Apple’s $1 billion patent verdict a blow to Android phones

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google’s Android operating system to power their cell phones.

It was the $1 billion question that ed-tech leaders were asking Aug. 25: What does Apple’s victory in an epic patent dispute over its fiercest rival mean for the U.S. smart-phone industry?

Analysts from Wall Street to Hong Kong debated whether a jury’s decision that Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple technology would help Apple corner the U.S. smart-phone market over Android rivals, or amount to one more step in a protracted legal battle over smart-phone technology.

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google Inc.’s Android operating system to power their cell phones.

“I am sure this is going to put a damper on Android’s growth,” New York-based Isi Group analyst Brian Marshall said. “It hurts the franchise.”

The Silicon Valley jury found that some of Samsung’s products illegally copied features and designs exclusive to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The verdict was narrowly tailored only to Samsung, which sold more than 22 million smart phones and tablets that Apple claimed used its technology, including the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.

But most other Apple competitors have used the Android system to produce similar technology, which could limit the features offered on all non-Apple phones, analysts said.

“The other makers are now scrambling” to find alternatives, said Rob Enderle, a leading technology analyst based in San Jose.

Seo Won-seok, a Seoul-based analyst at Korea Investment, said the popular zooming and bounce-back functions the jury said Samsung stole from Apple will be hard to replicate.

The companies could opt to pay Apple licensing fees for access to the technology or develop smarter technology to create similar features that don’t violate the patent—at a cost likely to be passed onto consumers.

Apple lawyers are planning to ask that the two dozen Samsung devices found to have infringed its patents be barred from the U.S. market. Most of those devices are “legacy” products with almost nonexistent new sales in the United States. Apple lawyers also will ask that the judge triple the damage award to $3 billion, because the jury found Samsung “willfully” copied Apple’s patents.

A loss to the Android-based market would represent a big hit for Google as well.


New site offers help with shift to digital education

Epic-ed will help guide school leaders through digital transitions.

A new online community that launched Aug. 22 aims to help schools and districts as they move toward digital education and implement corresponding policy changes.

The U.S. Department of Education, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) partnered to create the online community of practice.

Epic-ed aims to empower digital transitions at all stages of development, including school leaders who are thinking about moving to ubiquitous computing environments, those who wish to implement ed-tech pilot projects, and those who are ready for full-scale implementation.

“Epic-ed will provide K-12 educators, district leaders, and other community participants with a unique channel to get connected and develop strategies for navigating the digital transition,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. “With increased peer-to-peer interaction and greater connectivity, epic-ed members will have an opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas, and ultimately implement effective plans to help ease the transition and maximize the benefits of technology-enabled learning environments.”

Though one-to-one computing has long been a goal of many districts, ed-tech leaders find they are now faced with a “one-to-many” situation, because many students today own and use more than one wireless mobile device.

“Bring your own device” initiatives—where students use their own devices on a school’s network, and the school often provides a “classroom set” of tools for students who don’t have their own device—also are growing in popularity. These initiatives cut down on tech support and take advantage of the large numbers of students who own high-tech devices and who already are using those devices, such as tablets, laptops, and smart phones, for educational purposes.

Epic-ed will focus on all stakeholders involved in ed-tech programs: school administrators, teachers, chief technology officers, instructional coaches, parents, students, and more.

On the community’s website, users will see a depiction of the digital transition cycle, a framework that epic-ed uses to help stakeholders begin or evaluate their progress toward digital education. That cycle consists of four phases:


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Corporal punishment reigns in many Southern schools

Corporal punishment is still surprisingly legal in many Southern public schools, reports. The Forrest City, Ark., School Board voted on Monday night to reinstate corporal punishment in its schools. The measure was strongly advocated by School Superintendent Dr. Jerry Woods. Many parents in the rural impoverished community near Memphis support the action, saying that children are out of control and need spankings either by paddles or rulers. Parents can tell school administrators, however, that they do not want corporal punishment used on their children. Corporal punishment is legal under Arkansas law. It states “Any teacher or school principal may use corporal punishment in a reasonable manner against any pupil for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools.” During the 2010-11 school year, Arkansas educators used corporal punishment 31,847 times, according to the website Never Hit A Child. Large county school districts such as the one that contains the state’s capital of Little Rock have banned corporal punishment…

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Graphic: Obama vs. Romney: Future of the workforce


Obama says that the United States should lead the world in college-graduation rates by 2020. He has pushed to expand the size of, and access to, Pell Grants for students from low-income families, increasing the maximum per-student amount, the National Journal reports. In the spring, Obama shifted his attention to student loans, advocating for legislation to prevent the 3.4 percent student-loan interest rate from doubling. He succeeded when Congress passed a one-year delay. Obama launched an aggressive campaign promoting community colleges. He has also warned universities that their federal funding could be reduced if they don’t rein in tuition costs.

Obama considers the Education Department’s Race to the Top competitive-grant program, which encourages state-level school reforms, to be one of his crowning domestic-policy achievements. His budget for fiscal 2013 includes $850 million for the program, down from its $4.35 billion level in the 2009 economic-stimulus bill…

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Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan split on key education elements

In roundtables with teachers and visits to classrooms, President Barack Obama is continuing to attack the GOP ticket on education this week, from Mitt Romney’s record to the snip-happy budget of vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, the Huffington Post reports. Obama for America released an advertisement that is playing in Ohio and Virginia on Thursday, asserting that Romney “cannot relate” to public school issues, such as the need for smaller class sizes. The video also criticizes “teaching to some test,” referring to an oft-repeated criticism of the No Child Left Behind law, which ties school funding to standardized test scores. The Romney campaign quickly shot back with a statement calling the education ad one of several “misleading and hypocritical attacks.” While Romney’s statement responded to the ad — such as Obama’s references to Ryan’s cuts and class size — Romney is, in fact, a big proponent of standardized testing. “I like testing in our schools,” Romney said in a 2007 debate. “I think it allows us to get better schools, better teachers.”

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Racial quotas in Virginia’s new achievement standards draw ire

Virginia’s new achievement standards have raised eyebrows, the Huffington Post reports. Part of the state’s new standards dictate a specific percentage of racial group that should pass school exams, a move that has angered the Virginia Black Caucus. The caucus’ chairwoman, Democratic state Sen. Mamie Locke, says the new standards marginalize students by creating different goals for students of various backgrounds.

“Nothing is going to work for me if there is a differentiation being established for different groups of students,” Locke told the Daily Press. “Whether that’s race, socio-economic status or intellectual ability. If there is a differentiation, I have a problem with it.”

Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash disagrees with Virginia Black Caucus’ assertions.

“Please be assured that the McDonnell administration does not hold a student of a particular race or income level, or those of any other subgroup, to a different standard,” Fornash wrote in a three-page letter explaining the changed standards…

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Mexico religious cult refuses to allow teachers in

Adherents of a religious sect in western Mexico are physically blocking school teachers from entering their walled community, setting up one of the most high-profile confrontations between religious and civil authorities in Mexico since the 1930s, the Associated Press reports. Local officials in the western state of Michoacan said Wednesday it may be time to call in a large-scale police operation to enforce the right to schooling in a community that has largely ruled itself according to what it considers biblical guidelines for almost 40 years. The New Jerusalem community prohibits formal schooling, television, radio, modern music, dress and fashion.

“I think the next step is to go in and enforce the rule of law,” said Efrain Barrera, spokesman for the township of Turicato, where the sect’s walled-off compound is.

Under Mexican law, grade school education is compulsory, and Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission and the Roman Catholic Church said Tuesday that the refusal to allow classes in New Jerusalem is a violation of children’s human rights…

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Survey: Ed-tech use falls short of desired goals

Despite the tough economy, schools still have been able to maintain ed-tech integration plans—though they’d like to do more.

Despite budget constraints brought on by a lagging economy, K-12 schools and colleges are holding steady when it comes to ed-tech use. But they’d like to be doing even better.

That’s the key takeaway, anyway, from a self-assessment of educational technology use conducted by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

The organization’s “2012 SIIA Vision K-20 Survey,” the fourth in an annual series of benchmarking studies, surveyed nearly 1,700 officials representing all levels of K-20 education. The self-assessment asks school and campus leaders to rate their progress toward SIIA’s vision for ed-tech use, represented in two ways:

(1) Seven educational goals, which describe the key instructional and institutional outcomes enabled through technology…

• Meet the individual needs of all students;

• Support accountability and use data to inform instruction;

• Deepen learning and motivate students;

• Facilitate communication, connectivity, and collaboration;

• Manage the education enterprise effectively and economically;

• Enable students to learn from any place, at any time;

• Nurture creativity and self-expression; and

(2) Five technology measures that indicate progress in implementing technology to meet these goals…

• Widely use 21st century tools for teaching and learning;

• Provide anytime/anywhere educational access;

• Offer differentiated learning options and resources;

• Employ technology-based assessment tools;

• Use technology to redesign and enable enterprise support.

This year, SIIA added three new questions at the beginning of the survey to get a deeper understanding of participants’ mindset:

  1. How well is technology currently integrated in your educational institution?
  2. What do you feel is the ideal level of integration for technology in your educational institution?
  3. How important is integrating technology into your educational institution?

Although about three-fourths of both K-12 and postsecondary participants rated the importance of technology integration high, only about one-fouth said they currently have a “high” level of integration, suggesting that ed-tech use lags behind ideal usage for both K-12 schools and colleges.