Government Learning Partner Insights

Will All Schools Have Nanotechnology Labs?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets a lesson in nanotechnology from Wheeling High School student Drakkari Lott. (Photo: Ed.gov)

Setting up high school students with atomic-force microscopes and optical profilers so they can study nanotechnology may seem like a science teacher’s dream, but it’s already happening in at least one school in the United States. And the amount of outside financial support received by Wheeling High School in Illinois to make the lab a reality, coupled with efforts to encourage teachers to emphasize the field, suggests that more labs may soon be cropping up. The focus on nanotech in Wheeling and elsewhere speaks to its potential.   More

Learning

Foreign-Language Software Goes to the Library

Mango co-founders and brothers Jason (l) and Mike Teshuba.

Technology has done much to build bridges globally, but it could do a lot more. Helping us speak other languages is one promising arena, expanding global business through cultural awareness. Mango Languages aims to teach the grammar, culture, and intuitiveness of languages in a fun, interesting, and engaging way. The company’s conversation-based learning products employ a technique it calls intuitive language construction. More than 2,700 libraries across the U.S. offer Mango Languages to expose learners to new languages, cultures, and opportunities. And corporate and government adopters are showing how bilingual training is good for business.   More

Learning Partner Insights

Lawmakers: Colleges Need Free Digital Textbooks

Undergrads on average spend more than $1,200 annually on books and supplies. (Photo credit: Lightpoet)

Lawmakers in Washington are considering a proposal that would help colleges produce and share free digital textbooks, a move proponents say would help make college more affordable. The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a grant program for colleges interested in establishing pilot programs that use “open educational resources” to reduce textbook costs. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a supporter of the legislation, has defined these resources as free, online academic materials that everyone can use, adapt, and share.   More

Learning

Rethinking Online Scholarship

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Are MOOCs all they’re cracked up to be? Over the past few years, the merits of massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been fiercely debated; some argue that they will radically expand and democratize higher education, while others say the hype is overrated. Unfortunately, early results have been disappointing, the New York Times reports. A study released this month by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education found that only about half of those who registered ever viewed a lecture, with only about 4 percent completing a course.   More

Learning

Google Isn’t The Only Way to Research

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The fast-growing Digital Public Library of America aims to make accessible the holdings of every library, historical society, and other repository of information. Not just text but photos and other resources flow through this aggregator of sites. The DPLA regularizes the metadata so anyone can search through vast troves of specialized material. Want to find where your great-grandmother lived in rural Minnesota? This is how you may do it.   More

Learning

A Holiday Gift That Helps You Navigate an Electronic World

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Thirty-one-year-old Ayah Bdeir wants to inspire a new generation of innovators, and she has the building blocks to do it—literally. Bdeir is CEO and founder of littleBits, a company that sells an electronic toolkit that can teach complex engineering concepts to kids and adults in a fun and simple way. LittleBits users get access to an open-source library of small electronic modules resembling LEGO pieces that snap together with tiny magnets to create fully-functioning devices. Each “bit” has a specific function—it might create light or sound, have a sensor or house a motor—allowing users to create anything from a flashlight to a fully operational robot.   More

Learning

In Chicago, It’s Hot to Study How People Interact Online

People who build technology want you to have the most simple—and emotionally satisfying—experience possible. That's why more and more students are studying UX, or user experience, design. There are many subtleties in how understanding how users interact with technology and how to create user-friendly products. The field of UX design is often described as how and why things work. And Chicago is becoming a hotbed for studying it.   More

Arts & Culture Learning Techonomy Events

Why STEM Isn’t Enough to Train Tomorrow’s Creators

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In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama committed to “reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math—the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.” Yet employers realize that it’s not only hard to find good developers; good designers are big difference makers as well. If we want to make the next generation of “artrepreneurs,” we need to add A for the Arts to turn STEM to STEAM.   More

Jobs Learning

The Public Image of the Female Programmer

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The Labor Department has estimated that there will be 1.4 million job openings for computer-related occupations this decade. On the heels of less-than-stellar jobs numbers, this should be welcome news to millennials planning their career paths. But, as Catherine Rampell wrote in this week’s New York Times Magazine, few young women are choosing the computer science field, despite its potential for high incomes and flexibility. Why is this? Rampell suggests that computer science has a “public-image problem,” and there aren’t enough narratives of successful women in the field.   More

Learning

“Help Kids Dream Big,” Says Teach For America’s Annis Stubbs

A "prerequisite of being a kid" is dreaming big, says Annis Stubbs, executive director of Teach For America - Detroit. Our challenge is providing students with an education system capable of supporting their big dreams—a system that distributes resources equally, educates the child as a whole, and empowers students to execute on their ideas. At the Techonomy Detroit conference, Stubbs talked about her vision of a reinvigorated education system. "Everything starts with an idea," she said. "We need to help figure out how to ensure that our kids feel good about expressing their ideas and they feel confident enough to have these big ideas."   More

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Education 2.0 for Americans 2.0

John Wm. Covington of the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, Marlin Page of Sisters Code, Hector Ruiz of Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions, and Cisco's Tae Yoo join Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick to discuss education in a technologized age. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More

Cities Learning Startup Culture

With Help from Etsy, a Small-City Mayor Brings the Maker Movement to the Classroom

Larry Morrissey was 35 and had never held a political office when he ran a successful campaign as an independent candidate to become mayor of Rockford, Ill., in 2005. Now in his third term, Morrissey is determined to bring the city where he grew up back from years of economic decline. Among efforts to bolster local business and the city’s faltering education system, he recently teamed up with the online marketplace Etsy to create a pilot program for entrepreneurship education. He says it’s a link to an era when entrepreneurship was a way of life, not something learned in grad school.   More

Learning

You Can Teach an Old Brain Young Tricks

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In recent years many educators have endorsed the benefits of video games in learning, both for younger students and at the university level. But now brain scientists have discovered that a multitasking video game can also improve the short-term and long-term focus of older adults, The New York Times reports. The study found that some people as old as 80 even showed neurological patterns of 20-year-olds after playing the game, which involved swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs.   More

Jobs Learning

America’s Economic Recovery Hinges on STEM Education

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Of all of the potential threats to an economic recovery in the United States, one issue stands above the rest for companies like Dow. The issue isn’t tax reform. It isn’t energy prices. It’s not even budget issues in Washington. All of those are important. Perhaps the most important issue for us at Dow—the one that has the potential to either wreck or resurrect the American economy—is whether this country has enough qualified workers to sustain the economic recovery that we see looming just over the horizon.   More

Learning

How Technology Continues to Disrupt Higher Ed

Middlebury College's Middlebury Interactive, a web-based approach to foreign language learning.

While technology’s role in reshaping education predates even the earliest overhead projector, its potential to disrupt North American schooling now seems greater than ever. More colleges are proposing the option of full online degrees and in the past year the idea of a complete switch to web-based learning has emerged as a potentially practical solution to America’s education problem. Some believe that once more schools put the economical offer of a full, accredited online degree on the table, the costly campus experience will become a thing of the past. Whether young (and older) Americans will also be willing to trade the social aspect of academia for ease of access and a lower price tag remains to be seen.   More

Jobs Learning

MBA Talent Turns from Wall Street to Tech

More graduates from Harvard Business School are going into technology, preliminary career data published by the school shows. Technology companies hired 18 percent of MBA graduates from the class of 2013, up from 7 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2012. Financial service companies hired only 27 percent of the graduating class, down from 45 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2012.   More

Learning Startup Culture

What Is Blerdology?

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Blerds unite! Blerdeology, a social enterprise to support and engage the black startup and STEM community, is rallying blerds (black nerds) across the country with its “Blerd’s Night Out Tour.” Blerdology is the first organization to produce hackathons specifically targeting African-Americans, and these summer networking events aim to showcase rising black innovators and engage minority startup ecosystems.   More

Learning

Teachers Say No to “LOL” and “YOLO” in Student Writing

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Technology is not necessarily helping students become better writers, a new study has found. Although technology in the classroom has made students better collaborators, a Pew Research Center study has found that teachers are worried about students using informal texting language and improper citations, the Washington Post reports. While tools like tablets, Google Docs, and blogs have allowed students to more easily work together, nearly 70 percent of teachers think digital tools also make students more likely to “take shortcuts and put less effort into their writing.”   More

Learning Security & Privacy

Cyberattacks Target … Our Universities?

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Cyberattacks on large corporations and government organizations are nothing new. Over the past two decades, whole industries have been formed to stay one step ahead of the increasingly sophisticated and nefarious cadre of global hackers seeking information to gain advantage. Companies and government entities across the world view hacking as a top security threat and are continually on high alert for the next big cyberattack.   More

Learning

Pitch Review Software is a Home Run For Ball Players

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Software and tablets are allowing baseball players to better prepare for games than ever before, The New York Times reports. About 150 major league players and coaches are paying $700 per season for a subscription to Pitch Review software created by Bloomberg Sports. The program is especially popular among pitchers and catchers, as it aggregates a statistical database and video of every pitch thrown. Each user can have an individualized experience, analyzing their own pitching and hitting or that of opponents and teammates. In the past, players relied on desktop computers in stadiums for such video resources, but this program allows them to watch on the road or in the locker room.   More