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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 04/08/2012



  • Great article from the Atlantic summarizing information on research about what makes influential tweets

    "having millions of followers does not denote an important message. Rather, the messages with the most immediate relevance tend to have a higher probability of resonating within a certain network than others. Think of it as "survival of the fittest" for information: those tweets that capture the most attention, whether related to a major geopolitical or news event or a particular interest, are likely to persist longer.

    tags: education news socialmedia

  • The UK is looking to lock down children's access to raunchy music videos with similar blocking platforms as are used to keep children out of gambling sites. I have to admit the content on Youtube is often surprising as well as the fact I can get it on my TV via ROku box without any sort of rating system. I think we'll see a reconciliation between online video and regular "television" continue to converge with the free for all Internet world changing in the next few years.

    From the Telegraph...
    "It is understood the Prime Minister is considering new rules that would oblige websites hosting such videos to introduce robust age verification systems similar to those used to safeguard children online gambling.
    Music videos are currently exempt from classification under the Video Recordings Act 1984 and 2010, which means that – unlike films – there are no restrictions on children buying any but the most graphic music videos.
    There are currently no legal restrictions on children downloading music videos of any kind.
    The Prime Minister is understood to be “disappointed” with the music video industry’s response to a Government report that warned of the greater “sexualisation of childhood”. The study highlighted the corrupting influence of such short films.

    tags: education news safety television

  • Many want to regulate surveillance technology just like we regulate firearms. It makes sense. Now the outcry is against the UK but I remember not too long a go when US companies were criticized in their role in tracking down Chinese dissidents. Cyberwarfare is a fact and intelligence gathered through the web that surrounds us strips away privacy of communication. 

    "Britain is exporting surveillance technology to countries run by repressive regimes, sparking fears it is being used to track political dissidents and activists.

    The UK's enthusiastic role in the burgeoning but unregulated surveillance market is becoming an urgent concern for human rights groups, who want the government to ensure that exports are regulated in a similar way to arms."

    tags: news cybersafety security politics UK

  • A chart making the rounds that shows that almost half of us are reading books or novels RIGHT NOW. We're reading more than ever, not less. Lots of discussion about this including that this chart doesn't measure the "quality" of our reading. But of course that question implies some sort of academic snobbery - who decides "quality." The fact is that more are reading NOW than ever before. I have to wonder the impact of ebooks and tablets on this number. We always have a book with us now.

    tags: education news reading literature

  • A new act of Congress is now traveling up the ranks of technology talk shows: CISPA - the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and protection Act. Good overview in this "the hill" article.

    "Online activists who helped sink the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) earlier this year have now turned their sights to a House cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

    In recent days, posts comparing CISPA to SOPA have received thousands of "up votes" on Web forum Reddit and have reached the front page of the popular link and discussion site."

    tags: education news law

  • April 15, 1912 - the Titanic sunk. This excellent article talks about how this event can be used in history and gives perspective on the time and place of that time period. This is an excellent read for anyone who likes history. With the re-release of Titanic in theaters, students will be keen to hear about this.

    "It is almost a century since that symbol of power, privilege and luxury, Titanic, was ripped apart by an iceberg and swallowed by the treacherous sea, with the loss of 1,517 lives. But long before global audiences sat enraptured in cinemas, watching an elderly woman being asked if she was “ready to go back to Titanic” in the 1997 film, my grandmother had utterly engrossed me and my siblings with her memories of a disaster that was her 9/11."

    tags: education history news

    • Titanic was the technological wonder of her day. The largest ship of her time, she contained 200 miles of electrical wiring, powering 10,000 light bulbs. And yet her hull was forged in a time before arc welding, using 1,200 tonnes of rivets holding together 1-inch iron plates. There is a potentially interesting chemistry discussion here: recent work has established that the iron used had an unusually high sulphur content, which may have made the hull dangerously brittle. In other words, Titanic was iPhone technology set into an ancient Bakelite case. Like the Twin Towers, her vastness and luxurious complexity made her seem untouchable, yet both crumpled under unexpected forces in very different periods of history, with war and terror following soon after. And each took down with it something of our belief in human superiority and infallibility.

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