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New App Aids Class Participation

Using an AppEver stumble with students’ names? Or struggle to perk up class participation? Most schools view cellphones as disruptive nuisances, but a new iPhone app called Pikme could turn them into powerful tools for educators.

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Will Tech Doom Teachers’ Unions?

Tech WorldForget politics and budget battles. Digital learning, not legislatures, represents the biggest threat to teachers’ unions, argues Stanford political science professor Terry Moe in his new book, Special Interest. Part history, part analysis of education trends, the book details the rise of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers.

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Foundations Go For Gaming

GamingCan digital media and video games boost student learning? The Bill and Melinda Gates and Pearson foundations clearly think so. The pair announced a $20 million effort to create online reading, math, and science courses tied to new Common Core state standards that will use video, interactive software, games, social media and other digital materials.

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Online Classes: Quantity v. Quality

Cartoon ComputerMore than 1 million K-12 students take online courses. Advocates say Web-based make-up classes and other offerings allow students to take a richer menu of electives and Advanced Placement courses. Critics call them an effort by school districts to shave costs on buildings and teachers.

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Florida Plans Digital Texts for All by 2015

AppleFarewell, bulky backpacks–at least in Florida. State education officials recently rolled out a five-year proposal that calls for all students in K-12 to use only “electronic materials” delivered by Kindles, iPads and other similar technology by 2015.

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Internships for All at New “Pathways in Tech” Schools

New YorkPathways In Technology Early College High School, a new school opening this fall in Brooklyn, N.Y., is partnering with IBM to offer internships and hands-on training in computers, engineering and information technology for all students. Students also will be able to take college-level classes at CUNY and earn an associate’s degree.

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Smart Phones to Eliminate Digital Divide?

Using a Smart PhoneWithin five years, every K-12 student in America will be using a mobile handheld device as a part of learning, according to Elliot Soloway, a professor at the University of Michigan. “Smart phones are the one technology that can eliminate the digital divide.”

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Online Science for Middle School Receives $2.5 Million

PhET States of Matter SimulationThe PhET project, which creates online STEM-based simulations for free use, has received new grants totaling in $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation and the Dallas-based O’Donnell Foundation. These grants will allow the University of Colorado at Boulder project to expand to a key area of need: middle school science.

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7th Graders Create Animation Videos

Animating in ClassSeventh-grade technology education students in Hampton, Va., are learning to create clay animation videos using a webcam, software and clay. They research, design and create a five- to 10-minute episode for a hypothetical TV show, creating a storyboard, script, animated characters and digital imagery. “They’re only limited by their imagination,” says teacher Terry Beddow.

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