Category Archives: Education

Softcover Is A New Self-Publishing Platform Aimed At Technical Authors

Offering e-books has a great deal of potential as a platform to provide clients and patients, as well as, their caregivers with dynamic content for home exercise and independent living programs.

TechCrunch

Softcover is a startup offering what it calls a “frictionless” platform for self-publishing e-books.

Co-founder Michael Hartl is an author himself, having written the Ruby on Rails Tutorial. (He’s also a repeat entrepreneur, having founded Y Combinator-backed social-networking startup Insoshi.) Hartl told me via email that between a publishing deal with Addison-Wesley and direct sales from the tutorial website, the book has made $750,000 — and Softcover is based on that experience:

Originally, Softcover came from scratching my own itch: I wanted to make follow-on products to the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, a book and screencast series that has become one of the leading introductions to web development. I knew from experience what a pain it is to make a new website, install a sales system, and upload the files to make them available, and I didn’t want to have to do that for every new product. I…

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BeHere Lets Teachers Take Attendance Using iBeacon Technology

This could have some interesting implications for people with disabilities that have challenges related to topographical orientation. The indoor positioning technology also could help caregivers responsible for seniors with advanced Alzheimer’s, for example, to ensure they do not wander. What other examples can you provide?

TechCrunch

While Apple’s iBeacon technology is already being adopted by both large and small retailers, we’ve started to see other use cases pop up for this new indoor positioning technology, which involves Bluetooth LE-enabled transmitters that can communicate with nearby iOS 7 devices in order to push alerts, or even interact with other devices in your home.

Now a small team of developers based in Brazil have come up with a new angle for iBeacon: taking attendance in the classroom.

Their new application called BeHere, first spotted by Apple blog 9 to 5 Mac, turns a teacher’s iPad into an iBeacon that automatically identifies students as they enter the classroom with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch application also running the same BeHere app.

Students’ profiles can also be connected to Facebook, allowing BeHere to include a profile picture, too.

behere-appPlus, students can use the app after class starts to ask for the…

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YC-Backed CareMessage Is On A Mission To Improve Health Literacy By Bringing Mobile Healthcare To The Underserved

TechCrunch

It’s no secret that the U.S. healthcare system is in desperate need of change, especially as costs have continued to rise, while the quality of care remains the same. While technology will play a critical role in reversing this trend, many assume that improving outcomes is simply a matter of putting smarter technology in the doctor’s office. However, the problem isn’t a scourge of careless doctors or shoddy diagnostic tools.

Much of healthcare’s high costs only come after patients have left the hospital or clinic. Out of their physician’s immediate care, patients start acting like people. They forget to take their meds, realize they don’t understand their doctor’s instructions, and so on.

So, one of the most important steps we can take to improve the quality of healthcare? Find better ways to communicate with and engage patients once they leave the clinic or hospital. Current solutions aren’t cutting it: Today,

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Tuition-free education for the world: Shai Reshef at TED2014

Is freedom a right? How about health? What about learning without being saddled with a mountain of debt? This article argues that education should be free and I agree. What do you think?

TED Blog

Shai Reshef. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Shai Reshef. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Shia Reshef believes higher education is a right, not a privilege. In January 2009, he founded University of the People (UoP), a virtual, tuition-free institution dedicated to opening up higher education to anyone in the world with a high school diploma and a willingness to learn — “regardless of who they are, where they live or what society says about them,” Reshef says at TED2014.

“We open the gates for every qualified student,” he says. “Any student from any part of the world with any Internet connection can study with us. We don’t use audio; we don’t use video; broadband isn’t necessary.” UoP currently serves students from 143 countries, including Syria, the US, South Africa, Jordan and Nigeria.

The way the university works is this, Reshef says: UoP keeps costs down by forgoing a brick-and-mortar institution and traditional textbooks, and by using volunteer staff…

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With Over $100M Raised, P2P Lending Platform CommonBond Expands To 100 Programs To Help Grad Students Reduce Debt

Debt is crushing our ability to be free. Strategies and tactics are desperately needed to help those students already in debt, and to prevent those who are not yet incapacitated by this insidious epidemic in the US and beyond.

TechCrunch

New York City-based CommonBond launched in late 2012 on a mission to bring the the power of person-to-person lending and crowdsourcing to the student debt crisis. With student debt in the U.S. having surpassed $1 trillion, college grads find themselves in an ugly situation today when it comes to subsidizing their education. Borrowing money from Uncle Sam means turning to federal loans and their high, fixed interest rates, while the big players in the private market appear content to maintain the status quo.

Companies like CommonBond have emerged in response to the student loan crisis, leveraging the popularity of peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub and Prosper to give student borrowers a better shake. By connecting borrowers directly to alumni and a larger network looking to give back to graduates from their alma maters and see a steady return to to boot, CommonBond is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative.

The startup

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Reshape: The speakers in session 3 of TED2014

Movers and thinkers. Awesome.

TED Blog

Blog_sessions-titles3

Our world is constantly changing, and it is bold ideas that push this forward. Our speakers in this session are all big thinkers who are working to reshape the ways we see, think about, and interact with the world, from the mind behind some of your favorite fonts to an urban planner transforming New York City’s landscape.

Here are the speakers who will appear in this session:

As a type designer Matthew Carter has watched our words move from the physical to the digital. You may recognize his work — he’s designed the fonts Verdana, Georgia, and Tahoma.

Bob Greenberg returns to the TED stage to talk about the evolution of motion graphics.

While New York City’s chief urban planner, Amanda Burden revitalized the Brooklyn waterfront, and was a champion for The High Line — an abandoned elevated railway line turned park.

David Kwong writes the New York Times crossword…

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The history and future of the Universe in four minutes: Brian Greene at TED2014

This is worth reading. Thank you.

TED Blog

Physicist Brian Green promises he will tell the audience at TED 2014 the whole history of the universe in four minutes. “Forgive me,” he says, “if I leave out a detail here or there.”

He does it with two metaphors. One from the beginning till now, and another from now till the end.

TED2014_DD_DSC_2082 Brian Greene. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

The universe today is 13.8 billion years old, and it can be very hard to get our minds around that number. So Greene uses a metaphor pioneered by Carl Sagan. Imagine that we’re part of a single calendar year. All of cosmic history compressed into a single calendar year. On this calendar:

  • May 12, the Milky Way is formed.
  • Sept 2nd, the Earth is formed.
  • 11:40pm New Year’s Eve, Humans evolve.
  • 11:44pm, we domesticate fire.
  • 11:58pm the first cave paintings are made.
  • 11:59:49pm writing is developed, so all of recorded history takes place…

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Google’s Eric Schmidt On Critics Who Say College Isn’t Worth It: “They’re Just Wrong”

To my students, what do you think?

TechCrunch

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt took a not-so-subtle swipe at tech critics who say that college is overrated. “There are various people who run around and make claims that higher education is not a good use of your time: they’re just wrong,” he told the audience at the SXSW conference, where he was on stage promoting his book The New Digital Age.

The average college loan racks up $30,000 worth of debt and the students are thrown into an uncertain recession-wracked job market. The most notable critic is Facebook investor Peter Thiel, who claimed that higher education was a “bubble,” and set up a fellowship that invests in gifted kids who want to become entrepreneurs instead of attending college.

Tech investor and TechCrunch columnist James Altucher has fiercely argued that college isn’t worth the rising costs. “Not only is college a scam, but the presidents know it. That’s why…

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