3 Exciting Edutech prospects from CES 2013

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The world's biggest tech show has already been and gone whilst many teachers around the world have still been enjoying their holidays.  For the most part CES is about cutting edge technologies that we can expect to see in our living rooms, pockets and elsewhere in the next few years. 

Over the last few decades we have seen many great innovations at CES and inevitably trickle down to students, teachers and classrooms as useful educational tools even if that was not their original intended purpose.

Of the thousands of exhibitors in Las Vegas this year there were a handful of products that were aimed at spicing up the education scene instantly.  So I thought we would take a look at a few of these.

New Lego Mindstorms EV3 Technology

Mindstorms robotics has been around for a long time now.  It allows students to build robots from Lego and then create computer based commands for them to create tasks. 

Lego's latest incarnation has taken huge leaps in terms of it's user friendliness, capability of tasks and adoption of mobile devices and apps to control them as opposed to a standard PC.

At the core of the platform is the intelligent brick, which is powered by an ARM9 robotic processor and runs Linux. It will now allow for on-brick programming, Bluetooth, iOS connectivity, and WiFi (through USB ports). They’re open sourcing the on-board Linux package, so the unit should be more hackable than ever. Lego is also releasing a new IR seeker sensor, a beacon sensor, and an improved color sensor,

The platform is even backwards compatible with the older NXT components. If you’re eager to get your hands on a kit, you’ll have to be patient. They expect to be shipping by the end of 2013.

Check out the video below to see what it is capable of.

Interactive massive LCD Screens and pens

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Nothing particular here, but nearly every TV manufacturer on the planet was showcasing a large screen over 80 inches that was multi touch or gesture responsive.

These new breed of TV"s offer crystal clear 4K resolution and depth of color that cannot be replicated with a clumsy data projector and interactive whiteboard. 

It is quite evident to me that the days of a dedicated interactive whiteboard are over as it will be standard for all screens to have touch control and some sort of built in communication to a computer or tablet.  Numerous examples of this were on display at CES 2013 with nearly all available now for under $10,000 USD. 

Expect this price to halve within two years.

McGraw Hill's Smartbook:  An adaptive e-book for students.

Transient

McGraw-Hill is taking on the one-size-fits-all approach to textbooks with its freshly unveiled SmartBook: an e-book that is claimed to adapt to student's learning patterns.

Aimed at college students, the SmartBook service peppers users with questions as they read and determines what topics it should present to reinforce learning. Come sometime in the next 4 months, the SmartBook will be available for more than 90 course areas starting at $20. It'll be joined by a handful of similar tools for driving home the curriculum, including something called LearnSmart Achieve, which is designed to serve up videos and other interactive embellishments in response to automatically detected areas of weakness. When you're ready to hit the books, just be careful they don't hit you back.

The SmartBook, available for PCs, Macs and iOS and Android mobile devices, will aim to change traditional textbooks by offering an "adaptive learning experience" that will act like a virtual tutor, studying the students' learning habits and helping focus attention on weaker areas.

There were a number of other great ideas at this years CES and if you saw anyhting worth sharing please drop us a comment below