Congress passed and Obama signed a $1 trillion spending bill this week. How did education fare? More money for Race to the Top, the administration's competition for school funding. No money for education technology. No ARPA-Ed.
Tutoring startup Tutorspree announced that it has raised $1 million in funding. Some 3000 tutors have signed up for Tutorspree, which offers a place for them to create profiles and advertise their services (which are all offline, face-to-face).
Another cheating scandal: this one in Georgia. I'm not putting "more testing scandals" on my 2012 predictions list, but only because it's just too obvious and easy a choice.
MIT announced MITx this week, its plans for a new online learning initiative open to non-enrolled students that, for a "modest fee," will offer certification. David Wiley has the best write-up of the news: "MIT announces that in 2012 it will launch an open teaching initiative under the MITx brand (TEDx, anyone?), but will charge an affordable fee for the end-of-course credential. The media goes crazy for this revolutionary, no-admission-requirement approach, apparently unaware of the dozens of open universities throughout the world. MITx announces it will open source the MITx platform, apparently unaware that competitors will use its open content and its open platform to initiate a race-to-the-bottom price war for its alternative credentials. (And no, the NC clause will not help them here.)"
A reminder: if you haven't downloaded your Android App Inventor projects, you need to do so by December 31. Google announced earlier this year that it was shuttering the App Inventor project and handing the code over to MIT's Media Lab. Google says that "Sometime in the first quarter of 2012, the Center plans to provide an App Inventor service for general public access, similar to the one Google is currently running."
Google announced the closure of its Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, project that provided researchers and academics access to large-scale computing resources. Google says it will no longer participate in the effort as "there are many low-cost cloud computing options that provide viable alternatives" now.
Updates and Upgrades
Google announced that you can now access and read Google Books offline -- great news for those of us that read in places where there's no WiFi, and particularly awesome news if you're a Chromebook user.
Version 1.75 of the XO laptop (the "One Laptop per Child" laptop) has cleared the FCC, the Digital Reader reports. It appears to be the same device that was showcased at CES earlier this year (notably, it has such a low power CPU that it can be hand-cranked to run -- sorta)
NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced that he has chosen Cornell University to build a new science and technology graduate school on Roosevelt Island. Several universities had been in the running for the site, including most notably Stanford (which late last week pulled out of the contest).
Google has open sourced its Quiz and Poll app for Android. The app, developed by Google's learning systems team, is designed to offer quizzes and polls that are integrated with Google Spreadsheets.
Grockit has released an update to Grockit Answers, a cool little tool that the company launched earlier this year. Grockit Answers enables Q&A on YouTube and Vimeo videos -- and those questions and answers are tied to particular time-stamps. With this week's updates, the tool updates in real-time, is embeddable, is integrated with Edmodo, and gives teachers and moderators updates on the discussions.
UC Berkeley announced this week that it is "going Google." While there's long been a back-and-forth between Google and Microsoft when various educational institutions choose one or other's cloud offerings, the UC Berkeley announcement is interesting for its transparency. The school has posted information about the deliberations it made in making its decision to go with Google Apps for Education for the school's email and productivity suite.
Research and Data
Team spirit demands I post this: Researchers at the University of Oregon have found that as the football team wins, male students' GPA drops. It's not a huge drop, but I still chuckled. Go Ducks.