Khan Academy iPad App

The Kahn Academy launched an iPad app last week. The not-for-profit YouTube educational video site, which offers brief tutorials by math genius and former hedge fund manager Salman Khan is already one of the best and most lauded academic websites. Now you can access everything you love about this sensational educator and his site from your Apple tablet. The app is as simple and elegant as Khan’s lessons.

via The Khan Academy goes mobile with new iPad app – iPhone app review – Lisa Caplan | Appolicious ™ iPhone and iPad App Directory.

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Education Online & the “Flip”

She’s now on her way to “flipping” the way her class works. This involves replacing some of her lectures with Khan’s videos, which students can watch at home. Then, in class, they focus on working problem sets. The idea is to invert the normal rhythms of school, so that lectures are viewed on the kids’ own time and homework is done at school. It sounds weird, Thordarson admits, but this flipping makes sense when you think about it. It’s when they’re doing homework that students are really grappling with a subject and are most likely to need someone to talk to.

via How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education | Wired Magazine | Wired.com.

Whitespace = Quality & Sophistication

Designers use whitespace to create a feeling of sophistication and elegance for upscale brands. Coupled with a sensitive use of typography and photography, generous whitespace is seen all over luxury markets. Cosmetics, for example, use extensive whitespace in their marketing material to tell the reader that they are sophisticated, high quality, and generally expensive.

via A List Apart: Articles: Whitespace.

Financial Literacy & “Save More Tomorrow”

“… According to one survey last year, four in ten American credit-card holders do not pay the full amount due every month on the credit card they use most often, despite the punitive interest rates charged by credit-card companies. Nearly one-third said they had no idea what the interest rate on their credit card was.

“There is similar evidence elsewhere. For instance, a survey in 2004 by Cambridge University and Prudential, a big insurer, found that some 9m Britons are “financially phobic”, meaning that “they shy away from anything to do with financial information, from bank statements to savings accounts to life assurance.” Research by the British regulator, the Financial Services Authority, found that one-quarter of adults did not realise that their pensions were invested in the stockmarket.

Recognising that people find it harder to save money they already possess than to promise to put aside what they might have one day, he designed the Save More Tomorrow scheme, which gets people to commit themselves to saving a slice of any future pay increases. Where implemented, the plan has already brought about sharp increases in saving rates.

“… Americans still leave school not knowing much about money. A sample of high-school pupils aged 17 or 18 gave correct answers to barely half of a set of questions about personal finance and economics posed in 2006 by researchers at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Less than one-quarter knew that income tax could be levied on interest earned in a savings account. Three-fifths did not know the difference between a company pension, Social Security and a 401(k) savings account.

“… An important part of the teaching is getting the children to start saving, ideally by opening bank accounts. Typically, they have only tiny amounts, but this is enough to get them used to handling money properly. At first this faced a lot of resistance, as people asked, “How can young children handle money?” recalls Ms Billimoria, but “it soon caught on and parents started giving children money to save.”

“… Mr Thaler deserves to be taken seriously, as one of his earlier attempts to apply behavioural economics to saving has had impressive results. Recognising that people find it harder to save money they already possess than to promise to put aside what they might have one day, he designed the Save More Tomorrow scheme, which gets people to commit themselves to saving a slice of any future pay increases. Where implemented, the plan has already brought about sharp increases in saving rates.”

From Financial literacy: Getting it right on the money | The Economist.

Information Overload

‘… People are drowning in a deluge of data. Corporate users received about 110 messages a day in 2010, says market researcher Radicati Group. There are 110 million tweets a day, Twitter says. Researcher Basex has pegged business productivity losses due to the “cost of unnecessary interruptions” at $650 billion in 2007….”

‘… The social-networking behemoth has focused on “social design” — in which it develops products that make it easier for its 500 million users to communicate without getting “lost in a sea” of messages, says Andrew Bosworth, director of engineering.

‘”The simpler the product, the more users engage in it,” says Bosworth,

He points to services such as Facebook Messages and Facebook Groups that streamline communications among people of similar interests. “The deeper the thing is, the more I understand how something works, the more I am likely to use it.”…’

From Social media users grapple with information overload – USATODAY.com.

Emotional Design = Human Design

From a review of the book Designing for Emotion:

“…His first and most important point is that websites should feel like they are made by human beings for human beings. Everything else follows from that. Along the way he quotes Donald Norman, a pioneering product designer who literally wrote the book on Emotional Design, about why attractive things actually work better:

Attractive things make people feel good, which in turn makes them think more creatively. How does that make something easier to use? Simple, by making it easier for people to find solutions to the problems they encounter.

Steve Jobs took this up a notch with the design of Apple products: research shows people respond to their iPhones as if the phones were loved ones (the anticipation, the quickening of the pulse, the abject disappointment!) The attractiveness of a product certainly affects how we feel about it—and Norman would argue, how we use it—but when it comes to websites it is the personality that is expressed through the design that makes it memorable.

via Why Does ‘Emotional Design’ Work on the Web: for Felony & Mayhem, It’s No Mystery – Forbes.