News Feature | January 31, 2014

Education IT News For VARs — January 31, 2014

By Amy Taylor, contributing writer

Publishers Pressured To Adopt Interoperability Standards For Digital Educational Content

Technology continues to glide along the curve of education, but with emphasis from The State of the Union this week, its importance is sure to gain solid momentum. While safety concerns continue to arise, technology swiftly jumps into a primary focus of legislatures. In turn, massive open online courses continue to provoke national attention from demographics to global politics.

Lawmakers Urge More Technology Spending In The Classroom

State Impact, a reporting project of NPR, said that chairman of the Senate’s Education Committee, Florida Governor Rick Scott, wants to spend nearly $40 million to upgrade school Internet capacity and bring new computer tablets and other digital tools to classrooms, with the support of lawmakers. Currently, for classes beginning in fall 2015, lawmakers require half of classroom instruction to be delivered digitally.

YouthSpark Sets Sights On Dallas to Bridge the Education Gap

KERA did a story that follows the launch of Microsoft’s YouthSpark in Dallas. The program was introduced to education and business leaders at the Dallas Regional Chamber and seeks to bridge the gap between education and employment needs. Targeting 50 million kids nationwide, YouthSpark gives out grants to youth development groups, funds research, and fosters public-private partnerships.

President Addresses New Broadband Efforts In Schools

Multichannel News highlights that President Obama devoted a portion of his State of the Union Address to announce that some major telecoms and edge providers were getting together to help connect 15,000 schools to high-speed broadband, with the support of the FCC.  Back in June, the President initially announced his ConnectEd initiative, with the goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation broadband in five years.

Education IT Talking Points

John O’Connor reports on State Impact that This Year’s Florida Education Technology Conference is Also Online. FETC is among the oldest and largest technology conferences to cover education.

The American Interest published Adventures in MOOC Demographics that challenged assumptions. Based on data from Coursera from last year, MOOC users were older, disproportionately male, and better educated than the public at large.

Inside Higher Ed reports that massive open online courses have received a directive from the federal government that cuts off access to students in certain countries. According to federal regulations, U.S. businesses are prohibited from offering services to countries subject to economic sanctions. The blocked countries include Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan.

WPSD, the local NBC affiliate in Carbondale, IL, reports that a shooting took place near one of the Carbondale Community High School campuses on Monday. The applicable safety measures were followed, but the questions linger on further preventive action, including closed-campus lunches and reporting the information to parents in a timely fashion.