News Feature | August 27, 2014

Education IT News For VARs — August 27, 2014

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Education IT News For VARs

In news this week, three universities file suit against the FAA for bans on drones. Also, an insightful infographic examines the preferences for textbooks, technology, and social media.  Meanwhile, analysts say there has been no ed-tech investment bubble yet, as the market continues to grow. And one venture uses science to pair college roommates. Finally, a blog post argues that MOOCs are the wave of the future that will save higher education from its outdated procedures.

FAA Hit With Three Separate Legal Challenges To New Drone Rules

This article from Motherboard examines the issue of universities using drones.  The Council on Governmental Relations, a group representing 188 research universities, was one of three groups to file lawsuits challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s June directive that effectively banned commercial unmanned aircraft flights. The universities’ case argues that the FAA order “poses a grave threat to science, research, education and technological innovation” by students and faculty at colleges and universities, Motherboard reports.

Textbooks, Tech, Or Social Media: What Do Students Prefer?

This interesting infographic available on Education Dive  represents the results of recent surveys from and Uversity regarding preferences when it comes to textbooks, technology, and social media. Some of the findings include that while 44 percent of students are happy with e-books, 91 percent are still taking notes by hand. 

No Ed-Tech Investment Bubble Yet

This article from Inside Higher Ed poses the question:  Can the billion-dollar ed-tech industry, flush with funds from venture capital firms, keep up its record-setting investment pace, or is it setting itself up for a massive crash? Despite the record-setting level of investment pouring into the education technology space, the ed tech sector hasn’t entered bubble-ready-to-burst territory, according to analysts. An analysis of PitchBook data shows that 17 companies in higher education tech have received significant initial investments — excluding seed money — so far in 2014, compared to 25 for all of 2013. The number of companies receiving follow-up rounds of investment indicates that investor interest isn’t waning.

Developers Bring Science To College Roommate Matching

This story from the Chicago Tribune states that a startup company called Compatibility is pitching roommate-matching services for colleges and universities. Compatibility software licenses cost $2,500 to $20,000 per year, depending on the size of the school, which breaks down to $5 to $7 per student, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Chicago-area founders of the company, Kim Rubenstein and Andrea Yusim Meltzer, developed an algorithm that calculates compatibility from 39 personality facets of students. While most universities take a stab at roommate matchmaking with typically six to 10 questions, the Compatibility founders say much more data and analysis is required. With the Compatibility service, students take a survey of about 100 questions.

U-Lab: Prototyping The 21st-Century University

This blog post from the Huffington Post suggests that MOOCs are the design of the future, arguing that the U-Lab offers a new type of learning environment that is personal, practical, relational, mindful, collective, and transformative. Summing up the problem: higher education is overpriced, out of touch, and outdated in both curriculum and purpose. The solution? The solution is beginning to emerge in many places today, the U-Lab at MIT. Delivered by MITx free of charge through the online platform edX (co-founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012), this MOOC will prototype a new hybrid online/real-world learning environment, with the goal of sparking a global web of interconnected hubs, inspiring initiatives, and grounding learning locally in places where societal challenges are manifest.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Education IT Resource Center.