Comedy Central must be kicking themselves for letting John Oliver go because the former Daily Show comedian has been absolutely killing it on HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver for some time now. Far from your standard satirical or late night show, John Oliver each week chooses one topic to hone in on and then goes after it with surgical-like precision and wit.
The Turing test has always been an approximate benchmark for good AI. In the test, a human is supposed to converse with a machine over text for five minutes; if the human doesn’t realize that they are talking to a machine, then the computer passes as AI “indistinguishable” from human intelligence.
How about a computer that tricked hundreds students for an entire semester?
With consumer electronics products becoming smaller and increasingly more powerful over the years, students have started to come up with any number of clever ways to discreetly cheat on exams. You might recall, for instance, that a group of 50 students at an elite High School in New York were caught up in a massive cheating ring that centered on slyly taking photos of exams ahead of time.
In the most recent instance of technology creatively being used for cheating purposes, a group of students taking an entrance exam for medical school in Thailand were caught using an elaborate system that relied upon smartwatches and hidden cameras embedded in eyeglasses. More →
Beginning this week, over 9 million high school students in China will sit down for a test called the Gaokao, an exam similar in nature to the SAT. As China’s University entrance exam, the Gaokao, otherwise known as the Higher Education Exam, is both high stakes and high pressure as it helps determine which tier of University each student can attend. As CNN points out, “failure means no degree, poorer job prospects and possibly a life of regret.”
With so much on the line, some students over the years have increasingly turned to high-tech cheating in order to improve their scores.
AT&T on Monday announced that it is relaunching its AT&T Aspire program designed to help students graduate from high school and prepare for college and careers. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson announced the news during a keynote address at this year’s Building a Grad Nation Summit, where he revealed that the nation’s No.2 wireless carrier has pledged $250 million over the next five years to its AT&T Aspire program. “AT&T Aspire works toward an America where every student graduates high school equipped with the knowledge and skills to strengthen the nation’s workforce,” Stephenson said. The program will include a wide range of efforts, many of which will focus on providing under-served communities with technology and more modern educational tools. AT&T’s full press release follows below along with a video about the program. More →
In a special January event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Apple’s VP of marketing Phil Schiller announced that the Cupertino-based company was looking to change the textbook industry with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author. McGraw Hill Education believes that the new iPad, which was announced on March 7th, will truly revolutionize education. According to Vineet Madan, McGraw Hill’s vice president of new ventures, the discounted iPad 2 will now allow more schools to deploy iPads to their students for education. “I’ve long thought that the tipping-point price for a tablet is between $200 and $300,” Madan said in an interview with TPM. “Now that the entry-level iPad 2 has dropped by $100, and it’s now $399 for a 16 gigabyte version, we’ll see much more uptake. The iPad 2 still a phenomenally powerful device [and] our content performs incredibly well on that device. At the same time, we can build better things for new iPad.” Read on for more. More →
Apple announced its new digital textbook product last week during a press conference in New York City and some analysts are already viewed the company’s efforts as an early success. According to Global Equity Research analyst Trip Chowdry, Apple sold approximately 350,000 iBooks textbooks within the first three days of availability. Using Global Equity’s third-party tracking system, Chowdry also estimates that Apple’s iBooks Author tools was downloaded 90,000 times during the same period, AllThingsD reports. Those numbers would certainly be impressive, but Apple has not announced any numbers with regard to its new iBooks textbooks product. It is also unclear what percentage of Chowdry’s estimates went to students and what percentage went to curious iPad owners looking to sample Apple’s new interactive textbook product. More →
Apple on Thursday unveiled a new version of its iTunes U product from a press conference in New York City. Apple’s Eddy Cue was on hand to reveal a new iOS version of iTunes U, bringing users an iBooks-like interface through which they can access iTunes U content. iTunes U has served 700 million downloads to date, and it has primarily been used for lectures. The new version of iTunes U gives teachers a variety of new tools to create and manage curriculums, and they can also use the app to give assignments to their classes or even stream live content. Students can take notes in the app just as they can in Apple’s new digital textbooks, and courses from a number of universities including Yale and Harvard are currently available. iTunes U for iPad is available immediately for free in the iOS App Store.
Apple may be working on bolstering its educational content in order to drive the adoption rate of iPads in schools. Apple is holding a press event in New York City tomorrow where we will no doubt hear more on what the company has planned for education. “Apple will raise a lot of awareness about digital textbooks and how education is going digital,” Osman Rashid, the CEO of e-textbook software firm Kno Inc. told Bloomberg. The latest reports suggest the Cupertino-based company will unveil “tools that make it easier to publish interactive textbooks,” Bloomberg explained. The new tools should allow writers to publish content on their own, which is similar to what Amazon’s self-publishing service currently provides. Sources speaking to Bloomberg said that teachers might be able to create lessons and workbooks for students and then have their classes complete the lessons on an iPad. More →
As revealed in his authorized biography, Steve Jobs figured out the secret to making a truly user friendly television ahead of his untimely passing. But a reimagined TV wasn’t the only revolutionary product Jobs had a hand in that we have yet to see come to fruition. According to several reports, Apple plans to unveil a new product at a press conference on Thursday that it hopes will change the way students use textbook. Read on for more. More →
Remember those rumors about Apple holding a mid-to-late January event in NYC? Well, invites just went out to media, and focus is on education as some had rumored. We’d imagine one of the event focal points to be on reinventing and transforming the textbook industry.
Apple has quietly launched a new entry-level iMac that targets education. The new model features a 21.5-inch display like the current base iMac, but the specs are dialed down in order to push pricing to a slightly more attainable starting point. Highlights include a 3.1GHz Intel Core i3 dual-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 250GB hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6750 GPU. Pricing starts at $999, 11% higher than the last iMac aimed at the education market, and the new model is available immediately to education customers on Apple’s website.
Major textbook publishers, including McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Kaplan, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, have completed a deal with software company ScrollMotion Inc. to prepare their textbook offerings for digital outlets like the iPad. Textbook publishers, having seen the impact of technology and the internet on the newspaper industry, are desperately trying to stay ahead of the technology curve and viable well into the 21st century. Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher eduction at McGraw-Hill had this to say: “Nobody knows what device will take off, or which ‘killer app’ will drive student adaptations. Today they aren’t reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials.” The Wall Street Jounal, citing a report by research firm Compass Intelligence, predicts technology spending among educational institutions will increase $14.3 billion over a five year period (tracked from 2008 to 2013); a figure publishing companies clearly are not going to ignore. Check out the WSJ article for all the details. More →