Category Archives: Education

The Sniffer, Feb 23rd, 2013: Trends in Smart Appliances and Meditation Software

On this edition of The Sniffer, Nora Young talks about all the buzz around Nest, the design-y, smart thermostat. On one hand, it’s a great example of how smart design can get people to buy into energy efficiency. On the other, given that it’s actually way more energy efficient just to live in an apartment or a small condo, there’s something about the idea of furnishing your fancy house with a sustainability tool that seems a wee bit ‘greenwashing’ – what do you think? I have to admit, it is pretty cool! Interesting profile of the Nest guys and what the future may hold at Technology Review.

Meanwhile, Cathi Bond flags this neat Kickstarter campaign to provide software that teachers can use to teach mindfulness meditation techniques to students. What do you think of it? Nora loves the idea of teaching mindfulness, but the particular use of ‘mindfulness messages’ as part of it seems a bit Stuart Smalley-esque.

The Sniffer, Nov 4th, 2011: Trends in Publishing and Cellphones

In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the launch of The Slant, dubbed an “artifact” publication (via JC Report). It looks cool, with a bit of an anti-consumerist edge. What’s the place for real, physical artifacts in a digital age? You can find out more about the project by watching their charming Kickstarter pitch.

Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions this new infographic on post-secondary students’ use of cellphones, particularly in class (via Mashable). Nora wonders how educators can respond. Should they design courses that actually involve interactive use of phones, thereby satisfying the urge for a quick info hit while keeping the course on track?
And a quick note in the ongoing struggle for publishers to adapt to a digital age: a division of Simon and Schuster is trying out smart books. These are regular paper books kitted out with RFID tags. Browsers can touch their phones to them to learn more about the books (via PSFK)