Google announced the 15 finalists for its Google Science Fair, as well as the winner of the People's Choice award, Nimal Subramanian. The finalists will travel to Google headquarters in July for the final round of judging.
The Wikimedia Foundation recently highlighted the work of the Montana Campus Ambassadors, long-time Wikipedia contributors who are helping recruit students and faculty to work on the site. The best part about being a Campus Ambassador is the opportunity to work with young students and adults on interesting academic subjects and the opportunity to convince academia that Wikipedia is indeed a valuable and reliable source of scholarship, says Campus Ambassador Mike Cline.
And speaking of convincing people that Wikipedia is indeed awesome, the Archivist of the United States penned a blog post this week about how the National Archives are working with Wikipedia. Seriously folks, if it's good enough for the AOTUS, it's good enough for your classroom.
The Department of Education sent a "Dear Colleagues" letter to K-12 and higher education institutions this week, reminding them of their legal obligations to make sure that any education technologies they adopt are accessible by students with disabilities. The letter does not point out any particular companies that may be questionable, but there have been concerns about accessibility with e-readers and with some websites.
A survey by the Pearson Foundation found a lot of interest among college students in tablets, with 80% of respondents saying they thought tablets had an educational value. 7% says they own a tablet already and 60% indicated they would be buying one soon. However, the news isn't so good for e-books. While tablet owners say they like digital books, only 30% of non-tablet owners felt that e-books would be better than print copies.
E-book maker Kobo announced a new $10 million initiative to inspire reading. For every 10 million minutes that people spend reading via Kobo -- either with its e-reader or its apps, the company will make a donation of between $1,000 and $20,000 in e-reading materials to an educational organization of people's choosing.
Livescribe released an upgrade to its smartpen that includes "Livescribe Connect," making it easy to share both handwritten and spoken notes to email, Facebook, Evernote, and Google Docs. Gadget lust and pen lust make me want one of these.
Techcrunch Disrupt was held this past week in New York City. No surprise, href="http://www.theawl.com/2011/05/this-weeks-tech-conference-three-days-inside-the-bubble">The Awl has the best take on the event. As far as I could tell, the representation of ed-tech was pretty scarce. We're all shocked about that, I'm sure. But one new education-oriented startup did launch there: Desmos.
The finalists of the 2011 Worldwide Imagine Cup have been announced. 124 student teams from 73 countries and regions will head to New York in July for the competition. The Imagine Cup has been profiling the teams and the categories, and as the People's Choice Award will launch soon, you should definitely check out these amazing student projects.
AllThingsD's Kara Swisher has posted a video interview with Geoff Ralston, one of the founders of Imagine K12, a new education technology incubator.
Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel announced the 24 students he's paying $100,000 each in order to drop out of college. Ugh.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg backtracked on his statement that he'd like to see kids under 13 use the site. He seemed to have a clearer idea of what COPPA does, but the media doesn't care... because do you know he only eats animals he kills himself?! Oh. wow. Now that's an important story.
Rupert Murdoch spoke at this week's eG8 forum in Paris, reiterating his company News Corp's interest and commitment to education. Our challenge is to learn from what works best�wherever in the world we find it�and put it all together. My company is determined to try, in a big way." News Corp purchased a 90% stake in the ed-tech company Wireless Generation late last year and hired former New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein to lead the company's move into this sector. Be afraid. Be very very afraid.