Tech Startup Debuts Revolutionary Distance Learning Platform in Partnership with NYC School

AuraNexus has partnered with the Marymount School of New York to debut its EdTech interactive video platform providing students and teachers with personalized learning at scale. The technology is the first of its kind to pair video with vocal recognition, delivering much-needed innovation within the education industry grappling with COVID-19.

As the pandemic continues to uproot conventional learning models, schools throughout the country are looking for new and effective tools to provide students with a virtual classroom experience. The need for such tools led AuraNexus to develop proprietary technology geared to address the issues with distance learning and to strengthen the way students interact and communicate with their teachers. Through user-led, voice-activated conversational video, the platform takes pre-recorded video content and leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance engagement and retention. Students now have the ability to “talk” to their teachers 24/7.

The company was co-founded by Andrew Kimmel, a network television producer ( The Bachelor, Dancing With the Stars, The Great Christmas Light Fight) and former Head of Live Video for BuzzFeed News, as he looked to create a new medium to make viewers active participants with videos. “With the rise of vocal recognition technology, there is still a lack of human-to-human interaction to go along with it. In having a real person respond directly to user questions, it gives the experience of a real conversation – something that isn’t available with chatbots or animations, but is desperately needed at this time,” said Kimmel.…Read More

Amazon wins $30M contract to sell e-books to NYC schools

A big move into education, Amazon edges out OverDrive to capture NYC e-book contract

Amazon.com has won a $30 million contract to sell digital textbooks to New York City’s public schools over the next three years, in a deal that could extend an additional three years and be worth a total $65 million.

Under the terms, Amazon would have the right to sell e-books and other content but not devices like Kindles through an internal marketplace site. The e-books will be readable on e-readers, tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Panel for Educational Policy approved the three-year contract on Wednesday for the Department of Education, who could spend as much as $4.3 million in the first year of the contract. The deal has the option to be extended an additional two years.…Read More

Why cellphones belong in our classrooms

As NYC lifts its infamous cellphone ban, one local principal sees nothing but possibilities

cellphone-learningAs the principal of Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in Manhattan, I know firsthand how cellphones can both help students stay in touch in today’s world and how they can be a valuable teaching and learning tool in the school setting. The New York City Department of Education’s recent decision to lift the cellphone ban in schools—a decision I support—acknowledges and affirms this notion.

At Hudson HSLT, we strive to create an academically rigorous and personalized environment that prepares all of our students to be college- and career-ready. We want our students to be critical thinkers, ones who practice the art of questioning and are able to deconstruct, reconstruct, and communicate information in today’s society.

We believe that the use of technology, including cellphones, when implemented purposefully to support classroom instruction, can help foster these skills.…Read More

NYC wants to teach kids how to not ruin their lives on Facebook

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) wants to make sure teens know how to use social media responsibly, the Huffington Post reports. The DOE recently rolled out a nine-page social media guide for students 13 and older, in an effort to make sure students leave a “smart digital footprint.” The guidelines advise students on how to create a preferred digital image, respond to cyberbullying and adjust their social media privacy settings. They also warn students to be cautious of what they post online and to “pause before you post.”

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