Archive for February, 2012
We are constantly observing how technology becomes intertwined with different aspects and areas of our lives. With a deep impact on the way we communicate, advances in technology have also made a mark on the way we learn and implicitly on the way we work and carry out assignments.
Not until long ago, financial compensation or academic achievement was thought to be key for motivating us to get things done and carry out tasks. Of late, other aspects such as autonomy – increased personal responsibility, the desire to continuously improve and the wish to do be of service to something larger that oneself have been proven to be more efficient in terms of motivation.
At the same time, we have grown used to constantly having more than one thing on our minds and most people, both adults and children have a hard time dealing with different types of distraction. So how can make the most of technology while learning and getting things done?
A project begun in 2003 in the Greene County School District may offer an answer. After the Assistant Superintendent of the school district attended the Apple Leadership Institute, they decided to offer a Mac for every Green County student from grades 6 to 12. Thus, they shifted the learning process from lectures, taking notes and pencil and paper tests to a new method. Now, the teacher gives students a digital lesson and afterwards, student teams pick out a topic and plan, create and present reports using their Macs. By being presented with more responsibility for their learning, students become more engaged and better prepared for both classes. This, in turn, leads to better results in tests.
Whether using technology for educational purposes is beneficial has been a very long debated issue, but a recent study undergone by Concordia University in Montreal has tackled this question, providing an answer. According to the school’s findings, using computer technology in classroom has an overall positive effect when it is used for catching students’ attention, when used for games and simulations and when used as a communication tool.
Some web services are developed to meet precise users’ educational needs, like tutoring for example. Rayku is one such service offering students online tutoring on the fly – whenever they need help with specific issues. Students can go online and draw their problems on the whiteboard where it is seen by a tutor and answered.
Online courses represent yet another powerful blending of technology and education. Anyone can start learning a subject of his or her choice by signing up for an online course or a degree program. Depending on the course, students may have the flexibility to learn or review material at their convenience. Podcasts or Itunes u also offer resources for learning on a wide array of subjects, either paid or free depending on the publisher.
Given the incredible amount of information at our disposal, we can learn just about any given subject, provided we can develop the discipline to stay on task and follow up with the work.
Hotel guests’ expectations continue to grow as more and more advances in consumer technologies become widely available. Wanting to keep their routine while traveling, customers expect to find in their hotel room the same level of comfort they have at home. To some extent, this refers to the technology they are used to having at hand.
One of the top trends relates to the type of TV sets guests find in their rooms. A large number of operators currently offer flat screens and since one of the reasons for guest dissatisfaction is the type of television found in their rooms, more hotels are looking to replace tubes with flat screens. In time, hotels will also need to provide customers with different options – such as high-definition picture, the ability to pause, rewind and record. Some operators already reported looking into IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).
Multiple devices means increased need for bandwidth and high-speed internet access is top of the list of technological amenities in hotel rooms for both business guests and leisure guests. With customers carrying at least one type of device (notebook, smartphone or tablet), hotel operators really have to look into and invest in quality cellular and Wi-Fi coverage on property.
There are different options to implement upgrades, depending on the current infrastructure and budget. For example, one hotel opted for using category 5 cabling and fiber, while another uses category 3 cabling and a VDSL service to carry heavy bandwidth.
With consumers doing more and more on the go, hotel operators need to capitalize on the current mobile trend. The first step in this regard is developing applications for booking reservations, followed by employing mobile technology to meet guest needs while they are staying at the property.
One participant in the survey sets the benchmark – so far. After developing an app that allows users to book rooms, hotel management noticed that a considerable number of the reservations came from Safari. Thus, they developed another application that gives customers the opportunity to make SPA reservations or ask household for more towels before arriving at the hotel. All requests are sent to the property’s service express area computer where someone is in charge of monitoring and executing them.
Other technological trends revealed by this study include upgrading from Magstripe locks to RFID locks. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a wireless non-contact system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object. Using this type of locks, a hotel in Vegas currently offers their guests a welcome scene on arrival – the blinds open, music plays and lights turn on.
Last, but not least, energy management is an area many hotel operators are looking to invest in 2012. While the initial cost may be high, the long-term benefits and ROI make a big difference, allowing personnel to control guest rooms remotely.