This week we saw Apollo Education’s entry into Africa through its acquisition of Milpark Education. Queen Rania Foundation and edX launched Edraak, the first MOOC platform in the Arab speaking world. With Curiosityville Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired its second startup within a week. Teachers pay Teachers raised venture capital from three well established funds and eduCanon managed to win two edu competitions which got them $115k in prize money.
All this and more on this week’s Ed News Ticker.
In episode 24 of the Ed News Ticker, titled “The Curse of Gates”, Chris and Kirsten talk more about edtech in the UK, India and Brazil and also cover a variety of US domestic education technology stories.
Our international stories cover funding for Indian startup Foradian Technologies, the strategic partnership of Blackboard with Grupo Positivo in Brazil and Virgin Media’s efforts to save schools in the UK some money.
After inBloom’s untimely demise ConnectEDU also joined the deadpool; let’s hope that BloomBoard will not be affected by the curse of Gates after having raised a $5 million Series A in which the foundation participated.
Companies InsideTrack and EdStart went on a shopping spree.
Furthermore, we also have news for you from some of the big players including Bing for the Classroom, Pearson’s free math app “Virtual Nerd”, Barnes & Noble’s Yuzu is in beta and Lynda.com now has a programming course for kids.
Last but not least, we know a bit more about Osman Rashid’s new edtech venture “Galxyz”, Collegefeed launched a career center platform and we might all soon be able to boost our learning by wearing the Halo Neuroscience Headband.
This week on ENT we have EdTech news piñata with quite a few interesting stories for you that illustrate how fast edtech is developing in almost all parts of the world.
India makes the news with funding for a higher science social network and an autism app, and of course TutorVista founder Ganesh acquiring an online school for working professionals.
Adaptive learning platforms and services in the US and China accelerate through new fresh funding and the launch of new tools and services for a more personalized college admissions process.
Yik Yak leaves the cyberbullying scandal behind and gets more money.Curation startup Zoobean also secures funding.
The MOOC / LMS space continues to spark interest in Finland and the US with Guides.co certainly attracting a broader, more business-oriented audience.
Talking about growing a business, Udemy saw an important change of management this week with Dennis Yang becoming the company’s new CEO.
With episode 10 of On the Ed Chris and I take the show out of alpha mode and also bring back our popular Ed NewsTicker (ENT) format.
As always we take you through the most important fundraising stories, mergers and acquisitions as well as other other news of the week of April 14.
Pearson launches £10m fund directed at affordable education for poor children
The fund will invest in private schools in Africa and Asia to provide affordable education for poor children. The first investment is a stake in Omega schools, a privately held chain of affordable, for-profit schools based in Ghana.
“Low-cost private education is an important, complementary element of education in developing countries and should be seen as an active partner, with governments looking to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education.” says Sir Michael Barber, Pearson’s chief education adviser and chairman of the new fund.
NGOs question the approach as school attendance has been driven by the abolition of fees.
TextMaster launches API for content creator platform
TextMaster, a content creator platform which helps to crowdsource copywriting, translation or proofreading launched and API. The startup wants to attract developers that create integration with blogging platforms, email clients etc. TextMaster is also going to release an iPhone ‘dictaphone’ app that will offer transcription of audio files “within minutes”.
New features on YouTube
In its ongoing quest of making the content on the video platform more professional YouTube launched some interesting new features for video creators.
- a new version of the YouTube Android app
- bulk annotations
- new features in the video editor
- a new dashboard
- customizable thumbnails for all partners in good standing
- fixed scheduled publishing
- TrueView – a new family of video ads
- a “play button” award
- sound stages and studios in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo
- Pearson to invest in low-cost private education in Africa and Asia [The Guardian]
- TextMaster Rolls Out API For Its Copywriting, Translation And Proofreading Platform [TechCrunch]
- Youtubers React to New Site Features: Bulk Annotations, Editing Software, Sound Stages [ReadWriteWeb]
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Language Learning community busuu surpasses 10 million app downloads, opens office in London
busuu, an online language learning community and mobile app maker announced today that their apps have been downloaded more than 10 million times with currently 20,000 downloads per day. And if you take a look at the Twitter stream of the company and its co-founder Bernhard Niesner it seems as if busuu is growing its office staff in London. I think I see a Series A funding round around the corner.
BenchPrep raises $6 million
BenchPrep, a startup that builds an interactive and cross platform learning hub raised $6 million from New Enterprise Associates with participation from Revolution Ventures. This round of funding brings its total to $8.2 million.
BenchPrep partners with more than 20 publishers, including McGraw Hill, Princeton Review, Wiley, Cengage Learning and O’Reilly, licenses their material and mixes and matches the best content for each particular discipline.
Teachers, leave them Kids alone – in Delaware
The senate in Delaware is planning to ban schools from monitoring the social media accounts of their students. Some colleges and universities in the state have required students to download social media monitoring software on their personal electronic devices or accounts as a condition of their scholarships or participation in athletics. As a final step the bill just needs the signature of the governor to become a law.
- busuu.com apps reach 10 million downloads! [busuu]
- BenchPrep Grabs $6M From NEA, Revolution For Cross-Platform, Interactive Courses [TechCrunch]
- Delaware Schools to Be Barred from Students’ Social Media Lives [WSJ]
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Simon & Schuster will add QR codes to back covers
Starting this fall publisher Simon and Schuster will add QR codes to the back covers of its hardcover and paperback books. The idea is to build direct consumer relationships with the customer but of course, the person buying the book also needs to scan the code afterwards.
The code will lead the reader to the Simon and Schuster website or a special site for the book’s author. Simon and Schuster hopes that the reader will then sign up for the newsletter of the author, search for other books or watch the video content that will be available.
Though QR codes are hugely successful in Asia they did not get lots of traction in Europe or the US yet.
Computer Science most popular Major at Stanford
According to a press release from Stanford’s engineering school, computer science is the most popular major at the university. More students than ever before enrolled into the courses, also topping the enrollments of the dotcom era in 2000-2001. And more than 90 % of Stanford undergrads take a computer science course before they graduate.
For comparison, in 1955 and 65 Liberal Arts degrees like History were most popular, 1975 Psychology, 1985 Economics and 1995 Biological Sciences and Human Biology.
Computer system automatically transcribes & translates lectures
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology or KIT is testing a new computer system that can automatically transcribe lectures and translate them into English. Not only would this be a great tool for foreign students who struggle to follow a lecture in German but it also offers a great way to get notes of the lecture via the cloud where the transcript is hosted.
- Simon & Schuster is adding QR codes to all its print books. Will readers bite? [paidContent]
- Stanford’s Most Popular Major Is Now Computer Science [Mashable]
- Transcribe and translate tool could help foreign students follow lectures [University World News]
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- Udemy redesigns to improve student experience, content discovery [GigaOm]
- Crowdfunding Startup GoFundMe, Which Is Like KickStarter For The Rest Of Us, Is Pulling In $2 Million A Month [TechCrunch]
- Can you learn to cook online? The Escoffier School thinks so [GigaOm]
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