Archive for January, 2014

Turn off your smartphone at night and increase your productivity (and maybe pass your course)

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Those who follow this blog know one of my interests is the need to teach students some rules to avoid the pitfalls of using new technologies.

Here’s a couple of things I found via Annie Murphy Hall’s ‘The Brilliant Blog

“Children and teens who spend time watching television, playing video games or using the computer right before bedtime are likely to take longer to fall asleep than those who watch less or none, according to new research reported in HealthDay News”

Shutting down 90 minutes before bed seems to be the recommended time.

This second  study shows that smart phones are the worst culprits to cozy up with and actually decrease your effectiveness the next day.

“In a pair of studies surveying a broad spectrum of U.S. workers, Russell Johnson and colleagues found that people who monitored their smart phones for business purposes after 9 p.m. were more tired and were less engaged the following day on the job.”

Compounding the problem is the fact that more students are using their smart phones to study- 40% according to a study commissioned by McGraw-Hill.

So it seems that if you want to increase your chances of passing an exam,  shut down the tech by 9pm and turn off your phone  (that’s OFF, and NOT in your bedroom).   Get 8hrs sleep, and if you have cram after 9pm read your text book or notes (or e-ink eReader*)

*A lot of the research talks about blue light being part of the insomnia problem, so e-ink devices like the Kindle, Sony or Nook would be OK if you don’t use the back light, and turn off the wireless.

2013 Review – Top ten scientific Discoveries

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Here are top scientific discoveries of 2013 according to Wired

Open Source Options For Education

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Looking to try something new but don’t want to shell a huge pile of cash?

Here are some Open Source alternatives that Mark Johnson has put together

“This document presents options for open source software for use in the education sector. Some of these may have uses outside of education, but they are presented here in the context of their specific benefits to educational establishments, or their use in the course of teaching and learning.

The document is intended to complement the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Source Options document, which is presented as part of its Open Source Procurement Toolkit in recognition that open source software is underused across the public sector.”

2013 Review – 10 Energy Numbers to Remember From 2013

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

These are U.S. figures

“Sometimes energy makes headlines, sometimes it doesn’t. But it almost always has important implications for the global economy, the environment, and our day-to-day lives.

Here are ten energy statistics from 2013 that capture some of the most noteworthy trends of the year — and that will shape the energy world in the years to come.”

I thought this figure on solar was interesting.

After a near record-breaking third quarter, the solar industry is on pace to have installed a total of 4,300 megawatts of electric capacity for this year alone. In other words, this year’s volume of solar additions are approximately equivalent to all the solar capacity installed between the beginning of time and the end of 2011.

Green Tech Media is a good site to subscribe to if you’re interested in the business and industry side sustainable energy sector

2013 Review – What we searched for on Google

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Here’s a snapshot of the things we thought were important enough to search for.!p9qMC

Holiday fun – 21 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2013

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Glow in the dark sheep and telepathically linked rats.  What more could you want?

Check this Buzzfeed article.


Holiday fun – Domino tricks are awesome.

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

100,000 Dominoes – Guinness World Record – Tallest Domino Structure


Holiday Fun – pick the perfect board game

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

As you pack for your summer holiday here’s a little help on what games to bring.

pick the perfect board game