I thought that ed-tech news would be sparse now that school's out, but there was a lot happening this week. You wouldn't guess it, of course, by the frequency with which I updated Hack Education this week. My excuse: travel (of course). I was in New York for ReadWriteWeb's 2WAY Summit in which I had the pleasure of (finally) meeting the wonderful danah boyd and of facilitating a great panel on kids and tech. I've written up my thoughts on the contrasts between boyd's session and my own here.
Booksurfers, a new e-book series available only for the Kindle and aimed at readers age 9 to 12, follows four adventurer kids as they jump into -- well "booksurf" -- classic (and public domain) novels. The e-books lets readers switch back and forth between the plot of these adventure stories and the classic texts themselves. The first two titles are Treasure Island and The Wizard of Oz.
Language learning platform Babbel has added four new languages: Indonesian, Polish, Turkish and Dutch, bringing its portfolio to 11 languages total. Babbel's courses are browser-based and don't require any downloads.
Intel is asking students to tell the company "what inspires you to learn?" It's a contest for students age 14-18. Students can submit entries of at leasat 50 words, but that can include other multimedia content. The winner will receive a Toshiba laptop with Intel 2nd Generation Core i5 technology plus a Sony Internet TV for her or his school. Submissions are due August 15.
Describing the featiures as "knocking down barriers to knowledge," Google unveiled a number of updates to its search capabilities this week, including the ability to search by voice and by image via your computer.
As I reported earlier in the week on MindShift, the Next Generation Learning Challenges has announced the winners of its latest round of grant recipients. $7 million will go to fund projects aimed at boosting college readiness.
Punflay, the makers of a virtual frog dissection app (see my recent MindShiftstory from earlier this year) has launched a special website, which means that those without iPads can now take advantage of the virtual dissection tools. The frogs are thankful.
Microsoft announced the winners of its Kodu Cup, a contest that challenged kids age 9 to 17 to build video games using Kodu, the visual programming language. The grand prize winner was 10-year-old Hannah Wyman, who built a game called Toxic.
Good news for open educational resources from Brazil this week. Federal legislation was introduced that would require that government funded educational projects be openly licensed. And the Sao Paolo Department of Education also mandated that all its educational content would be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share-Alike license.
Apple has announced its new back-to-school offer for students buying Macs for college. No longer will a Mac purchase include a free iPod. Instead, students will receive a $100 gift card for iTunes.
With an increasing interest in computer science majors,The New York Times asks "Is this CS's Sputnik moment?"
Computational search engineWolfram Alpha unveiledtwo new course assistant apps this week: one for Physics and one for Network Administration.
Popular VOIP service Skype continues to roll out improvements to its new "Skype in the classroom" program. You can now search for teachers and classrooms to connect with by country. Over 13,000 teachers have already signed up for the service since it launched earlier this year.
The for-profit institution Kaplan University has launched an iPad app. The app will let its online students access courses, archives lectures, syllabi, and discussion boards.
Kids' social network Everloop announced this week it has raised $3.1 million in funding. Everloop is aimed at the demographic too young to join Facebook: 8-13 year-olds.
Congratulations to Bing's REDU team, who won a Webby for its educational activism.
If you missed the "flipped classroom" this week, you can watch the recording here. The webinar featured Scott McLeod, Karl Fisch, Frank Noschese, Sylvia Martinez, Jonathan Bergmann, Jonathan Martin, Pam Moran, David Truss, and Jerrid Kruse. Don't miss it. (Or, alternatively, tune in next week to MindShift when I'll have a write-up of the event and of some of the ongoing discussions about the flipped classroom and video lectures).