With renewed focus in American on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), educators across the country are coming up with creative ways to provide instruction to their students. Using the internet is, of course, an obvious and popular approach.
Khan Academy is a fine example of a website that has high social value as an educational resource. They provide, free of charge, online education videos on just about any subject matter. Khan Academy is so popular teachers who use it as a resource have actually ‘flipped’ their classrooms, meaning students get the lecture at home using Khan Academy videos instead of in the classroom. In school the next day, they then do what would traditionally have been the homework assignment. This approach helps teachers to focus on how well the students have grasped what they viewed in the videos, go over the concepts and provide guidance. But taking it further, Khan suggests using technology to humanize the classroom so teachers can be freed up to spend more time with each student.
As one student commented on Khan Academy’s You Tube channel, “…I remember seeing all this ‘Matrix’ text in class and here I’m all like ‘I know kung-fu!'” The modules are fun, for adults too. View Salman Khan’s TED talk below and then try a lesson or two!
Social media has become a hub of activity–literally! With multiple Likes/Dislikes, Follows and Pins popular social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are keeping the conversation going. The latest Mashable’s chart was posted on their blog, Tweeted about, Liked on Facebook and then also pinned on Pinterest. I’m sure Mashable has utilized even more social media sites–they are the masters at using social media tools and are a great resource for business owners on how they can market their products through social media. Here is Mashable’s latest chart about Twitter, which was recently pinned on Pinterest:
“Responsive Web Design”, is the buzzword of the year and we’re sure you have been seeing the term used a lot lately. But as catchy as it sounds, what responsive web design really boils down to is making sure a website will look good and function well no matter what hardware device is utilized. For example, if a smart phone is being used to, say… order pizza through a restaurant’s website, then for a positive consumer experience the customer needs to be able to navigate and type easily on his smart phone without having to hunt and peck for how to process his order.
To be responsive, a website needs the following key items:
Context-aware images: fluid images, which appear larger or smaller, depending on the viewing mode. These are also known as responsive images.
A flexible, fluid grid: a layout that is easy to resize, designed in terms of proportions. It can easily adjust to the device where it’s being viewed.
Media queries: these queries allow you to collect data about the site visitor and apply particular coded styles based on the user’s device, or resolution.
As more and more consumers rely on mobile devices, iPads and tablets, many companies are having to build several sites for different platforms, or provide one hub for content that will respond to the user’s particular device. The challenge to web developers is building a website with long term uses in mind. This is an important step as–in our opinion–the demise of the desktop computer is probably not far off.
In general, Responsive Web Design is less about technology and more about design, and using a set of techniques to present the website content to the viewer based on his or her device of choice. To test if a site is “responsive” on your desktop, you can stretch the screen width back to be larger and smaller, and see the site layout adjust itself to fit to the new width. If it doesn’t, then it is fixed width and less likely to render well across multiple device uses. If you have various devices, take a look at Gallop Web Services website to see how it adapts to different device uses.