker cartoon app is perfect for those snippets of time. Each cartoon lasts just a few seconds, and you shake for new pages of options. I'd probably take this out to entertain my friends' children during dinners out (though I'm sure this would be frowned upon by parents given the dark humor subject matter of some of the cartoons).