California schools cancel deal with online Kaplan University

California’s community colleges have dropped a controversial plan that would have allowed their students to take some courses at the online Kaplan University and make it easier to transfer to that school for a bachelor’s degree, reports the Los Angeles Times. State community college officials say they’ve canceled a 2009 agreement with Kaplan, a for-profit institution, because the University of California and Cal State University systems had not agreed to accept Kaplan courses for transfer credits. Without the transfer agreements, the plan could have harmed students and the community colleges, the officials said. Kaplan University said it was disappointed by the decision but “will continue to foster relationships with California community colleges and to look for innovative ways to help students meet their academic and career goals.” The plan was intended to give students at the state’s 112 community colleges a way to take courses that might have been canceled or overcrowded because of state budget cuts. But some faculty were concerned about getting entangled with a for-profit school. Even with a discount, Kaplan planned to charge students $646 for a three-credit class, compared with $78 at a community college…

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To win over users, gadgets have to be touchable

Scientists and academics who study how we interact with technology say touch screens have seeped into people’s day-to-day existence more quickly and completely than other technological behaviors because it is so natural, intimate, and intuitive, reports the New York Times—and so now device makers in a post-iPhone world are putting touch at the core of the newest wave of computer design, known as natural user interface. Unlike past interfaces centered on the keyboard and mouse, natural user interface uses ingrained human movements that do not have to be learned. The latest example is a new line of Sony eReaders that the company will introduce Sept. 1. For the first time, all have touch screens; Sony decided on the technology after watching person after person in focus groups automatically swipe the screen of its older, non-touch eReaders. Research in Motion now makes touch-screen BlackBerrys, Amazon.com is expected to make a Kindle with a non-glare touch screen, and Garmin has introduced touch-screen GPS devices for biking, hiking, and driving. New Canon and Panasonic digital cameras have touch screens, and Diebold—which makes ATMs—says more than half the machines banks order today have touch screens…

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Texas governor offers school grants to spur sharing

Texas schools that cut bureaucratic costs by sharing services—from accounting to transportation—would get grants worth 10 percent of their savings under a plan Gov. Rick Perry proposed Aug. 31, Reuters reports. Texas will have to slash spending in its next two-year budget, because its deficit is estimated at as high as $18 billion. The Republican governor said his proposal would increase how much money can be devoted to the classroom. Furthermore, “These shared services create the economies of scale that benefit larger districts, while maintaining the individual attention available in smaller districts,” Perry said in a statement. The governor, who narrowly leads his Democratic rival, Houston’s former mayor Bill White, in the polls, has decided to seek $830 million in federal education aid, according to local newspapers. That’s how much Texas stood to receive from the $10 billion Congress enacted to help save teaching jobs around the nation. Perry had spurned the funds at first, because Texas would be required to spend the same amount on its schools for three years in row…

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Former Leapfrog, Blackboard exec joins DreamBox Learning as new CEO

DreamBox Learning has hired Jessie Woolley-Wilson as its new CEO, an appointment that comes four months after the Bellevue, Wash., online education startup was sold to an investment syndicate that included The Charter Fund and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, TechFlash reports. Woolley-Wilson has spent the past two decades working in the online education field. Most recently, she served as president of K-12 education at Blackboard Inc. Before that, she served as executive vice president of LeapFrog Enterprises and president of LeapFrog SchoolHouse. “Jessie brings an enormous wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of eLearning, as well as a stellar track record in her ability to lead and execute,” said Hastings, who now serves as chairman of DreamBox. “I am confident that, under her stewardship, DreamBox Learning will accelerate its growth and create a heightened demand for effective, individualized programs that will help millions of students succeed.” DreamBox Learning was started in 2006 by former Microsoft executive Ben Slivka, and its K-2 Math product was released in January 2009…

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Access free math curriculum tools

Any teacher can use DreamBox online manipulatives free, with an internet connection and an interactive white board or projector – or even just a computer.

DreamBox has developed a variety of resources to support teachers’ perfoessional development and students’ mathematical learning.

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Schools in rural areas can win up to $10,000 for technology

Rural schools serviced by small independent telephone companies are eligible for grants to improve technology resources. Grants of up to $10,000 will be given to increase technology use in the classroom. Equipment, curriculum, and training are appropriate uses of grant funds.
Six specific evaluation criteria will be used to score applications, and priority will be given to applications, which show strong collaboration between the school, community, and telephone company.

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EDUCAUSE 2010 follows top trends in campus IT

EDUCAUSE will bring leading campus technology leaders together.

EDUCAUSE will bring leading campus technology leaders together.

EDUCAUSE 2010 kicks off on Oct. 12 in Anahein, Calif., and will give higher education IT leaders a chance to learn from successful practices and share their own thoughts and ideas on what makes for truly successful technology management on campus.

A panel session on open-source strategies will encourage respectful dialogue across divergent perspectives and experiences in discussing the promise and risks of open source and the strategies employed by technology leaders with diverse approaches.Speakers include John E. Kolb, vice president for information services and technology and CIO at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and John F. Walsh, associate vice president of enterprise software at Indiana University.

Mobile computing is increasingly common and has great potential for higher education. Students are arriving on campus with new wireless devices and recent fourth-generation wireless products, and devices continue to expand features and functionality. Which applications should become mobile-ready? Are there plans in place to rapidly deploy mobile-ready applications? What challenges do mobile devices create for protecting sensitive institutional information? Terry R. Mollett, director of user services at Dickinson College, will examine all the issues.

Public education can and should openly license all digital works created from competitive grants. Cable Green, director of eLearning and open education at the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges will discuss how and why the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is mixing strategic technology planning, legislation, student advocacy, foundation partnerships, international consortia, and a new open licensing policy to use and share open educational resources.

Eric Pierce, identity management architect at the University of South Florida, will detail the steps behind the university’s decision to move student eMail to Google Apps in February 2008. This session will highlight the successes and challenges that USF has faced since the beginning of the project and will offer practical knowledge for institutions that either are investigating outsourced eMail or have recently taken the plunge.

This year’s conference also offers an online program for those who are unable to attend the face-to-face conference, featuring interactive discussion sessions and a web-based community with chat capabilities.

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Download free curriculum guides on the science of vision

In order to help continue and strengthen the education of our youth and educators, the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Museum of Vision is providing three FREE curriculum guides for teachers and parents interested in teaching children about the science of vision.

These guides are fun and interesting educational resources designed for children ages 10-14. Each guide can be downloaded at www.museumofvision.org/education and is free of charge.

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Win up to $50,000 for school programs

Everyday important school programs like arts and sports are being cut. Clorox knows these programs are critical to a child’s educational experience and are just plain fun. And so Clorox has created Power a Bright Future to help save some of the programs that are most important to you.

Nominate your school for a chance to win a $50,000 grant or one of three $20,000 grants in the areas of “learn,” “play,” and “create.”

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$10,000 for showing NFL team pride

Schools nationwide are encouraged to show their NFL team pride on Friday, September 10 and submit 3 essays, each in 100 words or less, and 3-6 photos on NFLRUSH.com. The 34 winning schools will be named NFL PLAY 60 Super Schools and receive a visit from an NFL player and a $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 health and wellness grant. Schools are allowed to submit multiple entries.

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