Items tagged with education

In June of 2013, the Los Angeles Unified School District approved a deal with Apple and Pearson that would see curriculum filled iPad tablets in the hands of every student regardless of income level, along with every teacher and administrator. However, the $1.3 billion effort (around $500 million for the iPads with curriculum and $800 million to improve Internet access at schools) hasn't come close to expectations, and now the school district is threatening legal action.Let's backtrack a moment. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Unified was sold on the idea after seeing samples of Pearson's curriculum on iPad devices. As part of the contract, Pearson would provide English and... Read more...
At long last, Pixar has finally made good on a promise they made last year to release Free Non-Commercial RenderMan. The software is a full-feature version of the company's RenderMan software that anyone can install and use for purposes of research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and personal projects that do not generate a commercial profit. And Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is without limitations, too, such as watermarking, time limits, data volume, or any other such restrictions. Pixar's RenderMan software release features the company's new RIS rendering paradigm, which the company says "delivers extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting... Read more...
If your goal is to provide nearly every person in your school district with a tablet, it might not be the best idea to go with one of the most expensive models on the market. That's a lesson the Los Angeles Unified School district is finding out, although there's more to this story than immediately meets the eye.As part of a massive $1.3 billion plan, iPads were to be distributed to students, teachers, and administrators. Perhaps not that surprisingly, the plan fell short, and the tune changed to, "I don't believe we can afford a device for every student". That sucks on two levels; students were no doubt looking forward to this, and it's no doubt frustrating to begin... Read more...
If Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gets his way, phone bills will go up by 16 cents a month, or $2 per year, as part of a plan to fund faster Internet access in schools. This would apply to the E-Rate fee that appears on phone bills, which is a program to fund Internet access to schools and libraries. Wheeler and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) fielded a conference call to introduce the proposal. Both are in agreement that the current program needs rebooted, stressing that there's a growing divide between schools in well-to-do neighborhoods and those in lower-income, rural areas over Internet access. Image Source: Flickr (Michael Surran) "The failure to do so will mean children... Read more...
Apparently, people are using the Internet for more than streaming Netflix and looking at cat videos. Research by Highspeed Internet.com suggests that the states that have the highest ACT scores are also the ones that have the fastest Internet connections. Obviously, upgrading your Internet connection (or living in a state with fast connections) isn’t going to ensure academic success, but the correlation between Internet connectivity and academics makes a certain amount of sense: much of education is based on communication, and the better your communication tools (and the better your access to them), the better for your studies. Image Credit: HSI The data used in HSI's research was pulled... Read more...
Give Google credit for sticking with its Chromebook platform despite a somewhat slow start and initial lukewarm reception. Over time, consumers are starting to see the value in these cloud-oriented systems, and they're proving particularly popular in schools. According to Google, schools bought more than 1 million Chromebook systems in the second quarter of 2014. David Andrade, CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district, explained in a guest blog post on Google's Enterprise portal that the low cost of ownership and easy maintenance clinched the decision to stock up on Chromebook systems. "We could buy three Chromebooks for the price of a single desktop computer and the district’s small... Read more...
In a world where for some reason there are schools think that outfitting students with delicate and expensive iPads is a good idea, Intel Education has designed a rugged tablet that may actually survive the toughest test there is: kids K-12. The Android-based Amplify Tablet was built specifically for “the K-12 environment” with Corning Gorilla Glass, ruggedized edges that can survive drops, some level of waterproofing, and a tethered stylus. (The key there being “tethered”.) The tablet runs on a dual-core Intel Atom chip (2GHz) and also features a 10.1-inch touch display and 5MP rear- and 1.3MP rear cameras. There are microHDMI and microUSB ports, as well as a 2x2 MIMO... Read more...
Chromebooks are gaining traction because they're relatively inexpensive, lightweight and portable, and capable of basic computing chores. They're especially well suited for students of various ages -- kids and teens can use Chromebooks to research their reports on the Internet, type up documents, and more. With all that in mind, Acer and Intel are offering K-12 schools a chance to pilot Google's Chrome OS with a free 30-day trial of the Acer C720 Chromebook. There's an application to fill out for for K-12 schools interested in participating in the seed program, and by entering the program, the customer agrees to have two short conference calls with Acer. After the first call, Acer will send out... Read more...
Lenovo's staying in the news for its recent purchase of Motorola Mobility, but the laptop side of the house is still humming, too. The timing here seems a little odd given that we're nowhere near back-to-school season, but then again, it has the spotlight to itself. The company has just issued new, rugged ThinkPad devices aimed at the education market. Introduced for the first time at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC), the ThinkPad 11e series of laptops were "designed specifically for education and ruggedized for classroom performance." These will be headed to K-12 classrooms, and part of the fun is in the form factor. The 11e series will ship in two models: the traditional laptop... Read more...
Rumors about a potential 13-inch Apple iPad (please don’t call it the “iPad Maxi”, guys) have been kicking around for months, but it’s never made sense what exactly Apple would do with a device of that size until now. A Digitimes report (which you should always take with a grain of salt) reported that the 12.9- or 13.3-inch iPad would actually be aimed at the North American educational market, and a ComputerWorld report posited the idea that such a device would actually be ideal as a classroom desktop for kids. The screen size would certainly be better for displaying digital textbooks than currently-sized iPads. Further, making those devices into de facto iOS desktops,... Read more...
It looks as though Nintendo is interested in getting into the tablet game, though what the company has in mind isn't a gaming tablet. Instead, Nintendo has gone and built a slate intended for schools. The unreleased tablet runs Android and is designed for play educational games rather than saving Princess Peach from yet another castle, unless perhaps math problems are involved, in which case such a scenario would be theoretically possible. Nintendo of America software engineer Nando Monterazo blitzed Twitter with a series of tweets talking about the tablet, revealing that the device in hand is running a fully modified version of Android. "It is a tablet with educational games for children with... Read more...
Microsoft is enrolling its Bing search engine in as many local schools as it can as part of a new initiative aimed at teaching digital literacy skills. The program is called for Bing For Schools and it will provide kindergarten through 12th grade students with a custom-tailored version of Bing that automatically removes ads from search results, enhances privacy protections, filters out adult content, and adds specialized learning features. While details are still being hammered out, Microsoft confirmed the program is both free and completely voluntary, giving schools the choice of whether to participate or use the regular version of Bing. Schools that opt-in to the program will experience the... Read more...
It’s perhaps as perfect a marriage as two educationally-minded can have: PBS and TED (of the famous TED Talks) are teaming up to produce a one-hour special on the public network called “TED Talks Education”, which airs Tuesday evening at 10/9 central. Although TED Talks tend to be fascinating, PBS and partner WNET (a New York public broadcaster) reworked the 18-minute TED format down to 5- to 8-minute segments per speaker. Topics will focus on education and in particular issues surrounding high school dropout rates, and the show will mix in clips of young people talking about their schooling. The hour-long event will be hosted by singer John Legend, who himself is interested... Read more...
Talk about schooling the competition (quite literally) -- Apple on Wednesday announced that iTunes U content downloads have surpassed one billion. According to Apple, iTunes U is the largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums, and organizations, which educators can use to put together lectures, assignments, quizzes, and so forth. "It’s inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "With the incredible content offered on iTunes U, students can learn like never before?there are now iTunes U courses with more than... Read more...
It's quite possible that Google's Chromebook launched ahead of its time. Is the world truly ready to embrace a cloud-centric operating system? Chromebook adoption has been sluggish for sure, but in the areas that Google is concentrating on, progress is still being made. Specifically, enterprise and education. In a recent report, Google has noted a surge in uptake in the latter department. As of now, 2,000 schools are using Chromebooks for Education, which is actually twice as much as just three months ago. The most recent schools to join the fray include: Transylvania County Schools in rural North Carolina deploying 900 devices; top Catholic prep school St.Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida... Read more...
Lenovo added to its education portfolio with the release of the ThinkPad X131e, a Chromebook designed to withstand the substantial abuse doled out by kids in grades K-12.  The laptop includes a rubberized bumper around the top cover, reinforced corners for the inevitable drops, and strengthened hinges and brackets that are built to be opened and closed 50,000 times before giving out. "With the rugged features we added to the X131e, we've seen reduced failure rates in the field”, said Jerry Paradise, executive director of product marketing for the ThinkPad Product Group. “This is a huge benefit to schools and students.” Being a Chromebook, this ThinkPad taps into Google... Read more...
What if you could take an online course from a third-party site (not necessarily a university), and get college credit for it? Wouldn't that be ideal? In today's take on "Living In The Future," we're seeing a Silicon Valley start-up partner with San Jose State University in order to make those kinds of dreams come true. Udacity is in the business of creating online college courses, while SJSU is in the business of handing out degrees to those who complete coursework, and preparing the younger generation for the working world ahead. Udacity falls into the MOOC sector -- also known as "massive open online course." In general, these are frowned upon, seen as "not real" schoolwork. But in the Internet... Read more...
Mobile devices cater to a multitude of needs, but one of the most important and perhaps interesting is learning. Even in a country like the United States, where education and learning content isn't hard to come by, many parents have begun introducing their children to tablets. It's a way they can learn interactively, while having fun. Now, imagine the potential this sort of learning could have in a country like Ethiopia, where many kids don't have access to something we consider basic on these shores: a teacher. Early this year, the One Laptop Per Child project delivered 20 tablets to a village that has become a common sight in the country. Cleanliness doesn't exist here, but that's certainly... Read more...
The iPad Mini is still technically a rumor, but it’s all but been confirmed from various inside sources to any numbers of news and rumor outlets. We’re fairly certain that Apple will announce the device in short order, and among the likely true reports are that this smaller iPad will have a 7-inch (or so) form factor and will cost far less than the full-size iPad--possibly as low as $249. One of the aspects of the iPad Mini that hasn’t been discussed ad nauseum is it’s intended purpose. Obviously, on the one hand Apple needs a smaller tablet to compete in the growing 7-inch market, so that’s a no-brainer. However, according to BusinessWeek, Apple also views the iPad... Read more...
If you're late to the game, you might as well bring some serious naming heat to get noticed. That's what Oregon Scientific are doing, with the unveiling of the "MEEP!" Android tablet. That's correct; there's now a tablet named MEEP! It's pretty tough to believe, but true nonetheless. Not surprisingly, it's designed for children, and will reportedly feature music, movies, e-books, parental controls and other kid-friendly attributes. It's clearly aimed to take some of Leapfrog's market share -- not that of the iPad -- offering a 7" touchpanel, Wi-Fi, an SD card slot, internal storage and a G-Sensor. All websites and content can be monitored through intuitive parental controls that are adjusted... Read more...
Chrome is doing great. Android is doing great. Google is doing great. But what about Chrome OS? And what about Chromebooks? These machines were set to revolutionize the notebook industry, and we've heard radio silence on them ever since Google I/O 2011. But it sounds like Google's working overtime behind the curtains in order to get these positioned in places where adoption is going to be easier than in the consumer market. According to TechCrunch, reporting from the Florida Educational Technology Conference, Google has placed "hundreds" of Chromebooks across schools in 41 U.S. states. Even today, hundreds of schools are already using them, but few specific figures were given beyond that. It... Read more...
Apple announced its new foray into education today with a presentation that included details on iBooks 2 (and the digital textbooks available therein), iBooks Author (an app for the creation of digital textbooks), and the latest on iTunes U. iBooks 2 Apple wants to reinvent textbooks, and it’s starting with iBooks 2. Via the free iBooks 2 app, iPad users can download gorgeous digital textbooks, which are incredibly interactive. It’s a breeze to get to the table of contents and jump to pages from there, and the entire book is searchable. The pages have beautiful hi-res photos, embedded videos, and interactive images that let you zoom in to view content or show pop-ups with additional... Read more...
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