Wednesday December 13, 2017
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Smart phones to be banned from British classrooms to benefit learning

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

London: On Sunday, Britain’s Schools’ Minister Nick Gibb announced an investigation to look into the disruption in classrooms by students using smart phones during lessons.

Xinhua news agency reported that teachers from across the country are facing similar situation as growing numbers of children are bringing personal devices into classes, which is then hindering teaching and leading to disruption.

According to the London School of Economics, banning mobile phones from classrooms could benefit students’ learning by as much as an additional week’s worth of schooling over an academic year.

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The LSE report also found that banning phones would most benefit low-achieving children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools in England has joined the so-called ‘21st century debate’ by calling for schools to ban children from bringing phones into lessons.

The possible banning of mobile devices is presently under review by education expert and former teacher Tom Bennett, who has been tasked by the school’s minister to investigate disruptive behaviour in schools.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Smart phone era ends, its time for Intelligent Phones

The mode of communication changed altogether with the arrival of mobile phones in our lives. It got wider and more meaningful once the world was exposed to smartphones.

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Intelligent phones
Many phones that are launched recently are more than a smartphone. Flickr

The mode of communication changed altogether with the arrival of mobile phones in our lives. It got wider and more meaningful once the world was exposed to smartphones.

However, changing technology parameters and fundamentals are calling for yet another disruption in the communication space — this time with Intelligent Phones.

Smart is not necessarily intelligent but intelligent is always smart. By this definition, today’s smartphones are not necessarily intelligent devices.

Here is why:-

A smartphone lets us do myriad of things in ways that bring efficiency, effectiveness and productivity in our lives — such as workplace communication.

With smartphones, we have been able to not only manage e-mails promptly but also connect seamlessly with people and friends on real-time platforms like WhatsApp that are more informal but quick and effective means to make critical decisions in a highly-competitive world.

Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to play an integral role in making the smartphones of the future.

Algorithm-based intelligence has already begun to percolate in premium smartphones. As adoption and usage evolve, AI will soon become a rudimentary thing in smartphones.

However, the present approach is about finding areas where AI has usage as stand-alone technology and for convenience, integrating it with smartphones makes it user-friendly. This, however, is not going to make the smartphone intelligent; it will only make them super or extra-smart — capable of doing more things.

An Intelligent Phone, however, is one which will have “thinking” capabilities and decide the next course based on the user’s preferences and priorities.

For instance, we now have several advanced capabilities in smartphones — but there are manual interventions that we, as users, have to apply, like enabling and disabling network capabilities. Why shouldn’t the smartphone be intelligent enough to decide which network capability to enable or disable based on usage?

Right now, if Wi-Fi is enabled, the cellular data goes into hibernation. Why can’t the phone decide which one to use based on several criteria like cost of data, application being used, type of data being accessed and so on?

If a user gets into a car, the smartphone should be intelligent enough to decipher through AI and connect to the audio system via Bluetooth. Similarly, the airplane mode should be enabled while someone is airborne.

All these may sound too basic as capabilities. These will not only bring comfort for the user but also have implications on battery consumption as well as in ensuring that there are no “loopholes” enabled which may not be in use in the device.

Smartphones have focused primarily on the applications and features they can support. It has not evolved to communicate better with the user as per his or her preferences and priorities.

One hindrance was the evolutionary phase of AI; but since AI has now become a reality, the device should add intelligence and move beyond applications and functionality. As the smartphone industry looks for innovation in a market that is near its saturation point, the Intelligent Phone could be a saviour for the industry. It could rejuvenate consumer interest and, hence, the market itself.

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Movie Cameras. From Reel to IMAX, From IMAX to Smart phones.

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Photo Credit: www.clipartbest.com

 

By Atul Mishra

Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping
Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping

Cinematography has progressed profoundly and has seen diverse permutations and combinations in its echelon with the regular advancements in technology. Every year cinematographer gets stirred and sparked with the advent and inception of new sophisticated movie cameras. Let us trail the timeline to see how have movie cameras changed the face of silver screen and what is the motion movie milieu these days.

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Capturing moving images were done on revolving drums and disk way back in 1830s. Gelatin-emulsioned film strips came into being in second half of 1800s and combined with paper film, gave us the earliest surviving motion picture till date: Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene, filmed on October 14, 1888.

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Kinetoscope, in 1893, which was a large box that only one person at a time could see the film on through a peephole, was a major advancement in the 35mm celluloid film strips. All these films were monochromes, two-toned. The color cinematography began in early 1900s. In 1908, kinemacolor was introduced. In the same year, the short film A Visit to the Seaside became the first natural color movie to be publicly presented. In 1929, Fox introduced Fox Grandeur, the first 70 mm film format.

 

Still from A Visit to the Seaside
Still from A Visit to the Seaside

Since then cinematography, and not just its post-shooting-additions, but the shooting itself has seen multitude of changes. Who would have thought in 1910s, that a century later, The Dark Knight, would feature six sequences (a total of 28 minutes) shot on IMAX camera? And who would have thought six years after The Dark Knight, Tangerine would be shot on three i-phones and have its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival?

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These days with the advent of so many cameras, from DSLRs to smart phones, amazing short films are being made by aspiring film makers. May be only Nolan can afford an IMAX, but if a film shot on an i-phone can be screened at Sundance then surely enough anyone possessing a decent smart phone can nail the magic of silver screens. Do these short films being shot on normal DSLRs and smart phones these days lose the aesthetic qualities of a film? Well, to shake your shaft here is what The Hollywood Reporter described the look of Tangerine as- “crisp and vigorously cinematic”, with “an aesthetic purity that stands out in a field where so much indie filmmaking has gotten glossier and less technically adventurous.”

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Another giant shot on a DSLR is the 2013 indie film Ship of Theseus. This film that swooped two National Awards and various other accolades at many international film festivals, is visually enriched and starkly eye-catching, though being shot on a DSLR.

The Oscar contender for the next biggie Academy Olive has been completely shot on a smart phone and is considered the first feature film to do so.

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This is soon becoming a culture and cult. Good movies are being made and thanks to YouTube channels that these films reach out to many audience. And this is where the film makers stand today. Giants like Syncopy and 20th Century Fox may try their hands at IMAX, but the indie film enthusiasts these days are making their movies with their own IMAXs which not only justify the silver screen but garner various accolades across the globe.