The numbers are clear: Mobile is taking over the world

Take a moment to think about it, ReadWriteWeb reports. The mobile market – hardware, software, apps, services, infrastructure – is expanding to just about every corner of the wold. And as mobile connects the entire planet – linking billions of people in real-time from almost any place you can imagine – it is re-constructing how people everywhere engage in shopping, banking, entertainment, work, healthcare and learning…

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Senators to debate immigration bill amendment on foreign students

The Washington Post reports that a Senate panel took up amendments to a comprehensive immigration bill Tuesday and was expected to consider a proposal aimed at tightening the monitoring of foreign students in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The measure, offered by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), would require the Department of Homeland Security to transfer all student visa information to border control agents at ports of entry. Aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is overseeing the amendment process, said the proposal was inspired by reports that alleged accomplices of the accused Boston bombers were living in the country on expired student visas…

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SOPHIA.org launches free college readiness tools

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing and two-thirds of today’s students unprepared academically for college, SOPHIA.org has launched a new program called “Operation College Success,” offering free tools to help address the issue of college readiness and affordability.

SOPHIA, an online education platform that provides 33,000 free academic tutorials on a variety of subjects, announced the new program with Bill Nye the Science Guy during a May 13 event on Capitol Hill.

With Operation College Success, SOPHIA has expanded its offerings to include free college readiness resources that include…

ACT Math Test Prep, featuring sample tests as well as test-taking tips;

• College Prep Pathways, which are refresher courses in algebra, statistics, and biology. Each course is presented via short-form tutorials and features SOPHIA’s Many Ways learning model, which allows students to choose from multiple teachers and instructional styles; and

• College Success Skills, which offer tips and resources to help students navigate the college experience successfully. Resources are available in each of the following areas: setting goals; financing college; and classroom strategies on note taking, test taking, and preparing for an online learning environment.

In addition, SOPHIA now offers an affordable path to a college degree with SOPHIA Pathways for College Credit—online courses for college credit priced at $329 per course. These self-paced courses offer transferable college credit at a significant savings over traditional college classes.

The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for five of SOPHIA’s online courses: College Algebra, Human Biology, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, and Introduction to Statistics. Four more courses are under consideration for an ACE CREDIT recommendation, SOPHIA says.

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How teachers use Pinterest in the classroom

Pinterest contains a plethora of educational resources.

Long a favorite among craft enthusiasts, the popular DIY site Pinterest, in which users “pin” online images to virtual pin boards for later reference, is gaining ground in education. Educators using Pinterest in the classroom have access to professional development resources, lesson plans, curriculum ideas, and more.

Locating online educational resources can put even more demands on teachers’ time, which is often already stretched to the limit. Pinterest lets users organize resources and ideas in one central location, as opposed to bookmarking sites and then visiting those sites multiple times in order to remember what each site contains.

Each “pin” is taken from an image on a website, so that teachers can immediately see what idea or resource each site contains. Users create different boards and pin items into various categories—for instance, a teacher may have one board for English, another for professional development, and a third for math tips.

(Next page: How a first grade teacher uses Pinterest)

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A Tablet Designed Specifically for Students

The Amplify Tablet solution includes easy-to-use instructional tools, premium learning apps, mobile device management, teacher training and customer support — making it easy and affordable for districts to start or scale up a 1:1 initiative.

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Student suspended for tweeting that school sports teams were bad

A high school student in Wichita, Kansas, was suspended for the rest of the school year after tweeting a mild criticism of the school sports programs, reports The Daily Caller. Senior Wesley Teague was president of his class and an athlete himself. In his view, the various sports teams at Wichita Heights High School had a tough year, which led him to tweet, “‘Heights U’ is equivalent to WSU’s football.” The tweet referenced “Heights U” — the nickname that other students use to refer to sports teams at Wichita Heights — and Wichita State University football, which was disbanded in 1986…

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Eleven new ed-tech services to watch

Ten ed-tech companies and one alternate took part in SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program in San Francisco last week.

An online simulation in which students create their own company, then compete with each other by buying and selling shares of stock, and an iPad app for visual learning and assessment of special-needs students are two of the products from participants in the Software and Information Industry Association’s 2013 Innovation Incubator program, which raises the profile of fledgling ed-tech companies and helps them succeed.

Ten ed-tech companies and one alternate took part in SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program at the organization’s Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco last week.

Jetlag Learning, whose SimCEO creates online learning simulations in which students compete and interact with each other instead of a computer program, was voted “Most Innovative,” and Brain Parade, whose See.Touch.Learn. app provides a personalized picture card learning tool for iPad users, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”

Here are the other participants:

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Students’ ‘magic school bus’ increases college acceptance rates

Most educators are familiar with the adventures of Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus and the incredible journeys students take while riding it to explore the solar system, inside the earth, and even inside the human body.

The students at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. have a “magic school bus” of their own, but this one is tasked with a different kind of journey—one that will make attending college a reality.

Every Wednesday, the Verizon Wireless Mobile Learning Lab—dubbed the magic school by students—rolls into the school parking lot. Instead of being adorned with that distinctive school-bus yellow, however, it’s wrapped in bold graphics showing enthusiastic students using wireless devices to reflect what actually goes on inside this unique vehicle.

The retrofitted school bus is equipped with its own generator, air-conditioner and wireless 4G internet connectivity. And it also comes with tutors from nearby Howard University who pair up with students at individual workstations to use the latest tablets to work through the arduous college essay process.

(Next page: How the bus works; video)

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Why video cameras and teacher evaluation do not mix

Bill Gates’ latest big idea is the creation of a new $5 billion teacher evaluation system that includes the placement of video cameras in every classroom in America, The Washington Post reports. (I wrote about it here.) The folks at the Gates Foundation seem a bit dismayed at how this proposal has been received. “Bill Gates’ School Panopticon,” wrote Walt Gardner, raising fears of the ever-watchful eye. The dilemma we face is that the Gates Foundation has embedded a collaborative feedback process into an evaluation system, against a backdrop of a campaign to rid our schools of “ineffective teachers.” Teachers must feel a level of safety and trust with their colleagues before they will open themselves up to the sort of critical feedback they envision. That trust is not likely to be found in the context of measurement, supervision and evaluation now being built. Therefore, this project is unlikely to have the positive effects that Bill Gates envisions…

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