Tech & Startups
Grockit Wants to Build a Pinterest for Learning
Grockit’s new product, Learnist, works a bit like a Pinterest for learning. Soon anyone will be able to compile content pieces onto a board or “learning.” A bookmarklet makes it easy to collect content from other sites.
Unlike Pinterest, however, creators suggest a path in which to consume each content component. Users can check off each component as they go or “re-add” it to one of their own learnings.
Grockit will continue to offer its test-prep service for $30 per month, but it is focusing on Learnist going forward. Grockit’s social, adaptive learning question sets are now embeddable within Learnist boards.
“Test prep was always a stepping stone to larger learning,” Nivi says about the change in direction. “We always knew this was coming. We just didn’t know what it would look like.”
Former Kaplan executive launches Civitas Learning
Charles Thornburgh, a former senior executive at Kaplan launches Civitas Learning, a digital-education platform that uses predictive analytics to help guide educational decision-making. Civitas works with partner institutions — and also, more specifically, with the data those partner institutions have gathered about their students — to identify trends about the classes students enroll in, the majors they take on, and other factors that can determine career courses and overall success in their post-collegiate lives.
The company, based in Austin, has raised $4.1 million in venture capital funding.
Google did not infringe on Oracle patents – Jury struggle with technical language
Google won the second part of its patent fight over Android with Oracle today when a jury decided unanimously that it did not infringe on patents from Sun Microsystems (purchased in 2009 by database giant Oracle). Two interesting takeaways for educators: 1) There is one less bit of uncertainty around the adoption of Android for a variety of computing needs in schools and 2) As with the previous Google/Oracle trial, jurors struggled with highly technical language in the patents. Another aspect of general tech and language education?
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt files for bankruptcy
Publishing giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, citing $3.5 billion in debt, filed for bankruptcy in US court today. According to Bloomberg, “More than 20 affiliates also entered bankruptcy, including Broderbund LLC and Classroom Connect Inc.
“The global financial crisis over the past several years has negatively affected” Houghton Mifflin’s financial performance, in a business that “depends largely on state and local funding” for the schoolbook market, said William Bayers, company general counsel, in court papers.”
The reorganized company will be looking to deals with Amazon, among others, to develop new revenue streams after it emerges from bankruptcy protection.
Source: Business Week
K12 & Higher Ed
Former Twitter CTO Takes Key Role at Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus
Cornell University is building a revolutionary technology campus in New York City in collaboration with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and filling a key role at the school will be former Twitter Chief Technology Officer Greg Pass.
Pass will serve as CornellNYC Tech’s “Founding Entrepreneurial Officer,” a role tasked with ensuring the academic program is tightly intertwined with New York City’s many technology firms and that the curricula is highly focused on developing students’ entrepreneurial skills. Pass will also help direct student hackathons and coding workshops as well as serve as a public face for the university.
Mitt Romney calls for funding school choice with funds for disabled students
US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney outlined his education agenda today, in particular aiming to expand school choice and make funds through the IDEA and Title 1 programs (for disabled and disadvantaged students, respectively) portable when students wish to attend online schools, charter schools, or otherwise leave schools that don’t meet their needs.According to EdWeek, “When it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act, Romney would dismantle the accountability system at the heart of the law, and calls for schools to create “report cards” with a variety of information about student progress. Schools would have report scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress—known as the nation’s report card.”
Source: Education Week
NSA Teams Up With Colleges to Train Students for Secret Cyber-Ops Jobs
The National Security Agency is partnering with select universities to train students in cyber operations for intelligence, military and law enforcement jobs, work that will remain secret to all but a select group of students and faculty who pass clearance requirements.
Although 20 universities applied to participate in the program, only four were selected so far: Dakota State University, Naval Postgraduate School, Northeastern University and University of Tulsa.
The cyber-operations curriculum is part of the Obama administration’s national initiative to improve cybersecurity through education, and is designed to prepare students for jobs with the U.S. Cyber Command, the NSA’s signals intelligence operations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies that investigate cyber crimes.
Oakland schools’ black male students at risk
Researchers found that 1 out of 5 African American boys in Oakland, more than 1,200 students, were suspended from school at least once last year and an equal number were chronically absent.
The study identified the early-warning signs of a high school dropout, including an absentee rate of at least 10 days in a school year, at least one suspension, below-grade literacy and being held back a grade.
To address the problem, Superintendent Tony Smith created the Office of African American Male Achievement in October 2010, one of a handful of public school programs in the country focused on one subset of students based on a single ethnicity and gender.
While the report’s numbers were sobering, Chatmon said it’s important to note the good news, including the nearly 1,200 black students who landed on the honor roll this spring.
Source: SF Gate
Nearly $100,000 in college checks appear forged, audit finds
Auditors had handwriting experts review the checks and other documents. The experts concluded the signature of Trade Tech President Roland “Chip” Chapdelaine was probably forged on dozens of checks to the executive director, Rhea Chung.
The audit found another official’s signature was forged on bonus agreements and another contract involving Chung. She has been on administrative leave since January after a previous district audit raised questions about the propriety of bonuses and perks paid to her.
The Times reported in February that Chung had spent tens of thousands of dollars in foundation money intended to help needy students on golf outings and restaurant meals.
Source: LA Times
80 Percent Of Spanish Teachers were On Strike on Tuesday
Teachers and students from every level of Spain’s education system went on strike Tuesday to protest wide-ranging government spending cuts, erecting makeshift tombs at university campuses to symbolize what they claim will be the death of the country’s schooling system.
Union officials said 80 percent of the country’s teachers took part. All but three of Spain’s 17 regions participated in the stoppage, the biggest in a series of strikes so far this year that had until now been scattered around the country. The Education Ministry did not return a call seeking government figures.
Source: Business Insider
Study & Research
Report: College Students Study Less
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, the amount of time college students spend preparing for class each week has dropped from 24 hours a week to about 15 over the past 12 years. Critics say college students are getting lazier and college is getting less demanding academically and more focused on athletics. Others counter that students have had to take on more work to afford higher education and make ends meet.
Source: The Daily Beast