Sensors are everywhere, and a new project wants to bring them to the classroom for cheap

One interesting element of Google I/O this year were the sensors laid out everywhere around Moscone tracking environmental data throughout the event, TechCrunch reports. Those types of sensors are now all around us, including in our phones and in various smart home devices, and now a new Kickstarter project from ManyLabs wants to help kids get familiar with them very early on. The project is called Sensors for Students, and it wants to build a sensor collection kit that includes a plate for an open-source Arduino board and Grove shield combo, along with one of a variety of parts for a number of different types of sensors, including accelerometers, electromagnetic field detectors, a color sensor, a plant watering kit (similar to one component of the Bitponics automated hydroponic garden), and many more…

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Medical schooling for children?

We shudder at the thought of half of young Americans not being able to place New York on a map, Forbes reports. Now think about what fraction of Americans could correctly place the pancreas (hint: it’s not next to New York).  As you weigh the relative importance of knowing the location of New York or the pancreas, consider the fact that 40 percent of Americans over 65 suffer from a pancreatic disease called diabetes or its precursor form of impaired glucose intolerance, and that diabetes costs the healthcare system $174 billion a year…

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Free school offering ‘cross-subject’ learning approved by Michael Gove

The Guardian reports that an unorthodox secondary school offering “cross-subject projects” rather than traditional classroom lessons, is among the latest tranche of free schools to be approved. XP school in Doncaster is one of the 102 new free schools given the go-ahead to open next year by Michael Gove, the education secretary, a slight decrease on the 109 schools opening this year. XP’s prospective chair of governors, Gwyn ap Harri – a former computer science teacher who went on to start a company selling educational software – says the school’s teaching method is based on how learning takes places in the “real world”, rather than sitting behind desks…

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House committee targets education funding

To deal with the cuts imposed by sequestration, the House Appropriations Committee has chosen to target certain departments—including Education—instead of spreading the cuts across all agencies.

Republicans controlling the House of Representatives pressed ahead May 21 with a plan to slash spending on certain domestic programs—including education—far deeper than the cuts these departments already face under a painful round of automatic austerity.

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the Pentagon would be spared under the plan approved by the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote, but total funding for education, health, and labor programs would absorb a cut of 18 percent below fiscal year 2013 levels adopted in March.

At issue are deep agency budget cuts required under sequestration, or the automatic, across-the-board reductions triggered when lawmakers were unable to agree on alternative ways to curb the deficit. This year, the cuts are being applied to domestic agencies and the Pentagon equally; the budget plan approved by the House on May 21 is for the 2014 budget year and restores cuts to the military while making cuts to domestic programs favored by Democrats—including education—even deeper.

(Next page: More details about the plan)

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Twelve learning technologies with big education potential

A number of technologies could impact education in the coming years.

Technologies that enable more personalized learning are poised at the forefront of learning trends, according to this year’s Horizon Report K-12, an annual report that forecasts learning technologies that will have a large impact on learning in the immediate future and in the coming years.

The report comes from a group of about 45 international experts who go through a set of research questions and discuss about 60 different learning technologies, thinking about trends, challenges, and impact.

(Next page: The NMC’s list of 12 impactful technologies)

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New additions to PBS LearningMedia cover the Constitution, Shakespeare, and more

PBS LearningMedia has added new content to its free repository of digital teaching materials, which now includes more than 30,000 resources, PBS says.

“These new resources will help educators engage … students with different learning styles by leveraging the power of digital media,” said Alicia Levi, managing director of PBS LearningMedia.

The new content bolsters the website’s offerings in math, science, English/language arts, social studies, and the arts. 
It features interactive games, lesson plans, and videos from PBS and PBS KIDS programs, such as:

• Videos, lesson plans, interactives, and images from the PBS program Constitution USA allow students to explore the meaning and relevance of the U.S. Constitution for all Americans.

• Videos showcasing the social-emotional curriculum from the PBS KIDS preschool series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood help early learners build the social skills necessary for school and life.

• A collection of videos from the critically acclaimed program Makers: Women Who Make America is accompanied by lesson plans that explore the pioneering contributions of women.

• Video segments from the PBS show Shakespeare Uncovered also feature informational texts, discussion questions, and suggestions for extension activities to enhance students’ reading, viewing, and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works. This content is deigned for students in grades 8 -12.

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All Virginia students to use computers for standardized tests

All Virginia students will have to log on to a computer to take this year’s Standards of Learning tests, making Virginia one of the only states to wholly abandon the nearly ubiquitous paper-and-pencil bubble sheets, The Washington Post reports. With spring testing in reading and math underway in many schools this week, the move to electronic tests means that Virginia, one of the few states that did not adopt national academic standards, has become a model for the dozens of states that did. Those states are scrambling to meet a fast-approaching deadline to implement corresponding online tests. It took more than a decade of school technology investments and upgrades for Virginia to get to this point…

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Massive tornado rips through Moore, Okla.

A devastating, mile-wide tornado touched down near Oklahoma City on Monday, killing dozens of people—including children—decimating homes, businesses and a pair of elementary schools in the suburb of Moore, the Associated Press reports. According to the state’s medical examiner, the death toll, reduced to 24 Tuesday morning, was expected to rise. About 40 bodies were expected to be transported to the medical examiner’s office overnight…

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Sticker shock: New college graduates, here is why your education cost so much money

When high school senior Jenny Bonilla got her college acceptance letter in March, she felt shock and heartbreak rather than joy, Yahoo! News reports. That’s because the letter from Goucher College, a private liberal arts school in Baltimore, also brought news that she would owe an unaffordable $20,000 a year in tuition and board, even with a scholarship the college was offering. Bonilla had been in the running for a full ride to Goucher but eventually lost out because her parents’ combined income of $57,000 a year was deemed too high. “That was heartbreaking,” she said…

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Teen upstages Google with autonomous car technology

A Romanian teenager figured out how to produce an autonomous car for only a fraction of the cost of Google’s self-driving car. Ionut Budisteanu, who won first place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this year, paired webcam imagery, artificial intelligence technology and low-resolution 3-D radar to guide his autonomous car through a series of 50 simulations, according to NBC News…

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