App of the week: Daring Dave

Name: Daring Dave

What is it? A colorful illustrated puzzle and exploration app. Dave dares to do anything, such as climb the highest mountain, sleep in the dark, ride his bike, take a bath, and more. But Dave also loses a lot of things when he’s playing and needs help to find all of them. Let children use their imagination to complete the story. By using this app, a child can learn many new objects, as well as work on vocabulary.

Best for: Kids age 3 and up. Good for pre-schoolers.

Price: $2.99

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5; Requires Android 2.3 and up.

Rated: 4+


  • Colorful illustrations and fun animations.
  • Use your finger to find the hidden objects.
  • Extra gameplay modes, such as play in the dark and play with the timer.
  • Learn over more than 250 words and objects.
  • Train the hand eye coordination which is beneficial for their cognitive development.
  • 3 Spoken languages (English, Dutch, German) and more being added soon.

Links: [Apple]




Five tech-savvy schools that focus on ed-tech

These five schools and districts are modeling ed-tech success.

Many schools have learning technologies and ed-tech tools. But what sets exemplary schools apart is how they use those technologies.

Below are five schools, listed in alphabetical order, that are taking teaching and learning to the next level by leveraging ed-tech and learning technologies to boost student engagement and staff productivity. An ed-tech specialist or administrator from each school describes the school’s accomplishments.

1. Adrian Public Schools, Michigan
Christopher J. Timmis, Superintendent

The district is implementing a 1:1 iPad initiative at the high school that includes the creation of a custom app, Virtual Locker. We use iPads, iPod Touches, TI-Nspires, SMART Boards, document cameras, and mobile tablet devices to improve our ability to deliver instruction under the Adrian Instructional Model. In many grade levels, we use blended learning models with Waterford and SuccessMaker. In grades 5-8, every student is part of Project Lead the Way, which blends technology with project-based engineering work. We operate a virtual school that uses e2020 and GradPoint. We are also one of only four districts in the world (one of two in the U.S.) participating in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Open World Schools Pilot, offering online courses to any student, anywhere in the world, regardless of whether or not they attend an IB school.

(Next page: Four more ed-tech leaders)


RI House delays vote on social media privacy bill

Rhode Island lawmakers have put off a vote on legislation that would stop employers or higher education officials from demanding access to a person’s Facebook or Twitter accounts, the Associated Press reports. The House was scheduled to vote Wednesday but decided to wait to allow for more work on the legislation. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy says he wants to prevent employers or school coaches from requiring access to a person’s social media accounts as a condition of their employment or enrollment…

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Financial literacy program aimed at Neb. schools

A new program will offer an online education in financial literacy to Nebraska high school students and parents, the Associated Press reports. State Treasurer Don Stenberg on Thursday unveiled the new initiative, which will be available this fall. The program is being offered through an agreement with EverFi, Inc., an educational technology company based in Washington, D.C. The coursework addresses a range of financial tops, including credit cards, credit scores, insurance, mortgages, savings, student loans and taxes…

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What do you do if your child isn’t going to college?

The Washington Post‘s Jay Mathews reports: A parent asked me recently what she should do if her child doesn’t appear headed for college. The student in question is just a fourth-grader, but this is the Washington area, probably our nation’s most college-conscious region. Parents here like to plan ahead. We don’t want to drag to college a student who isn’t interested. But there is a big difference between getting students ready for college and forcing them to go. In this area, schools are committed to prepare nearly every child for college these days, just as they are committed to teach nearly every child to read. High schools try to make it very difficult for students to graduate without taking the reading, writing, math, science and history courses that colleges require — and for a very good reason…

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Google’s conversational search arrives with new Chrome

Google is enabling a more naturally spoken question-and-answer interface to its search service for people with a new version of Chrome, CNET reports. Google demonstrated conversational search at Google I/O a week ago, a style of search designed to be more like natural human speech than the technically constructed search queries that people often use today to retrieve information from a search engine…

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Innovative schools share ideas to improve learning

A network of schools is working to improve their programs and share ideas with other member schools.

Failing 9th grade for the second year in row, A.J. Swan had accepted that he wasn’t going to graduate from his Vermont high school. He’d barely made it this far, after being held back in 7th grade.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t learning, he said, but he didn’t find what he was learning important and didn’t feel a need to write it down _ as homework and papers _ to show he knew it.

“It wasn’t like a good feeling,” he said of knowing that he wouldn’t get a high school diploma.

That was until the school stepped in last year and offered him some alternative ways to prove what he knew–by writing papers on topics he was interested in, taking assessments and enrolling in a hands-on learning environment at a technical school where he has thrived in video. He’s set to graduate this spring and wants to become a documentary filmmaker.

(Next page: What is the League of Innovative Schools?)


D.C. charter school would teach all but math and English online

A controversial computer-based learning model is competing with eight other proposals to be one of the next charter schools approved for the District, the Washington Examiner reports. The proposed Nexus Academy of DC, run by a subsidiary of publishing giant Pearson, would offer grades 9 through 12 in Ward 2, eventually serving up to 600 students. English and math would be taught by teachers at the school, while every other subject — from science and social studies to foreign languages and electives — would be taught online by an expert on various subjects. Some of these experts would be dedicated to the school full time, while others would not…

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