Ed News Ticker #13
From Salad Bars in Schools to Uni Wheels
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Tech & Startups
Honda presents robotic stool UNI-CUB
Honda’s latest personal mobility device UNI-CUB appears to be a robotic stool with an omnidirectional wheel (dubbed the Honda Omni Traction Drive System, no less). You control speed and direction of the UBI-CUB by shifting your weight in the saddle, and the unit is designed to keep you at eye-level with non chair-riding pedestrians. Obviously this is no all-terrain vehicle, but it does claim to be able to handle gradients, has a top speed of six km/h and a range just under four miles.
If you follow the link in the shownotes, you can watch a demo video of UNI-CUB.
Teens In Tech Launches A Job Board For High Schoolers
There are lots of internship sites. However, they’re primarily targeting college students, not high schoolers — who are, after all, almost certainly cheaper, while still being able to accomplish some of the same basic tasks.
Founder and CEO Daniel Brusilovsky says that “The goal of Teens in Tech is to help young entrepreneurs, and a lot of those young entrepreneurs are still in high school, and they don’t get the same opportunities that college students get with internships.”
BenchPrep Teams Up With The Princeton Review To Gamify Test Prep
BenchPrep, a young edtech startup backed by $2.2 million from Lightbank, launched last year to convert content from big educational publishers, like McGraw-Hill, into interactive web and mobile courses. While the startup expanded beyond college admission test prep in January, today it’s announcing that it is teaming up with Princeton Review to contemporize test prep for students, using game mechanics, leaderboards, and social features to make the tedious and teeth-grinding process of test prep more engaging and, hopefully, more effective.
GRE ScoreQuest is an iOS app that gamifies the study process for students taking the GRE. Obviously, the target audience is fairly limited, as it is intended for those studying to take the standardized test to get into grad school.
Share your Khan Academy badges on Facebook
With its new Facebook integration, users can now click the “Share” button on any badge, and, once permission is granted, the badge will appear on users’ Timelines. (This share functionality also works for Twitter and email.)
After a user shares a couple of badges a dedicated section will appear in your Timeline, in this case for Khan “Badges Earned.” Users can, thankfully, edit or remove that view and if you’ve collected and shared more badges than can fit in the view, you can customize which badges appear and change settings for individual badges.
K12 & Higher Ed
Vatican Investigating Girl Scouts for Links to Safe-Sex Education Groups
The Catholic Church is not investigating the Girl Scouts for their sinfully delicious cookies, but rather for the organization’s ties to nonprofits such as Médicins Sans Frontières and other groups that teach safe-sex education. Barbie Latza Nadeau on how one U.S. official’s claim that the GSA has links to Planned Parenthood has snowballed.
Source: The Daily Beast
CollegeBudget Acquires Munch On Me To Bring Food Deals To Campuses
CollegeBudget is moving more aggressively into local offers, particularly around food. For hungry, cash-strapped college students, food discounts can be extremely appealing, especially when one of the alternatives is the school’s cafeteria. This is where Munch On Me comes into the picture. Munch On Me is a daily deals site for food.
CollegeBudget has two million students and features deals from over 250 merchants at more than 100 campuses. The growth saw a big jump in January, when the startup launched national deals with American Apparel and Skype.
Why HBO Is Opening Salad Bars In Elementary Schools
HBO’s new miniseries The Weight of the Nation is an ambitious look at obesity, but it’s also a massive public health campaign with the weight of a massive media company behind it. The miniseries is paired with a companion book, tens of thousands of free copies for community organizations, and a companion children’s version.
Approximately 40,000 copies will be distributed free of charge to community organizations along with a bilingual (English-Spanish) discussion guide.
The companion children’s program, The Weight of the Nation for Kids, will air on HBO starting on May 16.
Significant support for the children’s program was offered by Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation. In preparation for the documentary’s airing, HBO and the Whole Kids Foundation entered into an agreement to fund 100 salad bars in schools across America. Whole Kids has been engaged in a long-term project to install 6,000 salad bars in public schools nationwide.
Source: FastCo Exist
Judge comes down hard on publishers, Apple in e-book case
In a strongly worded opinion, US District Judge Denise Cote rejected requests by Apple and five book publishers to throw out a class action suit that accuses them of price-fixing.
Citing ongoing state, federal and international antitrust investigations, Cote turned down arguments that Apple and the publishers had acted independently when they changed the pricing model for e-books.
Judge Cote’s ruling came in response to a request by Apple and five publishers to dismiss the case. It does not mean that the companies are liable for price-fixing, but rather that the class action lawyers can go forward in bringing the case to trial.
Source: Paid Content
Study & Research
Where Do College Grads Want to Work?
According to new research, Google was the most desired employer for business and information technology students. The company was also fourth on the list for engineering students and students with other majors.
While Google was the top choice among business and IT majors, NASA was the most desired place to work for engineering students. Among students majoring in liberal arts, education and humanities, working at the Walt Disney Co. was the top choice. Apple was also top choice among students from all majors.
The survey of nearly 60,000 undergraduates also revealed that undergraduates were most concerned about job security and work-life balance as they begin their job search. In particular work-life balance was both a top priority and a large point of contention among students and their future employers.
Can a game console help diagnose autism? Microsoft’s Kinect in a promising study
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are using Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console and Kinect sensor in an experimental effort to pick up early signs of autism, Popular Science reports.
The Kinects are set up in the Institute of Child Development to track the individual children by size and the color of their clothing, and can monitor about ten children at a time. Software takes the raw visual data from the Kinects and runs it through an algorithm to look for possible markers of ASD, like an unusually hyperactive or unusually quiet and calm child.
“Researchers and scientists believe that psychiatric disorders display subtle physical abnormalities in childhood well before the onset of a full disorder,” lead researcher Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos said. “We believe that we can use new computational tools, including computer vision and robotics, with a unique new computer vision algorithm to observe and detect abnormalities in motor and emotion in children to automatically analyze them for abnormalities.”
MIT’s Brainput reads your mind to make multi-tasking easier
The Brainput project combines near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) with an input system designed to read changes in a user’s brain state and translate those signals into an adaptive multi-tasking interface. Sounds like heady stuff, but if successfully implemented into high-stress environments like air traffic control, the low-cost, experimental tech could go a long way to boosting individual performance and reducing overall stress levels. For now, the team still has a ways to go before the system, presently capable of interpreting three distinct mental states, could make its way into end user applications.
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