NEW NEWS: Fresh off the digital press, Educating Modern Learners launched this week, a news and analysis site created by Bruce Dixon (government ed-policy advisor), Will Richardson (author of Why Education and other books), and Audrey Watters (HackEducation). EML promises to “...move you not just toward becoming a modern learning in your own right…[and]...help you develop as a modern leader as well…” A free subscription will get you two newsletters a week and some white papers; $350/year promises an additional 6-10 articles a month and other goodies. Write on!
CAMPUS SPECIAL: Acquired by Santa Clara, CA-based Chegg for $17 million in cash and stock. Campus Special, which started by distributing coupon books, now lets college students across over 500 campuses order food and find daily deals online in their local community. In addition, it has an internship program that essentially relies on students to encourage local business owners to use Campus Special. Chegg will re-brand Campus Special as "Chegg Campus Deals." The company is confident it can scale to 1,000 schools in 18 months, according to the release.
PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM: Philly's edtech incubator, the Education Design Studio, Inc., officially graduated its first class of three startups: Apprenet, Raise Labs (also an Imagine K12 grad), and scrible. The three will continue to get financial and mentorship support for the next 18 months, in addition to the $200K that they each received. Two other companies originally in the program--Apidapter and Autism Expressed--droppedout because they couldn't commit enough time to the incubator, EDSi founder Bobbi Kurshan told Technically Philly.
NO MORE FREEBIES: Knowledge may be free--but proof isn't. On April 14, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun announced the company will no longer be offering certificates of completion for those who take the free courses. The heart of the issue appears to be identity verification. Thrun writes:
"Identity checking was never part of our certification...We have now heard from many students and employers alike that they would like to see more rigor in certifying actual accomplishment."
To get them, students will have to pony up the monthly subscription fee that runs about $150 a month. Upon finishing the final project, their identity "will be verified through a live exit interview" during which the student has to show government-issued ID and chat with a project evaluator.
STAND AND DELIVER (APPRECIATION): Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5-9) fast approaches! To celebrate, the Center for Teaching Quality has launched its #TeachingIs campaign, a social media effort to challenge stereotypes and recognize teaching for its complexity and value. Join CTQ and show your support by donating a Facebook post or tweet. Tell the world your story with the hashtag #TeachingIs via tweet, blog post, Vine, Instagram, YouTube--whatever social media source you desire!