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February 26 2014

February 24 2014

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February 04 2014

Tech Companies Contribute $750M to Obama Education Campaign

With the help of the tech industry, U.S. President Barack Obama is promoting an initiative to equip schools with advanced technology, as mentioned in last week's State of the Union address

Speaking at a Maryland middle school, Obama announced Tuesday that private-sector tech companies would pledge more $750 million in computers, tablets, software, Internet access, cash and other support. Obama previously said he wanted to "harnesses the ingenuity of the American private sector" when he launched his ConnectED education-technology campaign last June

More about Internet, Barack Obama, Broadband, Tech, and Education

February 03 2014

How a High School Teacher Is 'Gamifying' World News

A new game called Fantasy Geopolitics (think Fantasy Football meets Model United Nations) is radically changing the way high school students in Minnesota are interacting with the news.

In 2009, Eric Nelson, a Social Studies teacher at North Lakes Academy Charter School in Forest Lake, Minn., developed Fantasy Geopolitics after recognizing that his attempts at getting his students to engage with the class weren't quite hitting the mark.

“When I started teaching, the average ninth grader looked like a zombie in class,” Nelson told Mashable. “One night when I was lesson planning, I took a break and literally checked my Fantasy Football team and I had this realization that I was learning a lot about the NFL — things about football and the NFL I wouldn't have otherwise learned.” Read more...

More about News, Us, World, Education, and Fantasy Football

January 13 2014

10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter

More and more teachers are turning to the rapid-fire world of Twitter as a platform for professional development and sharing philosophies. It's a way for educators across the country, and even across the world, to share their insights. They can find support and encouragement from others in the demanding profession, or they can research new ways to bring tablets and web tools into their classrooms

Even though there are some limitations on teachers interacting with their students on social media, Twitter is still a powerful tool for educators to share tips, suggestions and ideas.

More about Twitter, Social Media, Features, Education, and Contributor

January 09 2014

LeVar Burton Talks 'Reading Rainbow' App at CES 2014

LAS VEGAS — LeVar Burton is no stranger to CES. Although he's best known for his work in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roots and Reading Rainbow, the actor, director and educator is also a huge tech fan.

We caught up with Burton at the 2014 International CES and talked about the newest version of Reading Rainbow. After PBS canceled the series in 2009, Burton relaunched it last June as a tablet app via RRKidz, an educational company he co-founded.

Eighteen months later, the app is a hit. It is the App Store's top-grossing education app and one of the top-grossing kids apps; it is also in the top 100 grossing apps in general. Read more...

More about Apps, Education, Tech, Apps Software, and Levar Burton

December 26 2013

Like Legos? You'll Love LittleBits

Playtime is fun. Electronics and circuit boards? Not so much — until now.

littleBits is an open-source library of color-coded electronic modules — miniscule circuit boards with specific functions, such as light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, motors and more — that snap together via tiny magnets in order to make larger circuits. There is no programming, wiring or soldering.

As one would imagine, these simple, intuitive blocks promote limitless experimentation, prototyping and learning and have been dubbed the “Legos for the iPad generation.” Projects range from sound-activated bowties to self-scrolling sheet music. Read more...

More about Education, Entrepreneurship, Toys, Business, and Startups

December 25 2013

Didn’t Get Into Your Dream Business School? What to Do Next

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when — after all the blood, sweat and tears you put into your application — you click on your decision letter only to read, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Put simply, it’s pretty awful.

When I got my first rejection letter, I had just arrived at Penn Station in New York City on a business trip. I reloaded the letter a couple of times on my computer, just to make sure, and then I walked to Sephora and bought myself some way-too-expensive nail polish. Then I called my mom. Ultimately, things worked out for me, but none of that mattered at the moment.

Unfortunately, given how tough the competition is, it’s possible that you won’t get into your dream business school. After you get the news, however, the fact that you didn’t get in becomes way less important than what you do about it. Read more...

More about Business, College, University, Education, and Lifestyle

December 19 2013

Can an App Change How Students Prep for College Admissions?

Dan Driscoll was frustrated with the SATs.

He had been running City Football Club, a nonprofit traveling soccer program for middle and high school students in his hometown of Washington, D.C., for a few years. By most accounts, the free program was successful. Some 250 kids participated on a regular basis and twice as many showed up for its annual camp each summer. In order to join, kids had to sign up for SAT tutoring and college counseling, the goal being to use soccer as a catalyst for getting diverse group into college.

‟It was common to have 11 kids on the field at any one time and not a single one of them was born in the same country,” Driscoll noted, adding that many of the kids came from low-income families. Read more...

More about College, Education, Sat, Sat Prep, and College Admissions

December 17 2013

The Bus Ride That Sparked a Journey Out of Poverty and Into Yale

Perhaps the American Dream is more than a myth after all. Two years ago, Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker wrote the touching story of two young brothers working hard to lift themselves out of an impoverished background and, now, the story has developed: with academic drive and a little luck, it turns out dreams do come true.

As reported by Baker two years ago, the two high school students, George and Johnny Huynh, grew up in the struggling neighborhood of Dorchester, just outside of Boston. The brothers' parents divorced in 2008, the year their father committed suicide, and their mother's mental disabilities made her unable to hold a job outside the home to support the children. As a Vietnamese immigrant, she spoke little English and, as Baker reported, they speak little Vietnamese.  Read more...

More about Twitter, Boston, Education, Boston Globe, and Us World

December 10 2013

At Senior Planet, Your Grandma Is the Newest Computer Whiz

"All right, guys. How would we find out what the weather's normally like in Rome ... in May?"

The teacher leans back in his chair and patiently scans the class for raised hands. On the pull-down screen behind him is an open Google tab

It seems like a simple enough question — for those who grew up with Google. But to this room of senior citizens, it's the central focus of today's discussion about booking vacations online. A couple hands go up in the back.

"Type in keywords. 'Rome,' 'Temperature,' 'May,'" someone says.

The teacher nods in agreement and enters the words into the search box. The students follow along on their computers. After a few seconds of scrolling, someone shouts out the answer: "Rome, Italy, has an average temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) in May." Read more...

More about Video, Videos, Startups, Features, and Education

December 09 2013

Republicans, Democrats Finally Find Common Ground — On Coding

In an increasingly divisive U.S. political climate, there's at least one cause that has found support on both sides of the aisle — computer science education.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor both stressed the importance of learning to to code, or write computer programs, in videos uploaded Sunday to YouTube by Code.org, a non-profit advocacy group. The joint call to action comes at the start of Computer Science Education Week, which began Monday.

"If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change how we do just about everything," Obama says in a short video. "Don't just buy a new video game, make one. Don't just download the latest app, help design it. Don't just play on your phone, program it." Read more...

More about Barack Obama, Education, Coding, Us World, and Us

November 24 2013

This Block Set Helps Preschoolers Learn Computer Programming

At 4 years old, many children are mastering pre-reading skills. But now, tots can start learning computer programming at preschool age, too.

Primo, a playset of colored blocks, aims to teach children ages 4 to 7 programming logic, helping lay the foundation for computer-language education at a later age

"Think of Primo as the very first step in a child's programming education," according to the company's Kickstarter page

The set comes with three parts: a robot named Cubetto, a board with slots to arrange blocks and four colors of blocks, each representing a different function. Read more...

More about Children, Education, Kickstarter, Coding, and Apps Software

November 22 2013

Kickstarter 'Keyboard' Teaches Kids Computer Science

Launched by Digital Dream Labs, the cloudBoard Kickstarter project introduces an interactive video game accessory for the kindergarten crowd

The startup, based in Pittsburgh, consists of five members with a mission to create educational children's games. Its first product, the cloudBoard, is a board game-video game hybrid, aimed at children aged 4-12. It teaches complex concepts via plastic blocks, which in turn control a video game character.

The blocks themselves are so versatile they can represent almost anything, whether musical notes or atoms in a molecule. This has allowed Digital Dream Labs to create several games for the board already, covering complicated concepts like chemistry and engineering Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Tech, Education, and Video Games

November 21 2013

European University Accepts Bitcoins as Tuition Payment

The University of Nicosia announced it will be the world's first to accept bitcoins as tuition payment.

The university, which is the largest on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, is also launching a digital currency course to better understand how bitcoin works.

"The intention of this initiative is to ease transmission difficulties for certain students and to build our own practical knowledge about this field, not to engage in currency speculation," a university spokesperson told GeekWire.

In addition to the main university, all of its affiliated universities will accept bitcoin payments — for all types of tuition and fees. Read more...

More about University, Education, Tuition, Bitcoins, and Us World

November 20 2013

High Schoolers Build Satellite and NASA Launches It to Space

Last night, a rocket took off. It launched from an island in Virginia, turned east over the Atlantic Ocean, and sailed into the atmosphere. Aboard were 29 satellites — a record for one launch.

And one of those satellites? It was built by high schoolers.

That satellite — in space right now, whizzing over our heads — is called the TJ3Sat. Built by Virginia high-school students and their teachers, it represents more than six years of work. It is the first orbiting spacecraft built by high-schoolers.

The TJ3Sat
The TJ3Sat

You can also interact with it right now. Go outside, bring a short-wave radio and listen to its specified frequency (437.320 MHz). You’ll hear words spoken by its on-board voice processor, which were converted into waves and beamed back to the ground. Humans submitted those words using an online form — so you’re hearing, via space, the assembled messages of TJ3Sat’s human audience. Read more...

More about Space, Earth, Education, High School, and Science

November 16 2013

Finland Eyes Programming Classes for Elementary School Students

HELSINKI — Elementary school students in Finland could be adding coding and programming to their nightly homework routine in the near future.

Potentially following in the footsteps of neighboring country Estonia, Alexander Stubb — the Finnish Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade — told Mashable that teaching basic programming skills to young kids in the classroom is on the country's radar

“It would be a great idea to have coding as a voluntary or otherwise subject in school,” Stubb says. “Kids today are growing up as natives to technology, and the sooner they get going, the better. It starts with games and familiarizing themselves with gadgets, and coding is a big part of that." Read more...

More about Finland, Software, Startups, Education, and Programming

November 12 2013

Curious Helps You Pick Up an Awesome Hobby

Flower arrangements, Excel and riding a bike may not have much in common, but you can learn them all on Curious, a video tutorial platform. The site, launched in May, now has more than 500 lessons and 100 teachers.

I'm no stranger to wanting to learn new things via the Internet — I've relied on YouTube for updo tutorials and typically find new recipes on Pinterest. But the sweet spot of Curious is somewhere in between classroom-style learning and show-and-tell.

How Curious Works

I checked out a class called ABdomination by Kacie Fischer. She demonstrated recommended ab workouts on the grass. Meanwhile, I was sitting at my desk. Although, contrary to a traditional workout video, it didn't matter that I wasn't following along with her. I just needed to see how the exercises work so maybe I can use them when I go to the gym later. Read more...

More about Video, Education, Curious, Lifestyle, and Health Fitness

November 07 2013

Experts: Obama's Cybersecurity Plans Work, But Change Has Been Slow

Nearly five years into his presidency and one year into his second term, experts agree that U.S. President Barack Obama's cybersecurity goals are well-defined. Progress toward those goals, however, has stagnated due to a lack of political will to pass meaningful cybersecurity policies, and because the president has only so much room on his plate, experts say

Obama began his first term with three cybersecurity goals in mind: raising public awareness about what cyber threats are and how they can harm people, investing more in cybersecurity research and development so the U.S. can develop better digital-protection tools, and working with private businesses to ensure they have a high level of cyber defense while still maintaining their independence. Read more...

More about Obama, Education, Legislation, Cybersecurity, and Apps Software

October 30 2013

iPads Hold a Staggering 94% of the Education Market for Tablets

Apple says it had its best quarter ever in education sales, selling more than $1 billion worth of products.

A huge chunk of that revenue can be credited to iPads. Apple said iPads accounted for 90% of tablet activations last quarter, with the iPad overall holding a 94% share of the education market for tablets

"We see Chromebooks in some places," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "But the vast majority of people are buying PC/Mac or an iPad. "It's sort of unheard of," Cook added. "I've never seen a market share that high before. So we feel like we're doing really well here, and feel great to be making a contribution to education." Read more...

More about Apple, Education, Ipad, Tablets, and Apple Ipad
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