Amazon has announced that it is kicking off a new program that allows students to rent textbooks rather than purchasing new or used at their local college bookstore. Amazon is promising some significant discounts on the textbooks with up to 70% off on rentals, up to 90% off on used textbooks, and 30% off on all new books. Anyone who's been the college knows that textbooks are very expensive.
This week it appears that Valve and their wildly successful Steam platform for computer games are taking a giant leap into the realm of education. With their upcoming program Teach With Portals, they'll be bringing a new edition of Portal 2 to the classroom for teachers to utilize its Puzzle Maker engine for teaching physics with computer-based creation tools. This program will have a limited number of Steam platform releases sent to schools for free for use in the classroom very soon!
This week it appears that the universe will be hanging together with a bit different set of rules than we've been lead to understand for the past 40 years may be disproven in a variety of ways thanks to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. This location has scientists in Menlo Park, California researching collisions between electrons and the antimatter that love them. What they've done here is to suggest that a subatomic particle (a B-bar meson) decays more often than it should according to the Standard Model.
Google has announced its donating office space to Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to be used for a school in New York City. The space will be used by the University while a new campus on Roosevelt Island is under development. Google is donating 22,000 square feet at its New York offices for five and half years or until the completion of the CornellNYC Tech Campus.
The University of Minnesota is hoping to pioneer a project that would see professors being paid in order to review open source textbooks. The university would offer $500 for each review in order to vet the books, and professors who adopt the books for teaching will also receive $500. Faculty members are welcome to submit their own reviews, but won’t be compensated for the effort.
Augmented reality is headed into the museum today, though as a way of making science exhibits more engaging rather than relegating the tech to the history books. London's Science Museum has teamed with Top Gear presenter James May and app developer DigiCave to use Qualcomm's Vuforia augmented reality system to put a virtual guide on key exhibits. Nine of the Science Museum's most prized items now get a personal tour by May on your iPhone, iPad or Android device; check out our hands-on with James May Science Stories after the cut.
If you or someone in your life is getting ready to take a standardized test that includes writing an essay, the way that test is scored may soon be antiquated. Instead of having a set of human eyes comb over thousands upon thousands of essays every year, it could soon be that the heart and soul you pour out into that perfectly printed essay paper will be spit in and spit out of a machine in a matter of seconds (or even shorter).
The Indian-born $35 Ubislate Android tablet may be headed for a Philadelphia school system trial run if Financial Express reports prove true. This 7-inch device has shown up across the sea as the "Akash" tablet and was and continues to be manufactured by Canadian OEM DataWind. Thus far the tablet has been regulated (or priced, mind you) for schools alone, ranging between $35 and $50 for students in select areas of India over the past couple of years.
This lovely warm summer season (soon!) we'll be seeing Google coming out in full force with code requests for college students galore with Google Summer of Code. This project will have Google having college students earning money coding for open source projects and getting Google on their resume for ultimate summer success. This project opens today, and for those interested in joining up, you'll want to submit your proposal including which projects you'll want to work on from a total of 180 cultivated over the past 10 days by, once again, students just like you.
It appears that Wolfram Alpha is bringing the fury to the student base of the world with no less than a pay-per-month service that amps their already powerful question and answer service up to an equitable level for professionals. While Wikipedia may be, sadly enough, one of the main knowledge wells in the world right now for students hoping to get their answers to questions quick, Wolfram Alpha brings the curated non-crowd-sourced knowledge vault to your browser window and your Siri on the daily. As Wolfram Alpha already powers a free service and works with the iPhone 4S to provide you with Siri's go-to resource for data, they bring a $4.95 a month (or $2.99 for students) service to the market today with abilities above and beyond what they've offered in the past.