High school principal under fire for Facebook picture

A high school principal is facing harsh criticism after a revealing picture found on her Facebook page surfaced, the Huffington Post reports. The photo showed Sharron Smalls, of New York’s Jane Addams High School, next to a topless man as he pours a dark liquid substance over her. Students passed a copy of the photo around school last week. Smalls is already under fire for allegations of credit padding. A New York City Department of Education probe is looking into whether she gave students credits for classes they didn’t take.

“They put me in cosmetology because we don’t have chemistry,” 16-year-old senior Clarissa Williams told The New York Times.

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Student innovators hack Kinect & Cancer to win $100,000 prizes

Science fair projects have become much cooler since the days of growing lima beans under different-colored light filters, LiveScience reports. This year’s winners of America’s top science honors for high school students used nanotechnology to destroy cancer stem cells and turned Microsoft’s Kinect gaming sensor into a design tool for prosthetic limbs. Their reward: $100,000 scholarships for college. A $100,000 individual grand prize went to Angela Zhang, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif., whose nanoparticle system not only allows for noninvasive imaging of tumors, but also delivers drugs to attack cancer cells. Another $100,000 team grand prize was shared by Ziyuan Liu and Cassee Cain, seniors at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tenn., who hacked an Xbox 360 Kinect sensor to analyze the walking patterns of people wearing prosthetics…

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iPads become child’s play

This holiday season, toy makers have turned Apple Inc.’s pricey tablet and smartphone into playthings for kids, the Associated Press reports. They figure in this weak economy, parents will be willing to splurge on toys for their children that utilize devices they already have—or want—themselves. Tiffany Fessler of Gainsville, Ga., certainly was willing to do that even though when she initially bought her $829 iPad she never imagined she’d be sharing it with her 20-month-old son. But whenever she sat down to check emails on the iPad, he’d climb into her lap wanting to use it. So, Fessler decided to get him the $29.99 Crayola iMarker, which transforms the iPad into a digital coloring book using a Crayola’s free ColorStudio HD application that parents can download. Kids can draw and color using the iMarker, which has a soft tip so it doesn’t scratch the tablet’s glass screen…

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Mother of fallen teen athlete wants defibrillators in schools

Tiny Fennville, Mich., is getting ready to host a basketball game for the first time since Wes Leonard made a game-winning shot and collapsed seconds later, the Associated Press reports. Leonard’s 14-year-old brother, Mitchell, will be a freshman guard on the same court Tuesday night and his mother, Jocelyn, will be in the stands. His grief-stricken father, Gary, doesn’t plan to be there.

“It’s still tough,” Joceyln Leonard said softly in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

After lifting his beloved Blackhawks to a 20-0 record last March 3, Wes Leonard was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at the age of 16. The death drew national attention and stunned many in Fennville, a town of 1,400 not far from Lake Michigan some 200 miles west of Detroit…

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Watch: Celebrities perform at anti-bullying benefit, ‘Trevor’s Project’

Celebrities were out in full force at Sunday night’s annual Trevor’s Project anti-bullying event, the Los Angeles Times’ “Ministry of Gossip” blog reports. However, It wasn’t just about star sightings and A-list camaraderie, says the Huffington Post. Lady Gaga was honored for “being an inspiration to youth and increasing visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The pop star was introduced by the family of Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year-old boy who committed suicide after years of being bullied, and was saluted for her creation of the Born This Way Foundation, as well as her campaign to make bullying illegal.

“This award means more to me than any Grammy I could ever win,” Gaga said in her acceptance speech, according to The Hollywood Reporter

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Free MIT simulation has students compete as video game moguls

Anyone with a web connection now can engage in the marketplace maneuvering, pressure-packed decision making, and inevitable price wars that break out among business students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

For four years, students in John Sterman’s business management courses have gone toe-to-toe in simulated business arenas, with the latest being a concocted world of video game companies looking for an edge in marketing and selling their gaming consoles and software.

The university announced Nov. 30 that the popular simulation, known as “Platform Wars,” would be freely available on the MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources website, following the lead of MIT’s OpenCourseWare program, a seminal experiment in higher education’s sharing of open course material.

In “Platform Wars,” students set the price of hardware, negotiate royalty rates with game makers, and decide if they should subsidize the first few games for their gaming system.

Sterman, a professor in MIT’s Sloan School of Management, said the chance to employ out-of-the-box strategies in simulated business environments has proven more valuable to his students than strategizing in the real world.

A simulation “is a safe container,” he said. “Students choose strategies that may not work just to learn about it, and your actual bank account isn’t drained if you lose millions in the simulation. … Like a flight simulation, you risk nothing.”

https://mitsloan.mit.edu/MSTIR/system-dynamics/platform-wars/Pages/default.aspx

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5 best practices for educators on Facebook

Facebook’s roots may be planted in college campuses, but classrooms have not welcomed the social network as eagerly as their students have, Mashable reports. Once a Harvard startup open only to college students, Facebook has been pegged as a waste of time, a classroom disruption and a bad habit that is correlated with low grades. Missouri even went so far as to ban Facebook and other social media relationships between teachers and students (the law was later repealed). But teachers such as Reynol Junco–who recently published a study that shows certain types of Facebook use are correlated with higher GPAs–are beginning to look at ways that they can use Facebook to their advantage…

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When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public, says Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author, for the Washington Post. By any reasonable measure, my friend is a success. His now-grown kids are well-educated. He has a big house in a good part of town. Paid-for condo in the Caribbean. Influential friends. Lots of frequent flyer miles. Enough time of his own to give serious attention to his school board responsibilities. The margins of his electoral wins and his good relationships with administrators and teachers testify to his openness to dialogue and willingness to listen. He called me the morning he took the test to say he was sure he hadn’t done well, but had to wait for the results. A couple of days ago, realizing that local school board members don’t seem to be playing much of a role in the current “reform” brouhaha, I asked him what he now thought about the tests he’d taken…

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