Archive for April, 2011

With this Blog post I will start a series of posts on the ASUS Transformer Tablet and I am actually writing from one of these right now. This post is about First Impressions… in fact, my brand new Tablet arrived just yesterday and I already love it.
I am in a hotel room in Copenhagen representing Britain, together with other Science Educators (mainly from IoP), at the Science on Stage Europe Conference and, while I would normally have taken my laptop and iphone out and used them extensively by now, I have mainly used my Transformer so far and my laptop has not come out of its case yet.
I will post on more specific issues in this series, e.g. how I used the ASUS Transformer for work and leisure and how my three boys are responding to it, but for now here are my first impressions.
Great features:
1) The full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad are just out of this world! I probably would not be bothered writing this post with a Tablet, if I hadn’t this feature. Docking the tablet just makes life a million times easier and it is so quick to navigate apps and the internet with a mixture of typing from the keyboard and swiping of your fingers on the screen, a perfect match! Quite amazing is also the extra battery the keyboard gives you, as well as extra ports, etc…
2) Flash!!! At last I own a fully portable device that actually allows you to browse the internet freely. I was showing the Tablet to my friend and colleague Neal at lunch time and we started to talk about NGfL Cymru resources (the company I work for) and eChalk (one of our Partners). As both have resources based on Flash I could still show Neal all our stuff without the frustration of pointless blocks… He was well impressed and I gained a convert 😉
3) Front and back camera! Really handy and quite impressive quality. This is a photo of my stand at the conference taken with the Transformer.

This is the first time I upload a photo in my blog directly from a mobile device and I have to say that ASUS has made it surprisingly easy 🙂

Not so great:
1) The docking station isn’t that easy to fit and it seems to get disconnected quite easily, but that could be just me having to get use to it.
2) The interface, though very sleak and pleasing in design, isn’t as intuitive as I was hoping. It took me a while to get round a few things, but that will get better when I will have had more time to play 😉

Overall, I am absolutely delighted to have such a lovely device to use and I am very pleased with how much easier it is making my life already, e.g. one thing I haven’t mentioned was the ease of downloading documents, like rich pfds, directly on the Tablet and how useful it was to be able to read the programme of the event on the plane before getting there!
Look out for my next blog post on this new breed of high-tech Transformers 😉

I was really privileged yesterday to find myself as one of the Judges of the First Campus Hands On Science “Science RAPs” competition. The event was opened by a fantastic Rap created by John Chase with a video in the background created entirely using Science Photo Library images and videos. The way John represented Science in his Rap and the fantastic integration of images and videos edited by Alison Somerville of Photo Library made the whole experience quite Magic!

Then, it was time to watch the video Raps entered by learners from various schools. All entries were really inspiring and entertaining. We had entries from Howell’s School (Llandaff), Whitchurch High SchoolTonypandy Community College and Gwauncelyn Primary.

So, the winners were in this order:

– Overall winner “The life of a star” by the White Dwarfs (Tonypandy Community College) with a fantastic and really scientifically sound rap on the life cycle of a star. I am sure this group learnt a lot by writing this rap and this topic will really stick!

– Runner up and highly commended ‘Nanotechnology’ by Dr Incy-Wincy + Mouse (Gwauncelyn Primary). This was a phenomenal entry. In fact, it was our only Primary entry, but the amazing Anas (Year 6) entered on his own and did all the recordings and editing. The Science in his video is really sound and the topic really interesting. Well done Anas, a great job!

– Best Entertainment Value (Whitchurch High School). This group of Yr9 pupils chose some really entertaining clips on forces and they really seemed to have great fun doing it!

– Best Original Analogy (Howell’s School). The “Fusion Love” rap from this group of girls in Howell’s was a really cool analogy between a love story and two nuclei that fuse (merge) in a nuclear fusion reaction.

Apart from the lovely trophy the winning school received, there were lots of really cool prizes for everyone. In particular the overall winners won a HD Flip Camera each. There were also shopping vouchers for the runner up and other great goody bags for everyone.

This was a really worthwhile experience for the learners who became so involved in their fantastic work, and not only for the prizes they received, but because of the learning process in the whole project!

It would be great to have more entries next year, so make sure you look out for the competition and send your entries in!