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A version of this post is also available at KQED's Mindshift

Barnes & Noble has released a new Nook Color app this week to support its kids' community Tikatok. The app lets kids create and publish their own e-books on the Nook Color.

Google announced the winners of its first global Science Fair this week, selecting the winning entries from submissions from over 10,000 student projects from over 90 countries. As Google itself noted, the final decision was all about "girl power" as the award in each of the three age categories was given to a young woman: Lauren Hodge (age 13-14) who studied the effect of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken; Naomi Shah (age 15-16) who endeavored to prove that making changes to indoor environments that improve indoor air quality can reduce people's reliance on asthma medications; and Shree Bose (17-18): Bose discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs. Here's my write-up on RWW about the contest and winners.

The finals of the 2011 Imagine Cup, Microsoft's student technology competition, were held in New York this week. The winning team in the Software Design category came from Ireland. That team, Team Hermes, has built a device for cars to help promote safer driving and reduce road accidents and deaths. For a full list of stories I wrote while at the event, see this post.

The learning management system Blackboard held its annual conference this week, and several major announcements were made there. Blackboard announced a new version of its Collaborate software, its audio- and videoconference package. The open source video platform Kaltura announced further integration with Blackboard. And four major textbook publishers -- Cengage, Macmillan, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons -- announced deep integration with their e-textbook platforms and Blackboard's LMS. This all follows the announcement last week that Blackboard has been acquired by Providence Equity. For a good take on the developments with Blackboard, check out this post by George Siemens.

The social network Ning has partnered with Aviary to bring the latter's high res photo editor to Ning users.

Khan Academy's John Resig gave folks a sneak peek at the soon-to-be released iPad app, which he says will include video navigation and viewing, interactive transcripts and offline support. Support for other mobile devices is coming soon, says Resig. The source code for the project is available on GitHub.

Teens in Tech has announced its first batch of tech incubator companies: six new startups all run by teenagers. Teens in Tech helps support young entrepreneurs, age 13 to 18.

Professional social networking site LinkedIn has rolled out improved student profiles, designed to let college students highlight their accomplishments: courses, honors and awards, projects, and of course grades.

Speaking of grades, apparently more and more college students are excellent. That's the finding of Stuart Rojstaczer who has studied grade inflation at American colleges. He's published his study in the Teachers College Record (you can read the details here), finding that 43% of grades given are As, making "excellent" the most common grade given in college.

ShowMe, the interactive whiteboard-lesson-creation-and-sharing app for iPad, has launched a contest: InspireMe. Create a lesson, share it on the startup's Facebook page, and enter for a chance to win an iPad 2.

Lots of scrutiny this week about News Corp's telephone hacking. Less scrutiny, it seems about News Corp's education plans. The Huffington Post reports that the New York City Comptroller's office has approved a $2.7 million consulting contract for News Corp's Wireless Generation. Former NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein now works for News Corp. News Corp insists that Wireless Generation is a separate company and that Klein wields no influence over the city's contract decisions. The company also says no one should be concerned about any privacy issues. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

More and more educators are recognizing the value and importance of the collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia -- using it in their classes and contributing to its pages. The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia, announced this week the Wikimedia Research Index, which will help centralize the documents on various research projects, both inside and outside the foundation.

How does the Internet impact our memory? According to a paper being published in Science Express, researchers contend that having a vast amount of information at our fingertips -- Google-able, if you will, means we're actually remembering less. Instead, we're coming to rely on always having some sort of computerized system to help us find information, rather than actually committing it to memory. "The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves." Socrates would love this study, as he argued writing destroys memory.

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Audrey Watters


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