Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Signs of a Significant Disruption in the Traditional Textbook Model

Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the December 18, 2008 issue of the New York Times in which he gave advice to the car companies. Friedman was saying that the car companies were giving the public what they wanted, but that was their problem. "Their job is to make the cars people don't know they want but will buy like crazy when they see them." He noted Apple's success with the iPod and Toyota's success with its hybrid. His point was that companies that are too market-driven are in danger; they need to show customers the possibilities because often customers don't know what they don't know until they see other options.

Indiana DOE Redefines Textbooks
An example of being too market-driven has flamed onto the education scene in Indiana. In October 2008, the Indiana State Board of Education issued a Statement and Action Regarding Social Studies Textbooks. In short, they found that while the submitted textbooks met minimum criteria, they "... do not provide content that is interesting, engaging and supportive of effective student learning...." In the statement, the board told local districts to go ahead and review the submitted books so they could be ready for spring adoption, but the board was going to conduct a deeper review to find content (emphasis mine) that was more interesting and engaging. And the board formally expressed its concerns to publishers and asked "for their input and assistance in improving the quality of educational materials they provide."

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stimulus Package Signed into Law; What It Means for K-12 Education

United States President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed by the House and Senate Friday. The Act assigns significant funding to a variety of education and education-related programs, beefing up educational technology, broadband, and teacher professional development and providing funds that can be used for school modernization.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Samsung to Launch App Store for Symbian, WinMo

Samsung will unveil a new mobile applications storefront for Symbian and Windows Mobile devices during this month's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. The virtual storefront (an extension of the Samsung Mobile Innovator developer program first announced last year) will offer consumers over-the-air application browsing, purchasing, downloading and installation.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

India's $20 laptop plan challenges our thinking about system design

According to the Financial Times this morning, India is planning a $20 laptop computer as a way of making distance learning accessible to that country's enormous rural population. Coming after MIT and Intel pretty much fought each other to a standstill trying to create a machine for six or eight times that amount, the plan is a wake-up call to anyone in the US who is thinking about serving developing-world markets.

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