A new social language app for the iPhone takes learning out of the classroom. The free PlaySay app connects English and Spanish speaking players in a game setting where the goal is to practice real phrases and improve pronunciation. To play, simple take on a series of missions within the app that revolve around real-life scenarios such as introducing yourself or ordering food. PlaySay uses speech-recognition technology to evaluate your pronunciation and provide feedback. The app then tracks the phrases and keeps score of which items you've mastered. See PlaySay in action in this video.
Imagine taking Ivy League courses without stepping foot inside a classroom or paying a dime. Thanks to the iTunes U app, you can access thousands of free classes from universities and schools around the globe right on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The free iTunes U app provides complete classes created and taught by leading instructors from institutions in 26 countries, including Stanford, Yale and MIT. The courses cover thousands of subjects from algebra to zoology, and app users have access to more than 500,000 free resources.
For my article in the February 2010 edition of SIGNAL Magazine, titled "Research in the Final Frontier," I interviewed members of the Defense Department's Human Spaceflight Payloads Office and Space Test Program about the experiments they help put into space. The projects impressed me, as did the sources' firm belief in the importance of what they do to help warfighters.