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Tech & Startups
Thailand signs $32.8m deal to begin largest educational tablet rollout to date
Thailand’s government signed an initial $32.8 million (1.02 billion THB) contract for a project that aims to deploy close to a million devices across the nation’s schools.
The initiative, which was first announced as an election promise from the Pheu Thai party last summer, will see supplier Shenzhen Scope ship an initial 400,000 devices within the next 90 days, following first delivery of 2,000 test units.
An as-yet-unsigned contract is on the table for a further 530,000 devices — taking the rollout to 930,000 units and total spend to $75.7 million — as the government advances its objective of providing every first grade student at a public school with their own tablet.
Source: The Next Web
bab.la builds all-access dictionaries with responsive design
bab.la has taken the strategic step to make its dictionaries accessible across all devices with the help of responsive design.
Now the bab.la dictionaries can be accessed through any device and the website will “refit itself” to the screen of the user, dropping the annoying zooming necessity for mobile users while at the same time keeping the easy usability across all devices.
With over 12 million unique visitors per month, bab.la responded to feedback from its users. “After five years, the implementation of 21 languages and 32 dictionaries we knew a major overhaul was needed. This step will help us to tackle the next five years.” says Andreas Schroeter, co-founder of bab.la.
Microsoft Research’s MirageTable brings some augmented reality to your tabletop
The MirageTable offers a glimpse of one possible future where two people can interact with virtual objects on a table as if they were sitting across from each other (or simply do so on their own). To make that happen, the setup relies on a ceiling-mounted 3D projector to display the images on a curved surface, while a Kinect on each end of the connection both captures the person’s image and tracks their gaze to ensure images are displayed with the proper perspective.
PlaySay: Social Language Learning App Launches With $820k And A HarperCollins Deal In Its Pocket
PlaySay, a “social language learning” startup, debuted a free, new Spanish/English iPhone app on May 1st — along with a licensing deal with HarperCollins and an additional $250,000 in funding, taking total backing in the company up to $820,000.
Today the app reached the no 1 spot in the education section of the iTunes App Store.
K12 & Higher Ed
Modo Labs’ growth shows how colleges are studying Mobile 101
Modo Labs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup providing open source mobile platforms, said that since its launch last year, its Kurogo platform for building mobile apps has been adopted by more than 200 universities across the country, including Harvard, Boston College and Villanova University.
The schools’ motivation for going mobile was to provide current students with schedules, campus updates and tools for keeping in touch with faculty. But, later, the schools started to realize that most of their traffic was coming from off-campus.
That observation was backed up by a February survey from the National Research Center for College & University Admissions and consulting company Noel-Levitz. It found that 52 percent of prospective college students said they viewed a school’s website on a mobile device in 2011 – more than double the percentage from 2010. Of those students, 48 percent said the mobile site experience improved their perception of the school.
2012 College Grads Enter Improving Job Market
The class of 2012 is leaving college with something that many graduates since the start of the Great Recession have lacked: jobs. Campus job fairs were packed this spring and more companies are hiring. Students aren’t just finding good opportunities, some are weighing multiple offers.
Between September 2008 and August 2010, 6.9 million American jobs were eliminated. In the last year and a half, 3.1 million jobs have been created. The strengthening job market has made a big difference to seniors who are job-hunting in their final semester.
Source: Huffington Post
Columbia Janitor graduates with Honors
Twenty years ago Gac Filipaj was close to finishing law school in Yugoslavia, but he left for America to get away from civil war. He learned English, got a job as a janitor at Columbia University in New York, taking classes for free.
He has now graduated with honors in Classics, chipping away at that degree for 12 years. He’s right back to cleaning at Columbia, looking for a better job, and graduate school. Still, sending money home to his family.
Source: Fox News
Study & Research
Can 20 per cent of schoolchildren really have special needs?
The £5 billion budget for students with learning difficulties is rising fast in the UK – but is the money being used to cope with a new tide of poor parenting and failed teaching?
Many experts fear that funds earmarked to help children with learning difficulties are being redirected to cope with a new tide of social deprivation that is washing up in the classroom. Children from troubled homes, who turn up at schools with behavioural problems, are being routinely put on the SEN register alongside those with more specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.
Official figures show that affluent Richmond upon Thames in west London has 11.8 per cent of primary pupils on the SEN register. In Liverpool, with its higher levels of unemployment and poverty, that figure is 22.6 per cent. So are SEN, and the vast resources that accompany it, being used as an excuse for poor parenting?
Study: The decline of linguistic and cultural diversity is linked to the loss of biodiversity
The authors said that 70% of the world’s languages were found within the planet’s biodiversity hotspots. Data showed that as these important environmental areas were degraded over time, cultures and languages in the area were also being lost. The results of the study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“Biologists estimate annual loss of species at 1,000 times or more greater than historic rates, and linguists predict that 50-90% of the world’s languages will disappear by the end of the century,” the researchers wrote.
Picture by wax115 via Morguefile