This app teaches kids to code by letting them make their own games.
Correcting The Grammar Of Graffiti
A brilliant ad campaign for a London tutoring company takes to the streets to show people the correct way to write mean things about other people’s mothers on walls
News Corp Gets Into The Tablet Business With Amplify
Joel Klein, head of News Corporation’s new Amplify education brand, announced today at the South By Southwest Educationconference in Austin, Texas, that the company has designed its own branded Android tablet-sized computer. It comes bundled with software designed for teachers and students.
The Amplify tablet comes preloaded with a whole mess of content—Google Apps for Education, Common Sense Media-rated audio, video, games, online textbooks, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, and a graphing calculator. It has specialized search tools to find millions of hours worth of digital lessons and homework, all aligned to Common Core educational standards that are currently being adopted by most school systems.
You could probably take it along with your 5-year-old kid to a desert island and get her halfway to a college degree.
But that’s not all. Amplify was built from News Corp’s acquisition of Wireless Generation, a major vendor of software-based data systems and assessment tools to schools. So in addition to the content, the new tablets will have lesson-plan builders and dashboard-style tools for teachers, principals, and parents to track and monitor students’ performance.
The 10-inch tablet will be marketed to states, districts, and individual schools for use this coming school year. The cost is $299 a pop for a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet when you buy a two-year subscription to Amplify-branded content, which costs $99 a year. Or you can get one with a 4G data plan for $349 per device and a $179 a year contract. This compares to $399a pop for a non-4G iPad, the most popular tablet in U.S. classrooms. The subscription fees include live chat, phone, and email support and professional development for teachers.
The enthusiasm for touchscreen tablets and phablets in education is surprising even the most ardent technology fans. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said ”the adoption of the iPad in education is something I’ve never seen in any technology.” Education spending on IT is estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, of which a little more than half is currently going to hardware. The Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Kindle, Microsoft Surface, and even the Nook are allvying for market share.
Asked by Fast Company why Amplify wanted to enter this crowded field on the hardware side, Klein cited the power of an integrated hardware and software platform. “My view has been that if we don’t design a product that really facilitates and changes teaching and learning, and all the supports that go together to make this a robust package, then we’ll be where we’ve been [in the past].”
As exciting as this is, one must wonder what happens to the students in schools that can’t afford these tools?
THE TRUTH ABOUT THAT 100 MILLION DOLLAR NEWARK SCHOOLS DONATION: An email chain including Bill Gates, Square’s Jack Dorsey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals how stage-managed charity can be.
“Among U.S. K-12 teachers (Control+F knowledge) is around 50%, with huge variations by school district and location. As you’d guess, tech-savvy schools (districts) do reasonably well. But most of the U.S. is not tech-savvy. I’ve seen many cases where the lack of the ability to find a text on the web page leads to all kinds of scholastic hilarity.”
The game developers at Valve stumbled into the learning business, and then won the hearts of teachers (and students) everywhere by creating the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker.
For most people, high school science fairs yield amusing but not altogether practical results: your baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, your potato clocks. There are exceptions, of course—15 year-old Jack Andraka created a cheap, efficient pancreatic cancer sensor for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. And there are the finalists in Google’s annual Science Fair, which invites entrants ages 13 through 18 to compete for a variety of prizes. These kids are results are anything but amusing. They’re potentially world changing.
Below, we look at five of our favorite finalists (there are 15 in total). The winner will be crowned next month.
Gone are the days when schools and libraries were large, impersonal institutions of learning. Today, architects are pushing the boundaries of learning spaces, putting kids in environments that we may not recognize as a school.
Then, earlier this year, she donned an electric-blue bubble dress and a rust-colored puffy wig, and took to a very different kind of stage than she’s used to: The New York Hall of Science, where she spent a month-long residency doing multimedia concerts for adults and tech-science-music workshops for public-middle-school students. “I was kind of thinking of me when I was, like, 8 and what would be the best thing that could happen to me in music school, and the whole thing is kind of designed around that format,” Björk says.
The kids learned rudimentary music theory, played with the apps, then started creating their own songs. Björk’s work paired perfectly with the Hall of Science’s installations—her track “Moon” corresponded to a “Search for Life Beyond Earth” exhibit, for example—so that children could follow their interests to discover bigger ideas. Her audience cheered in their own way, especially after tapping a screen to make a Tesla coil spark. “I am Thor!” shouted a gaggle of 13-year-olds.
AT&T is investing $3.8 million to further the nonprofit startup GameDesk’s unique approach to learning by playing—and creating—video games.
TED-Ed’s New Video Tool Allows Anyone To Create Video Lessons Online
TED-Ed’s new free platform allows anyone to “flip” any video on YouTube by adding custom content to play alongside it, making it possible to turn any piece of video content into a teachable moment.
TED, the conference dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” took a step forward in its educational mission today by launching a TEDEd video channel on YouTube. Shorter than the 18-minute TED talks that have racked up 500 million views, these videos feature a combination of talking heads from TED stages and animation (artwork by Fast Company Most Creative Person Sunni Brown, among others) tackling topics like neuroscience and evolution for a high-school-aged audience.
Khan Academy, the wildly popular Youtube lecture series, is slated to launch its iPad app any minute now in Apple’s store. The enhanced version of Khan Academy will include time-syncing between devices—no Internet connection required—an interactive transcript of the lectures for easy searching, and a handy scrubber for moving between parts of the lectures.