Posts Tagged ‘education


Tablet Wars: The OS Battle

Ever since the iPad burst onto the scene, tablets have been the darlings of consumers and educators alike, with hundreds of millions of units sold. But is the US market indicative of the Worldwide trend in mobile platform adoption?

This past week on the NPR/KQED MindShift education blog, Frank Catalano examines the trends in the global market and finds that while Apple has a majority of the market share in tablet adoption by both consumers and educators in the US, it is Google’s Android that is leading the way with multiple sub-$150 devices being created in several countries and large scale adoption on a national level. Read Frank’s post here: “Which device will win the tablet battle?


The question for publishers and content developers then becomes how to create content and curriculum as platform-agnostic as possible in order to capitalize on the adoption of as many of these devices as possible worldwide. At the moment, there are no easy answers, especially when publishers have to reach schools that are on the front lines in adopting the newest technology as well as those that lag behind, having to make do with years-old hardware and software.

At, we are creating content and applications both specific to iOS and Android operating systems as well as cross-platform applications – primarily with HTML5. For instance, in our Maps101 Web service, we have long had a collection of hundreds of outline maps and a Flash-based MapKit drawing tool for users to create and modify their own maps. This month we released a new tool called MapSketch that adds to all of our maps an HTML5-based drawing tool that is cross-platform compatible. MapSketch will also be made available to add the same drawing tools to third party sites and applications such as Interactive White Board Activities. Contact us to find out how.


congratulations mcgraw-hill on your codie award is celebrating with Educational Publisher McGraw-Hill after they scooped a CODiE award for “Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution”

Networks: A social studies learning system” is a complete Social Studies resource incorporating print and digital solutions. The system is designed to bring abstract concepts to life through hands-on, interactive activities such as interactive maps and games, graphic organizers and engaging multimedia.

McGraw-Hill Networks US History image

US History – Grades 6-8: McGraw-Hill Networks

The publisher included comprehensive teacher resources, worksheets, training videos, lesson plans and assessment tools.

Over 600 maps were produced for the project by Cartographers, while the company’s programming team developed a presentation platform for the digital content that included  timeline animations, voice narration and editing tools for a truly interactive classroom experience.

“The success of this project was the result of a huge effort by the McGraw-Hill team and we congratulate them on this significant recognition.” Revealed Bennett Moe, who coordinated the digital and cartographic elements delivered by “We are proud to have played a key role in such a high profile and challenging project and delivered exactly what was required.”

The CODiE awards are annually presented by the Software and Information Industry Association – the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries. Initial reviews are carried out by tech-savvy educators, with a shortlist of 128 finalists reviewed by a panel of SIIA members. has more than 20 years of experience in the mapping industry and serves a variety of markets including education and news media. They have an in house development team producing  location based applications including online store locators and smart phone apps and ebooks. is also home to the world’s biggest map and map related online retail store which receives almost 1 million visitors each month.


U.S. Opens New Tehran Embassy, Well Sort Of

No, U.S. diplomats haven’t returned to Iran to face the mob that overran the British Embassy last week. No feet are required on the ground for this first-ever virtual embassy launched by the U.S. State Department as part of its friend-making campaign towards the Iranian people.

Under Secretary Wendy Sherman made the announcement today, saying that the U.S. wants “to communicate directly to the people of Iran. We want all Iranians, especially the very large population of young people inside Iran, to see that the United States has deep respect for the Iranian people and its civilization. We want to support a more direct and robust engagement between us and the people of Iran, as we have in other countries where we have physical embassies. The virtual embassy is a hub in Persian and English for information not only on U.S. policy towards Iran but also a place to get insight into American culture and society, find visa applications, learn about opportunities to study in the United States. Virtual Embassy Tehran is a launch pad for our interactive efforts, our blogs, our Persian Facebook and Twitter pages, and our YouTube channel.”

The relationship between the U.S. and Iran has been made more tense of late by the Iranian administrations continued attempts to develop nuclear material  and the recent crash of a CIA drone in Iranian territory. The Iranian government will likely attempt to block the site from networks within the country, as they have for many site they deem inappropriate or counter to their own message. At the time of the announcement, the site had been operating for several hours with no attacks or blockage. Should it happen, the U.S. will do whatever it can to reset access and is confident that they can keep it up and accessible.

This does not signal a change in the diplomatic relationship, or lack thereof, between the two countries, but a new tactic to reach directly to the Iranian people.



Area: 1.6 million sq. km. (636,295 sq. mi., slightly larger than Alaska).
Arable land: 9.78% of the country.
Cities: Capital–Tehran. Other cities–Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz, Yazd, Qom.
Terrain: Desert and mountains.
Climate: Semiarid; subtropical along the Caspian coast.

Nationality: Noun and adjective–Iranian(s).
Population (July 2010 est.): 76,923,300 million.
Population growth rate (July 2010): 0. 1.253%%.
Ethnic groups: Persians 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%.
Religions: Shi’a Muslim 89%; Sunni Muslim 9%; Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha’i 2%.
Languages: Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic languages (besides Turkish) 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%.
Education: Literacy (total population age 15 and over who can read and write, 2003)–79% (male: 86%, female: 73%).
Health (2010 est.): Infant mortality rate— 43.45 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth (2010)–total population: 69.77yrs.

Type: Islamic republic.
Constitution: Ratified in December 1979, revised 1989.
Branches: Executive–Supreme Leader (head of state), President (head of government), Council of Ministers, Assembly of Experts, Expediency Council, Council of Guardians.Legislative–290-member Majles (National Assembly, or Islamic Consultative Assembly).Judicial–Supreme Judiciary.
Suffrage: Universal suffrage; 18 years of age.

 Sources:, Maps101,  U.S. State Department


Students Prefer Print; For Now

The Book Industry Study Group yesterday released data from their first Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education survey. Their press release opens with this:

Despite their fondness for social networking and cell phones, most college students say they prefer textbooks in printed rather than e-text form. Nearly 75% of students to recently respond to a major new research survey from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) said they prefer printed texts, citing a fondness for print’s look and feel, as well as its permanence and ability to be resold.

Wow, 75%! Surprised? Don’t be. What devices have students been using for years? cell phones. What have they been using in the classroom? textbooks. It’s no wonder then that they would be more comfortable with them as they move into college. A major factor in the adoption and acceptance of ebooks by college students will be their familiarity and comfort with them. So, who then will be the college publisher’s best friend? The k-12 publishers and schools, of course! As more ebooks and digital curricula are embraced at the secondary level, the more students will be acclimated to learning via digital texts and media.
The BISG release doesn’t state whether this aspect of student’s buying behavior and acceptance was a component of their survey, but it certainly warrants inclusion with the other factors such as ebook cost vs. paper books, hardware and software availability and cost, title availability, instructor adoption, etc. is part of both the elhi and higher-ed ecosystems, providing products and services for print and digital products to both publishers and schools, helping teachers use technology to increase learning and understanding.
The study will be discussed by Steve Paxhia in his keynote on Feb 11 at BISG’s Making Information Pay event.

@Publisher’sWeekly BISG Survey Finds Students Prefer Print


Does the Lone Star State still put the ‘Tex’ in ‘Textbook’?

Cartographers who create maps solutions for school textbooks have often used Texas and California as their guiding lights as to what content is likely to be adopted in other states. With Texas currently debating their new Social Studies adoption,  Paul Weber reveals how the influence of the State on the national education curriculum is waning:-

Texas (c)

Experts: Texas textbooks are unlikely to spread

By PAUL J. WEBER (AP) – 1 day ago

SAN ANTONIO — Pop quiz: Does the school curriculum adopted in Texas really wind up in textbooks nationwide? If you answered yes, you might get a failing grade.

As the second-largest purchaser of textbooks behind California, the Lone Star State has historically wielded enormous clout in deciding what material appears in classrooms across the country. That’s why the state school board’s recent decision to adopt new social studies standards was closely watched far beyond Texas.

Critics feared the new, more conservative curriculum in Texas would spread elsewhere. But publishing experts say those concerns are overblown.

“It’s easier nowadays to create one edition for one situation and a different edition for another situation,” said Bob Resnick, founder of Education Market Research, based in New York. “I don’t believe the Texas curriculum will spread anyplace else.”

After months of discussion, the Texas Board of Education last week approved placing greater emphasis on the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers and teaching schoolchildren that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the Constitution.

In Washington, Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the process a case of politicians deciding curriculum. California lawmakers went a step further, proposing that education officials there comb through textbooks to ensure that Texas material isn’t twisting the history curriculum.

This year, as states weigh which textbooks to buy, many “are going to be asking whether this was the book that went to Texas,” said Kathy Mickey, an analyst at Simba Information, a market research firm.

The influence of Texas on the $7 billion U.S. textbook market has steadily weakened.

Technology has made it easier and more affordable for publishers to tailor textbooks to different standards. That’s especially true in the 20 other states like Texas where education boards approve textbooks for statewide use.

Substitutions are an easy fix. And publishers won’t gamble on incorporating one state’s controversial curriculum into a one-size-fits-all product for other markets, said Jay Diskey, executive director of the schools division of the Association of American Publishers.

Diskey’s group is the trade group for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson Education Inc., which together publish more than 75 percent of the nation’s K-12 textbooks.

“Why would we walk in with stuff that we know might be rejected and knock us out of a business opportunity?” Diskey said.

Even Idaho, which has just 279,000 students in public schools, can sometimes command changes from publishers as easily as Texas does for its 4.8 million schoolchildren.

“Some publishers have added content to their textbooks or other material to make sure they meet Idaho standards,” said Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for Idaho’s Department of Education.

Other states aren’t so sure of being beyond Texas’ shadow.

In Washington state, which has about 1 million public school students, a spokesman for the state superintendent of public instruction said some districts may be using Texas textbooks.

The superintendent has noted that if all 50 states were to approve national education standards, appropriate textbooks would be easier to find. Only two states have balked at those standards — Alaska and Texas.

As for Texas schools, local districts can choose textbooks that the state board deems “nonconforming,” but those books must still contain at least 50 percent of the adopted curriculum.

The state board has only approved fully conforming books in the last three years.

Associated Press writers Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle, Jessie Bonner in Boise, Idaho, and Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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