Tech & Startups
Vatican anoints Microsoft in education software deal
The Vatican has struck a deal with Microsoft to give 43 million pupils at 200,000 Roman Catholic schools in more than 100 countries access to a broad suite of the software company’s products.
The new Social Network for Catholic Education will allow students to access a product called Office 365 for Education. Pupils will be able to use the company’s widely used workplace software, as well as teleconferencing and other tools.
Source: The Globe and Mail
K12 & Higher Ed
Student loan bills stall in Senate
The Senate on Thursday voted twice to try to keep student loan interest rates low – but got nowhere.
Senators rejected dueling Republican and Democratic plans to stop rates from doubling in July, because of partisan fighting – again – over how the $6-billion bill would be paid for.
Republicans want to divert money from a prevention fund created under the new health care law, while Democrats insist on eliminating a tax loophole for Subchapter S Corporations.
Both plans were largely expected to fail to reach the 60-vote barrier to kill a filibuster. And on Thursday, neither side was budging.
Canada student protests erupt into political crisis with mass arrests
Protests that began in opposition to tuition fees in Canada have exploded into a political crisis with the mass arrest of hundreds of demonstrators amid a backlash against draconian emergency laws.
More than 500 people were arrested in a demonstration in Montreal on Wednesday night as protesters defied a controversial new law – Bill 78 – that places restrictions on the right to demonstrate. In Quebec City, police arrested 176 people under the provisions of the new law.
Demonstrators have been gathering in Montreal for just over 100 days to oppose tuition increases by the Quebec provincial government. On Tuesday, about 100 people were arrested after organisers say 300,000 people took the streets.
Source: The Guardian
Mexican students protest ‘biased’ election coverage
Thousands of university students poured into the streets of Mexico City on Wednesday for the second time in a week to protest the way the upcoming presidential election is being run and, more specifically, covered in the Mexican media.
They are especially incensed that victory by Enrique Peña Nieto on July 1 is often portrayed as a fait accompli. About 15,000 (by city officials’ count) people gathered at the controversial Pillar of Light monument (seen by many here as a government boondoggle) and marched down the iconic Reforma Boulevard.
The protesters came from a wide range of universities: public, private, leftist, rightist, Catholic. And while many were decidedly anti-Peña Nieto — made clear in their banners and signs — the protest appears to go beyond pure partisan politics and represent a broader questioning of Mexico’s status quo.
Source: LA Times
Study & Research
The More Tech-Savvy The Principal, The More iPads In The Classroom
Project Tomorrow, an education research and advocacy group, released an extensive report on technology use in U.S. schools earlier this week. The report was based on the non-profit’s annual online survey, which was completed by more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, and administrators over the course of last year.
One of the most significant finding centers on how principals, superintendents, and other school and district administrators use technology in both their personal and professional lives.
As a group, school administrators are significantly more plugged into mobile technology than the average American.
- 50% of school administrators owned an iPad or other tablet device compared to 10% of the general population at the time of the survey.
- 70% of administrators owned a smartphone, significantly more than the general population, which Project Tomorrow noted as being 46% at the time of the survey.
- Nearly a third (30%) of administrators pushed for iPads, iPodtouches, laptops and other mobile devices in the classroom.
- Teachers that have taken an online class or used the Internet for professional development (about half of all teachers in the survey) were 22% more likely to recommend online classes and similar resources for their students.
- Schools with tech-friendly administrators are 21% likely to be exploring or implementing BYOD programs.
Source: Cult of Mac
Bilingualism May Boost Attention, Working Memory
Northwestern University trial provides new biological evidence that dual language speakers have enhanced auditory nervous systems.
Bilingualism yields functional and structural changes in cortical regions of the brain dedicated to language processing and executive function. Dual language speakers are highly efficient in processing auditory information. “Bilinguals are natural jugglers,” says co-author Viorica Marian in a statement. “The bilingual juggles linguistic input and, it appears, automatically pays greater attention to relevant versus irrelevant sounds.”
Source: The Atlantic
Picture by kevinrosseel