Education

Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

For a platform called Android, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to see it jump into robotics, but if FIRST and Qualcomm have their way a new generation of young people will make it the de-facto standard. FIRST - the organization set up by Dean Kamen of Segway fame “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” - announced back in March it would drop LEGO for Android for one of its robotics tournaments, and while those games don’t start until 2016, I stopped by this year’s FIRST Championship in St. Louis to get a preview of the system.

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Apple Watch to be tested as learning tool in Penn State University research

Apple Watch to be tested as learning tool in Penn State University research

Researchers at Penn State University have said they are planning a research program that will look how wearables can be used as learning tools for students, with the Apple Watch serving as the basis. The school's Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) program says it wants to explore the effect devices like smartwatches have on human behavior, and see how effective they can be at improving students' study habits and learning achievements.

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BBC announces Micro:bit, a pocket-sized programmable computer

BBC announces Micro:bit, a pocket-sized programmable computer

The BBC has revealed the final design of its Micro:bit mini-computer to rival the likes of the Raspberry Pi. The project was first announced back in March, and serves as a spiritual successor the old BBC Micro of the 80's. The Micro:bit is a tiny, programmable computer about the size of a credit card, meant to teach kids about programing and building computers. To help facilitate this as a learning tool, the BBC says it will be giving away 1 million of the devices for free to UK school kids around 12 years old, starting this October.

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Minecraft in Education launched to help teachers build with students

Minecraft in Education launched to help teachers build with students

Inside the game Minecraft, users are able to very easily create 3D models using square blocks. It's the perfect point between entertaining and educating, creative and mathematical. Microsoft recently acquired the company that made Minecraft - now they're aiming to make a more concentrated effort in education. Inside this video game environment, inside the computer, teachers are able to have students "practicing collaboration, problem solving, digital citizenship, and leadership skills through creative thinking and innovative design." It's about taking the vast potential built-in to Minecraft and making it work for education, in a big way.

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HP goes back to school with convertibles, Chromebook

HP goes back to school with convertibles, Chromebook

School may just be ending but it's never too early to prepare for the next academic year, especially when it comes to purchasing a new laptop. To make things easier, or perhaps even more difficult, HP is announcing its own batch of PCs designed with students and teachers in mind. Or maybe "re-labeled" might be a better term, as the HP Spectre Pro x360 G1, the HP Pro x360 310 G2, and the HP Chromebook 11 G4 are practically minor updates or even rehashes of existing HP products.

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Schools that ban smartphones will (likely) improve test scores

Schools that ban smartphones will (likely) improve test scores

It’s always important to backup the seemingly obvious with an actual study, and such is what the London School of Economics did. The school conducted a study that looked at the test scores of students and the effect smartphones have on them. As it turns out (and no one is surprised), banning the smartphones caused the test scores to improve, lending credence to some schools’ push for anti-smartphone zones. Underachieving students see the most improvement.

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ISS astronaut holds weekly geography quiz on Twitter

ISS astronaut holds weekly geography quiz on Twitter

It's one thing to say you know your geography by identifying where a place is on a map, but could you recognize a location just from seeing a picture of it? What if the photo was taken from above from the International Space Station? If you're up to the challenge, it's time to start following US astronaut Scott Kelly of NASA on Twitter, where he's started a weekly game of asking people to identify what part of the world the space station is currently flying over, giving them only a photo and a single clue.

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tDCS study shows brain zapping (probably) isn’t making you smarter

tDCS study shows brain zapping (probably) isn’t making you smarter

We've seen numerous tDCS headsets over the years, such as the Foc.us headset targeted at gamers and the Halo headset that tries to make you smarter. A new study shows that you might want to think twice before going all-in with tDCS units, however, at least if getting smarter is your goal. A new paper from researchers at the University of North Carolina detailed a double-blind study involving 41 participants that aimed to see how effective tDCS headsets are. The results were less than stunning.

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SEC reportedly looking into LAUSD’s ‘iPads for schools’ program

SEC reportedly looking into LAUSD’s ‘iPads for schools’ program

On the heels of a report suggesting the Los Angeles School District (LAUSD) was trying to back out of a deal that brought iPads to every student in their system, the SEC has reportedly opened an informal inquiry on whether or not the money used for those iPads was within legal guidelines. The SEC is specifically interested in whether or not the LAUSD properly disclosed to investors how the bond money would be used, according to The Los Angeles Times.

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Apple, LA Schools may soon be in court over iPads

Apple, LA Schools may soon be in court over iPads

In 2013, The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) started an ambitious plan to get an iPad in the hands of every child in their schools. The $1.3 billion plan was going to bring tech as well as Internet connectivity to schools in the Los Angeles area, but those days are gone. According to a new report, not only is the LAUSD’s Board of Education possibly getting away from iPads in schools, but may be looking to press Apple for a change to the existing agreement as well.

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Open Source Virtual Reality Academia heads to Universities worldwide

Open Source Virtual Reality Academia heads to Universities worldwide

Earlier this year amid Razer's introduction of OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) to the masses, an announcement was made for the program's approach to higher-education. This program provides OSVR virtual reality headsets to participating VR programs for students, along with software for development. Now here near the end of March, the OSVR Academia program is partnering with universities in Germany, Italy, Canada, Spain, the UK, Austria, and Poland. And the United States, of course, where 18 Universities have connected with the program in the short time it's been visible to the public.

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Apple to make it easier to setup, share iPads for schools

Apple to make it easier to setup, share iPads for schools

Apple's devices, particularly iPad tablets, have been the darling of the academic industry for quite some time, but now it is seeing its turf threatened by more affordable, more general purpose computers, namely Google's myriad Chromebooks. iPads definitely still have advantages in terms of looks and tech savvy-ness, but some things need to change if the devices are to remain relevant and useful in today's school settings. It seems that Apple has been listening and a leaked email to its iPad for education customers reveal that the storms of change are coming.

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