The Future is Mobile – ENT #18 05-29-2012

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Tech & Startups

1M Students Strong, Echo360 Secures $31M

Last week, The Washington Post reported that one of the leaders in this area of blended learning, the Washington D.C.-based Echo360, had taken on a big chunk of capital to fuel an ambitious mission to “reach 50 percent of U.S. college students in the next five years,” said CEO Fred Singer.
Today, the four-year-old company already has 1 million students using its blended learning solutions in over 6,000 classrooms and 500 institutions, owns 54 percent of its market, and is seeing annual revenue of $15 million. Echo360 licenses its software to schools in annual contracts that range from $20K to $200K, depending on the size of the school, which works out to an average cost for students of about $15 per year. Echo360 is currently serving about 10 percent of the colleges and universities in the U.S.

Source: TechCrunch

Haiti to pay mothers school incentives via mobile

Each mother will receive up to $20 (£13) a month and the transfers will be made via mobile phone. The programme, called Ti Manman Cheri, or Dear Little Mother, aims to benefit initially a 100,000 families in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Venezuela is providing $15m (£9.5m) for the first phase of the programme. Other Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, have adopted schemes that provide benefits to families who keep their children in education.

Source: BBC

Son-X Octavia now bringing ‘interactive sound’ to school playgrounds

The solar-powered “interactive sound device” is now shipping to schools in Europe. The coconut-esque device straps onto a conventional swing set in order to keep kids outside.
The company has designed it with tight school budgets in mind, making it completely wireless, self-contained and easy to install. Once in place, swingers can activate three aural games, each of which act to “awaken the natural curiosity in children to explore the possibilities through activity.” The price per unit is about $620.

Source: Engadget

Wikipedia Zero expands into Asia, drops mobile data charges for 10m subscribers in Malaysia

Wikipedia Zero, a project launched by the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free mobile access to Wikipedia in emerging countries, expanded into Asia for the first time this week via a partnership with Malaysian operator Digi, opening access to more than 10 million subscribers in the country.
Free access is limited to the mobile-centric text-only version of Wikipedia, which is available via
Via its partnership with Digi, Wikipedia’s free-to-access service is now available in three countries, joining Uganda and Tunisia.

Source: The Next Web

Mobile Phones not allowed in School? Store it in a Truck

A lot of schools don’t allow mobile phones or other electronic gadgets for a variety of reasons. But what are kids supposed to do with these when they cannot take them into the building?
As for every problem, smart startup founders find a solution. In this case Vernon Alcoser, a Bronx businessman and federal correctional officer came up with a clever solution: a mobile storage facility in form of a truck parked outside the school called “Pure Loyalty Electronic Device Storage”.
One gadget turned in costs $1, two only $1.50. The business is open from 7am to 5pm every school day and between 300 to 700 gadgets are stored in the truck every day. And of course, all devices are insured during storage.


K12 & Higher Ed

Quebec student protest leaders to meet with government for tuition-fee talks

Students in Quebec are to meet with the province’s education minister to resume talks over a proposed tuition fee hike that have sparked widespread protest.
It will be the fourth round of discussions as both sides bid to come to agreement over the government’s proposal to increase university fees by $325 a year for five years. The proposals sparked a strike and huge protests in Quebec, which have been fuelled by the government introducing a draconian law which restricts people’s rights to demonstrate.

Source: The Guardian

Study & Research

Exercise Improves Memory, Helps Alleviate ADHD

Evidence suggests being active improves cognition and memory and could alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in kids.
In a series of studies, Dartmouth researchers discovered these benefits vary according to age, and a specific gene appears to determine the degree to which exercise helps. This raises the possibility that exercise could be a treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Source: Wired

Picture by kahle via Morguefile


Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at