Technology

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Haiku? More like “BYE”-ku!

At the beginning of the one-to-one iPad program last year, there was an application that has been recently discontinued: Haiku Learning. It has been replaced by Veracross and eBackpack. This was a decision made by Mr. Crowley (Director of Technology), Mrs. Quinn (Middle School Principal), Miss Schwobel (Technology Coordinator & Librarian), and other officials last summer. One of the interesting things about this choice is that FCS was using Veracross during the 2013-2014 school year, but thought Haiku would be a better program in the long run. However, after returning from a Veracross conference this summer, Mr. Crowley learned about new Veracross features and amenities that were not available when the school had used it. After sharing this information with fellow staff members, Miss Schwobel said “it was a no brainer” to switch back to Veracross. Miss Schwoebel shared, “Throughout last school year, we, the Tech Department, had been getting…


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Top 5 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Novels

Okay, folks, I think you all know that I’m a big fan of choose-your-own-adventure novels. If any of you have read my choose-your-own-adventure article, you know how they work. If not, then this is the part for you. In choose-your-own-adventure novels, you play the main character and you make the decisions. One wrong move can lead to your dismay, or even your demise. Here are my top five choose-your-own-adventure novels. (P.S. I have only read five.) 5 The Keep of the Lich-Lord by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson This book is available on the App Store for $5, and in book form for a lot more money (it’s a collectible). Play as either a Paladin or a Rogue. The app has been adapted into the world of Fabled Lands. For centuries, the kingdom of Golnir has suppressed the pirate armies. Uleath Island, the only defense against the Reavers (the pirates), has…


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App Unwrap: Duolingo

Foreign languages are hard to learn. But what if you could devote only 15 minutes a day to learning a language, and slowly gain fluency? Like everything, there’s an app for that–and that app is Duolingo. What does it do? Duolingo is an app that allows you to devote a short amount of time each day for a language lesson. Now that may sound like another class and more work for you to do, but the lessons are structured pretty much like games. This app makes me want to come back to learn German (the language I’m learning) everyday and I feel a twinge of sadness when I miss my daily lesson. However, along with German, Duolingo offers Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and Turkish. Best of all, it’s free, and there are no in-app purchases. The lessons the app offers are wide and varied, but let…


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Teen Comic-Con at the Free Library

Are you a student who loves anime, manga, and cosplay? Are you a Magic player? Well, then this event is for you! The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting a Comic-Con (or comic convention) for teens ages 12-20. This event, “The Free Library of Comic-Con,” offers teens the opportunities to lead discussions, display their artwork, and participate in a cosplay tournament, where you can dress up as any of your favorite fictional characters. Warning! This event is NEXT WEEKEND! The Free Library of Comic-Con will take place on Saturday April 11, 2015 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia is located at 1901 Vine Street in Philadelphia. The Free Library of Comic-Con is FREE to attend. For more information, visit this site. Stay tuned for a review of the Comic-Con in a few weeks!


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Top 5 Console Video Games of 2014-2015

Game: Destiny Developer: Bungie Publishers: Activision, Sony Computer Entertainment Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3 Genres: Massively multiplayer, Shared world, First Person Shooter Rating: Teen IGN rating: 7.8/10 Release date: September, 9, 2014 Destiny has a very long planned timeline (ten years) with a contract for four games and 20+ DLCs along with four DLC add-ons that are going to be the size of the game. There are three classes in the game with two subclasses each, which allows for several different gameplay types. Currently, Destiny has one DLC out with another one releasing sometime in the second quarter (March, April, May). There is a large DLC called “Comet: Plague Of Darkness” coming out in September 2015; this DLC is going to be the size of the game and sold as a disc. This DLC will have twelve story missions, a new area, six PVP maps, three…


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Just Japanese: Most Popular Vocaloids

A vocaloid is a singing voice synthesis made by Yamaha and a computer software. The software allows users to put melodies and lyrics in order to synthesize singing. In other words, with this technology, singing can be produced without a singer using fragments of voices recorded from actual singers called the Singer Library. They have created musical pieces and have released them on Nico Video and YouTube. With these releases, vocaloids became extremely popular. Also the UGC (self-produced content) grew at a fast pace. From there, CDs with vocaloid songs entered the top-seller lists and became popular songs for people to sing at karaoke, The software and music created from it have created a music culture in itself. Vocaloid technology has grown stronger and now few people can tell their voices are fake. Vocaloids became so popular that they found a way to turn them into holograms for concerts. (Paraphrased…


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Update: Do You Think You Know Your Teachers?

Voice 1: “Hey! Watch out for turtle crossings and being tackled by tilapia!” Is it Mr. Chagan, Dr. Z, or Mr. Tozer? Voice 2: “Do you have gum in your mouth?!” Is it Mrs. Guenther, Mr. Barry, or Ms. Kenealy? Voice 3: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” Is it Mr. Fifer, Mr. Terrell, or Mr. Barry? Voice 4: “Beau is wearing a Penn State sweatshirt?” Is it Mrs. Crowley, Mr. Tozer, or Mrs. Quinn?   UPDATE: ANSWERS Voice 1: Dr. Z Yep, folks, that was Dr. Z. If you got that right, kudos to you! That one was all about what she said, not what she sounded like! Voice 2: Mrs. Guenther Yep, Mrs. Guenther. Also about what she said! Voice 3: Mr. Barry Did you hear the accent? Voice 4: Mr. Tozer Did you get it? If you would like, share your scores in the comments…


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App Unwrap: Homework App Roundup

This “App Unwrap” features homework apps that can be used to increase your daily productivity. For each of these recommended apps we include the price and some features of the app. We also rate each app from -5 stars to 5 stars. We hope all of these apps will help you keep track of your homework. Enjoy the list! (One note: Avoid costly apps because you can get great apps without spending any money! All of the apps below are free.) Recommended Apps Homework List (Free) Features: Notifications when homework is due Date changes color as due date comes near App Store rating:  ⭐️⭐️ Hugh’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mekkhi’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️   Calendar (Free; pre-installed on your iPad) Features: Syncs with haiku Has a calendar view Reminders can be enabled for certain times Hugh’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mekkhi’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


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Console Wars

PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Introduction Sony and Microsoft released their new systems, PlayStation4 and Xbox One, at around the same time in November. Sony and Microsoft are trying to outsell each other by making better games, better softwares and better designs. The Xbox One starts at $500 including Kinect whereas the PS4 starts at $400. Xbox One and PS4 are still gaming consoles but Xbox took a turn to multimedia capabilities, while PS4 still focuses only on gaming. Both consoles are extraordinary, so choosing the one that is right for you just depends on what you value. PS4 vs. Xbox One: The Console The PS4 has a nice, sleek black design which can be propped vertically or horizontally. The PS4 also comes with a Blu-ray player so the owner can watch Blu-ray discs. Additionally, it has two USB ports in the front for headphones or charging stations. The PS4…


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