Tuesday, August 30, 2016 Apps , Backup , Business , Cloud Computing , Data Analytics , Developers , Economy , Future Vision , Industry , Innovations , Internet , Investing , It Pros , Private Markets , Remote Control , Servers , Services , Technology , Tools
The cloud computing markets are growing at a rapid pace. People prefer to incorporate cloud technology in their day to day work because of its convenience. According to the reports of IDC, public cloud spending is expected to grow to more than $195 billion in 2020 from $96.5 billion in 2016.
Cloud computing is growing at a robust rate at the moment and it has a promising future. If you are making plans to invest on a technology based company, you are provided with a variety of advantages, thanks to cloud computing.
What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
The concept of cloud computing is somewhat abstract. However, it is not as difficult to understand the heart of it. The service providers that offer cloud services help people to store applications and data remotely on servers and then access those files through the internet at any time they want. In other words, you can simply upload videos, documents and photos to the cloud and retrieve them at your convenience.
Cloud computing consists of three main services. They include:
• Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software as a Service is associated with the licensure of applications to customers and it is deployed online. The licenses are provided in two different mechanisms as on demand or pay as you go model.
• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Infrastructure as a Service includes offering everything from servers to operating systems through IP based connectivity.
• Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Platform as a Service can be considered as the most complex layer of cloud based computing. It offers a platform, which can be used to create software. The developed software is then delivered to end customers through the Internet.
What Factors Are Responsible for the Growth of Cloud Computing Markets?
The development of cloud based services has delivered a variety of benefits for companies that belong to many different sectors. For instance, companies have the opportunity to use software from any device by just connecting to the cloud. The connection can easily be established through an Internet browser or a native app. This can help individuals to carry over their settings and files to other compatible devices in a seamless manner.
As a result of cloud computing, people are able to check for their emails on any computer or mobile device. In fact, most people prefer to store their files on cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. On the other hand, some people use cloud services to back up their photos, music and files. This way they can make sure all their files are immediately available through the cloud service when the hard drives crash.
Cloud computing markets can be divided into several categories. All these markets have seen an unprecedented growth over the past couple of years. These markets include:
• Centralized Data Centers – Along with the increasing demand for cloud computing, a lot of centralized data centers have been established. Necessary plans have been taken in order to construct many more in the future as well. Some of the industry giants such as Amazon have figured out that the future lies within the cloud. As a result, they are investing billions of dollars on the development of data centers throughout the country. According to the reports of Reuters, Amazon is planning to make cloud computing as the largest part of its business in the future.
• Security – Security is one of the major concerns associated with cloud computing. People tend to store their sensitive information on the cloud and they are always concerned about the security. As a result, a lot of companies have started offering cloud security solutions for the people in need. Qualys and Websense can be considered as perfect examples of the aforementioned trend.
• Storage – Modern world people do not prefer to store information on local storage devices such as hard drives. Instead, they prefer to seek the assistance of cloud based solutions as they can save the files to a remote database. This can be considered as the main reason behind the popularity of Vendors such as Dropbox and Mozy. Now people can easily move all their files to a secure storage cloud in a convenient manner. It is even possible to sync the files stored in your hard drive with the cloud automatically.
• Cloud Based Applications – Cloud computing offers a variety of services for the people as well. Software as a Service holds a prominent place out of them. Taleo, SalesForce and Keynote Systems are some world famous companies, which offer their services through cloud computing technology. A lot of other companies are making plans to offer their services to the people in need via cloud computing. This is one of the most convenient methods available for the software developers to let their end users access the applications with slow internet connections.
• Virtualization Technology – Cloud based solutions are in a position to deliver some sort of application technology or desktop virtualization. VMware and Citrix are ideal examples for leading vendors who offer virtualization technology through cloud.
Apparently, based on the demand of the public, a lot of money is being invested on cloud computing markets by the industrial giants. According to the financial predictions of IDC, revenue generated by worldwide cloud computing markets would rise to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% over the 2015-2020 forecast period. Currently the industries at the forefront of public cloud services spending consist of discrete manufacturing, banking, and professional services, which makes for nearly a third of total worldwide revenues in 2016.
In respect to the five year period predicted by IDC, the industries that are expected to reach the fastest revenue growth are media, telecommunications, and retail. Nevertheless, all 20 industries who share profiles in the spending guide will see revenue growth of more than 100% over the forecast period. The cloud computing markets are thus rapidly expanding on a daily basis and it would be a great idea to invest on these markets, given that you have this sort of budget.
The future of cloud computing looks promising and it is expected to grow exponentially in the future. It is predicted that cloud computing would establish itself in the IT industry. Given the technological progress and research currently taking place, people will also be able to experience an explosion of new solutions in cloud computing markets. It remains to be seen how this technology will continue to grow.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Astronomy , Cosmology , Earth , Engineering , Exoplanets , Life , Liquids , MIT , NASA , Nature , Physics , Planets , Research , Science , Solar , Solar System , Technology , Universe , Water , World
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Most of the planetary scientists believe that there can be at least one exoplanet in our Milky Way galaxy, which has life. They have also figured out that 20% of the sun-like stars that exist on the Milky Way are circled by planets, which has the same dimensions as Earth. These planets are located in habitable zones around the stars as well. Therefore, life on exoplanets has become a popular topic among planetary scientists in the modern world.
The habitable zone of a planet can simply be defined as the area where the temperature is not too cold or too hot. These conditions help water to exist in those planets in the form of liquid. It is vastly known that life cannot survive without water in its liquid form. Therefore, while it has been figured out that there are about 2,000 exoplanets circling beyond our own sun, the possibility to have some sort of life in these planets depends on a variety of factors. The obliquity of the planet holds a prominent place among them. Obliquity can simply be defined as the angle of axis of a planet relative to its orbital axis around the parent starts.
The planet Earth has a low obliquity when compared to other planets. It rotates around an almost perpendicular axis of its own while rotating around the sun. Planetary scientists have figured out that the obliquity can vary from one planet to another. They believe that the planets with an extreme tilt have a very low chance of having life in it.
Recently some research scientists as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology figured out that water exists on planets that have a very high obliquity as well. Therefore, we can keep some hope that life can exist in the planets with a high obliquity. They also figured out a shallow ocean with a depth of about 50m in a specific planet, which has a comfortable temperature. According to their calculations, the average temperature of that planet was about 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit per year.
However, a planet with a high obliquity usually has an extreme and inhospitable climate. The North Pole would receive sunlight for a period of 6 months continuously and it would have to go through an unending night for the other six months. As a result, they believed that such a planet has a very little chance of having life. That’s mainly because the planet would freeze and boil throughout the year, which is really tough for life to exist. Nevertheless, this can differ under some conditions. For example, the oceans can store heat during the summer period and give it out during winter. This can create a somewhat mild climate in the planet. Therefore, we cannot neglect with extremely oblique planets by saying that they are not in a position to inhibit life.
It has been assumed that the Milky Way has about 200 billion stars. In addition, it has been calculated that there are about 11 billion planets with “habitable” living conditions. All these consist of hydrogen gas and they are seething hot. The planetary systems have been established circling such stars. In fact, sticky and fine dust particles melt together to create rocky cores, which eventually turns into major planets.
The very first exoplanet was discovered by research scientists 20 years ago. It was circling a sun like star and was named as 51 Pegasi b. Since then, they have discovered a large number of exoplanets, where most of them were smaller than their very first discovery. They even discovered an exoplanet, which is 150 smaller than 51 Pegasi b.
Many different methods are being used by research scientists in order to discover new exoplanets in the Milky Way. The Doppler Shift method can be considered as the most popular one. This is an effective method, which can be used to discover giant planets that exist closer to fiery stellar planets. This is a sensitive method and is associated with a higher chance of discovering earth-like planets.
Throughout the past two decades, scientists have figured out many other methods to discover exoplanets apart from the Doppler Shift method. The major drawback with the Doppler Shift method is that it cannot be used to discover smaller planets that have a wider orbit around the stars. However, the recently discovered methods are in a position to help the scientists with discovering such planets. At the end of 2015, they have been able to discover more than 1,900 exoplanets that belong to over 1,200 planetary systems.
The Kepler Space Telescope of NASA helps a lot for the scientists to discover new exoplanets. It was launched back in 2009 and has discovered few thousand candidate planets up to now. Most of these candidate planets were confirmed as exoplanets by scientists. Several statistical methods such as the verification by multiplicity were used by the scientists to figure out whether they are in a position to inhibit life or not. The Kepler Space Telescope follows a unique methodology when discovering exoplanets. It differs a lot from the Doppler Shift method. This method searches for extremely small dips in stellar brightness when a specific orbiting planet passes ahead of the glaring face of parent star.
In the meantime, the scientists at MIT spent their efforts in order to create a model of a highly oblique aqua-planet. This planet had the same dimensions of earth and it was positioned at a distance similar to the earth’s separation from sun. This 3D model simulated circulations among sea ice, atmosphere and ocean. The effects of winds and heat were also taken into consideration. They also created a motionless planet for comparison and discovered the possibility of having life in such a planet. They had the ability to control the obliquity of this planet and they discovered that the ocean absorbs heat during the summer period.
Given the scientific evidence and ongoing research therefore it appears that it is not science fiction to believe in life in other planets. While there is still a long way to go before we start packing, we can keep our fingers crossed for the prospect of habituating an exoplanet in the near future.
KEEP READING: Dreaming About the Future of Space Tourism
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Monday, August 08, 2016 Biology , Cancer , Chemical reactions , DNA , Future Vision , Health , History , Human Cells , Human Genome , Innovations , Life , Molecules , Physics , Research , Science , Technology , Theories , UK , USA , World
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Mapping human genome can be considered as one of the main endeavors of modern world bio scientists. They have been pursuing this for decades and so far have achieved some measurable results. In simple terms, human genome can be defined as a map of how the cells of human beings are made up. If human genome is properly documented and researched, it could deliver answers to a myriad of mysteries.
Human genome is significant as it can provide with answers to questions like why we age, what genetic markers are, what causes and cures illnesses and many more. As a result, finding answers for this scientific puzzle has become part of an interesting competition. Entrepreneurs who start working on this field will be able to learn a lot of new things.
History of the Human Genome Project
The National Institute of Health in United States has established a partnership with the British government in order to solve the mysteries that are associated with the human genome project. They have hired the finest bio-scientists from different parts of the world and have created excellent equipment and facilities to complete their work successfully. A substantial amount of funds were approved generously to contribute to this project by both governments. According to statistical information, the government of United States has spent about $3 billion on this project. The British government has spent even more.
1998 was an important year for the human genome project. In this year, a scientist named Dr. Craig Ventner was going through some published papers of the project and figured out that a different approach can be followed in order to get quick results. This method also had the ability to deliver more accurate answers for the complex issues and therefore he decided to undertake a project on this area himself. Nevertheless, as Dr. Craig Ventner was in need of financial assistance, he sought to get help from capitalist funding sources. His efforts became successful and was able to make $300 million within a short period of time. This motivated Dr. Craig Ventner to start working on his unique approach in the human genome project. His venture was named as “Celera” and it was charged with mapping the human genome to commercialize the findings.
The Main Objective of the Human Genome Project
The primary objective of the human genome project is to figure out the consequence of chemical base pairs that are responsible for making up human DNA. It also focuses on mapping the genes of human genome through a functional and physical standpoint. As mentioned earlier, a lot of parties are involved in this project. Therefore, it can be considered as the world’s largest collaborative biological project. It was declared complete during 2003. At the early stage of this project, the main objective was to map the nucleotides in human body to reference genome. The genomes that can be found in human beings differ from one another. Hence, mapping the human genome is an extremely complex process for which scientists involved in this project hoped to succeed to eliminate that complexity.
State of Completion
The human genome project was not focused in sequencing the entire DNA that can be seen in human body cells. It only focused on the euchromatic areas of genome. In fact, euchromatic areas make up about 90 percent of human genome. The remaining area of the genome was called as heterochromatic and they were not considered in this project.
As mentioned earlier, the human genome project was completed in 2003. The initial draft of the human genome was available by 2000 and a working draft was completed one year later. The final consequence mapping took place in 2003. This project was completed with a success rate of 99.99%. However, further analysis is being carried out at the moment and researches are scheduled to be carried out on HGP.
Proposed Benefits of the Human Genome Project
The findings of the human genome project can be used for a variety of applications. These applications in turn have the potential to deliver tons of benefits, which range from molecular medicine up to human evolution. For instance, these findings can help people gain a better understanding about diseases. In other words, people will be able to get a clear view of the genotyping process of specific viruses that can be directed to appropriate treatments. It can also be used to identify mutations that are connected to different types of cancers.
On the other hand, the human genome project is being used to design medication in an appropriate manner while ensuring their accuracy. The effects of medication on different people can also be predicted based on this theory. Commercial development of genomics is another major advantage that is associated with the human genome project. Therefore, it can be considered as a multibillion dollar industry.
The sequence of DNA figured out from this method is stored in a database. The database is then being uploaded to the Internet, so that anyone can access. This database is well known as GenBank and it is being managed by the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information. Some other organizations are contributing towards it as well.
It becomes apparent that the human genome project is one of the most important and useful projects in the biotechnology industry. It is in a position to deliver a variety of benefits for every human being that exists on the planet. From this project, it has been identified that around 20,500 genes can be found in human beings. The same range of genes can be found in mice as well.
On the other hand, the human genome consists of a large amount of segmental duplications. These duplications are nearly identical and can be defined as repeated sections of DNA. Even though the human genome project is completed at the moment, more and more studies are yet to be conducted on the same field to discover additional benefits that can be reaped out of it.
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Thursday, August 04, 2016 Anti-theft technology , Automation , Burglar Alarms , Cameras , Customers , Devices , Future Home , Life , Motion Sensors , Privacy , Problems , Remote Control , Safety , Sensors , Services , Smart Home , Technology , Tools , Wireless
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
In the earliest days of electronic home security, video cameras were considered an extra only the wealthy could afford. Times have changed. Video surveillance is now affordable enough that virtually any customer with a moderately-priced alarm system can include video surveillance. Alarm dealers should be promoting video cameras to take advantage of this market.
Video surveillance can be included in a base package with 24-hour monitoring. The local alarm dealer can also offer it as an add-on to a standard system that only provides burglary monitoring via window and door sensors. It's really up to the alarm dealer and the home security dealer program he or she is affiliated with.
Videos Offer Evidence
Thanks to the proliferation of video cameras, police agencies around the country are now having an easier time identifying and pursuing criminals. Simply put, videos offer evidence that can be used for investigative and prosecutorial purposes. This is a strong sell for consumers looking to protect their homes.
Every bit of evidence makes it easier for law enforcement to punish those responsible for crime. But there's an added bonus: criminals aware that video surveillance is taking place are further deterred from attacking a known target. For example, a burglar that knows video surveillance is monitoring his activities is likely to choose another target that appears more accessible.
Combining video surveillance with home automation gives customers the option of monitoring their own video cameras 24 hours a day. This is another strong selling point, especially for working parents forced to allow their kids to be home alone after school. With video monitoring, mom and dad can check in to make sure the kids arrive home safely. They can periodically check in on them to ensure they stay safe.
Video surveillance is also an effective tool for keeping track of your property while away on vacation. Again, this is another strong selling point. Owners can always know what is happening with their properties, even if they are thousands of miles away.
Front Door Monitoring
One of the latest video surveillance technologies to hit the market is the smart video doorbell. A smart video doorbell takes the place of a legacy doorbell and makes it possible to see who's at the door without having to actually open it. Homeowners can answer the bell whether they are home or not, simply by responding to a push notification that comes through their smartphones.
Monitoring the front door with a smart video doorbell adds an extra level of security that customers truly appreciate. The local alarm dealer can use the video doorbell as a means of providing a dual-purpose device that increases exterior surveillance and allows the video identification of visitors before opening the door.
Value for Money
When you add up all of the advantages of video surveillance, it becomes apparent that value is there. The local alarm dealer that encourages customers to add video surveillance to their packages is able to increase safety and efficiency through wireless technology. And because the cost of video cameras has come down dramatically in the last ten years, there really is no good reason not to encourage customers to include video.
Of course, affiliating with a nationally branded home security dealer program helps a great deal. But even so, pushing video surveillance with remote cameras and 24-hour monitoring is a good way to expand market share, drive revenues, and make customers safer all at the same time. If you are a local alarm dealer not yet on board with video surveillance, you need to be.
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Sunday, July 31, 2016 Apps , Automation , Business , Career , Chrome , Collections , Devices , Education , How to , Industry , Internet , Life , Office , Online , PDF , Services , Software , Tools , Word , World
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Nowadays life has an insanely fast rhythm, and all of us are trying to pick up the pace as much as we can, but there is always a feeling that we could do things more quickly, especially when it comes to our work. In addition to that people generally have a tendency to procrastinate, not willing to change their habits, and have an innate fear of trying new things.
There is a massive number of useful tools and apps available that increase productivity and allow us to achieve more in less time, but unfortunately excluding the really tech-savvy individuals, most of us regular mortals never give them a chance, and by doing that we are robbed of the benefits that they can give to our everyday lives.
Today we are going to focus only on totally free and online tools, because they are easiest to implement and don’t require any cash spent or complicated installation. So, to keep this introduction as short as possible, here are the 5 Free Online Tools that you should definitely check out:
StayFocusd is a fantastic Google Chrome add-on that help focus on important things while you are working, a thing that almost everyone has troubles with. It works by letting you select the desired amount of time that you can spend on websites that are distracting you from regular duties while working.
When you use the time that you previously selected, these sites become inaccessible for the rest of the day, and you can customize it very precisely (you can block whole sites, just subdomains or specific pages on a site).
2. PDF to Word
PDF to Word is an online tool with which you can easily convert your PDF files back to Microsoft Word format.
The PDFs are used across the planet for sending files among computers, but cannot be edited without specially designed tools and software just for that purpose. This tool is free, and it only asks for your email address.
3. Remember The Milk
Remember The Milk is a reminder tool that you can connect with any device (tablet, phone, computer and gmail), and with over 6 million users you can make a conclusion that it functions pretty good.
It’s always tedious to keep track of all your tasks and obligations, but with this tool managing your tasks is way more fun.
Unroll.Me is designed to simplify your email subscriptions and allows you to see them all in one place, which is fantastic for unsubscribing from anything that you don’t want to receive any more, an issue that most of us surely have.
It also has a feature that is called the Rollup, which connects all your subscriptions to one mail digest, so you don’t need to open every email individually.
Mystickies is basically a sticky note tool, but it allows you to stick them on any web page, and when you visit that same page again, the sticker remains.
It is similar to bookmarking but more user friendly, because you don’t have to recollect why you’ve saved the page at the first place. You can also sort, edit and browse all the stickies you saved, which is also quite convenient.
This is all we have for you at the moment, hopefully you will try some of these tools if not all of them, and make your every day living more productive and far more awesome.
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Saturday, July 30, 2016 Accounting , Apps , Business , Career , Converting , Customers , Education , Excel , How to , Industry , Internet , iPad , iPhone , Microsoft , Mobile Internet Experience , Online , PDF , Reviews , Services , Tools
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Nowadays, managing your finances has never been easier. All documentation and information can be transferred online and you are just a click away from getting your job done. No more piles of documents, waiting in lines and dealing with “kind” bank workers. That’s history. Now you can work with your bank statements directly from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, the digital world isn’t perfect. It comes with imperfections and mistakes, as any other system. These things happen, it’s inevitable. But is there anything we can do about making bank statements easier to work with? Something like an eraser or an editor for PDF documents, since bank statements are usually in this file format?
Good news! There is an awesome app that will help you fix your bank statements quickly and efficiently.
PDF to Excel converts PDF bank statements into editable Excel spreadsheets on iPhone or iPad. It’s a free app that offers great conversion quality. Its very useful feature for all of you who usually communicate with your bank via e-mail and store files online is the option of converting Gmail attachments and files stored on Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive accounts. This is really convenient when you need to handle financial documents online, on the go.
How it works
PDF to Excel is very simple to use. Just follow these instructions to convert your bank statement:
1. Select a file you would like to convert.
2. Click on the Share button in the top right corner.
3. After finding PDF to Excel app in the OPEN IN menu, tap on it.
4. Just wait a little bit and you will find your converted file within the app.
After you get the converted file, you will need MS Office or any other Office related app that opens Excel files.
Now your bank statement is editable and you can make all the necessary changes.This is also applicable for invoices, receipts or any other PDF tables that require modification.
The only thing left is to download PDF to Excel and go back to peaceful finances management. Maybe this will increase your income, who knows?
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Saturday, July 30, 2016 Apps , Automation , Data Analytics , Devices , Gadgets , Health , Internet , Life , Mobile Internet Experience , Safety , Services , Shopping , Smart Home , Smartphones , T-Mobile , Tablets , Technology , Tracking and Billing , World
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
It won't be long before there will be an entire generation of adults who won't remember that there was a time when you couldn't snap a picture while listening to music and texting with a friend. Back then, it would take three devices to do all that. Your GPS would be another device and your handheld gaming system yet another. Watching a movie on a phone? That sounded like something straight out of sci-fi.
Fast forward to today and you can stream your favorite show on your mobile device, keep an eye on your puppy while you're at the office with a tablet, and start a load of laundry from across the globe using your smartphone.
It's pretty clear that mobile technology is one of the reasons this planet of ours feels smaller every day. Connectivity refers no longer to the person to person virtue but rather to the relationship between our mobile devices and the world around us. More and more, we are interacting with our loved ones, our homes, our workplaces and our stuff via mobile devices loaded with apps.
The Internet of everything is an evolving concept but mobile technology is already making our lives better in myriad ways. Here are just a few examples:
Taking Care of Yourself
Beyond Fitbit, consumer health monitors and lifetrackers abound – almost all of which rely on apps to store and analyze data. But even without wearables, taking care of your physical and even your mental health has never been easier.
Smartphones often come equipped with heart rate monitors and pedometers, and mood charting apps like Optimism are promoting healthier habits among their users.
Self-love also means treating yourself to the things you enjoy, whether that’s enjoying a nice night in with a bath bomb and some binge-watching, or using that promotion bonus towards a new smartphone.
There are also plenty of great ways that technology can help us relax and de-stress, such as giving us access to our favorite songs and movies with streaming services like T-Mobile’s BingeOn and Music Freedom.
Taking Care of Your Home
Thanks to fully integrated and DIY smart home systems that synch up with mobile devices, it's never been easier to stay on top of all of the tasks most adults are responsible for. Even better, affordable smart home components are becoming more common. There are now smart fridge and freezer combos that will send alerts to your phone when you're running low on staples like eggs and milk. And that's not all!
There are deadbolts that can only be unlocked via an app. TCP's Connected lighting system is a budget-friendly starter kit for those who want to see what smart homes are all about. According to Berg Insights, the market for smart home accessories is only going to get bigger and the accessories themselves are bound to get smarter.
Keeping an Eye on Who You Love
Pixies Scientific has created a smart diaper that synchs with an app. There are apps that let you track your pet's activity levels and behaviors while you're at work. Baby monitors and trackers that send data to worried parents' phones are starting to look like they wouldn't be out of place in a modern NICU. And nowadays with a tablet and a few pieces of add on hardware you can create your own security system from scratch.
Paying for What You Want
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are just the beginning of the mobile payment revolution that will see the US become a cashless society.
With Samsung Pay in particular you don't even need to shop at stores that have NFC-enabled terminals. Your phone is all you need because of Samsung's pioneering technology that mimics a credit card swipe. And when you can settle the tab with a wave of your phone, it won't matter that you forgot your wallet at home.
Getting Things Done
Whether the always-on state of modern work is actually good for employees isn't clear but there's something to be said for having the ability to do research, take notes, dial into meetings and clear out your inbox when you actually feel like doing it. Today's smartphones are simply computers in miniature, which means the keys to a truly productive day are always in our pockets.
Living Cleanly and Comfortably
Simply living is better thanks to mobile technology and the devices controlled by it. If you wish, you can have a wakeup call that has been carefully calibrated to match your sleep patterns. Via an app on your phone, your smart car can remind you that it's time for its next round of regular maintenance. There are smart flowerpots connected to mobile apps that let caretakers know when houseplants get thirsty. And smart kettles can inquire via text message whether you'd like a cup of tea ready for you when you arrive home.
There are still some limitations to how much mobile tech can do in our lives and bugs that will need to be worked out. But right now there are so many ways mobile devices, apps and the gadgets controlled by them are making the modern world cooler and more comfortable. It's abundantly clear: our phones are getting smarter and we're reaping the rewards.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Blended Learning , BYOD , Concepts , Devices , Digital Storytelling , Education , Future Vision , Infographics , Internet , Kids , Learning , Notebooks , Online , PC , Research , Smartphones , Tablets , Technology , Webinars
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Think about all of the ways that technology has influenced and infiltrated nearly every aspect of your life. Paying by check? You can do that online or just with your phone. Making a reservation at a restaurant? No need to call - an app will do it for you. Want to turn off the lights and lock your door? Your smart devices can help connect you.
That technological influence extends to our learning environments, too. Classrooms have undergone a centuries-long change that’s only been speed up with the advent of technology. What used to be one-room schoolhouses in the late 1800s are now redesigned spaces which invite students and teachers to engage in learning using tablets, whiteboards, and more.
One of the most prominent ways in which technology is changing classrooms is through impact on what we think of as the traditional learning environment. One classroom with one teacher standing in front of multiple students as an authoritative figure has given way to a concept known as blended learning. The latter is an instructional approach that capitalizes on the best of both worlds - education and tech.
Blended learning, is a learning trend driving education which in some form, is currently available in nearly every state. In a nutshell, this strategy or approach to teaching and learning involves the student learning through at least partial online delivery of content. In this sense, it offers both traditional instruction - a teacher in front of students - and digital or online content that’s accessible at any time.
The conceptualizations behind blended learning adhere to the notion that students are not uniform, and learning shouldn’t be either. Based on learning theories such as Gardner’s on multiple intelligences, and multiliteracies pedagogy, it is considered that students have different learning styles and come for culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds which should be taken into consideration when planning a lesson. In this respect, it is suggested that enhancing students’ learning through digital content can be a personalized response to students’ needs and desires, allowing them to learn at their own pace through means that are relevant to their lives.
In relation to the different strategies for undertaking a blended learning approach, six models have been proposed for its implementation: Face-to-Face Driver Model, Rotation Model, Flex Model, Online Lab Model, Self-Blend Model and Online Driver Model. More recently, other alternative blended learning models have been brought to the surface of educational cycles:
a) The traditional brick-and-mortar blended learning model:
An approach where the instructor uses online platforms to add resources, assign and gather homework, as well as encourage online discussions and other asynchronous learning activities beyond classroom hours
b) The hybrid learning model:
Students attend live events physically or online (for example webinars) while also work in virtual online environments. There could be an arranged schedule where some days students attend the class and others are optional however students must attend online.
c) The flipped learning model:
Teachers and other instructors record their online lectures and students are obliged to watch them before class. During the lesson, they can work on different tasks and in this sense the teacher has more time to work with challenging topics and addresses students’ difficulties.
Regardless of which type of blended learning model one chooses to adopt, there are certain misconceptions and considerations needed to be addressed. For instance, people often assume that blended learning equals all education online, but that isn’t true. It might be that the focus is on a technology rich environment, nevertheless, there is ‘hands on’ learning. In addition, unlike it is commonly believed, in blended learning students do not work individually only. The can undertake projects in groups with their peers to produce collaborative work online.
Furthermore, blended learning in contrast to the myth that it requires less work than traditional face to face instruction, doesn’t cut down on the amount of work that needs to be done by either students or educators. In fact, both sides may need to work at a more systematic basis. Instructors still need to prepare and students still need to do the work. But blended learning allows those learners to engage with information more frequently in order to fully grasp concepts that may have been more difficult with just one go-round.
Based on these characteristics of blended learning, in summary, the advantages from engaging in such practice have been identified as being:
- The meaningful combination of interactive face to face instruction and digital content through a differentiated personalized based teaching approach
- The use of digitally mediated content such as digital storytelling that has been found to motivate students’ interest and increase students’ learning and affective outcomes
- Access to the instruction such as an online session many times, with stops and pauses to the discretion of the learner.
- Researchers and practitioners suggest that blended learning can encourage students to continue learning outside the classroom. It can expand beyond the traditional school walls to connect with students’ lives.
- Blended learning can maximize the potential for acquiring 21st century skills.
Despite the promising features of this approach, the excitement about the possibilities of blended learning and the ways that technology can better prepare our students and assist our educators needs to be tempered with some serious questions about the process. It’s not a match for every person or every situation. Students need to know what the physical, in-class requirements are, and instructors need to be upfront and proactive about their availability and roles through digital means.
For instance, the technology that’s a given in a traditional classroom may not be available in each student’s home, which can impact learning and pacing. Students and instructors must have a shared understanding about assignments and work - what files are usable and which are not. And there should be practice and testing so that everyone understands the accessibility and usability of that particular online environment.
Whilst there is no fixed recipe for meaningful teaching and learning instruction, it appears that technology enhanced learning is the present and future of 21st century education. Blended learning could be a flexible and dynamic approach through the meaningful engagement with technology.
Whatever the end result, it’s important to understand how blended learning cannot guarantee success. It requires commitment on behalf of the educator and careful use of digital means. And therefore it is important to be aware of its different aspects. This graphic is a good place to start.
Conclusively, it appears that exciting times lay ahead for educators and students all together. Now, more than ever, we are in a position to offer the most engaging form of education that will empower students as dynamic and active learners. Blended learning, as it is proposed in this article, is one powerful approach which could change the education game and will be around for many years to come.
READ NEXT: 8 Ways Digital Storytelling Transforms Learning in 21st Century Education: The Research Evidence
I’m all eyes and ears for your comments.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 Apps , Business , Career , Converting , Customers , Education , How to , Industry , Internet , Microsoft , Office , Online , PDF , Powerpoint , Presentations , Reviews , Services , Software , Tools , Web and Desktop Apps
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
It’s highly likely that you have, at some point in your life, faced the struggles of public speaking. As you might know from general experience, public speaking is an art form in itself and is not for the most faint hearted. It takes guts, dedication, talent and a swimming pool of self-confidence just to get started and double of everything to be proficient at it. So, is everything lost for the common man?
No, because there are online tools that you can use to help you out when you’re in a one way street. This time, we are focusing on a tool that can help you prepare your presentations and save countless of hours in the process. To put it simply, it’s Investintech latest protege: PDF to PowerPoint converter.
Why Would I Convert PDF to PowerPoint, you May Ask?
Well, look at it this way: before you can hold your presentation you need to prepare it and the digitally literate person of 2016 usually prepares his work online. Since the PDF is the most popular file format on the Internet it’s only logical that you will, at some point in your prep, get a hold of a bunch of PDF documents that you will need to use for your presentation. With that in mind, Investintech created this PDF to PPT converter to save you time, money and nerves. And let’s face it, since you’re about to go speak in front of a bunch of people, you might as well spend more time preparing the actual appearance instead of manually retyping PDFs.
The tool is completely web based and simple to use. There are no limitations to the file sizes or the number of conversions at that matter, but there is one really important feature to address.
This one, unlike its competitors, enables you to convert scanned PDFs to PowerPoint as well since it has an integrated OCR. OCR is basically an Optical Character Recognition software, which reads the image, recognizes the letters and turns them into their corresponding digital values. Sounds neat, right?
Let’s see it in action as all it takes are just 3 simple clicks:
1. Select and Upload Your PDF
All file sizes are supported and you can go through the same process virtually unlimited number of times.
2. Type In the Email Address
You’ll get your converted file delivered here so make sure to use a genuine email.
3. Hit Start to Commence the Conversion
The output file is a fully editable .pptx document and all files are kept on Investintech servers for 24 hours, after which they get deleted.
If you do miss it, do not be worried as you can just re-upload your file and go through the same process again.
The tool is definitely worthy of bookmarking as it does a great job at what it says. It keeps the formatting as close as possible to the original document, while maintaining the document layout and it quickly provides you with a usable PowerPoint document. This simple web app can save you hours, believe it or not, and even though it’s something that’s used from time to time it’s great value for the fact that it’s completely free.
So bookmark, convert and go and make history.
WHAT TO READ NEXT: Why Owning a PDF Converter Is a Must in This Day and Age
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