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Is Keyboarding in the Classroom Archaic?

I was on one of my tech teacher forums – where I keep up-to-date on changes in education and technology – and stumbled into a heated discussion about what grade level is best to begin the focus on typing (is fifth grade too old – or too young?).

Several teachers shared that keyboarding was the cornerstone of their elementary-age technology program. Others confessed their Admin wanted it eliminated as unnecessary. Still others dismissed the discussion as moot: Tools like Dragon Speak (the standard in speech recognition software) and iPhone’s wildly-popular Siri mean keyboarding will soon be as useful as cursive and floppy discs.

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How Touch and Gesture Technologies Enhance Interactivity

As a young boy, growing up in London during the 1960s, I always enjoyed a visit to the Science Museum with my father. While a few of the exhibits included a very basic interactive component, most of the exhibits were designed for viewing at a distance.

In fact, some were clearly labeled “please don’t touch,” perhaps with the intent to help preserve an old scientific artifact. In contrast, today they offer over 50 interactive exhibits as part of their Launchpad hands-on gallery.

Clearly, display interactivity is being advanced by new technology.

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Living in the Future is Awesome

By Lionel Walters,  Guest Columnist

Some of the most compelling memories I have from my school years involve trips away to see amazing things, or special visits to the school by amazing people. I still have vivid memories of the sights, sounds and even smells of some of the fascinating places we went to, and I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach as I met my favourite author and had him personally autograph some of my most treasured books.

To me, what made these experiences successful was that they lifted my sights and gave me something to aspire to. Unfortunately for many students living in rural areas, these boundary-breaking experiences are few and far between, either because of funding constraints or simply the lack of appropriate people or places to see.

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The Power of Social Networking in Business

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

In late spring of 2012 my friend Gary Martin and I attended a photography workshop in Death Valley. Rather than fly into Los Angeles from the east coast, we chose instead to drive from Gary’s home in western Wisconsin to California.

The trip took four-and-a-half days; we drove through Minnesota, where we had the pleasure of visiting the one-and-only Spam Museum (yes, there really is one; that’s an article for another time); South Dakota; Wyoming; Utah; a tiny sliver of Arizona; and the southern cone of Nevada, before we made our way into California.

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Keeping Oversea Relationships Close through VoIP and Social Media

By Kristen Vargas, Guest Columnist

Before the emergence of second generation providers such as Skype, I was always a firm believer that face-to-face contact and physical interaction were essential to sustaining healthy relationships. Born and raised in California with most of my family and friends living in the same general vicinity, I grew accustomed to the comfort and convenience of having them nearby.

However, unpredictable life events followed, and I found myself building a life with someone serving in the U.S. Air Force. A natural consequence of this newfound military life meant that I inevitably was going to be moving from base to base to follow my husband as he served his term. The idea of leaving California to live at my first base in Idaho, although temporarily, was a move I was not altogether excited about and left me feeling a bit apprehensive about living in another state for the first time.

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