Ed News Ticker #7
When Hugging in School becomes a Crime
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Granny army helps India’s school children via the cloud
Some 300 UK-based grandmothers volunteer to work as e-mentors for children in India. The women connect with the schools via skype and the children learn through objects the grannies hold in the camera for instance.
The Granny Cloud project is the brainchild of Prof Sugata Mitra, best-known for his hole-in-the-wall computer scheme which put basic PCs into some of the poorest parts of India.
The work is being supported by the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, and MIT’s iLab project.
After three years in India the project has now been extended to Columbia in South America.
Egyptian government inks deal to provide 10,000 tablet PCs to university students
The Egyptian government has inked a deal to provide university students with 10,000 locally manufactured tablet PCs.
While it is unclear how students who receive the PCs will be chosen, they will be distributed over the next six months, based on who the Ministry of Higher Education feels will best benefit from them.
Announcing the initiative at this year’s ICT conference Hussein Khaled, the Minister of Higher Education, said that the PCs will promote “technological excellence”, encourage the use of ICT tools in the education system, as well as a continuous educational process through e-learning.
It is also hoped that the initiative will boost the local technology industry, provide job opportunities, and provide local manufacturers with experience that will allow them to compete internationally in the market.
Source: The Next Web
Crowdfund wishbone helps smart kids to finance their education
Wishbone.org is a philanthropy website where you can crowdfund high-potential youngsters so they can afford inspiring after- and summer-school programs. Wishbone only accepts seriously motivated students and produces its own polished video interviews with them, so it’s easy to find someone who’ll really benefit from your donation. According to the article it’s not trying to start education programs, but rather bridge the gap between existing ones and the kids that need them.
2tor Appoints Catherine Graham as New Chief Financial Officer
2tor announces today it has appointed Catherine Graham as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Graham has over 20 years of experience in the banking and technology sectors, and has managed a number of successful IPOs, strategic acquisitions and organizational sales. Sitting CFO and Chief Operations Officer (COO), Robert Cohen, will continue to lead 2tor operations in the role of COO.
Engrade Raises $3M to Unify Classroom Management into Single Platform
Classroom management tool suite Engrade has closed a $3 million round of funding. The round was led by Rethink Education and joined by NewSchools Venture Fund, as well as individual investors Greg Gunn, Zac Zeitlin, and Richard Chino.
Engrade was initially developed in 2003 by then high school student Bri Holt as a solution to increase communication between teachers and students. It was loved within the teacher community and grew organically to now 4.5 million users, including more than 400,000 teachers in all 50 states.
The funding will allow Engrade to serve significantly more educators by expanding its academic and outreach teams and strengthening its growing suite of tools.
Edmodo Now Serving 7M Users, 80K Schools
Edmodo, the private and secure collaboration and classroom management system announced that it has officially crossed 7 million users and is now being used in over 80,000 schools. Districts across the U.S. are now doing wide-scale implementations, and 80 of the top 100 largest school districts in the U.S. are on board, including Chicago Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Delaware, Palm Beach, Florida, Clark County, Nevada, and Wake County, North Carolina.
New York’s Columbia University gets $2m for digital journalism research
New York’s Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism will receive $2m from the Tow and Knight Foundations. This funding will be aimed at supporting the research that the Tow Center for digital journalism is conducting within the university since its creation in 2010.
This new research will focus on three aspects of digital journalism:
- Impact: measuring how new practices and tools affect audiences and newsroom resources;
- Transparency in journalism: focusing on public data – what’s available, what’s not, and what’s useful and relevant to people’s lives;
- Data visualization: examining which visuals work best in informing and engaging readers.
Source: The Next Web
City Limits School Staff’s Contact With Students via Social Media
New York City public schoolteachers may not contact students through personal pages on Web sites like Facebook and Twitter but can communicate via pages set up for classroom use, the city’s Education Department said on Tuesday after it released its first list of guidelines governing the use of social media by employees.
The guidelines do not ban teachers from using social media and, in fact, recognize that it can offer tremendous educational benefits. Nor do they address cellphones and text messaging between teachers and students, which, according to a review by The New York Times of dozens of Education Department investigations in the past five years, have been more widespread and problematic.
Source: New York Times
Tennessee Passes Abstinence-Based “Gateway Sexual Activity” Bill
The state has passed a long-mocked bill allowing parents to sue teachers and other outside parties for “promoting or condoning ‘gateway sexual activity’ by students.” The controversial measure is intended to curb teen pregnancy and is an offshoot of the state’s growing abstinence-based sex education program.
At the heart of the matter, most of the controversy stems from the “gateway sexual activity” line, which remains vague and was not clearly defined before the bill went to vote. Some detractors argue that it could unreasonably punish teachers for allowing students to cuddle, hold hands or even hug, whether in the halls between classes or at a school dance.
Akamai: Global Average Connection Speed Dropped 14% In Q4 2011, Down 5.3% in U.S.
Akamai published their most recent State of the internet repost and finds that the average Internet connection speed around the world was 2.3 Mbps by the end of 2011. That’s down about 14% from the previous quarter. In the U.S., which ranks thirteenth in this report, the average connection speed in the last quarter of 2011 dropped 5.3% to 5.8 Mbps. In total, eight out of the top 10 countries in Akamai’s report saw their average connection speed decline compared to Q3 2011. Worldwide, speeds declined in 93 of the countries included in this report and only increased in 41 countries.