beanz Magazine

Google Expeditions

Russel Toris on Flickr

Cheap new VR technology lets students take field trips around the world!

Do you remember what you ate for dinner seventeen days ago? Or what colour shirt you wore? Probably not. For most people, the details of average days blur together. But when you go on a trip, whether it’s a visit to a local zoo or a vacation around the world, every sight, sound, and taste is etched into your mind.

Now which do you find easier to remember: “collywobbles” or “763927501827”? Even if you have no idea what “collywobbles” means (it’s a fancy term for bellyache) you’ll probably pick the word. Yet both terms have 12 characters. What makes the first so natural and the second so intimidating?

Both exercises tell us something about the way we learn: our brains aren’t built for cramming random lists of facts. Instead, they work best when information is meaningful, when all of our senses are engaged, and when we’re doing something concrete. Yet this creative, hands-on approach is expensive. Most schools don’t have enough money to bring their students on a camping trip, much less an expedition to the Great Barrier Reef or the International Space Station. Or do they?

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Also In The April 2018 Issue

Who chooses new emojis? And what’s coming in the next batch?

Build your own voice-controlled digital assistant with a Raspberry Pi and an analog speaker.

Using Scratch and some simple vector math, create your own Boids algorithm to simulate the flight of birds.

6 hands-on STEM camps and clubs to join this summer.

With these new high-tech cards, public transit is easier than ever.

Slice digital photos into pieces and have fun pasting them back together.

Meet the cute little bot that’s helping scientists understand the courtship of frogs.

Dive into the nitty-gritty of game-making with this popular Python library.

Learn about the Native soldiers and the creative cypher code that helped win WWII.

Our cars aren’t quite driving themselves, but they can help us park and avoid collisions.

Make your games even more exciting with custom user-created content!

A clever teacher uses our favourite round robot to bring books to life.

Learn how to search through blobs of text with speed, accuracy, and elegance… like a ninja!

Links from the bottom of all the April 2018 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for April 2018.