Readability re-launches

Submitted by Patrick Carey on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 10:45am.
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Readability, which began life as a browser bookmarklet, has re-launched as a full blown web app with a very interesting business plan. The application takes content from a web page and presents in a format that is cleaner and easier to read. The new version now requires a subscription, starting at $5/month, but 70 percent of all revenue goes to the publishers of content, all a publisher has to do is register with Readability. Essentially this is paying for a publisher NOT to have ads on their site. I think this is a unique model for generating revenue online and I look forward to seeing how it pans out.

 

Making the Rounds: The Grad Student Rap

Submitted by Brian Hughes on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 9:25pm.
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There's not much more to say:

 

Another Classroom donation site: DonorsChoose.org

Submitted by Julia Martin on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 5:57pm.
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This is a project based donation site where teacher's propose projects and the internet at large can donate to them.
Here's an example of my friend's project site:
Puppet Theater Proposal

 

Trends in Ed: 01.31.2011-Mayor and Governor Faceoff on Teacher Cuts

Submitted by George Nantwi on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 4:29pm.
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Andrew Cuomo’s first political battle as governor of New York has an opponent in New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. As expected by many insiders, Cuomo’s first budget includes serious cuts to education, with teachers expected to be the worse hit. At issue is the budget’s protection of long serving teachers when it comes to whom to lay off. It essentially states that the city must fire all teachers hired in the past five years, regardless of their performance. If it goes accordingly, around 15,000 teachers will get the ax.

Mayor Bloomberg is proposing a change to the law so the city can have more say in deciding which teachers to lay off. The so-called “seniority rule” is heavily backed by teacher unions and it is likely that Cuomo will not budge at the mayor’s insistence. Hugely popular and enjoying a high approval rating since taking the reins earlier this year, one of Cuomo’s early mandates is the reduction of spending. Mayor Bloomberg, suffering from the lowest approval ratings of his mayoral administration and still feeling the fallout of the Cathleen Black appointment, may see this fight as his way of crawling back into the education debate as he continues his quest for complete control of America’s largest public school system. Battle lines have been drawn, now let the battle commence…..

 

Chocolate and Civil Unrest

Submitted by Sheick Wattara on Fri, 01/28/2011 - 9:28pm.
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The widely celebrated St. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, which is a Christian holiday celebrating love and affection between couples. Every year on February the 14th, gifts are often exchanged between couples from jewelry to simple cards to show their love and appreciation for each other but the most popular gift on Valentine’s Day is the common box of chocolate. But unlike past years, chocolate prices have been soaring, which means this year, chocolate will cost couples a little more than usual.

As we all know, chocolate, other than Valentine’s Day, is one of the most popular sweets in the world. Available in many brands and flavors, they all are derived from raw cocoa beans. Most of the world’s cocoa is produce in Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire in French), a small nation in the heart of West Africa. Ivory Coast produces more than 40% of the world’s cocoa, making it the world’s top cocoa exporter, which also explains why it was one of the best economic statuses in African dating back to when it was a part of the French West African colonies. Political strife and civil unrest has derailed the country’s economic growth and development. In the past ten years, the Ivory Coast has experience a coup d’état, a civil war and countless postponement of presidential elections. On November 28, 2010, the country held its first presidential election since 2000 and after results were announced with international verification by the United Nations, France, the United States and many other nations that candidate Alassane Ouattara had won, incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down. In the aftermath, 270 have been reported dead and close to 100 people are missing. As a result of the crisis, extraction of cocoa tree for their pods has greatly decreased and the exportations of cocoa have also declined as well. With the presence of the UN, a potential civil war has been avoided so far and the African Union threatens to invade the country to put an end to the crisis. But as of now, the future of the Ivory Coast is still at stake and that explains why the cost of chocolate has been on the rise.

 

Music Programs Hardest Hit by Budget Cuts

Submitted by Duncan Asiedu on Fri, 01/28/2011 - 7:56pm.
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With education receiving its share of cuts as a result of budget constraints, many school districts have decided to eliminate music from its curriculum as a means of balancing the books. This is an alarming trend considering the true educational value that the music curriculum holds. School districts argue that music is not a core subject for students and thus for economic reasons, it makes sense to discard the course. In doing so, I feel school districts have unknowingly eliminated a subject that not only breeds creativity but also improves student performance.

Composing music takes a degree of creativity and organization, a task as critical as the subjects that are deemed important. Also, reading a musical composition requires a student to focus on a particular piece while simultaneously playing an instrument. Such mental multi-tasking trains fundamental skills such as concentration, memory and critical thinking. In doing so, it illustrates how it is one of the rare subjects that teach students vital learning concepts that other subjects fail to address. In addition to this, it is a universal subject that is practiced by every culture around the world; there is not a single country or culture that does not have music implemented as a critical component of their culture. Teaching students music as a result gives them one more tool in which they can use to connect and relate with people of different backgrounds.

 

The HTML5 Video Tag

Submitted by Yudan Li on Fri, 01/28/2011 - 11:03am.
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HTML5 <video> is an element introduced in the HTML5 draft specification for the purpose of playing videos or movies, partially replacing the object element. HTML5 video is intended by its creators to become the new standard way to show video online.

The following HTML5 code fragment will embed a WebM video into a web page.

<video src="movie.webm" poster="movie.jpg" controls>
This is fallback text to display if the browser
does not support the video element.
</video>

Click here for examples of html5 video.

Currently there're still debates over the default format it should use, regarding their license issue and usability. It's good for video service providers like Vialogues to prepare for

 

Trends in Ed: 01.26.2011 - China Nurturing Creativity

Submitted by Angela Lee on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 5:13pm.
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For years, South Korea's communications commission used technical rules to stifle competition, allowing homegrown companies like Samsung and LG to take over the market, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. When Korea finally allowed the iPhone into its market in September 2009, the CEO of Samsung commented that Samsung simply doesn’t have the creativity that iPhone developers have. As of Jan 25, 2011, iPhone sales currently top 2 million in South Korea.

I remember teasing American students’ lack of math skills with other Asian students when I first entered high school in America, but later on quickly realized that none of us were as intellectual and creative as “the stupid American that only know how to use calculators to do math.” To this day, I admire the openness of the American education system as compared to the traditional Asian education system.While Asia's system place huge emphasis on professions and technical engineering skills, it is hard to come up with innovative and creative products/ideas such as the iPhone or Facebook.

 

Seminar Snapshot 01/26/11

Submitted by Luke Malone on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 3:42pm.
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The Girl Store - Buying Educational Materials for Girls in India

Submitted by Julia Martin on Wed, 01/26/2011 - 1:31pm.
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Along the lines of programs like Kiva and Heifer International a program called "The Girl Store" allows people to buy school supplies for girls in India in order to help them get off to school.

While some of the elements of the website may be problematic, but the idea of applying simple donation to education is great.

 
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