That kid—the one in the back of the SUV with the iPad—is the automotive industry’s worst enemy, Businessweek reports. He’s also the reason some of the world’s biggest automakers are working with Google to bring its Android software into vehicle infotainment systems. Early this morning, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance. It’s a group of technology and automotive companies, including General Motors, Honda Motor, Audi, Hyundai, and chipmaker Nvidia, that want to customize Google’s popular mobile operating system for vehicles. The technology companies get a chance to place their wares into hundreds of millions of cars. Meanwhile, the automakers have an opportunity to modernize the software inside their vehicles and try to keep pace with the mobile devices that are starting to make high-profit infotainment systems obsolete……Read More
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., the publisher of authors from Mark Twain to J.R.R. Tolkien, sought bankruptcy protection to eliminate more than $3 billion in debt, Businessweek reports. The company, based in Boston, listed $2.68 billion in assets and $3.53 billion in debt in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. More than 20 affiliates also entered bankruptcy, including Broderbund LLC and Classroom Connect Inc.
“The global financial crisis over the past several years has negatively affected” Houghton Mifflin’s financial performance, in a business that “depends largely on state and local funding” for the schoolbook market, said William Bayers, company general counsel, in court papers.
He cited “recession-driven decreases” and “purchase deferrals” by the states and a “lack of anticipated federal stimulus support” for “substantial revenue decline.”…Read More
In a development that would have been unheard of a decade ago, about 200,000 U.S. school children are enrolled in full-time online programs, BusinessWeek reports. Eleven years after its founding, K12 has 81,000 students in 27 states and the District of Columbia. If it were a school district, it would be one of the largest in America. K12 expects to generate $500 million in revenue this year–it earned a $21.5 million profit last year–and its stock has doubled in value since the company went public in December 2007……Read More
Teachers are being warned they could lose their certification if they participate in efforts to recall Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, repeal his new education reforms or engage in other political activities on school grounds, Businessweek reports. In a memo Friday, Luna said his office had received numerous inquiries and reports of teachers using their school email to coordinate political activities: proselytizing to students in the classroom and using pupils as couriers for political materials……Read More
The Louisiana House’s budget committee wants to cap salaries for the state’s education superintendent and college leaders, arguing Monday the compensation has grown too fast and is out of line with other states in the region, Businessweek reports. The Appropriations Committee backed a series of amendments to next year’s budget proposed by Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Jeanerette, to put limits on those salaries. In some cases, it could reduce pay packages by hundreds of thousands of dollars……Read More
Hamza Afzal had such a hard time finding an electrical engineering internship during the recession that he delayed his graduation, took pre-med classes, and applied to law school, BusinessWeek reports. This year he got two job offers in his field. “I definitely saw a shift in the job market,” says Afzal, a senior at San Jose State University, who starts May 30 at chipmaker Linear Technology. The class of 2011 is enjoying the best job market for new grads since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. It’s being driven by gains in finance, energy, and technology, says Edwin W. Koc, NACE’s research chief, who foresees younger workers filling a backlog of jobs after two years of stagnant hiring……Read More
A new survey reveals the vast majority of medical school students believe that technology in the form of virtual reality exercises could help them develop the skills they will need as future doctors, BusinessWeek reports. The survey of 200 medical students from the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found nearly all (98 percent) believing the technology to be a definite aid to higher learning. “Due in large part to their high degree of technological literacy, today’s medical students are a radically different audience than the students of 15 to 20 years ago,” study co-author Dr. Frederick W. Kron, a former assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin and current president of Medical Cyberworlds Inc., said in a news release. “They are actually more comfortable in image-rich environments than with text,” Kron added. Four out of five of those polled said that video games can have educational value, while more than three-quarters said they would be willing to engage in an online role-play in a virtual health-care setting alongside other student players, if it could help them meet educational goals, the survey found……Read More
North Dakota is developing a statewide data project to track student progress in school and provide information about whether young people are learning skills that the job market demands, BusinessWeek reports. The federal government has pushed states to implement their own “longitudinal data systems” to provide information about each student’s progress from kindergarten until they finish high school. The systems also could be used to track students’ college work. North Dakota has already met many of the initiative’s goals, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit group that monitors how information is used to track student achievement. Steve Snow, the management systems information director for North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction, and Lisa Feldner, director of the state Information Technology Department, said schools will use the information to spot instances where student achievement might be lagging, or where instruction could be improved. “They can take a look and see how many students are progressing into higher education … and say, ‘Did we prepare them appropriately?'” Feldner said. “They can look at dropout rates and ask, ‘Why are students dropping out?’ They can look at remedial rates and ask, ‘Why did (students) require remediation?'” The Department of Public Instruction obtained a $6.9 million federal grant to finish implementing the program, Feldner told a legislative committee that is monitoring the project, and he hopes the project will be mostly completed in three years……Read More
Blackboard Inc., a provider of software to schools and colleges, on July 14 said it will make content and learning technology from The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. available to its customers, BusinessWeek reports. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Blackboard said it will combine McGraw-Hill’s assessment engines and adaptive learning tools with its own Blackboard Learn products. McGraw-Hill’s tools allow teachers to manage course content, create assignments, and track students’ performance. The publisher’s tools also can deliver content to students based on individual strengths and weaknesses. The combined system is expected to be ready for classroom use in early 2011, Blackboard said……Read More
Technology Director Ryan Lawson would like to get his hands on more than 700 iPads for the entire student body at Brother Rice High School, a private all-boys Catholic school in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.—but the iPad has a serious failing grade, BusinessWeek reports: no remote monitoring. Lawson sent an eMail message to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well as his Apple rep, asking if Apple plans to bring this enterprise-class feature to market. No response from Jobs, but the Apple rep told him that a lot of people have asked for remote monitoring, although he’s not aware of any specific Apple projects. “Now, that could mean it’s a top secret Apple program that’s coming out tomorrow—who knows with that company,” says Lawson. Nevertheless, he’s left waiting for more options. The education market straddles the line between consumers and the enterprise; in other words, it occupies the gray space of Apple’s dominant strength and notorious weakness. Over the next few years, Apple will need to shore up its iPad for education, lest the Cupertino, Calif., company risk losing this core market. The iPad holds a lot of promise, says Lawson, but its lack of remote monitoring features keeps the iPad from entering the classroom……Read More