Catching on at last: New technology is poised to disrupt schools

In a small school on the South Side of Chicago, 40 children between the ages of five and six sit quietly learning in a classroom, The Economist reports. In front of each of them is a computer running software called Reading Eggs. Some are reading a short story, others building sentences with words they are learning. The least advanced are capturing all the upper- and lower-case Bs that fly past in the sky. As they complete each task they move through a cartoon map that shows how far they have progressed in reading and writing. Along the way they collect eggs which they can use to buy objects in the game, such as items to furnish their avatar’s apartment. Now and then a child will be taken aside for scheduled reading periods with one of the two monitoring teachers…

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MIT researchers see through walls using ‘Wi-Vi’

TechHive reports that if Google Glass isn’t enough to get you worried about technology, how about a device that can see through walls using Wi-Fi? Researchers at MIT are experimenting with a system called Wi-Vi, which they say can track moving objects through walls by using the inexpensive, nearly ubiquitous wireless system. Wi-Vi could be built into a smartphone or a special handheld device and used in search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement, according to Dina Katabi, the MIT professor who developed Wi-Vi along with graduate student Fadel Adib…

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Get ready, 3D printing may be coming to a planet near you

As exciting as the 3D printing revolution has been here on planet Earth, just imagine the possibilities when NASA can take 3D printing technology to outer space, The Washington Post reports. We’ve already heard about NASA’s plans to support a new initiative to 3D-print food for long, interstellar missions to Mars – there’s also a plan to bring a 3D printer aboard the International Space Station. The debut of the Made in Space 3D printer aboard the ISS in 2014 – the first-ever 3D printer specifically engineered for the zero-gravity conditions of outer space – could unlock the potential of off-planet manufacturing and transform the future of space exploration…

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Rite of passage for French students receives poor grade

Those who believe the old bromides about the French and their slack work ethic would do well to observe the frenzy of study that seizes this country’s teenagers each June, The New York Times reports. By the hundreds of thousands, they pack themselves into libraries, flood their bloodstreams with stimulants and spend weeks generally cramming for the baccalauréat, better known simply as the “bac,” the exhaustive finishing exam that has racked the nerves of France’s students since the time of Napoleon…

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10 engaging ed-tech booths at ISTE 2013

Technology has come a long way in just a few short years, and just like the technology products featured at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2013 conference in San Antonio, exhibitor booths have taken a giant leap in imagination and creativity!

It used to be you couldn’t walk by a vendor’s booth without seeing somewhat lackluster representatives standing next to a table handing out pamphlets. But as products for teachers and students become more interactive, so have vendors’ booths–through innovative space layout, eye-catching colors, or themed decor–attracting educators with the promise of ‘something-cool-is-going-on-here.’

Were you at ISTE 2013? What booth, technology, or product caught your eye? What were some of your overall observations and thoughts about the 2013 conference? Leave your comments below or tweet me @eSN_Meris.

For more stories on this year’s ISTE, be sure to visit our ISTE conference page.

(Next page: Check out some of these booths!)

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High school seniors fare no better than in 1970s

Students preparing to leave high school are faring fare no better in reading or math than students did four decades ago, the government said in a report Thursday that was certain to renew concerns about U.S. schools, the Associated Press reports. Test scores for 17-year-olds have changed little since the early 1970s, while students ages 9 and 13 improved their performances during the same period, according to the government review popularly called the nation’s report card. Black and Hispanic students achieved the greatest gain in reading and math scores since the 1970s and the performance gap between white and minority students narrowed…

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New rules aim to rid schools of junk foods

High-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines as soon as next year, replaced with
diet drinks, granola bars and other healthier items, the Associated Press reports. The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day. That includes snacks sold around the school and foods on the “a la carte” line in cafeterias, which never have been regulated before…

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STEM education and immigration reform are opposite sides of the same coin

Innovators.  Leaders. These are words that come to mind when many think of America and, in particular, our information technology industry,
ComputerWorld reports. With increased global competition, America’s innovation and leadership position is at risk. In order to reclaim it we must address two separate but intertwined issues —  science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) education programs and immigration reform. These issues are on opposite sides of the same coin and both address the overwhelming need our country has for the human capital that underpins national innovation and competitiveness…

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Why it’s time for a reset of education reform

The end of another school year is leaving a bad taste in many people’s mouths, The Washington Post reports. A steady diet of government austerity and top-down “accountability” mandates have left numerous communities across the country with a severe case of sour stomachs over how their schools are being governed. As the school year closed in Michigan, hundreds of protestors gathered at the state capital in Lansing to protest state school budgets and policies that have left classrooms overcrowded and eliminated art, music, and other educational programs in schools. In Pennsylvania, teachers, parents, and public school activists have staged multiple actions (see here, here, and here) to protest severe budget cuts that have eliminated programs and laid off teachers…

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Maryland adopts Next Generation Science Standards

Maryland became the fourth state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, a new set of voluntary, internationally benchmarked K-12 standards that are said to be a huge leap in science education, the Washington Post reports. The Maryland State Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt the standards, which were released in April after two years in development with the aim of spelling out practices and content that all K-12 students should know to be college-and-career ready after high school. Full implementation in public schools in Maryland is expected to be complete in time for the 2017-18 school year…

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