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Connecting Homes and People to Improve Lives

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

You hear the term “M2M” a lot these days in the tech industry, and it means different things for different people. Broadly, machine-to-machine communications is about connecting devices — virtually any kind of devices — to network applications.

But for me, one of the most interesting aspects of M2M is the ability to improve the lives of people with disabilities or impairments by bringing them network-based tools that were previously inconceivable.

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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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