United Way launches effort to recruit 1 million literacy volunteers

United Way Worldwide officially launched a three-year initiative to recruit 1 million volunteers to promote literacy among children on Tuesday, as part of its annual Day of Action events, the Huffington Post reports. More than 1,000 participants gathered on the National Mall in Washington to fill backpacks with summer reading books for underprivileged elementary school students. The event was joined by 200 smaller volunteer gatherings in communities across the country…

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Sony Ericsson eyes Android market with new phones

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson unveiled two new Android models Wednesday in a bid to grab more of the burgeoning smartphone market, the Associated Press reports. The company, a joint venture between L.M. Ericsson and Sony Corp., plans to launch the Xperia ray and Xperia active models during the third quarter, Chief Marketing Officer Steve Walker announced in Singapore. The new models should help the company expand its 11 percent market share of the Android segment, Walker said…

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Digital Wish makes school fundraising easier

In the 2009-10 school year, Digital Wish helped put $5 million worth of technology into the hands of teachers.

Websites that let teachers post their classroom “wish lists” for donors to fulfill have been around for more than a decade, but now one of those sites—Digital Wish—has added a new fundraising feature that could help schools raise support from their local communities.

The fundraising feature allows for teachers and their supporters, such as administrators and Parent-Teacher Associations, to establish their own fund drives for their educational needs. Through Digital Wish, users can publish their event on social media websites and print customized fliers.

“We really wanted to give PTAs and PTOs better tools to help them fundraise online,” said Heather Chirtea, the site’s founder. “Schools don’t typically have the capacity to process credit card donations at their events. Now, they can make a giving page in a few minutes on Digital Wish and add online fundraising to every event. Our mission is to help solve technology shortfalls in American classrooms, and parents play a huge role in helping schools.”

Starting an online fundraiser is simple, Chirtea said. After signing up on the Digital Wish website, users can click “Start a Fundraiser” from the home page. By sharing the event with friends, family, and community members through social media, a fundraiser can grow with no set-up cost. Organizers can view progress and edit and manage details from a single web page.

Funds are deposited automatically in the beneficiary’s Digital Wish account for use in the educational technology shopping area at the end of the fundraiser.

The fundraising feature is one of the newest tools at Digital Wish, a site that allows teachers to create online lists of their classroom needs.

The site was formed when executive director Chirtea moved to a small town in Vermont. She appreciated the small class sizes in the tiny school that her 7-year-old twins were enrolled in. However, the school was on the verge of closure, with a lack of funding and equipment.

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International college news network in the works

More than 4,000 colleges will join GCN, officials say.

Students on thousands of campuses worldwide will use a Canadian university’s ultra-high-speed internet connection to share student-made video news segments in real time, avoiding the barriers and technical glitches of traditional satellite connections.

Technology officials at Ryerson University in Toronto are building the campus-to-campus online news sharing using the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), an ultra-high-speed fiber optic network, and a video streaming program designed to deliver uninterrupted video communication.

In other words, Ryerson’s Global Campus Network (GCN) won’t have the video and audio delays that plague even cable news giants while in-studio anchors connect with reporters abroad. The high-speed web delay is less than half a second; satellite delays are often 1.5 seconds or longer, Grunberg said.

More than 4,000 colleges and universities are expected to contribute to GCN.

Richard Grunberg, creator of GCN and a radio and television arts professor at Ryerson – a university of about 35,000 students – said the streaming news collaboration between student broadcasters across the world will give campus-based content a home on the web.

“Students should have a voice,” said Grunberg, who has lectured at Ryerson for 20 years. “They work hard on the content they produce and it’s important for them to see productions from around the world, show their creations, and share in the production of collaborative projects.”

GCN will be supplied with video content from another attention-getting technology project, the Global City program, developed by Marion Coomey, another of Ryerson’s radio and television arts professors.

Students worldwide submit newsworthy video, audio, photos, and stories to the Global City website, which posts the material among other international content ranging from election coverage to popular vacation destinations.

GCN’s streaming technology is run by Haivision, a Canadian company that makes video equipment that allows for two-way streaming of high-definition video.

Danni Mulrennan, a lecturer at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, said access to GCN would give students there a chance to collaborate with college students producing video news segments in time zones a dozen hours earlier than theirs.

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Secrets to attention-grabbing IWB content

Educators can use several IWB teaching strategies to hold students' attention.

Most educators are thrilled to have interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in their classrooms, but many wonder how to make the jump from passive teacher lectures to truly interactive and engaging lessons.

Interactive whiteboards are received with enthusiasm, but many educators still hold a traditional view of what an IWB can bring to the classroom, said Alyssa Porter, leader of product marketing and content strategy for DYMO/Mimio, during a recent webinar on the topic.

For more on interactive whiteboards, see…

Survey reveals educators’ must-have technologies

New standard makes whiteboard content more accessible

New projectors make any wall an interactive whiteboard

Study: Ed tech leads to significant gains

“We think we can do better than that,” she said. In fact, Porter and DYMO/Mimio have outlined a few tips to help educators enhance their IWB content and lesson delivery—and high-quality interactive lesson content is at the heart of their advice.

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Virginia Tech team wins EcoCAR Challenge

Students from Virginia Tech University took top honors  when they were named the overall winners of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge after designing and building an exceptional extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) using E85 (ethanol). Taking second place, also with an E85 EREV was The Ohio State University . The University of Waterloo took third place with a hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  Virginia Tech competed against 15 other universities to take home the top prize of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors (GM).

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Northrop Grumman names 24 Maryland winners Engineering Scholars Competition

Northrop Grumman announced the 24 winners of its ninth annual Engineering Scholars program, which will provide a total of $240,000 in college scholarships this fall to high school seniors across Maryland interested in studying engineering or STEM-related fields. Students from 23 Maryland counties and the city of Baltimore each received merit-based scholarships of $10,000 — payable in $2,500 installments over four years — during an awards reception and dinner hosted by Northrop Grumman at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on June 9, 2011.

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SME Education Foundation awards Family and Director Scholarships

Efforts by the SME Education Foundation to invest in the   future of manufacturing by transforming manufacturing education continues with the awarding of $111,000 in SME Education Foundation Family Scholarships and SME Directors Scholarships to six future manufacturing engineers. The SME Education Foundation Scholarship Winner’s Circle for 2011 includes 171 students who were awarded $498,450 in scholarships ranging from 1,000 to $70,000, with some receiving multiple awards. The highly competitive SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship supports the children and grandchildren of SME members, and encourages their pursuit of careers in manufacturing engineering and technology. The scholarship is made possible by the E. Wayne Kay Scholarship Fund, and awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and an interest in manufacturing engineering or a related technology.  

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IMLS awards more than $1.5M in grants

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced 215 awards totaling $1,531,000 for the Native American Library Services Basic Grant and Basic Grant with Education/Assessment Option Program. IMLS received 219 applications requesting $1,570,000 in funds. “Tribal libraries play a vital role in ensuring the educational and cultural preservation of their communities. This funding helps American Indian and Alaska Native libraries to maintain and expand their core services,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.

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