Weekly News Roundup

Project Tomorrow has just released the results of its Speak Up 2010 survey that asked over 300,000 students (and 43,000 parents, 35,000 teachers, and 3,500 administrators) about their thoughts on technology and learning in the classroom. It found, no surprise, students' ownership and use of technology is on the rise, with students now saying that Internet filtering - not Internet speed - is their major obstacle at school. I wrote about this for ReadWriteWeb, and for MindShift.

And what happens if students don't have Internet access? Well, a new study has found that when they are away from digital media, they experience symptoms of withdrawal and depression. At least, that's according to a University of Maryland study that asked 1000 students from around the world to abstain from media for a day. I'm leary of studies like this, in no small part because I think it's a mistake to apply addiction terminology to everything. Bonus points for getting students to say that, without Internet access they are "itching like a crackhead."

The Gates Foundation's new initiative Next Generation Learning Challenges announced the winners of its first round of grants this week, with $10 million in funding going to projects aimed at boosting college graduation rates. The projects tackle blended learning, student engagement, learning analytics, and open courseware initiatives. You can read the complete list of winners here. And you can read my RWW story here.

Kno, once the maker of a student-oriented tablet is officially getting out of the hardware business. The company has handed over the development of that technology to Intel, according to All Things D's Kara Swisher. Kno has taken another $30 million in investment to focus now on developing educational software. Sigh.

Google announced this week that schools can get a no-cost license to the professional version of its 3D drawing tool, Sketch Up. More details on the SketchUp blog.

ePals has struck a number of partnerships, including one to add components of Agilix's BrainHoney LMS and then in turn to provide this as part of Dell's Connected Classroom, reports ZDNet

The Department of Education announced this week that it was launching an initiative to address student privacy. The department has hired its first privacy officer, and it's established a privacy technical assistance center. It says it will take a look at updating FERPA as well. Undoubtedly the government is starting to scrutinize how technologies are using consumer data, and students' data (and children's data) is sure to come under the microscope.

Timbuktu has launched the first kids' magazine for iPad.

Language learning community busuu.com has launched 7 new iPad apps: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and English. The apps are free, but you'll need to pay 2.99 EUR to unlock the premium versions with more vocabulary.

The digital content and social learning platform Xplana has released an Android app, giving students full access to Xplana's study features (notes, videos, flashcards etc). I had a chance to speak with Xplana's Rob Reynolds and hear more about the company's plans to build out modular, individualized educational content, available across platforms.


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