Education Week takes notice that Philly’s acclaimed Science Leadership Academy has dumped its Mac laptops for new Chromebooks that cost about a third as much. The new Dell Chromebook 11 was just announced to the world today.
It happened on Tuesday. One day before the Fake Sign Language Interpreter Scandal broke, United States President Barack Obama put on the Classic Overbite Selfie Face for a photo with some mobile-phone-wielding blonde (who happened to be Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt) and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a photo that has now become known as the Obama Funeral Selfie and has inspired the Great Obama Funeral Selfie Scandal of 2013, otherwise known as Selfie-gate. Read more »
The New York Times reports on a Penn study showing that MOOCs—”massive” online courses provided cheaply or freely by elite universities—aren’t really democratizing education the way it had been hoped. Instead, they’re democratizing dropouts: Only 4 percent of users actually completed the courses.
Philadelphia is a city of many national firsts. First zoo. First computer. First row houses. First stock exchange. First lending library. First volunteer fire squad. First paper mill. First public parks. First Thanksgiving Day parade. First department store (Wanamaker’s). And now, we learn that the world’s first selfie was taken in Philadelphia.* Read more »
A new poll out last weekend delivered the bad news that Americans don’t trust one another anymore. Only a third of those surveyed by AP-GfK said that most people can be trusted, down from half of us in 1972. It’s a sad state of affairs.
And yet I find our nation to be, by and large, incredibly trusting. I live in a small town where the median income is just over $35,500 — not exactly a fortune by any estimate. And yet I think nothing of ordering items online and having them delivered via UPS or FedEx to my house — even though there’s nobody there all day long. The bags or boxes sit on my front porch, in full view not only of neighbors, but of scores of high-school and middle-school kids who traipse past on their way home. And I’ve never lost anything yet. It’s enough to make a citizen proud.
You’ve heard about Amazon drones, the Seattle-based e-tail giant’s new idea to use drones to deliver packages on the same day to customers, particularly those in “densely populated” urban areas? The way it works is like this: you order something from Amazon. You want it the same day. Your order is placed in a tupperware container which then gets sent to something resembling the checkout line at Acme where a model “octocopter”(the kind your 5th grader got for Christmas last year) swoops it into the air and seamlessly delivers it to your door.
Really, this is how it will work. And in only a few years. Assuming FAA approval of course. And assuming that we’re all insane.
We’re suckers for huge, epic odes to the city. Have a gander.
At first, we couldn’t decide if this short film celebrates Philadelphia, or is just a group of people enthusiastically reading the city’s Wikipedia entry. We’ve decided it’s the former.
You may have heard about a pair of Penn students who’ve come up with a nifty new idea. They’ve created a virtual marketplace, Noteriety (motto: “Get A’s. Make Bank.”), where students can buy and sell notes from their classes. The idea is that if for some reason you should miss a class, or are just having trouble learning what you’re supposed to, you can buy notes taken by somebody else who did go or does understand what the hell’s going on. An article about the start-up in the Daily Pennsylvanian mentioned that it’s “backed by the PennApps Accelerator Program,” a “mentorship and sponsorship” effort aimed at encouraging student entrepreneurship.
Coincidentally, the same week the DP article on Noteriety appeared, the New York Times ran a story on a new study showing that increased class attendance in college leads to improved grades.
In the study, professors teaching a popular Intro to Psych course at the University of Texas instituted a new teaching method that replaced grading based on a final exam with grading based on a series of quizzes given during every class. The quizzes were short and tailored to a student’s previous performance; get a question wrong, and you’d soon find it staring up at you again.