Facebook begins rolling out Graph Search to U.S. users

Brace yourself for another Facebook search bar change, CNET reports. The social-networking giant will begin rolling out an advanced search feature designed to tap its massive base of 1 billion users to answers users’ questions about people, photos, places, and interests. Graph Search, which was announced earlier this year, will be available to users in the United States and others who use the American English version of the site, with access to other languages coming soon, a Facebook representative told CNET…

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App of the week: The Pocket Scavenger

Name: The Pocket Scavenger

What is it? With The Pocket Scavenger app, users will be asked to find and photograph a spectrum of quirky items: something that is miniature, a stain that is green, something from the year you were born, a used envelope, and more. Once the quarry is in site, users can choose to be assigned an alteration dictated solely by chance: create a funny character, conceal it, add a family member, photograph it at night, make it “pretty,” and so on.

Best for: A variety of age ranges.

Price: $4.99

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5; Requires Android 2.2 and up.

Rated: 4+

Features: After completing a scavenge, users can upload it to the map and see what scavenges are going on around them. Users can also share their scavenges through Twitter and Facebook and before embarking on a new hunt.

Links: [Apple]: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id639399872?mt=8

[Android]: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.penguin.trade.pocketscavenger

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Twenty intriguing school AV products

Canon’s new EVERCAM XU-81 is a robotic, high-definition pan-tilt-zoom camera that is encased in a sturdy, weatherproof housing for indoor or outdoor use.

We recently published a report on three key developments in school AV technology, based on the news to come out of InfoComm 2013, the world’s largest audio-visual technology trade show.

Now, here are 20 more intriguing school AV products that we saw at InfoComm and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Antonio last month—including a portable audio system that can facilitate small-group instruction and an easy solution for “flipping” your classroom using any iOS device.

(Products are listed in alphabetical order by company name.)

Barix Simple Paging Solution

The Barix Simple Paging Solution is a serverless, scalable, self-configuring system that delivers public address announcements in specific zones or school-wide over a building’s existing IP network.

The system consists of plug-and-play end points controlled by a software program that lets users set up different zones of coverage. Using the system is as easy as choosing a zone, pushing a button—and then talking.

Because you don’t need a dedicated server to run the solution, it’s much less expensive than other IP paging systems that require such a server, Barix says. And if your school has a Wi-Fi network, Barix offers an app that lets teachers and administrators use an iPhone or iPad to make announcements; all you need to make this work is a $500 transmitter device, according to the company.

(Next page: a mobile charging station ideal for BYOD programs; a device that turns any tablet into a document camera or interactive whiteboard)

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eSchool News July/August 2013

Starting this month, eSchool News will be easier to navigate, download, and share with colleagues. Click through the headlines and let us know what you think about the new look!

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Up to $10K for home energy projects

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge gives students the chance to LEARN about energy, DEVELOP techniques for reducing energy consumption, and SAVE money in their own homes by reducing household energy use.

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Salad bars for school lunch programs

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is a comprehensive grassroots public health effort to mobilize and engage stakeholders at the local, state and national level to support salad bars in schools. Our vision is to significantly increase salad bars in schools across the country until every child has the choice of healthy fruits and vegetables every day at school.

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Up to $100K for the arts

The guiding principle of “Art Works” is at the center of everything we do at the NEA. “Art Works” refers to three things: the works of art themselves, the ways art works on audiences, and the fact that art is work for the artists and arts professionals who make up the field. To make “art work,” the NEA has included the advancement of innovation as a core component of its mission as a way to ensure the vitality of the arts.

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Education reform movement learns lesson from old standards

Common Core — the new set of national education standards in math and English language arts — will take effect in most states next year, NPR reports. This move toward a single set of standards has been embraced by a bipartisan crowd of politicians and educators largely because of what the Common Core standards are replacing: a mess. In years past, the education landscape was a discord of state standards. A fourth grader in Arkansas could have appeared proficient in reading by his state’s standards — but, by the standards of another state, say Massachusetts, not even close. “For far too long, our school systems actually lied to children and to families and to communities,” says Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a recent speech in Washington. And what made those lies possible, according to Duncan, was the one thing most of these state standards had in common: They were low…

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Evolution and climate science make the grade in state education standards

Five U.S. states have adopted science education standards that recommend introducing two highly charged topics—climate-change science and evolution—into classrooms well before high school, Scientific American reports. Released in April, the Next Generation Science Standards are the first effort in 15 years to overhaul U.S. science education nationwide. Twenty-six states, working with non-profit science and education groups, developed the guidelines on the basis of recommendations from the U.S. National Research Council. And the measures are being adopted, even in states where climate change and evolution tend to be avoided in the classroom…

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