Kids’ coding academies aim to bridge ‘skills gap’

The Flatiron School in New York is expanding its kids coding academies to six U.S. cities this summer. Photo: Flatiron School
The Flatiron School in New York is expanding its coding academies for high school student sto six U.S. cities this summer. Photo: Flatiron School

There are plenty of schools with computers. But find a teacher with tech industry experience and you’ve found a “unicorn,” says a school director who wants to introduce kids to the language of coding.

Lyel Resner, director of K-12 curriculum at New York’s Flatiron School, is promoting a series of summer workshops across six U.S. cities to teach high school students programming fundamentals, app development, front-end web design and how to get a startup off the ground.

Cheap Chromebooks teach Apple a lesson: Price matters

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Apple and Google are very interested in taking over the U.S. education market from Microsoft, but when it comes to capturing marketshare, the Chromebook is teaching Apple an important lesson: Price matters.

For the first time ever, Google has passed Apple in the U.S. education market, according to IDC data obtained by The Financial Times, which shows Google’s Chromebook laptops are more popular now in the K-12 classrooms than the iPad.

Controversial math apps won’t help kids cheat

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The girl at work. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
My daughter wishes these math apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

My math-averse daughter wanted to cheat on her algebra homework. So we downloaded PhotoMath, a free app that lets you take a picture of your mathematical and algebraic equations, solving them for you and showing the steps to the solution.

PhotoMath has been at the top of the App Store charts for a couple of weeks, hitting number one on the Education, Kids Games and Top Apps lists. Small wonder, as it seems like a great way to get out of doing homework.

However, despite the concerns of some parents and teachers, apps like PhotoMath just won’t help when it comes to cheating — they’re far too limited. Still, it’s a promising technology that, once it matures, might actually turn into the type of wonder tool for education we’ve long been promised, turning our iOS devices into useful educational tools that will help kids actually learn math, rather than simply giving them a shortcut to homework answers.

Educator behind $1.3 billion iPad deal should go to ‘teacher jail,’ says union

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The superintendent behind the abandoned $1.3 billion school iPad deal should go to 'teacher jail,' says union.
The superintendent behind the abandoned $1.3 billion school iPad deal should go to "teacher jail," says union.

Los Angeles teachers union president Alex Caputo-Pear has called for L.A. Schools chief John Deasy — the man who helped orchestrate the ill-fated $1.3 billion tech deal designed to give an iPad to every student — to report to “teacher jail” while the program is under investigation.

“Teacher jail” refers to district offices which house instructors who are facing allegations of misconduct.

In Deasy’s case, the alleged misconduct relates to apparent inappropriate dealings with Apple and education publisher Pearson that may have influenced the bidding process for the massive deal, which has now been abandoned. Deasy claims there was nothing inappropriate about his relationship with either company.

Educator who orchestrated $1 billion iPad deal could face detention

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iPads in classroom

Los Angeles teachers union president Alex Caputo-Pearl has called for an investigation into Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent John Deasy’s relationship with Apple, which led to the announcement that the school system had blown its entire $1 billion tech budget on giving an iPad to every student last year.

Although the iPad deal was later put on hold, the L.A. Board of Education is being pressured by Caputo-Pearl to investigate why Deasy and his then-chief deputy, Jaime Aquino, were apparently discussing the deal with Apple and education publisher Pearson up to two years before the official bidding process was finished and contracts were approved.