Ed News Ticker #20
Pearson is like Shopping at Walmart
Tech & Startups
1. Smarterer Grabs $1.75M From True Ventures & Google Ventures
Boston-based startup Smarterer has been quietly building a gamified platform that provides job searchers with a simple way to show employers what they know by taking quizzes in subjects that range from engineering to music.
Smarterer crowdsources its test designs and employs a smart ranking system to give its candidates a score and lets them broadcast their successes to the world. Today, the startup offers more than 500 skills and today announced that its community has now answered over 10 million questions — at an average of 70K questions per day.
To harness this growth, Smarterer is taking on another round of capital, as it officially closed $1.75 million in series A financing today, bringing its total funding to $3 million.
2. College Kids Start A Social Enterprise To Tell Stories For Good
Teach Twice reaches out to communities around the world and works to create a children’s story based on local culture–or arranges to translate an already-existing book. They print and sell the book back home, and send the proceeds to build schools or send kids to class in the community where the story originated.
“The Teach Twice book enhances the education of two children and two communities worlds apart, yet connected through a shared commitment to education and a desire to learn from books and from each other,” says the group’s website.
Teach Twice placed third in a Vanderbilt business plan competition and won a semifinalist grant in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Other startup funding came from a successful campaign through Kickstarter, where Teach Twice raised more than $7,500 in less than two months.
Source: FastCo Exist
3. Students Can Win a Gaming Scholarship
The scholarship by online gaming broadcast network TwitchTV will give students a chance to “take passion and make it a profession,” said Matthew DiPietro, TwitchTV’s vice president of marketing. “We are giving a people an opportunity to make a living off of their video game streaming activity.”
The San Francisco-based company will announce the scholarship program at the Electronic Entertainment Expo video game conference (E3). Applicants may apply on Twitch.TV.
TwitchTV is giving away $50,000 to support five young gamers. Gamers will need at least a 3.0 GPA — plus demonstrated skill in any game — to win a $10,000 scholarship.
4. Facebook to introduce accounts for children under 13?
Facebook is testing new features that would give children under 13 access to the giant social network, according to a report published Monday in the Wall Street Journal. Although one version of this new program would require children to have accounts that are linked to an adult so that supervision is easier, some parents have raised concerns about allowing pre-teens access the network at all due to Facebook’s past handling of privacy-related issues. Others, however, argue that plenty of younger children already access Facebook anyway despite the 13-year-old age limit, and that Facebook is wise to make it official.
K12 & Higher Ed
5. All but three states reject ‘pink slime’ in school lunches
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the vast majority of states participating in its National School Lunch Program have opted to order ground beef that doesn’t contain the product known as lean finely textured beef. Only three states — Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota— chose to order beef that may contain the filler.
The product has been used for decades and federal regulators say it’s safe to eat. It nevertheless became the center of national attention after the nickname “pink slime” was quoted in a New York Times article on the safety of meat processing methods. The filler is made of fatty bits of beef that are heated then treated with a puff of ammonia to kill bacteria.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
6. University of the People now has more than 1 million Facebook Fans – Adding new Advisors
University of the People, the world’s first tuition free online university, surpassed the 1 million Facebook fan mark today. For comparison, Harvard has 1.7 million fans on Facebook, Stanford 370.000.
As UoPeople founder and president Shai Reshef recently stated, the non-profit is gaining more and more momentum. Over the past weeks UoPeople expanded the Advisory Board, added Dr. Dalton Conley as new Dean of Arts & Sciences and created a new Presidents Council.
7. Ranking of top 10 countries and their higher ed systems
Universitas 21, a global network of research universities, recently released its official rankings based on the results of a year-long study.
The study’s authors examined education systems in 48 nations around the world, relying on four measures: resources (investment by government and private sector); output (the amount of research schools produce and their impact); connectivity (how well they collaborate with other nations); and environment (campus diversity and breadth of opportunities). The researchers then adjusted the data for population.
8. More lectures in Arabic at universities in the Arab world
Arab universities are coming under increasing pressure to use Arabic as a medium of instruction and expression in higher education.
In the latest development, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ryan Gjovig, head of common educational proficiency assessment at the National Admissions and Placement Office, called on universities to offer degrees in Arabic to provide students with an alternative to learning through the medium of English.
Source: University World News
9. WWII veteran Jack Fletcher graduates from high school 70 years later in Spur, Texas
Jack Fletcher was in his senior year of high school in Spur, Texas, when World War II broke out. Graduation would have to wait — 70 years, as it turned out.
Fletcher traveled the world after the war and now lives in Australia, but a special ceremony brought him back as an honorary graduate of the Spur High School Class of 2012, NBC station KCBD of Lubbock reported.
“I had to look to make sure they put a certificate in there,” he laughed after the graduation ceremony. “I was afraid they were kidding me!”
Study & Research
10. Your words matter
Ineffective or negative communication may lead to more than just a bad day; new research has shown that it can change the neural pathways in our brains and foster long-lasting negativity. On the other hand, there’s evidence to suggest that positive words expressing values such as kindness and respect can go a long way toward building a better brain.
A new book “Words Can Change Your Brain,” co-authored by Loyola Marymount, Mark Robert Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D. argues that our minds are hardwired to respond favorably to certain types of speech and negatively to others. Starting in childhood, humans’ brains are molded by the words they hear, and they claim that teaching children to use positive words helps them with emotional control and can even increase their attention spans. Their book describes “compassionate communication,” a method they believe can help people express themselves more effectively, but it also offers a fascinating overview of the latest science around speech and neuroscience.
11. Ericsson: 85% of the world will see 3G/4G in 2017
It took 12 years for 3G technologies to touch half of the world’s population, but getting to 85 percent coverage will only take another five, according to wireless infrastructure vendor Ericsson. New HSPA+ and LTE network deployments will lead to a near blanketing of the world’s populated areas with mobile broadband by 2017.
In other News
12. U.S. Cuts Sesame St. Funds in Pakistan After Elmo Show Caught Red Handed
The United States has cancelled funding for a $20 million project that brought Sesame Street to Pakistan after allegations that funds were being misused by a Pakistani puppet theatre.
The project was a co-production between U.S.-based Sesame Workshop, and Rafi Peer Puppet Workshop, based in Lahore. Newspapers reported today that Rafi Peer was allegedly using the money given by the U.S. to pay off old debts, and rewarded lucrative contracts to sources. Other allegations include building a fancy residential complex featuring swimming pools with the U.S. funds.
Source: ABC News