The Importance Of Bedtime Stories

Of all activities in life, I’ve come to the realisation that the bedtime story is most important. More than important, significant! It is the lifeblood to educate, comfort, nurture, develop creativity, and most importantly, to build rich relationships.

And I didn’t tell enough of them. Not by a long shot.

It’s probably my only regret. Well, certainly my biggest.

I especially regret the times I was at home; too busy commuting, working on projects, or studying. Too invested in my career, and not nearly enough in my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I did read and tell many stories in my time. Just not enough, and I didn’t begin early enough. I learned too late that the (bedtime) story is more important than anything else you do. Seriously, in the hospice when your kids can’t relate to you, you’re not going to care about that sale in 2007, that certificate of excellence in 2012, or that shiny medal.

And then there’s the travel. My entire career has seen me spend long hours, days, even weeks away from home. Of course I faxed, phoned, then Skyped, and now FaceTime and WhatsApp my family. But it’s hardly being in the room with The Very Busy Spider, Harry Potter, Jock of the Bushveld, or stories of lives I’ve lived.

There are two technologies that are going to revolutionise stories for when you have to travel.

Soon you’ll literally be able to holoport with Augmented Reality

And right now you can join your child in a fantasy world with Virtual Reality:

But whether you’re in the bedroom, or your hotel room, you still need to take the time to tell stories to your kids. That’s not about technology, we’ve been sharing stories since before inventing fire.

Ricoh Theta S
The 360 Ricoh Theta S Video Camera

For myself, I’m going to buy a 360 Camera and start recording myself reading and telling bedtime stories. So my grandkids can enjoy time with their grandad even when I’m gone.

How about you?

 

The Virtual Reality Classroom

What is the biggest challenge to education?

Scale.

Simply how do we scale the curricula to as many people as we can. Or the learning corollory, how do we give as many people access to lessons as possible?

Over the years we’ve printed books, built libraries, then classrooms, trained teachers and professors. It’s a good start, but it simply doesn’t scale. Not to everyone.

Resource contention is why universities are becoming so expensive. It’s why we even have private schools. You simply cannot scale the best teacher or lecturer beyond a couple of hundred students, and even then you dilute the efficacy of their teaching.

Access to specialist equipment is even harder.

Today universities don’t even give access to expensive equipment like electron microscopes to undergrads. The equipment is just too expensive, the postgrads and researchers too many.

You know where I’m going with this… …Virtual Reality. So rather than tell, let me show:

[ted id=2500]

When I was at school we learned from much used textbooks. My kids didn’t. They got photocopies of textbooks. Which already was ridiculous 10 years after the advent of the world wide web. And an anachronism in a state with an $8.5b annual education budget.

Totally apart from being able to access great lessons and teachers, this generation could learn experientially. They could walk up the beach at Gallipoli, or watch a seed germinate, or figure out Pythagoras’ Theorem at a building site.

And most of them already own the equipment to do so.

IPhone 7: All I Want Is…

HP iPaq 210
iPaq 210 - first PDA with fingerprint access

I gave up asking the question “What more could they possibly put in a phone?” in about 2005. When I was still playing with the Compaq iPaq. And to be fair, I'm not exactly sure what new HW device manufacturers could add to a smartphone.

No doubt Apple will improve the performance of the processor, resolution of the screen, quality of the camera, life of the battery, speed of the WiFi, amount of storage, the thinness, weight, yada, yada, yada. They may add inductive charging, 3D stereoscopic or even depth sensing cameras, but we must we be getting close to what can be stuffed into the shell.

Even for the regular slew of improvements they'll have to invest in some seriously innovative engineering. Predictably a cynical press will file copy on their iPhones lamenting how Apple has 'lost its way.' The result of diminishing returns from an entitled marketplace.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

For me, I'm loving my 6s+ right now. (Well apart from the name – WTF! Come on Apple) I can honestly say there is nothing on Android or Windows devices that I lack.

Well, maybe one thing.

There is one area that is revolutionary enough for me to seriously consider switching to Android, specifically Samsung, for my next phone…

…VR

Fantasy world of Samsung GearVR
Limitless

The Samsung GearVR is genius. Nowhere near perfect. But genius nonetheless.

Yes there's Personal Cinema. And immersive games. Meh!

Being able to share experiences with remote loved ones, a birth, a bedtime story, a motorbike ride. That's cool.

But I'm thinking about unfettered VR.

For education, research, analysis, sales… …the options are endless. And although I can use the cheap Google Cardboard, or Chinese Plastic VR headsets with my iPhone; they simply aren't as comfortable, functional or elegant as the GearVR.

So come on Apple. Up your game. If the 7 doesn't have an elegant, Ive inspired, VR option, I'll be switching to Samsung.

There, I said it.

I may even consider the Samsung Gear S3 watch too.

 

The New Role Of The Library

If the arbiter of knowledge is no longer the printed document, in other words “If the Internet, why the library?” Indeed, why set aside space to shelve dusty documents of static information?

Once anyone can access the latest, contextual information, knowledge, even wisdom on any connected electronic device, surely libraries must fall into disuse, disrepair and eventually disappear.

Scooter Rider Access Smartphone In India
Internet Anywhere in Bangalore

Even I believe this will take some time. Firstly not anyone can access the Internet (yet). Although you might be surprised to know that more people in developing nations have access to the Net than to libraries. I was in India this week, and this nation of 1.3b leads the world with 960m mobile phones. It would be impossible to scale libraries to reach that many.

Rennaisance

The role of the library has always been rennaisance. A place centralising access to knowledge initially for the wealthy, since the printing press increasingly the public. Somewhere any literate person could come to read, research, and renew their mind.

That need hasn't changed. Just the technology we use to codify our knowledge. If the role is rennaisance, then we need to shift these spaces to allow people to do just that. To be fair most libraries provide access to other media, DVD's, even Internet connected PC's. But this is simply the start.

What about spaces dedicated to VR. Here students could immerse themselves to research any topic from the psychodynamics of MLK's “I have a dream speech” to the inner space of faulty heart.

Could we give access to AR glasses whilst these are still the plaything of the corporate, so learners can collaborate with others from around the globe to work on anything in real space?

Rooms dedicated to making perhaps? Filled with 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines?

Are maker spaces the new library?