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'Lincoln' Is Coming to a School Near You | Education Week

'Lincoln' Is Coming to a School Near You | Education Week | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

If you missed Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" at the cinema, you might be able to catch it at your local school sometime soon.

 

That's because copies of the movie will be distributed for free to all middle and high schools in the United States, both public and private, as soon as it's made available on DVD, the organization Participant Media announced this week.

 

Actually, schools will get a special DVD package that includes an "educator's guide" to help teachers develop lesson plans and engage students in discussion about Abraham Lincoln and that time period, a press release said.

 

The educational outreach is a joint project funded by Participant Media, an entertainment company, along with DreamWorks Pictures and Fox/Newscorp.

 

"As more and more people began to see the film, we received letters from teachers asking if it could be available in their classrooms," director and producer Steven Spielberg said in a press release. "We realized that the educational value that 'Lincoln' could have was not only for the adult audiences—who have studied his life in history books—but for young students in the classroom as well."

 

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These 9 Charts Show America's Coming Student Loan Apocalypse | Shahien Nasiripour | HuffPost.com

These 9 Charts Show America's Coming Student Loan Apocalypse | Shahien Nasiripour | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Borrowers with federal student loans, long promoted as the safest way to borrow for college, appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, new data show.


More than half of Direct Loans, the most common type of federal student loan, aren't being repaid on time or as expected, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly half of the loans in repayment are in plans scheduled to take longer than 10 years. The number of loans in distress is rising.


The increase in troubled loans comes as the average amount of student debt has significantly outpaced wage growth. After adjusting for inflation, the average recipient of federal student loan funds owed 28 percent more in 2013 than in 2007, according to Education Department data. But the typical holder of a bachelor's degree working full time experienced a 0.08 percent decrease in weekly earnings during that same period. For those with advanced degrees, median wages increased just 0.02 percent, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Obama administration, mindful of borrowers' difficulty in repaying their federal student loans, has been promoting repayment plans that cap monthly payments relative to income. An unemployed borrower with no income, for example, could pay nothing every month, yet still be considered current on the debt.


At a December Education Department conference in Las Vegas, Brian Lanham, then an executive at student loan giant Sallie Mae, said that more than 40 percent of borrowers who enroll in so-called income-driven repayment plans have a zero monthly payment.


It's "something that's really boosted our income-driven repayment application rates," Lanham said, according to a recording of the event the department posted on YouTube. "If they're struggling," he said of borrowers, "it's an option."


The Education Department did not respond to inquiries regarding the number of borrowers enrolled in plans that require them to pay nothing to keep current on their loans. Patricia Christel, a spokeswoman for Navient, the former Sallie Mae servicing unit that has since become an independent company, did not respond to requests for comment.


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Is doing less harm enough for Education Secretary Duncan? | Valarie Strauss | WashPost.com

Is doing less harm enough for Education Secretary Duncan? | Valarie Strauss | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today via a blog post that he has decided to allow most states to apply for permission from the Education Department to push back to 2015-16 a requirement that they use student standardized test scores in teacher’s evaluations. This marked a step beyond flexibility Duncan offered last year, when he said states could seek flexibility from making personnel decisions based on teacher evaluations linked to student standardized test scores.


Why is he doing this? Because, he said, teachers have persuaded the department that it is unfair to rate teachers on the scores of new Common Core State Standards tests at a time when teachers are still learning how to teach to the standards. Duncan’s department has implemented reform policies that have led to most states agreeing to link educator evaluations to student standardized test scores, a practice that many assessment experts say is unfair.


Over the last several years there has been increasing opposition to Duncan’s approach on teacher evaluation and other issues. This summer, the nation’s largest labor union, the National Education Association, called for Duncan’s resignation, and the second largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, said Duncan should be put on an improvement plan. After that, Duncan wrote a blog post saying that teachers were his “top advisers.”


So how significant is today’s move by Duncan? Here’s one answer to that question from Barnett Berry,  founder, partner and chief executive officer at the Center for Teaching Quality, a national nonprofit organization that helps teachers transform their profession.


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Charter Schools Don't Need An Ad Campaign, They Need Regulation | Jeff Bryant | Ed Opportunity Network

This time of year, while classroom teachers and administrators in public schools are busy welcoming students back to a new school year and figuring out how they’re going to cope with devastating financial constraints, advocates in the charter schools industry are propping up their image with an extensive new public relations campaign, called “Truth About Charters.”


That contrast alone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where we are in the nation’s parallel education narratives, in which a gritty documentary competes with what is essentially an advertising campaign for a shiny, new product.

There are good reasons for charter schools advocates to feel they need an ad campaign. Recent polling results from the annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Towards the Public Schools show that Americans generally have favorable opinions about charter schools but don’t really know very much about them.


That situation is eerily similar to what has befallen another education policy favored by influential private interests and federal and state authorities: the Common Core.


Last year’s PDK/Gallup survey found that the Common Core was pretty much a mystery to most Americans, although public support for national standards was high. However, as new standards rolled out, and people became more knowledgeable about them and all they entail, opinion gradually changed. According to this year’s survey, over 80 percent of Americans have heard about the Common Core – 47 percent indicating they have heard a great deal or a fair amount. And most Americans, 60 percent, now oppose them.


A similar evolution may be occurring with charter schools. Because only about 6 percent of school children are enrolled in charters, the vast majority of Americans have had virtually no actual experiences with these schools. But in communities where charters are more prevalent, public opinion is more starkly divided.


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Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com

Introducing Google’s exciting yet ambitious new Project called Loon | Technology-in-Biz.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Loon is Internet access via a network of balloons traveling on the edge of Space.


Introducing the latest project from Google [x] called Project Loon.


Its where they intend to bring internet access to people in remote areas using network of balloons traveling on the edge of space.


To learn more, visit: http://google.com/loon.


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IBM uses Watson as part of new cloud service | Sharon Gaudin | NetworkWorld.com

IBM uses Watson as part of new cloud service | Sharon Gaudin | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

IBM is making its artificially intelligent computer system, Watson, available to researchers as a cloud service.


Scientists from universities, pharmaceutical companies and commercial research centers have been using Watson, which was built to understand human language, to analyze and test hypotheses in their data, along with data held in millions of scientific papers available in public databases.


Early adopters have been trying out the cloud service, but it's officially available today, according to Rob Merkel, vice president of IBM's Watson Healthcare Group.


Merkel declined to talk about the cost of the service.


Watson gained mainstream fame early in 2011 when the supercomputer went up against Jeopardy champions in a special episode of the question-and-answer game show.


In the man-vs-machine dustup, Watson trounced its human opponents. The machine may have faltered in a few categories, but was faster to the buzzer and more knowledgeable than its challengers, who had won many games against knowledgeable opponents in regular matchups.

At the time, Watson was touted by some analysts as one of the biggest computing advancements in the past several decades.


What makes it stand apart from other supercomputers is not just its ability to make calculations. Watson was designed to essentially converse with humans, answering verbal questions and even beginning to understand colloquialisms and jokes.


Merkel said that natural language ability puts Watson in a good position for scientific research. For instance, a scientist could have Watson digitally ingest as much information - say, research papers, proprietary information and licensed information -- about a topic as possible.


Then the scientist could ask the super computer to find all the drugs that had been repurposed for a particular use in the past five years. Or the scientist could ask Watson to go through that information and find all of the known drugs with certain characteristics.


"It's about understanding human language, scientific language and images," said Merkel. "It could be used anywhere where huge bodies of information need to analyzed."


Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said it's a good idea for universities or commercial research houses to use Watson as a cloud service.


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A truly giant tablet hits the market…for kids! | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com

A truly giant tablet hits the market…for kids! | Fredric Paul | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It’s been a long, long, long time since Crosby, Stills, and Nash told kids to “Teach your parents well.” And I don’t think they were talking about a new 24-inch tablet computer from Fuhu. But maybe they were prescient or something, because I think Fuhu's new Nabi Big Tab 24 tablet is a great idea for adults  as well as kids. And for business as well as personal uses.


In case you haven’t heard, coming this fall, the Big Tab 24 is the world’s largest Android tablet, though it runs Fuhu’s proprietary Blue Morpho operating system over the base Android 4.4 OS. (Fuhu, based in El Segundo, California, is also prepping a 20-inch version.) The specs are actually pretty impressive: it’s got a 15-point capacitive touch screen designed to let multiple (small) people use it at the same time, Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processors, and 16 GB of memory.


Not exactly the modern definition of portable, the 2-foot-diagonal behemoth is almost an inch thick and weighs a whopping 13 pounds. And apparently, it can only run for about a half hour without being plugged in. Fortunately, the built-in carrying frame also functions as a kickstand. Still, that’s a lot of screen and technology for $550, hardly more than a relatively tiny Apple iPad Air. The 20-inch version costs $450 -- compare that to an iPad Mini!


The idea behind this giant tablet is that kids can play games and work on projects together -- either cooperatively or in competition with each other.


Fine, that’s a great idea, but what I’m really interested in is what grownups could do with a machine like this. I don’t know whether or not users will be able to root the Big Tab to something like stock Android, but given the device’s kid-friendly design, it’s unlikely that too many “serious” folks will take that route.


That’s a shame, because it doesn’t take a kid to come up with all kinds of cool uses for a really, really, really big tablet. Sure, as readers of my phablet coverage already know, I’m biased toward big screens, but I think oversized tablets could have lots of useful applications:


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Back To School With The Educational App Boom | On Point Radio | WBUR.org

Back To School With The Educational App Boom | On Point Radio | WBUR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The new school year is revved and revving up all over now.  Backpacks, notebooks, new sneakers – and technology.  At home and in the classroom, educational apps are all over now. 


Apps for babies.  Apps for toddlers.  Apps for kids in school.  We’ve got The Three Little Pigs and Monster Physics.  Frog Dissection and Duolingo.  Apps for the classroom, and for home, and apps for teachers to communicate with home. 


Is it all rocketing our children ahead in learning?  This hour On Point:  In school and out, wading deep into the age of educational apps.


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Computer Science: The Future of Education | Allison Miller Blog | Edutopia.org

Computer Science: The Future of Education | Allison Miller Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

From the cell phone alarm that wakes them to the tablets used to chat with friends and complete homework, today's students are surrounded by computer technology. It is ubiquitous, and critical to daily routines. Yet few understand how technology works, even as it becomes ever more intrinsic to how we solve business and community challenges.


Today, computer science helps retailers determine how to grow sales, and it ensures that law enforcement officers are in the right places to maintain public safety. It is the foundation for the smart grid, and it fuels personalized medicine initiatives that optimize outcomes and minimize treatment side effects. Computing algorithms help organizations in all industries solve problems in new and more effective ways.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs. However, between current professionals and university students, we will only have 400,000 computer scientists trained to fill those roles.


Since it can take as many as 25 years to create a computer scientist, and since computer science skills are becoming increasingly integral for jobs in all industries, this skills gap is on track to emerge as a formidable economic, security, and social justice challenge in the next few years. Teachers, schools, parents, and industry must act on multiple fronts to address student readiness, expand access to computer science curriculum and opportunities, and help foster interest in computer science to ensure that it becomes a core component of every child's education.


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NYC: Harlem Students Trade Summer Sun and Fun for Labs and Apps | West Harlem | DNAinfo.com

NYC: Harlem Students Trade Summer Sun and Fun for Labs and Apps | West Harlem | DNAinfo.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Instead of spending the summer at the pool, Arif Mahmud, 17, spent his time working in a lab.


Mahmud was one of 25 high schoolers in the Harlem-based science incubator Harlem Biospace's inaugural summer program, HK Maker Lab, which recruited students to spend four days a week for six weeks at Columbia University in order to learn about biomedical engineering.


"It is really amazing to see something that started off as just an idea in your head become a physical bio-medical product," said Mahmud, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School who was part of a team that invented a reliable light source for surgery rooms in international hospitals that lack sufficient energy infrastructures.


Other students in the program created products to solve global health problems like finding a low-cost and efficient way of keeping newborns warm in places that don’t have incubators.


Organizers said this year's first-ever program ran even better than expected.


“The thing that exceeded my expectations was their level of focus,” said Aaron Kyle, who designed the curriculum. “They took six weeks out of their summer, they could’ve been outside, playing sports and having fun.”


Apart from teaching high school students biomedical engineering, the program exposes them to the college environment and shows them how obtainable that goal is, Kyle added. Maker Lab, for instance, recruited students from regions with the fewest college science and math majors as well as students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, according to their website.


The summer was also a success for the Harlem-based nonprofit Silicon Harlem, which ran its first Apps Youth Leadership Academy, a seven-week program, out of City College.


Twenty high school students from Harlem learned coding and design to develop their own apps as part of the training, according to Marta Moreno Vega, who organized Silicon Harlem and is president of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.


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Fifteen previously unknown monuments discovered underground in Stonehenge landscape | April Holloway | Ancient-Origins.net

Fifteen previously unknown monuments discovered underground in Stonehenge landscape | April Holloway | Ancient-Origins.net | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A groundbreaking new survey of Stonehenge and its surrounds has revealed fifteen previously unknown Neolithic monuments underground, according to a new report released by the Smithsonian Institute. The results show that there is a lot more to Stonehenge than meets the eye.


It has long been known that Stonehenge was not just an isolated monument in an unspoilt landscape, but was part of a much bigger complex.  This is evidenced by the scattering of mounds, ditches, burials, and other significant monuments, such as Woodhenge, Coneybury, the Cursus monument, and Amesbury Long Barrow, all within a short distance of the famous stone circle. Now a new research project using magnetic sensors to scan landmarks in Wiltshire have found even more evidence of human activity, which have lain hidden underground for thousands of years.


The Stonehenge Hidden Landscaped Project is a four-year collaboration with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria. The team has conducted the first detailed underground survey of the area surrounding Stonehenge, covering around four square miles (six kilometres). What they discovered was startling.


Using the latest in high-tech equipment, the team of experts detected evidence of ancient digging and buildings, including other henges, barrows, pits, and ditches, which are believed to harbour valuable information about the prehistoric site.


“This is among the most important landscapes, and probably the most studied landscape, in the world,” archaeologist Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham told the Smithsonian Magazine. “And the area has been absolutely transformed by this survey. It won’t be the same again.”


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UK: New Stonehenge Discovery Changes Everything | Ryan Grenoble | HuffPost.com

UK: New Stonehenge Discovery Changes Everything | Ryan Grenoble | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The mystery surrounding Stonehenge has suddenly deepened -- literally. A first-of-its-kind study suggests that 15 previously undiscovered or poorly understood monuments lie hidden under the ancient stone monument and its surroundings.


For the study, researchers used a variety of techniques -- including ground-penetrating radar and 3D laser scanning -- to create a highly detailed subsurface map of the entire area. According to a release from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, one of the partners in the study, the technologies are notable for being much less destructive than traditional, digging-based exploratory techniques.


Known as "The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project," the four-year effort suggests that there was more going on in the area than previously thought -- as evidenced by all the newly identified monuments.


One of the new finds is an ancient trough that bisects an East-West ditch known as a "Cursus," Prof. Vince Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in England and one of the scientists behind the project, told The Smithsonian.


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Amazing 1960s Predictions About Satellites, Email, and the Internet | PaleoFuture | Gizmodo.com

Amazing 1960s Predictions About Satellites, Email, and the Internet | PaleoFuture | Gizmodo.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It's hard for many of us living here in the early 21st century to imagine a world without satellites. Well, in fairness, we don't really think about satellites at all. Much like electricity or tap water, we only remember how vital they are when they stop working. Our GPS devices, smartphones, and modern military infrastructure all depend on satellites.


But before they ruled our world, experts were predicting how they might radically alter the way we communicate. And as with many predictions that we look at here at Paleofuture, they got a lot right, just not in the form that was initially imagined.


The February 17, 1962 issue of the Sunday comic strip Our New Age (in this case, run on a Saturday in the Chicago Daily News) envisioned the fantastic advancements that the introduction of satellites would allow. Everything from the decline of "old fashioned mail" to the rise of video-conferencing from home was predicted by Athelstan Spilhaus, dean of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and author of the comic strip.


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Melissa Marshall's curator insight, August 25, 10:45 PM

Oh this is a bit scary - not all accurate but a good discussion starter for students, I think!

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MA: Voters aren’t eager for more charter schools | The Boston Globe

MA: Voters aren’t eager for more charter schools | The Boston Globe | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Voter support for more charter schools in Massachusetts appears to be weak, according to a new Boston Globe poll, highlighting a politically risky situation for charter school supporters if they pursue a ballot question.


The poll found that 47 percent of respondents opposed raising a state cap on the number of charter schools that can operate in Massachusetts, compared with 43 percent who favor such a change.


The results mean that charter school advocates would have to launch a compelling campaign to convince voters that opening more charter schools would be beneficial to students, said John Della Volpe, founder and chief executive officer for SocialSphere Inc., which conducted the poll for the Globe.


“They have their work cut out for them,” Della Volpe said. “What I mean by that is they would need to make the case why changing the current situation would result in significant more benefits for children.”


Resistance to raising the cap, Della Volpe said, could hinge on another significant finding in the poll: 72 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the quality of education provided by their local school systems.


A defeat at the ballot box could deliver a crushing blow to charter school advocates, even possibly dooming future attempts to convince the Legislature to raise the cap. That’s because weary legislators could point to the referendum results and say they don’t want to betray the wishes of voters.


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Half of teachers leave the job after five years. Here’s what to do about it | Alexandria Neason | The Hechinger Report

Half of teachers leave the job after five years. Here’s what to do about it | Alexandria Neason | The Hechinger Report | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Amid intense debate about new education standards, and teacher tenure and pay, the Alliance for Excellent Education has turned the focus to new teachers – and their tendency to quit.


A new report, published by the Alliance in collaboration with the New Teacher Center (NTC), a non-profit that helps schools and policymakers develop training for new educators, found that about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.


The high turnover rates are sometimes due to layoffs, “but the primary reason they leave is because they’re dissatisfied,” said Richard Ingersoll, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research on teacher retention was published in the report. Teachers say they leave because of inadequate administrative support and isolated working conditions, among other things. These losses disproportionately affect high-poverty, urban and rural schools, where teaching staffs often lack experience.


A Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) report found that schools serving low-income, minority students turn over half of their staffs every three years, deepening the divide between poor and wealthy students to the most experienced teachers.


But the new report says poor retention isn’t a commitment problem. It’s a support problem.


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Accountability Report Urges Fewer Tests, More Peer Review | Stephen Sawchuk | EdWeek.org

Accountability Report Urges Fewer Tests, More Peer Review | Stephen Sawchuk | EdWeek.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Accountability for the public schools should be far less test-driven and more the product of teachers holding one another to high professional standards, the National Center on Education and the Economy proposes in a report issued Thursday.


More folks seem to be pushing the less-is-more approach to testing: A group of advocates held a forum on that topic earlier this summer, and the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution at its July convention urging a dramatic scaling-back in the number of exams students must take. 


There's one major sticking point to the idea, though: The renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal education law requiring annual testing of public school students, has been hopelessly stuck for years. The U.S. Department of Education has granted nearly every state waivers from certain of the law's requirements, but it's held fast to the annual-testing one so far. Still, the time to build a push for fewer tests is now, NCEE President Marc Tucker said.


"We aren't going to get a successor to No Child Left Behind unless there is consenus on a larger reform in American education, and there is no consensus," he said in an interview. "I don't think it's a moment too soon to start building one." 


Many of the report's recommendations are familiar if you've followed Tucker's previous analyses of international practices or have read his edweek.org blog.


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Kids and Technology: Can We Ever Really Keep Up? | Diana Graber Blog | HuffPost.com

Kids and Technology: Can We Ever Really Keep Up? | Diana Graber Blog | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Recently we engaged in a thoughtful debate on Twitter with @theonlinemom, who provides terrific advice on technology for parents. Condensing our deep thoughts about kids, digital literacy, and parenting into 140 characters or less, our exchange went like this:



Perhaps she's right. Maybe trying to keep up with our kids and whatever it is they're doing on those social networks with the funny names -- Tinder, Yik Yak, Wanelo and more -- is unrealistic. Let alone trying to keep pace with the actual technology, with updates and improvements coming faster than you can say iNeedHelp. It's exhausting.


But there is still one realm where we are ahead of our kids, and that's in "life skills," which are sorely needed -- believe it or not -- in digital spaces.


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After two weeks in space, the most powerful commercial satellite ever launched is sending back pics | GigaOM Tech News

After two weeks in space, the most powerful commercial satellite ever launched is sending back pics | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

WordView-3, the super-powerful commercial satellite that launched two weeks ago, is now sending images back to Earth. The satellite is remarkable for its ability to collect images sharp down to a scale of 11.8 inches, which is enough for it to tell a tomato plant from a shrub and a sedan from an SUV.


“You can actually definitely see (car) windshields,” DigitalGlobe director of next generation products Kumar Navulur said before the launch. “We can actually tell you whether it’s a truck or an SUV or a regular car. We can identify pictures of a baseball diamond.”


The first images released by the satellite’s operator DigitalGlobe depict an airport and neighborhoods in Madrid. In the airport images, airplanes, luggage trailers and activity like refueling or opening a hatch are visible.


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How to use the Raspberry Pi B+ computer for your next DIY project | Alex Campbell | NetworkWorld.com

How to use the Raspberry Pi B+ computer for your next DIY project | Alex Campbell | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You don't need an electrical engineering degree to build a robot army. With the $35 Raspberry Pi B+, you can create robots and connected devices on the cheap, with little more than an Internet connection and a bunch of spare time.


The Raspberry Pi is a computer about the size of a credit card. The darling of the do-it-yourself electronics crowd, the Pi was originally designed to teach kids computer and programming skills without the need for expensive computer labs. People have used Raspberry Pis for everything from robots to cheap home media centers.


The Pi sports USB ports, HDMI video, and a host of other peripherals. The latest version, the B+, sports 512MB of RAM and uses a MicroSD card instead of a full-size card.


Most people install a Linux distribution called Raspbian onto the SD cards needed to boot the Pi. Raspbian is a version of Debian Linux (the distribution Ubuntu is based on) designed specifically for use on the Pi. Raspbian is also recommended for new Pi users to familiarize themselves with the device and the Linux operating system.


If the the big "L-word" scares you, rest easy knowing that Raspbian ships with a familiar graphical environment, complete with a web browser. And you can get your Pi up and running in less time than it takes to bake an edible raspberry pie.


Ready? Let's get cooking.


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ALEC And Jeb Bush Are Conspiring To Kill Off Public Schools For Good | PoliticusUSA.com

ALEC And Jeb Bush Are Conspiring To Kill Off Public Schools For Good | PoliticusUSA.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Even the most successful of power-mad schemers need reliable co-conspirators to accomplish their nefarious ends. The most power-mad of the power-mad, the American Legislative Exchange Council, relies on easily compromised spear-carriers to dominate state legislatures and push through model-legislation designed to benefit ALEC’s multi-national, special interest corporate donor base.


It was by pure happenstance I chanced upon such a co-conspirator the other day. It actually turned out to be three co-conspirators. I was digging through the South Carolina Ethics Commission’s statements of economic interests required of state and legislative office holders and their challengers. These interests include name, address, filing date, business and property interest, creditors, government contracts, lobbyist contacts and, most importantly, who is buying legislator’s votes through the section marked “gifts.”


I concentrated on my local delegation of seated representatives. On my first search, an initialism (thus termed when an acronym is unpronounceable) popped up that I’d never seen or heard of before. It appeared as SLLF. Whatever it was had gifted one of my local state delegations with a total of nearly $3,100 for the gift of a single trip. Not bad. There are some economy overseas jaunts you can take for three grand. The stipend covered ‘tuition,’ lodging and meals. As I looked at the economic interests of my other local representatives, SLLF appeared over and over. Four of my six house members accepted SLLF’s largess. This definitely called for further study.


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South Carolina Cyber education boots up again | GreenvilleOnline.com

South Carolina Cyber education boots up again | GreenvilleOnline.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As thousands of Upstate children hopped in big yellow school buses and headed off to big brick schoolhouses last week, the state's virtual schools hit the "on" button and booted up another year of cyber education.


South Carolina was ahead of the curve six years ago when its first three online schools went into operation through the statewide Charter School District. The state attracted national attention from the North American Council for Online Learning for its "virtual big bang."


The virtual schools started in 2008 with 2,175 students. This year, there are twice as many virtual schools and more than four times as many students enrolled in them.


The results have been mixed.


For some students, like Jonathan Sessions, a seventh-grader who is starting his seventh year in the South Carolina Virtual Charter School, it's been great, according to his mother, Karen.


"He's learning much more in the virtual school," she said during a start-of-year "school social" at Cleveland Park late late week. "Having older children that went to a traditional school, I can see a big difference – much more learning taking place."


She put Jonathan and his older brother, Nick, now a student at Greenville Tech Charter High, in the virtual school so they could go at their own pace, she said.


Jonathan says he doesn't mind not going to a regular school every day like most kids.


"I haven't been bothered by it because I've done a lot of other stuff like at the YMCA," he said. "But I've also met other students and gotten to know them."


Like at the Cleveland Park gathering, where students, parents and teachers were playing board games, chatting and just spending face time with each other before renewing their cyber relationship for another year.


Some students don't do well, however, in the less structured environment of a virtual school. And that has hurt the overall academic standing of the six virtual charter schools now in operation in the state, officials said.


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Pediatricians Say School Should Start Later For Teens' Health | NPR.org

Pediatricians Say School Should Start Later For Teens' Health | NPR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Many parents have pushed for a later start to the school day for teenagers, with limited success. But parents just got a boost from the nation's pediatricians, who say that making middle and high schoolers start classes before 8:30 a.m. threatens children's' health, safety and academic performance.


"We want to promote safety with kids," says , an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children's Hospital. "We truly believe that our teenagers are getting six to seven hours of sleep a night, and they need eight to 10."


On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a calling on school districts to move start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high schools, so that students can get at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night.


"It's making a very powerful statement about the importance of sleep to health," says , a sleep researcher at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., who wrote a on teen sleep needs that accompanied the recommendation. "School start time is a cost-effective way to address this public health issue."


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CA: LA schools cancel iPad contracts after KPCC publishes troubling emails | SCPR.org

CA: LA schools cancel iPad contracts after KPCC publishes troubling emails | SCPR.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Three days after KPCC published internal emails showing top L.A. Unified officials and executives from Pearson and Apple met and discussed bringing tablet-driven education software to the classroom, the school district announced Monday it will cancel the contract with Apple and Pearson and open its one-to-one technology project to new bids.


Superintendent John Deasy alerted school board members to the change to the Common Core Technology Project in a memo distributed Monday evening and obtained by KPCC. (You can read his full memo, embedded below.)


"Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the [Common Core Technology Project] and receive new information from the California Department of Education regarding assessments," Deasy wrote.


KPCC's investigation found Deasy and his deputies communicated with Pearson employees over pricing, teacher training and technical support - specifications that later resembled the district's request for proposals from vendors. Pearson and Apple emerged as the winning bidders and were awarded the now-abandoned contract in June 2013.


"Specifically, we will be re-visiting the criteria on which original specifications were based, as well as review vendor responses and student feedback to the laptop pilot," Deasy wrote. "We expect our current contractor and their subcontractor to participate in the upcoming RFP."


It's unclear how the decision will affect the 75,000 iPads the district has already purchased - about half of which were loaded with Pearson's unfinished software. Pearson is not required to finish the software until November.


L.A. Unified’s technology project is poised to be the largest school expansion in the country, equipping 650,000 students with computers and upgrading wifi networks at the district’s 800 schools. The project is expected to cost $1.3 billion.


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The price of a 'free' public education turns out to be damn expensive | Mark Anderson | DailyKos.com

The price of a 'free' public education turns out to be damn expensive | Mark Anderson | DailyKos.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In just two short weeks my son will start high school, a momentous event in his young life, the beginning of his journey to adulthood. He plays football and plans to be a wrestler this season.


Thirty-three years ago when I started high school (GO PURGOLDERS!), my parents did not have to pay any fees for me to attend school. There were no fees for me to play football, and no fees for textbooks or consumables. As I recall, the only fees my parents paid while I was in high school were $20 for a season pass to all athletic events (total of $80 for four years), and $60 for driver's education my sophomore year. That was it.


Now, 30-some years later due to a shifting of the tax burden from the wealthy and businesses, school funding has taken a hit. Now my taxes no longer cover what it costs to educate a child.


And yet, Article X Section 3 of the Wisconsin State Constitution states:


The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years...


Well, this does not look like free to me:


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Workers of the high seas, unite! | Rebecca Onion | The Boston Globe

Workers of the high seas, unite! | Rebecca Onion |  The Boston Globe | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In the 17th and 18th centuries, at the height of the Age of Sail, famous sea captains like the British Royal Navy’s Horatio Nelson and the explorer James Cook gathered recognition and treasure. The anonymous sailors who crewed their ships, meanwhile, got to travel the world—but under tough conditions. Pressed up against one another in close quarters, the average seaman ate poorly and suffered from shipboard diseases. A large number were permanently disabled in combat, or through accidents; many died far from home.


Even if their names are largely unknown to us now, sailors didn’t suffer these indignities without leaving their mark on the modern world. In a new book, “Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail” (Beacon Press), Marcus Rediker, a historian at the University of Pittsburgh, argues that the stresses and strains of the sailor’s life incubated radical new ways of thinking about labor, and about citizens’ relationship to the state.


The history of the maritime working class is hard to write, because primary documents are scarce. Many sailors were illiterate. One chapter of Rediker’s book looks at an extraordinary document—the 40-year diary of Edward Barlow, a 17th-century seaman who protected his work from shipboard life by preserving it in a joint of bamboo sealed with wax. But Barlow’s diary is unusual. To fill in the blanks, the historian turned to court records of shipboard conflicts, folk songs, and sailors’ yarns, using those sources to excavate a longer history of democratic thinking among sailors. Along the way, Rediker delves into what he describes as longtime fascinations: shipboard labor disputes; the resistance strategies of people imprisoned on slave ships; the “counterculture” of the pirate’s life.


Sailors, Rediker argues, should be recognized as critical contributors to both the American Revolution and the abolition of slavery. “Within the closed, repressive space of the ship, an engine of capitalism,” Rediker writes, “emerged dreams of freedom, stories of new ways of being, transcendent and sometimes utopian.”


Rediker spoke with Ideas from Philadelphia, where he was researching his next book.


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New OMB Uniform Guidelines for Nonprofits and Social Impact | ZeroDivide.org

New OMB Uniform Guidelines for Nonprofits and Social Impact | ZeroDivide.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

People know I'm a little bit wonkish — someone who enjoys reading dense policy articles, as well as local, state and federal laws and regulations. But few would suggest I take pleasure in reading cost allocation guidelines published by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As every nonprofit grant writer, accountant and executive can attest, plowing through these federal rules typically cause despair.


However, the new rules on cost allocation that I read the other day was reason for some cautious celebration. Among other things, it consolidates cost principles for schools, governments and nonprofit organizations into what some are calling a “Super Circular.” Having one set of federal rules for everyone to follow is certainly commendable — but is it cause for joy? Yes, and here’s why.


The OMB’s new Uniform Guidance directs any governments using federal funds to pay a nonprofit its indirect costs. Let me repeat that: governments using federal funds will no longer be able to say “we don’t pay for administrative or overhead costs; your nonprofit will have to eat those costs or raise the money on your own.”  


No longer will nonprofits need to postpone investments they require to do their work, nor will they have to continue subsidizing their work with government agencies. There are some limits on how far the OMB mandate on paying indirect costs goes, so nonprofits should check to see which of their funding streams are and are not covered.


By enabling nonprofit organizations to include true indirect costs, including technology and staffing when appropriate, in their government contracts and grants, the federal government is recognizing what we at ZeroDivide have been saying for years:


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