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May 10, 2011No Comments

How Web video powers global innovation

Great lesson here on the power of Web video in all types of communities worldwide. How being able to watch and share videos with the rest of the world can spur innovation and engagement in people in all types of fields.

This is an excellent TED Talk from Chris Anderson I highly recommend you watch not just to see what online video can do for you and your interests, but to get some ideas on how to take action.

May 4, 2011No Comments

Digital Books & Education

Lately I’ve been watching closely how new digital tools and Apps are shaking the Education field and how they can be used not only to improve the students’ potential for learning, but also making it easier for educators to focus on what they do best, provide this learning.

I plan to expand more on this subject in the coming months, as I get to work closely with leaders in the field who are revolutionizing their classrooms by adding to their student’s learning experiences through the use of innovative ideas and these digital tools.

As a passionate reader and learner myself, I’m also very excited to see that in the connected world we live in, there are some new groundbreaking ideas on how reading a book can be transformed into a more involved and engaging experience. The video below is just a little teaser as to the great potential found in the publishing and education industries.

In this video, software developer Mike Matas demos the first full-length interactive book for the iPad — with clever, swipeable video and graphics and some very cool data visualizations to play with. The book is “Our Choice,” Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.”

May 4, 2011No Comments

Technology & Medicine: How far we’ve come

First of all I want to thank all of you for the constant stream of support messages I’ve received over the past few weeks for my family and my father’s upcoming heart surgery. Thank you so much.

It’s no secret that since I first found out about my father’s condition, I’ve been studying and reaching out to some people in the medical community to help me better understand what exactly goes on in coronary artery disease, as well as the surgery involved (in the case of my father, quadruple bypass surgery), and what we can all do to most effectively help him recover and maintain a healthy lifestyle beyond this.

During this process I’ve come across a great deal of information on the advances the healthcare field has made along with technology, and I can’t help but feel the utmost respect for the people behind the remarkable stories and discoveries made over the past few years.

It would be nearly impossible to post here all the great videos and articles out there (and you would be scrolling down for days), so I narrowed it down to just a few of the excellent videos available online from the TEDMED Conferences, which will introduce you to some of the people behind this fascinating world of medical technology, and how they are helping save and improve people’s lives everyday. I hope you enjoy them.

We need to stop disease from divorcing us from our dreams. -Charity Tillemann-Dick

Charity Tillemann-Dick tells a double story of survival: from double lung transplant, and of her spirit, fueled by an unwavering will to sing.


 

Scientific visualization expert Anders Ynnerman shows sophisticated new tools for analyzing data.


 

David Pogue explains how the iPhone might save lives.


 

Dr. Keshavjee mesmerizes as he unveils a breathing lung on stage and describes how this technology is saving lives.


 

Eric Silfen of Philips talks about combining biomedical data in new ways.


 

Eric talks about the frontiers of wireless medicine.


 

Finally, I’d like to leave you with this quote and video from Bill Gates on how vaccines are saving children’s lives:

Big victories like eradicating a disease make us proud of what humans beings are able to do for one another, and that pride inspires us to do even more. -Bill Gates

Bill Gates: Vaccines Save Lives.

May 4, 2011No Comments

The challenge in education

I’ve always been a firm believer in the profound impact education can have in our lives, and how knowledge and our ability -and desire- to learn, is a key motivator in the actions we take everyday to improve the quality of our lives, and of those around us.

Education at all stages of our lives, from our infant years to our wiser years, empowers us to enjoy our life experiences in more detail and with a greater sense of appreciation.

Over the past few days I’ve had the pleasure to learn about the current state of children’s education from an educator whom I deeply admire for her infinite passion and commitment to continuously grow and innovate beyond her classroom. During our conversations it has become clear to me that one important challenge we face today lies in how to transform the way we teach children into a more engaging and interactive experience, and in integrating technology in the classroom in a way that enhances their education and prepares them for the challenges they will face in the coming years.

Our current education system takes many things for granted and there is a great window of opportunity in challenging the way we’re educating our children. A radical point, but one that could open many doors for children, as well as for tech companies around the world that can benefit from getting involved.

Over the past few years the pace at which we’ve innovated in other fields has multiplied, while education -perhaps due to its bureaucracy or simply the complexity in incorporating new initiatives across an entire public system- has not kept up with similar rates of innovation.

However, that is not to say that there is no innovation in Education. On the other hand, it is a space that is becoming busier every day with startups and individuals who are taking on these challenges with powerful and innovating ideas. Here’s a couple of articles listing some of them:

100+ Online Resources That Are Transforming Education

School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine’s Student Laptop Program

The Case for the Virtual Classroom

We just need to connect the dots now. Outside of the public education system there are some great initiatives that can improve education and the experience children have while being educated, and now I can see that there are fresh and motivated minds who are ready to take on the challenge of integrating these initiatives into their classrooms. It’s up to the rest of us (parents and individuals) to create a demand for this change and find ways to support it in any way we can.

Here’s a quote that stands out for me and summarizes the message I’d like to leave you with:

We should be waking them up to what is inside of themselves.

It’s a quote from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert, that illustrates the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. I highly recommend you watch the entire video below to understand the lesson and power of this quote.

if you enjoyed this video, I encourage you to also watch Sir Ken Robinson presenting at the TED conference last year.



May 4, 2011No Comments

Human Body Apps

Shortly after I heard about my dad’s heart condition, I tackled my nerves around it by consuming as much medical information in order to understand the causes of the condition (clogged arteries), and what the solution (bypass surgery) entailed. So over the past couple of weeks I’ve read a number of books and articles on heart disease, as well as medical journals, as if understanding it better would somehow help to get rid of it more efficiently.

As I reviewed all this information, it occurred to me that although we have progressed and innovated greatly in many areas of our lives with all types of Web and Mobile applications, we still have a long way to go when it comes to our own body.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could measure and keep track of our body’s activity, symptoms, reactions, and even moods, in order to determine when something’s off, and help prevent a number of diseases? Perhaps prevent being told one day by your doctor: “you need quadruple bypass surgery”?

“What gets measured gets improved.” -Robin Sharma

It’s become clear to me through my readings and talking to doctors that in preventing heart disease (and many other diseases that plagge millions every day), it is essential to keep track of certain indicators in your body like cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, fitness levels, and many others that although they may seem trivial when you look at them individually, combined and over a long period of time they can alert you of a severe condition that might be developing.

The good news is that there are already some great folks doing extraordinary work that is leading us down that path. From mobile apps that measure your heart rate, apps that record your fitness activities, a body scale that records your weight via WIFI, one that records your sleep patterns, and platforms like Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault that combine all this data in order for you to keep track of your entire family’s health.

However, as much as I like looking at these challenges logically, I am aware that there are many other factors that play a part and believing that a mobile app could predict the occurrence or existence of a disease precisely would be shortsighted. There is still much for us to learn about the human body, but the potential to start using technology we keep in our pockets everyday (mobiles) and fill the gaps in our days (standing in line) by entering a few basic things into these body apps, the same way we find the time to share a link to an interesting article online, send a tweet or update our Facebook accounts, then perhaps one day these apps could also alert us of a developing condition and in time help save a life.

On reading an article about heart disease from National Geographic (Mending Broken Hearts), I came across a message that stood out for me from the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center:

“…it’s hard for a person to worry about a disease that hits ten years down the road-particularly since heart patients, unlike cancer patients, can’t easily observe the progress of their disease. You’ve done damage over the years, and it will take years to undo that damage. This is hard to sell to patients. We do what we can, but then people go home.” -Leslie Cho

We still have a long way to go, but at least we have a starting point for things we can do when we go home.

Here’s a short collection of some innovative apps out there:

Withings WIFI Body Scale
withings_scale

FitBit
fitbit

Withings Blood Pressure Monitor
withings_heart-rate-Monitoring

Instant Heart Rate
heartrate2

Adidas miCoach
adidas

Nike + iPod
nike

Runkeeper Fitness App
runkeeper

iCholesterol
cholesterol

Microsoft Health Vault
microsoft-health-vault

Google Health: Using Devices & Apps to Track Your Health

Google Health: Managing Your Family’s Health

March 28, 20111 Comment

How Web video powers global innovation

Great lesson here on the power of Web video in all types of communities worldwide. How being able to watch and share videos with the rest of the world can spur innovation and engagement in people in all types of fields.

This is an excellent TED Talk from Chris Anderson I highly recommend you watch not just to see what online video can do for you and your interests, but to get some ideas on how to take action.