Qwiki – a quick way to listen to, view and interact with your topic

Qwiki intends to “deliver information in a format that’s quintessentially human — via storytelling instead of search,” according to the company’s website.

Rather than delivering simple links and snatches of information, as is the norm with Google’s search, Qwiki created an interactive experience that combines the text of a typical search engine with the video element of YouTube and the encyclopedic data of Wikipedia to create a personalized search experience that talks back to you.

Qwiki - the information experience

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

What is a Livescribe Pulse Smartpen?

For student and classroom applications, videos etc., click here:   Livescribe in Education Blog
The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen is one of the most recent innovations in the high tech portfolio of Livescribe. It is a smartpen in the sense that:

■It can record everything that you write or draw.
■It can record everything that you dictate because it has an audio capture device that captures the audio in the environment.
■It has a sort of hard disk that acts as the reservoir of the audio that the pen has collected as well as all the words or drawings that the pen transcribed.
■It has a speaker that repeats everything that it heard.
■It has a USB port that allows transfer and storage of files from the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen to the computer.
■All of the first four features that I mentioned above are packed in small pen that fits your pocket.
How does it work?
The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen can record, write and playback audio and words that were transcribed. It can also store and transfer file

Using the Typewriter Tool in Adobe Reader

We have had some success this year having students use Adobe Reader’s Typewriter Tool to fill in content/answers on PDF forms/worksheets/quizzes/tests/etc.  The “Typewriter Tool” must be activated with the full version of Adobe Acrobat, but then can be utilized on any computer in the free Adobe Reader.  In the newest version of Adobe X, the Typewriter Tool is in a new location within the menus.  Click below for this a video showing how it’s done (Thanks to AssistiveTek):

If you are still working with Adobe Acrobat 9, this video will show you how to activate the Typewriter Tool:

Where can we get inspiration?

The Universal Design movement is well established and a number of products have shown us how something designed to make life easy for one group might have appeal or benefit for many.

How about the “Good Grips” line of kitchen gadgets. These ergonomically designed, hand friendly tools making opening cans, grating cheese and stirring pots accessible to almost anyone regardless of hand strength or dexterity. A product line designed for the disabled or arthritic hand is something that most of us, especially as we age, will use and love. And by the way, it seems to have been a pretty profitable idea. Already our smartphones, iphones, and ipads have many accessibility features, such as voice-to-text, zooming capabilities, etc., that benefit many of us.

What about the future? When will the talking Kindle show up at restaurants?
We’re already beginning to see smart cars with sensors to assure we aren’t dozing off while driving, cars that stay in lanes and brake for the vehicle in front – called adaptive cruise control. Our cars can park themselves and warn us when we’re backing up. We have GPS to replace maps and convenience store clerk’s directions, and maybe someday our cars will bring the wandering Alzheimer patient back home, or control your kid’s speeding or drug use.

It seems pretty clear that as technology proceeds we all become part of that success. This is where inspiration can lie, in creating products designed to better our existence by solving others’ problems.  All we need is a little inspiration.

These comments by Mike Rainone, help us make the jump to education.  Curriculum, lessons, instruction and assessment designed with struggling or disabled students in mind, can benefit many. What are we waiting for?