Little Ava introduces us to the world of Furby Connect with the cutest flare!
Even with a cold, Emanuel gives a thorough report on the world of Slugterra!
Intricate and plot twisting, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a suspenseful dystopian novel. The entire story occurs in a virtual reality world called the OASIS. Developed by multibillionaire James Halliday, the OASIS has everything that you need in life, from schooling, homes, food, and games, to cars, spaceships, and weapons. There is not a single person on the planet that does not use the OASIS. As a result, the Internet and OASIS have become synonymous. All you need are a pair of haptic gloves and a visor. However, when James Halliday dies, his billion-dollar fortune is the prize of finding the easter egg that he has hidden inside the OASIS. By finding cryptic clues and fighting great beasts, one user will win the fortune and the game.
Our protagonist, Wade Watts, has none of the amazing qualities of a true OASIS Gunter, the name for a person that searches for the hidden egg. With a Level One avatar and using it only for his schooling, he has no coins, points, or cool weapons. But Wade solves clues and finds himself at the top of a leaderboard after defeating one of the mythical guardians of the keys, devices that open the gates to a new puzzle challenge.
There are a few lessons that can be learned from reading this book. Early in the competition, Parzival, Wade’s avatar, races against the other people on the contest leaderboard. However, when several Gunters figure out that the IOI, an internet service provider, wants to win the game to take over the OASIS for evil, Parzival turns to his friends for help. As a result, we see that friendship and cooperation can be used to defeat evil.
The book is full of adventure as we watch Parzival battle great beasts and legends. Best of all, it is played like a videogame, so there is a lot of detail and suspense. One of the most interesting things is that James Halliday was born in the 1980’s. As a result, Gunters like Wade have read every book, watched every movie and played all of the games from the era, in the hope of finding some obscure reference or hint. Although I was not alive at the time, it is interesting to see how Ernest Cline has managed to combine those tidbits of the past with the setting of the future. This book takes a chilling look at the possibility of a dystopian future, and combines it with the era of the invention of the first 3D video game.
Overall, I give Ready Player One 4.5/5 stars.
It is interesting to look at the differences between generations. Each have their defining qualities that help separate them from the next. The current generation or “youngest generation” has technology as just that. It is evident in their everyday lives. From keeping in contact with a friend online, to knowing what the weather is going to be the next day, kids these days are constantly immersed in a technological world.
When we ask kids just what it is they are doing with technology, most of the time I find that they are using it to learn and discover things about the world. For example, my younger sister loves to draw and is very talented at it. I also noticed that my younger sister spends a lot of time on YouTube. At first, both my mom and I thought that she was just wasting her time watching some of the brain-numbing content that YouTube has to offer. But when I actually inquired her on what it was she watched, she revealed that she was doing the opposite. She was stimulating her brain and used YouTube as a tool to improve her artistic abilities. She would search for and study videos showcasing things such as “shading techniques” or “how to improve you speed drawing” – things that were beneficial to know for her artistry. Things that 10 years ago she would have had to take a class to learn.
This isn’t the only topic I would like to touch on. Kids aren’t just using technology to enhance their skills. They are also using it to learn more about what is going on in the world.
Have you ever had a moment where you may have been discussing some political issue as adults and had a kid pipe-in with their opinions? Then you just stare in disbelief that the kid is even aware of what is happening? This is a situation I am witnessing more and more as time goes by. Kids are using technology as a way to learn about “adult problems.”
A mission to Mars… A mistake… A cover up… Star-crossed lovers…
Space Between Us is science fiction movie (rated PG-13) that’s main focus is on human relations, in particular, love.
A group is sent to Mars to colonize the planet because Earth won’t be able to sustain us forever. Unfortunately, on Mars, a lead astronaut dies giving birth. The child born on Mars has to be kept a secret from humanity on Earth as to not ruin the reputation of the company that planned to colonize Mars. Gardner Elliot, the first human born on Mars feels alone. He has only met less than 15 people consisting of astronauts and scientists; who have raised him into a very brilliant child. He managed to forge an unlikely friendship with a girl on Earth named Tulsa, through an internet chat room. Gardner really wants to meet Tulsa, find his father, and experience Earth. However, his body wouldn’t survive on Earth due to the effects of zero gravity on him during pregnancy. He has an enlarged heart and his bone density and lungs might not be able to handle Earth’s atmosphere.
Luckily, with a surgery and rehabilitation/training; he was able to go to Earth. When he was on Earth, he was quarantined in NASA to run tests for abnormalities that could jeopardize his time on Earth. The tests seem never ending and the likelihood of Gardner actually taking in Earth is dim. Gardner decides to escape. He eventually finds Tulsa, a sharp girl that has been bouncing from foster home to foster home. She is very upset that Gardner hasn’t messaged her in seven months, but she forgives him and agrees to help him find his father.
On the search for his father, Gardner comes to encounter the wonders of Earth and love. Within this movie, there are many good qualities and not so good qualities. I adored the amount of detail put into the movie, for example, Gardener walking funny when he arrived on Earth due to the change in gravity, or the effects of space on the body (osteogenesis imperfecta). The producer and co-writer, Richard Lewis put in a lot of effort for realism; he consulted with experts from NASA, physicians, flight surgeons, astronauts and Hubbard.
The film had lots of action and different changes of scenery which kept it exciting. However, the story was just okay. The characters all have interesting backstories and interesting quirks but they weren’t fully fleshed-out. Unfortunately, the movie went by too fast to grow a strong connection with the characters. The main part of the movie, the love between the star-crossed lovers felt disappointing and cheesy. I could sum it up in two easy words ‘puppy love’. “Gardner Elliot: [to Tulsa] I was scared I wouldn’t know how to be human. You made me human, and no matter what happens, it was worth it. All of it.”
The ending, in particular, felt dissatisfying, I felt a lot the problems were unresolved and everyone just went back to how things were in the beginning. It was a typical teen love movie that had the special element of Mars. The premise of the movie was interesting but the movie’s plot was underwhelming. In my opinion, it receives 3/5 rating.
For my 15th birthday I was able to upgrade from the iPhone 5c to last year’s model, the iPhone 6s.
I really have enjoyed it, from the improved processor to the improved camera. One of my favourite improvements is the upgrade from a 4-inch screen to a 4.7-inch screen. It’s the perfect size for using one or two hands.
Some of my other favourite things include the design change, force touch, and the ability to jailbreak.
The only downside I have found with this phone is that the camera sticks out about half a centimetre from the phone which means without a case it could get damaged.
This has by far been my favourite release from Apple. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who likes Apple products, likes the size of the display, or likes having a headphone jack!
Ava Joy tells you about the best parts of the movie Sing! Also, check out her bonus video where she shows you a craft you can make after you watch the movie.
It’s a weeknight and you look out the window and see that it has begun to snow, and you get excited. Very excited. You get the glimmer of hope that all school age children get of a day off and a chance to sleep in. You race to the nearest phone, laptop or tablet to check the weather report for the following morning and you see that it’s going to keep on snowing through the night. You only have one more step before you’re convinced.
You open the browser and head over to snowdaypredictor.com, the trusted source and master of all snow day knowledge. This is the “make or break.” You punch in your postal code and you wait anxiously for the percentage. The page loads. YES! 87% chance! An almost guaranteed snow day. You go to bed that night planning everything you’re going to do the following day.
What I have just described is something we have all experienced at some point. We all have had those nights before school where we get excited because of a potential snow day, and try our best to make the prediction of if our wishes are going to become a reality. Now, there is just something that is helping give answers to those night time “what if’s.” Technology. In this modern age that we live in, it is becoming ever more prevalent — there really is technology available for every aspect of life. If you had said to kids 20 years ago, “Hey, in the future you can predict a snow day by percentage just by simply punching in your postal code,” they probably wouldn’t have believed you. That’s why it’s such a neat thing.
In my own school, it’s a widely used product. As soon as one kid looks out the window and sees that there is snow coming down, they will quickly pull up the website and start telling the people around them what the percentage is. There has been many a time that I have walked into a classroom and heard hushed whispers of numbers and the chance of a snow day. There was one day in particular that stands out in memory for me. This was the legendary day that the prediction was 99%. Word of this ungodly high number spread like wildfire to the point where even the teachers were aware of it. Kids my age trusted the source so much that some of them even took the gamble of not doing their homework.
It seems that my peers and kids alike use Snow Day Predictor as a trusted source of knowledge and don’t resist to put all their faith into the predictions it makes. In the winter, the website is treated as if it is the epicentre of all known weather/school knowledge, and I’m sure it will remain that way for many school kids to come.
Nine-year-old Solange lays out the best traits of Stuck In The Middle.
Starboy – The Weeknd
On November 25th The Weeknd released his fourth studio album with the name Starboy. This name is also the name of his chart top hit “Starboy”. It contains 18 songs with collaborations from artists Future, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk. He currently has all 18 songs in the Hot 100 charts as well as the Spotify Global Top 50! That makes him making up about 1/5 and 1/3 of the charts.
I personally really enjoy this album, it has become my favourite album to date. I feel it has such a wide variety of sounds that avoids the problem of songs having a similar sound or beat. Currently, my Top 3 favourite songs from the album are (in no specific order): “True Colors”, “Six Feet Under” and “Reminder”. The song “True Colors” is a slower take for The Weeknd and provides a soft, calming sound that just makes you want to sing along. “Six Feet Under” is one of those songs that puts you in the mood to dance and get excited. Finally, the reason I like his song “Reminder” is because it sounds the most like his old music and is a song to all of his haters. I’d definitely recommend this album to anyone!
Meet our kids' panel: a savvy group of kids with a strong point of view about the media and the culture they consume. Culturally diverse, a range of age and interests, they'll provide you with an insight into kids' media ... what works, what doesn't and why. Check back often for new reviews. We think you'll be inspired!