Australia’s federal government scheme providing high school students with laptop computers is on the brink of collapse, leaving parents with hefty bills and educators with a chaotic start to the school year.
Funding for the program runs out in June, after the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, made a promise in 2007 – renewed in 2010 – to give all high school students a laptop.
Educators say that, without federal funding, ageing laptops cannot be replaced or maintained.
Read more: Computer cash in lap of chaos.
Millions of pounds of technology is languishing in school cupboards because teachers are being lured into buying the latest gadgets, according to research.
The study was based on an analysis of more than 1,000 research papers on the use of technology in education.
Schools spend more than £450 million a year on tablet computers, educational games and electronic whiteboards with little or no evidence that they benefit pupils, it was claimed.
Researchers said that teachers were increasingly pulled in by the “hype” of digital education without properly considering how to use it.
In some cases, schools are using “shiny new devices” as a direct replacement for books or pen and paper exercises, instead of using them to enhance pupils’ skills.
Many other schools are allowing millions of pounds’ worth of electronic items to “languish unused or underused in school cupboards”, the researchers found. The conclusion, in a report by Nesta, a charity created to support innovation, comes despite concerns over cutbacks to school budgets during the economic downturn.
Geoff Mulgan, the chief executive of the charity, said: “A tablet replacing an exercise book is not innovation – it’s just a different way to make notes
Read More: Teachers’ obsession with technology sees gadgets worth millions sit in cupboards – Telegraph.
Name: Verbling Quick Pitch: Verbling is a web-based platform where individuals can pair up with native speakers to practice speaking new languages on live video.
Genius Idea: Verbling makes language learning easy by offering a free way to connect instantly with native speakers with timed prompts and conversation-starting topics. Verbling was launched in 2011 when co-founders Jacob Jolis and Mikael Bernstein met while attending Stanford University. The two dropped out of the prestigious school and teamed up with then-Google software engineer Fred Wulff to build the language-learning startup of their dreams. Verbling.com, a Y Combinator -backed startup, is a website that people can access globally to speak with native language speakers living in different countries. For now, only Spanish and English speakers can access video chat, but the founders hope to add Arabic, French, Chinese and German — among 10 languages in total — by the end of the year. The idea of Verbling is to solve one of the biggest problems for language learners — not being able to practice speaking with natives. People devote time and money to learning language basics, but slowly lose linguistic skills without practice. “It’s very difficult to find native speakers without going abroad,” said Bernstein who speaks English, Swedish, German and Russian. “With Verbling, you can do that instantaneously. You don’t have to schedule or waste any time trying to find someone.” Verbling is all about the trade.
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New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers