News: Education & Technology, Librarianship

Education & Technology

With MakerBot Academy, the 3-D Printing Movement Aims for Schools | AllThingsD
The company announced on Tuesday an initiative to begin seeding its Replicator 3-D printing machines inside of K-12 schools across the U.S. The effort comes in partnership with, a site that allows public school teachers to make online requests for classroom projects, which are then backed by a Kickstarter-like funding drive.

Twitter goes for the masses with new storytelling feature | CNET
Twitter excels in capturing the “moment” as events happen, but it isn’t great at telling a story. With custom timelines, the company hopes to lure a broader audience by giving it coherent narratives rather than just the raw materials.


How Iran Uses Wikipedia To Censor The Internet | BuzzFeed
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School claims that Wikipedia might hold the key to understanding how Iran censors, and controls, the internet. The answer, in four words: with a heavy hand.

DPLA Awarded $1 Million Grant From Gates Foundation to Train Public Librarians | LJ INFOdocket

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced today that it has received a $990,195 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build upon its network of library professionals and organizations to pilot a national-scale training system for public librarians. Under the grant, the DPLA will collaborate with its service “hubs”—regional digital library partners located in states and regions in the United States—to build curricular resources and implement hands-on training programs that develop digital skills and capacity within the staffs of public libraries.

Read: DPLA Awarded $1 Million Grant From Gates Foundation to Train Public Librarians | LJ INFOdocket.

James Patterson To Donate $1 Million To Indie Bookstores | HuffPosy Books

James Patterson said on “CBS This Morning” that he intended to help children become better readers. His announcement comes at a time when one in every seven American adults reads below a fifth grade level.

The bestselling author of the Alex Cross series said, “It’s so easy to get kids reading.” He offered an anecdote about his own son, stating, “When… Jack was 8, that summer we said ‘Jack, you have to read every day.’ And he said, ‘Do I have to?’ and we said, ‘unless you want to live in the garage.'”

Patterson urged viewers to go to local libraries or local bookstores, then made a surprising announcement: Over the next year, the author will donate $1 million of his own money to local bookstores. The only stipulation? The stores receiving donations must have children’s sections.

Indie bookstores and libraries alike have been receiving their fair share of donations from generous individuals; Last week, the Columbus Metropolitan Library broke ground on a new building thanks to a $1 million donation from one of its previous employees.

via James Patterson To Donate $1 Million To Indie Bookstores | HuffPosy Books.

Librarian Quietly Saved $1 Million For Gift Back To Library | HuffPost

Carol Sue Snowden, a librarian at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, was known by her peers for her modest lifestyle. She drove a used Chevrolet, lived in a condominium, and was happy to indulge in little other than her passion for books.

It was precisely because of this frugal lifestyle that she was able to accomplish something monumental: She’d saved over $1 million, donating all of it to libraries and reading programs she’d come to love.

Read the full story: Librarian Quietly Saved $1 Million For Gift Back To Library | HuffPost.

University of Texas at Austin Online Class Aims to Earn Millions |

Two University of Texas at Austin professors this week launched their introductory psychology class from a makeshift studio, with a goal of eventually enrolling 10,000 students at $550 a pop and bringing home millions for the school.

The professors have dubbed the class a SMOC—Synchronous Massive Online Class—and their effort falls somewhere between a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, a late-night television show and a real-time research experiment. The professors lecture into a camera and students watch on their computers or mobile devices, in real time.

The class, which made its debut [August 29, 2013], is emblematic of just how quickly the once-static business model of higher education is shifting as technology gives students more options and forces schools and professors to compete for their attention.

See the full story: University of Texas at Austin Online Class Aims to Earn Millions |

Kickstarter Officially Opens in Canada | Mashable

Kickstarter Officially Opens in Canada | Mashable.

Kickstarter Allowing Canada-Based Projects Beginning This Summer | TechCrunch

Kickstarter just announced via its Twitter account that it will be opening up its crowdfunding platform for Canada-based projects as of “later this summer.” Thus far, that’s as specific as the company is getting, but anyone interested in finding out more can sign up at Kickstarter’s Canada launch page with their email and project category of interest to get an alert when things go live.

via Kickstarter Allowing Canada-Based Projects Beginning This Summer | TechCrunch.

You may also like: Funding Library Projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo | The Modern MLIS

Funding Library Projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Do you love libraries? Are you philanthropic or just want to support? How about funding a Kickstarter or Indiegogo library project? These projects have a multiple donation levels to accommodate whatever one can afford. Libraries are contending with increasingly constrained budgets, funding, and staffing shortages, as well as aging infrastructure. These funding platforms offer another avenue for libraries to use to fund their creative, educational and infrastructure projects with your help.

On Kickstarter you could help fund: 

LIBRARY FOR ALL: a digital library for the developing world

Unlocking knowledge to those living in poverty by providing access to ebooks and other digital content in low bandwidth communities. Library For All was founded for those who have little or no access to books in developing countries.

When Rebecca McDonald moved to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, she wasn’t a career humanitarian. Her most recent job was overseeing construction projects for Australia’s Department of Public Works. But while construction management might seem a useful set of skills in a country where so much had been destroyed, McDonald was moved by something else.

“Most schools have less than 30 books and these books are so precious they are not allowed to leave the school. Imagine if the entire span of knowledge available to you was just 30 books!” she wrote on her blog.

Meanwhile, she had access to all the world’s knowledge on her Kindle. It was the seed for the charitable project for which she is now fundraising on Kickstarter: Library for All. Via Creating A Digital Library For Bookless Students | FactCompany.

On Indiegogo you could help fund:

Park Slope North – Helen Owen Carey – Child Development Center Library Project

The Park Slope North (Helen Owen Carey) Child Development Center (PSN-CDC) is a nonprofit preschool serving the needs of families from a diverse range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds in Brooklyn and beyond, with funding provided by the Administration for Children’s Services supporting approximately 50 percent of the student body.

This year, the Parents’ Advisory Committee (PAC), in conjunction with the center’s new director, are creating a new library and multipurpose space. Teachers and students will use the new library for literacy-based and dramatic activities in addition to housing the school’s ever-growing collection of children’s books.

Libraries, librarians and stakeholders can come up with unique funding project ideas such as Peter Brantley’s suggestion for a new library publication:

Shelf-talkers: Kickstarting a new library journal | PWxyz Blog

It’s time for librarians to develop our own journalism. The basis of the American Library Association – individual membership vs. institutional affiliation – evidences the affinity for an in-community approach. A new library publication – call it Shelf Talkers – could be supported through librarian subscriptions, rather than vendor dollars, to assure complete editorial independence, lowering the risks of special interests. 

Shelf Talkers – or whatever we wanted to call it – could run with an editor-in-chief, an operations manager, and a small cadre of staff reporters. Additional contributors from the library world – one of the most literate and expressive communities around – could fill out a publication which need not worry itself with “issues” or “volumes” or printed matter. Its reach would be global, as would its contribution base – an inherent advantage of a networked publication.

Library For All Builds Ebook Platform for Developing World – The Digital Shift

Library For All has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an ebook platform that would enable the distribution of ebooks in the developing world. The organization is seeking $100,000 in pledges to roll out a pilot program at the Respire School in Gressier, Haiti this fall.

via Library For All Builds Ebook Platform for Developing World – The Digital Shift.

How A Teacher Turned To Technology To Solve A Thorny Problem And Raised $100K | TechCrunch

Its just amazing how apps are transforming not only the technology sector but education, health care, business, etc. All one needs is an idea, a presentation and either partners/funders or access to platforms like KickStarter.

How A Teacher Turned To Technology To Solve A Thorny Problem And Raised $100K | TechCrunch

The clincher, the thing that made Quick Key go viral, was a poorly-lit video of an excitable guy holding his iPhone up to a Scantron page, one of those test pages you used to fill out in school. He thumbs through page after page, making comments on students’ performance as the app scans the page and instantly reports a grade. The video was amazingly compelling. The creator, Walter O. Duncan IV, can barely contain his excitement. His app looked great, it worked seamlessly, and the video struck a nerve with students and teachers, pocketing 260,000 views on YouTube and popping up on the front page of Reddit.

This, my friends, is how you do a viral video.

Duncan’s company is called Design by Educators, Inc and has raised over $99,500 to build the app and begin bringing on beta testers. The other co-founders are Isaac D. Van Wesep, and Marlon Davis.

“We worked hard to build an amazing prototype. But now we need real teachers to beta test Quick Key. My goal was to recruit 100 teachers with the video. As of tonight, over 1,000 people have signed up to learn about beta testing,” said Duncan.

A 13-year veteran school teacher, Duncan knows how to reach a crowd. He’s worked in inner-city districts in Detroit, DC, LA, and Brooklyn. He’s also host of a Facebook group called Teacher’s Round Table and is still a full-time teacher in Cambridge, Mass. His co-founders, Davis and Van Wesep, are also experience educators and entrepreneurs.

“We do not have customers as we are pre-beta but the video did drive over 10,000 visitors to our site in 48 hours,” said Van Wesep. “Our company is the only one making a product like Quick Key with real working K-12 teachers on the founding team. Since teachers designed Quick Key, it actually works for teachers, instead of making work for teachers.”

The product’s origin story began in 2007 when Duncan began giving his students “exit tickets,” short quizzes on the knowledge learned that day. This helped the teachers know what the students retained and, more importantly, what they’d have to cover again the next day.

“But there was a cost: grading of the exit tickets was done by hand, and all results had to be entered into the school’s central digital electronic grade book, or school management system,” said Van Wesep. “With some 90 students in his care, Walter was spending nearly two hours a night, just grading the exit tickets, and transcribing the results. It was mind-numbing.”

The solution came to him in 2011 when he realized the easiest way to scan these tickets was with a hand-held device – his phone. Thus Quick Key was born.

“If teachers make the best assessments, and the best lesson plans, and the best teaching materials, won’t they make the best software too? the response to Quick Key is bearing out that theory,” he said.

The app is still in early beta but a number teachers have already signed up to try it and they’re working on improving it for general use. It’s rare to see an app go so viral so quickly and it’s a testament to the dedication of a group of teachers and entrepreneurs that they’ve been able to go from zero to viral in a few short hours.

John Biggs | TechCrunch