EDUKWEST Monday Ristretto

Monday Ristretto: Gates, Microsoft and STEM

To get you up to speed for the week ahead, we serve you a Monday Ristretto here on EDUKWEST by picking the most important reads from the past week, putting them in a grinder and extracting the essential information for a short and punchy brew.

As every week, we’ve got three shots for you. Two losses and one new horse in the race for the Gates Foundation. Bing enters the classroom and Microsoft donates $1 billion to school districts. STEM opportunities for female scientists, students and edtech entrepreneurs.

The Curse of Gates

The Gates Foundation had to stomach some losses lately. After the quite spectacular crash and burn of inBloom, another edtech venture backed by the Gates Foundation got itself into stormy weather. ConnectEDU, a platform for college and career planning had to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy which comes just shortly after the company had secured a $500k grant from the foundation.

But fear not, the next horse is already on the track with Bloomboard, a platform for teacher development. It received a $3 million investment from Gates and Birchmere Venture in late 2013 as reported by EdSurge’s Tony Wang. Let’s hope “the curse of Gates” won’t affect them. Otherwise, they should take Chris Dawson’s advice “If I was them, I’d probably change my name and get the Bloom out of there.”

Bing, Bing, Bing

Bing in the Classroom is now available in all US schools for free. Beside filtering content so that search results are age appropriate. Bing will also not use the user accounts or search queries to display targeted ads against. Google which got sued by students for scraping information from student accounts also announced that they won’t do this anymore; the statement comes just one day after Bing’s announcement. Pure coincidence.

In order to get more Microsoft powered devices into schools and to defend its marketshare against the rising tide of iPads and Chromebooks, the company announced a $1 billion donation to school districts to encourage the purchase of sub $300 devices.

STEM Opportunities

Osman Rashid, well known for his first two edtech ventures Chegg and Kno, announced his latest project on Monday. Galxyz is an educational game based on the upcoming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and in partnership with The New York Science Association.

L’Oréal U.S calls for applications in its annual Fellowship for Women in Science program, awarding up to $60k for postdoc research. This year applicants will also be judged in part on their commitment to supporting women and girls in science.

Siemens and Discovery Education are looking for applications from high school students, individuals or teams, to the annual Siemens Competition. The program awards college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000.

Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+