National / International News

Ford recalls 1.4m cars due to fault

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 12:15
US car giant Ford recalls a total of 1.4 million cars, the majority of which are sport utility vehicles sold in North America, due to a possible loss of power steering.

Venture capitalists learn to love education

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:48

Education isn’t what you’d typically think of as sexy. It’s practical. It’s serious.

But add a little tech and vavoom! Venture capitalists are very, very into it.

Michael Moe is CEO of GSV Capital, which has invested $100 million in education technology companies like Coursera and 2U. He said there’s a lot to like about education these days. 

Education as a whole is a big market—$2 trillion in the U.S. and $4.5 trillion globally—said Moe. “And it’s characterized by very few large players.”

Today, technology grabs only a slice of that spending. Moe estimates the e-learning market is around $80 million and growing.

There are big names angling for dominance, like Pearson, Google and News Corp. But Moe said that leaves plenty of room for small companies to hit big and grow fast. “I think the forces at work could compress that time from idea to mega-business into a much shorter period,” he said.

One of the companies trying to make the jump to mega-business is Remind101.

Basically, Remind101 gives teachers the ability to mass text kids and parents, things like homework assignments, test reminders, notes of encouragement. Like these:

Crepe Day is in danger of being cancelled! Be sure your behavior is not the reason! via @remind101

— Krista Applegate (@MmeApplegate) May 28, 2014

 

Candide: banquet information on choir room board. Payment due Thursday if you plan to attend. via @remind101

— David Carter (@cugeoffrey) May 29, 2014

Company CEO Brett Kopf says the idea originated back in fifth grade. “I have a bunch of learning disabilities,” he said, “I have ADD and dyslexia. I was diagnosed in fifth grade, and school was always really hard for me.”

In college, he realized reminders, like texts, could help him get stuff done. They could help him stay on track. 

So he and his brother set about building a company that provided that service. “I would drool at the thought of going to Silicon Valley,” said Kopf, “I thought it was some golden place where money just fell of trees. And it doesn’t.”

Okay. Money might not fall off trees.

But, since 2011, when Kopf and his brother got to Silicon Valley, they’ve raised more than $19 million from investors.

Remind101 is free for teachers. The company says teachers use it to send more than 80 million texts a month.

And, the teacher focus is part of the reason it’s so attractive to venture capitalists. There’s a shift in the education market. The customer is changing.

“In the past, the way that innovation came to schools was in a car,” said Jennifer Carolan, managing director of NewSchools Seed Fund, part of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a non-profit, philanthropic investment group. “A salesman would set up a meeting with a District IT administrator and in a few weeks time, the salesman would bring his computer and demo the product to the district decision maker.”

Today, she said, it’s all different. “We have teachers discovering apps and tools on their tablets and bringing them into the classroom.”

And with millions of teachers out there, those apps and tools can spread fast. “When this period of education history is written,” said Carolan, “it will be the story of the teacher who is driving technology growth in our schools and starting the edtech companies.” 

The question now is how much of the money chasing what’s next in the classroom, is going to pay-off. For investors. And for students.

Educational technology has already had some high-profile bankruptcies; investors and foundations have taken some hits.

And, on the education side of things, researchers like Justin Reich, at HarvardX think many of the companies getting money aren’t providing services that are changing the equation. 

Take, for example, online games with multiple choice answers. They are easy to identify said Reich, “Oh I know what this is, this is a worksheet. It’s randomized and it’s on a computer, but I had worksheet problems. I know what these things are.”

Or apps that hand out digital badges. “Oh, those are stickers. Mrs. Trusdale in the third grade gave me stickers, I recognize these things.”

A lot of online classes are teachers, teaching in front of a board. Not that transformative, he said. “If what we’re hoping to have happen is to have there be really profound changes in the way we prepare people for an extraordinarily complicated society, then paving old cow paths is not going to be the way to accomplish that.”

He thinks venture capital needs to look beyond what’s sexy, and focus a little more on substance.

South Sudan rebel in Kenyan talks

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:41
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar holds talks with Kenya's leader in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi about the latest peace efforts.

Ford Recalls 1.4 Million Vehicles For Various Defects

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:30

The recalls include 1.1 million SUVs with power steering defects, 200,000 Taurus sedans with a corrosion issue and 82,500 vehicles with floor mats that might interfere with the accelerator.

» E-Mail This

French rally against National Front

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:24
Thousands of students demonstrate in France against the far-right National Front, following its success in the European elections last week.

City ends bid to curb Sriracha maker

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:23
A California city drops a lawsuit it lodged against the maker of a popular Asian-style pepper sauce after residents complained of the odour.

Mountain high, river deep for baton

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:13
The Queen's Baton Relay on Snowdon and the Menai Strait

Thousands gather for Sutton vigil

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:13
Thousands of people gather for a vigil in memory of Stephen Sutton, the 19-year-old cancer sufferer who raised millions of pounds for charity.

Lord Rennard apologises to activists

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:07
Former Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard expresses "regret for any harm or embarrassment caused" by his actions towards female party members.

Venture capitalists make a big deal over education

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 11:04

How to Use this Graphic:

Venture capitalists are pouring money into educational technology. If last year's numbers are any indication, the amount of spending could double to more than $2 billion in 2014. 

The above graphic uses data from the NewSchools Venture Fund, a public charity that invests in educational technology.  The Fund estimates that $452 million was invested in the category in 2013.

Each bubble represents one of 116 deals that NewSchools documented in 2013.  The bigger the bubble, the bigger the investment.  You can read more about each of the deals by clicking on the bubble.

No Surprise Here: Sisi Rolls To Victory In Egypt's Election

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:58

Less than a year after a coup, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won the presidential election with more than 90 percent of the vote.

» E-Mail This

Murray open to hiring female coach

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:49
Andy Murray says he would have no problem appointing a woman to replace Ivan Lendl as his next coach.

The new note home from teachers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:37

As part of our story on venture capital investments in edtech, we met with the folks at Remind101.  

It's a service that allows teachers to send one-way text messages to students and parents.  Remind101 says teachers send 80 million texts a month.  

Teachers are using the service to do all sorts of nudging.  And celebrating.  

And,#beatClarkston.

Here are a few examples of what teachers are sending...

 

Serial killer profile project due tomorrow. Be ready to present your PowerPoint! via @remind101

— Angela Thomas (@ROHSapPSYCH) May 26, 2014

Together we are way stronger than all alone. When we stand up for each other, we all win! http://t.co/GV2kKKJNCv via @remind101

— Gus Kaplanges (@gk81359) May 15, 2014

Tell everyone you know to buy their advanced dance show tickets!!!! https://t.co/Kc6kPNMmEp via @remind101

— Whitney Dance Team (@whitneydance13) May 13, 2014

Remember you need a 2L bottle, construction paper, tube (for nose), duct tape, etc for Tuesday. via @remind101

— Ann Beemer (@Physicstchr) May 26, 2014

PreAP: make sure you bring your books and notebooks today. I'll be out so be on your best behavior. via @remind101

— Erin Underwood (@eunderwo) May 23, 2014

Two days left to preorder leis for graduation http://t.co/PFA9iF3mKM via @remind101

— KHS Activities (@KHSActivities) May 23, 2014

@HF2lax Reminder ! Be sure to cheer our varsity team on as they play round two play off today at Clarkston! #beatClarkston via @remind101

— Amy Kowalski (@akkrave) May 22, 2014

Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:28

Because more people are refusing vaccines, measles can spread when people bring it to the U.S. from abroad. That's what's behind the high number of cases this year, with 288 so far.

» E-Mail This

Teenage Sisters Allegedly Gang-Raped, Murdered In India

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:28

The bodies of the girls were found hanging from a mango tree. Authorities have arrested seven men, including two police constables, in connection with the assault.

» E-Mail This

Are the fascists coming back to France?

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:21
Is Marine Le Pen luring the French towards fascism?

Embattled veterans chief fights on

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:19
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki calls the delays to veterans' medical care "reprehensible" as calls mount for him to resign.

Virgin signs US spaceflight deal

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:16
Virgin Galactic signs a deal with the US Federal Aviation Authority, which will allow it to charter space flights from a base in New Mexico.

VIDEO: Newark by-election battle heats up

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:12
The voters of Newark will go to the polls next week in the first electoral test the local and European elections.

Keane has 'had chat' about Celtic job

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-29 10:11
Roy Keane has had "an informal chat" with Celtic's majority shareholder about becoming the club's new manager.
ON THE AIR
Echoes
Next Up: @ 02:00 am
BBC World Service

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4