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The Gates Foundation announced the Next Generation Learning Challenges initiative on Monday, with $20 million earmarked this year for projects to improve college graduation. The program is looking to fund projects that will expand and strengthen open courseware, learning analytics, blended learning, and engagement in online learning. See my ReadWriteWeb story for more details.

The online language learning site Babbel has a free iPhone app that now includes its pronunciation/speech recognition tool.

JoyTunes is a new site that aims to teach music to children via an interactive video game. Much like Babbel's technology, the game assesses the student's performance on their instrument in order to give them feedback and instruction. Currently the game works with the recorder (an instrument I loathe but for some reason can still remember all the fingering for).

Wolfram Alpha has launched a volunteer site for folks to contribute data to the company's knowledge base. And the best part? One of the current challenges is to collect information about mythology. Big bonus points, in my book, for a company who cares about folklore. See my ReadWriteWeb coverage for more details.

Techdirt reports that the suburban Philadelphia Lower Merion School District has settled the lawsuits relating to the charges that it had spied on students via school laptops. The winners: the lawyers as of the $610,000 settlement, $425,000 went for the attorneys.

And proving that Google is moving us closer to a robot-run world, you can now run your LEGO Mindstorms via an Android app.

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Audrey Watters


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