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And the Winners are …

5D3_0463Thousands of students from more than 90 countries entered the Google Science Fair, but the winners’ project isn’t just astoundingly creative, but can help make our planet a better place to live. The three grand prize winners discovered a naturally-occurring bacteria that can speed plant germination by 50 percent. Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow are each 16-years old and will not only get those cool trophies but a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a $50,000 scholarship.

Meanwhile, Mihir Garimella built a flying robot that mimicked how fruit flies evade threats and Hayley Todesco figured out a way to remove pollutants and toxins from mine tailing ponds. Finally, Kenneth Shinozuka won the Scientific American Science in Action award for is wearable sensors project that let him remotely keep tabs on his elderly grandfather and Arsh Dilbagi won for his Talk project that lets people with speech impairments communicate by exhaling. Congratulations, all.


Freebee Friday: The Future of Mobility


Harris poll mobilityWhile teachers and administrators are still on the fence over the impact of mobile technology on learning, their students are all for it. A Harris Poll survey sponsored by Pearson showed that nine out of ten students believe that tablets will change the way they learn. So says the 2014 Mobile Device Survey, which questioned more than 2,250 fourth-through-twelfth-graders and found them very amenable to new technology.

For instance, 81 percent responded that tablets let them learn in a way that’s best for them and 79 percent thought it helped them with their schoolwork. That said, only about 60 percent of those who participated in the survey regularly used a tablet at school. You can read the full survey results for free.

Freebee Friday: Yea or Nay on the Common Core

Common coreWhether you’re pro or con on the Common Core question, you’ll want to listen to the debate at New York’s Kaufman Center on September 9th. Titled, “Embrace the Common Core,” the program will feature spirited debate and the opportunity to vote either way before and after the presentations. Those lining up in favor of the Common Core curriculum include former assistant Secretary of Education Carmel Martin and Michael Petrilli, President of the Fordham Institute. They’ll be arguing with Carol Burris, Principal at South Side High School in Rockville Center, NY and Frederick Hess, Resident Scholar and Director of Educational Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. ABC reporter John Donvan will moderate the event. It will be part of an NPR show called “Intelligence Squared U.S.” and will be streamed on the Intelligence Squared Web site.

The School Pad

Jamf bThe biggest downside of making teachers and students bring their own computers to school is that logging them onto the school network can be a chore with different software for different platforms. JAMF’s latest Casper Suite puts an end to the BYOD shuffle with a system that relies on iPad and Android users to do most of the work of enrolling and maintaining networking connections.

The New Bus Pass

LogosRegardless of whether your district runs a fleet of busses or contracts with others to provide student transportation, you need to not only track the vehicles, but let parents know when they’re going to be late picking up or dropping off. One Call Now and BusTracks have teamed up to be able to know exactly where each bus is and send parents text or phone messages about the location of their children. The system can even send a note about when a child gets on the bus. It should be available later this month.



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