Month: February 2015

“Kids who are strong readers do better in school and are better prepared to live successful lives”

The Rise Up Foundation released a report on literacy today, synthesizing research by leading literacy scholars and examining the impact of emerging media on reader engagement. A Question of Literacy investigates how trends such as transmedia storytelling and participatory culture are being designed to improve reader engagement and motivation, not diminish them.

“Kids who are strong readers do better in school and are better prepared to live successful lives,” said Wendy Alane Adams, CEO and Founder of the Rise Up Foundation. “By delving deeper into the psyche of today’s digitally advanced adolescent, we can better understand how to deliver content that will trigger their imagination and convince them to sit long enough to read a book, cover to cover.”

The report, available for download at, concludes that the tools of new media and transmedia storytelling present opportunities to meet young readers where they are, and to get them to a better level of literacy. As both media consumers and media producers, today’s digital youth have come to expect more immersive forms of engagement. Deepening their experience can both drive engagement and motivate them to take advantage of additional opportunities to read.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Youth today are experiencing notable declines in reading for pleasure, presenting a crisis given the correlation between the frequency of reading for pleasure and better test scores in reading and writing.
  • Research does not support the common assertion that “digital distraction” is the primary cause for the decline in reading. More notable factors include lack of access to books and an absence of encouragement to read for pleasure at home and/or in school.
  • Youth today are motivated by opportunities to participate in co-creation and by being co-constructors of meaning through reading, viewing, understanding, responding, and interacting through storytelling.
  • Transmedia storytelling can be used to create multimodal learning experiences that are designed to improve reflective thinking, reading engagement and literacy.
  • It is increasingly important to both broaden the definition of and approach to literacy, and begin to address how conventional measures fail to accurately recognize the reading activities that young people engage in when using digital media.

The Rise Up Foundation will use these findings to explore new ways to employ transmedia storytelling in the cause of literacy improvement.

About Rise Up Foundation

Founded by Wendy Alane Adams, the Rise Up Foundation strives to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty and difficult circumstances. Rise Up supports literacy projects as a path toward improving the future prospects of children in underserved communities by making book donations, providing classroom support, and grant-making. In addition to literacy efforts, Rise Up works with organizations committed to defining and solving the problems that chronic poverty brings to children and their communities. For more information, please, and 

Healthcare has a long way to go. But wow, check out Manufacturing.


A new study shows that millennials are going to be the real catalyst for the mHealth market, writes eMarketer. The report, conduced by Harris Poll for, found:

  • 74% of 18-to-34-year-olds preferred to have their planning and payment experience for healthcare done online.
  • 73% said they are interested in having their doctors use mobile devices during appointments to share data.  
  • 63% said they would provide their personal health data using wearables or other wireless connected devices.

Healthcare remains one of the biggest markets for the IoT to tap. More programs are emerging that allow patients to connect devices to their health stats, which can then be shared with doctors. Already hospitals are piloting programs to test out Apple’s HealthKit program. HealthKit allows iPhone users to track and share certain health analytics — including weight, blood pressure, and heart-rate. Regulations and privacy remain an obstacle, specifically when it comes to sharing private health data. Once hospitals figure out a way to securely connect patient data with professionals, however, getting consumers on board will be the last hurdle. These findings from Harris Poll indicate that this younger generation will likely be the ones fostering in mHealth to the masses.

Verizon reported that the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry saw tepid growth in the number of M2M connections last year.

Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google–Who Wins/Lose…” on YouTube

A brilliant presentation from Scott Galloway on Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google (The Four Horsemen) and who will win and who will lose in the digital business economy. It’s a rapid fire, 90 slide, 15 minute presentation that you MUST watch. So grab a coffee, watch it and thank me later!

DLD15 – The Four Horsemen: Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google–Who Wins/Lose…:

Millennials ditching their TV sets at a record rate | New York Post

The biggest TV drama among millennials is playing off screen.
So far this season, younger viewers, the most important audience for advertisers, have ditched their TV sets at more than double the rate of previous years, new Nielsen figures show.
Traditional TV usage — which has been falling among viewers ages 18 to 34 at around 4 percent a year since 2012 — tumbled 10.6 percent between September and January.
In the era of smartphones and Netflix, it’s no surprise that traditional TV is losing relevance for younger viewers. But the sudden acceleration is alarming to even the most seasoned analysts.
“The change in behavior is stunning. The use of streaming and smartphones just year-on-year is double-digit increases,” Alan Wurtzel, NBCUniversal’s audience research chief, told The Post. “I’ve never seen that kind of change in behavior.”
Brad Adgate, Horizon Media’s chief researcher and often one of the first to spot trouble, was equally surprised at the sudden drop.
“Usage is really down in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic this season,” he said.
This season’s steep slide means there are almost 20 percent fewer young adults watching their TV sets in primetime than four years ago.
In 2011, 21.7 million young adults tuned in to their TV sets. By the end of last month, that figure had fallen to 17.8 million, according to Nielsen figures.
Adding insult to injury, the median age of the TV audience hit 50 this year. That’s older than the 18- to 49-year-old audience that network executives have banked on for decades.
If the TV-as-an-anachronism trend holds, the implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing a seismic shift in the $80 billion TV ad market.
Of course, the trend of zero TV doesn’t mean zero video. Millennials are watching online video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO and other “streaming” sources.
Consumption of video is bigger than ever. Wurtzel’s research shows a year-over-year increase of 22 percent in subscription video viewing in 2014, and a 26 percent rise in “binge viewing.”
The problem is finding those missing viewers — or measuring them. Nielsen’s traditional ratings don’t capture the full picture, making it tough for networks to monetize viewers who watch shows on smartphones, tablets and other devices.
Network executives are trying to get around the problem. Media giant Viacom, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and other younger-skewing networks, said recently that around 30 percent of its ad deals are based on non-Nielsen data sources.
“Industrywide declines in ratings are generating debate about ways to close the gap between currently accepted ratings and actual consumption,” Viacom CEO Philipe Dauman said in a recent earnings call.
NBC hopes to juice ratings with data on viewers who are watching shows via and online hub Hulu. To bolster its case, the network points out that an additional half-million viewers ages 18 to 49 watch the hit show “The Blacklist” on digital devices.

Internet Button Causes Web-Connected Reactions – PSFK

‘Internet Button’ Causes Web-Connected Reactions in Any Device

Spark’s newest device can control hot tubs, mood lamps, and confetti shooters remotely
The Internet of Things is becoming as fast reality. In 2010, the idea of connecting electronic devices to the Internet was only explored in incubation. In the following four years, a myriad of companies—spearheaded by Nest—developed products that connect to the Internet, sync with other devices, and complete programmed tasks.

Next, rather than rely on pre-programmed commands, consumers want to organize their own devices’ systems and capabilities. Spark’s newly-released Internet Button will allow users to do just that.

Spark Internet Button 2.jpgAt the core, the Internet Button holds a Photon, a postage stamp-sized hackable Wi-Fi module for interacting with physical things. Users programming on Spark’s Core system can connect essentially any device with a Photon to the Internet. The Internet Button uses If This Then That (IFTTT), which relies on triggers to cause “reactions”; for example, if you misplace your phone, you can push a button, which calls your cell. IFTTT offers two reactions: it can either publish an event (which communicates to the Internet once something happens to the device) or call a function (which triggers an action in the physical world).

In order to make IFTTT less daunting to beginners, Spark chose to package the technology as a button. As Spark CEO Zach Supalla tells The Next Web:

Our goal is to help people create the next generation of connected products. Everyone comes in a different points. A lot of the people we sell to are already makers, they have some level of knowledge. We wanted to make it easier for people who have zero knowledge and still want to start building things, so we decided to create a button. The thought was that we could boil down the tech into a toy but make it really powerful.

Spark Internet Button 3.jpgSince its launch in 2013, Spark IO has been in the business of Internet connection. Its 2013 Kickstarter raised over $500,000 for a first-generation Wi-Fi-hardware connector. With its newest product launch, Spark has energized an open-source movement of makers to build products connected to the Internet of Things.

What commands are people programming? A select favorite include:

If my coffee finishes brewing then post on Slack (If Spark then Slack)
If my hot tub reaches the right temperature then send me a text message that reads “It’s hot tub time!” (If Spark then SMS)
If the weather improves then change the colors of a mood lamp (if Spark then mood lamp)
If my team wins then create a celebration with a confetti shooter in my front yard….

Cisco claims to be hip again

Cisco, with its multitude of networking technologies, is leading in the world of networking. But even with its success, the company’s CEO John Chambers announced his commitment on making the company the “number one IT company.“

On Thursday, Cisco ended its business with Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference after sensing a weakness in their earnings with the companies; Cisco explains that things will improve quickly and securely with a possibility profit of $ 19 trillion and with the confidence of company being computerized.

“It is the most fundamental change. You’d almost call it the second generation of the Internet,” stated Chambers.

Emphasizing some more on the cloud, Chamber claimed the company will continue to get itself wrapped up in every event, constituting a new stage of change in this digital world no matter what the new tech rears its head in the future; be it something that will be favorable to the company, or not.

“We’re back in vogue,” Chambers quipped. “It’s like the 1990s all over again.”

Chambers indicated with emphasis that the Internet of Things was merely not “just a fringe topic” at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show this year , but it happened to be the most important topic discussed in the forum .

Cisco’s own publicity at CES was a little subdued this year, although the Internet of Things is the center of attention of the networking giant today.

Cisco will supply the technology for Charter’s upcoming next-generation video platform which was announced as Chambers made an appearance with Charter communications CEO Thomas Rutledge. Cisco had earned its publicity at the trade show along with a partnership with Vodafone-owned Kabel Deutschland (KD), Germany’s largest cable operator, performing as the foundation for KD’s many video services. The contract includes an agreement that KD’s future video service will utilize Cisco-branded connected devices to set up a “video-hub for the home.”

“Every person, your home, your car, the way you do healthcare, your sporting activities will become connected,” Chambers had stated in January. “It’s disrupt or be disrupted.”