Home / Tag Archives: education

Tag Archives: education

Spree App selected as App of the Day – Bizcommunity.com

Spree App selected as App of the Day Bizcommunity.com Spree App selected as App of the Day . 26 Apr 2018 | Save | Email | Print | PDF. A team of editors at Apple has chosen the Spree App as App of the Day . App of the Day is given by a team of editors from Apple who pick an iOS app and game to showcase ...

Read More »

China-based online education companies just launched an aggressive hiring spree in search of U.S. teachers

Teachers have long supplemented their incomes by tutoring. And there’s perhaps never been a better, or easier, time to do it than right now.  The reason: China-based online education companies are in an apparent race with each other to hire U.S. teachers who’d like to work from home this summer and, using their webcams, “teach cute kids” the English language — in the marketing parlance of one of those companies, Beijing-based VIPKid . If you doubt that’s true, you haven’t been looking at the classifieds. Just today, five-year-old VIPKid — which reportedly raised $200 million in fresh funding last summer at a $1.5 billion valuation — listed openings for thousands of U.S. teachers, from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Carmel, Indiana. Its jobs offensive comes just three days after seven-year-old, Beijing-based China Online Education Group, known as 51Talk , did precisely the same thing. Both companies are growing quickly and, in the process, trying to outgun competitors. These include 14-year-old, Goldman Sachs-backed iTutorGroup, which operates out of Shanghai as VIPABC and   boasts of its $1 billion valuation on its home page , and 15-year-old TAL Education Group, a holding company for a group of tutoring-related companies that went public in 2010 and now enjoys a roughly $17 billion market cap. (51Talk is also publicly traded, having IPO’d in 2016. Its market cap is currently $215 million.) There’s seemingly plenty of demand for all. According to a recent report from the China-focused consultancy iResearch, online language lessons in China represented a $4.5 billion market opportunity in 2016 and is expected to grow to nearly $8 billion by next year. VIPKID seems to be winning the war for media attention, however. Back in January, Forbes named the company the best employer when it comes to work-from-home jobs (up from fifth place in 2017). Its founder, Cindy Mi, has also received glowing coverage in Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and Fast Company, among numerous other English-language outlets

Read More »

Europe eyes boosting data re-use and funds for AI research

The European Union’s executive body, the EC, has taken  a first pass at drawing up a strategy  to respond to the myriad socio-economic challenges around artificial intelligence technology — including setting out steps intended to boost investment, support education and training, and draw up an ethical and legal framework for steering AI developments by the end of the year. It says it’s hoping to be able to announce a “coordinated plan on AI” by the end of 2018, working with the bloc’s 28 Member States to get there. “The main aim is to maximise the impact of investment at the EU and national levels, encourage cooperation across the EU, exchange best practices, and define the way forward together, so as to ensure the EU’s global competitiveness in this sector,” writes the Commission, noting it will also continue to invest in initiatives it views as “key” for AI (specifically name-checking the development of components, systems and chipsets designed to run AI operations; high-performance computers; projects related to quantum technologies; and ongoing work to map the human brain). Commenting on the strategy in a statement, the EC VP for the Digital Single Market Andrus   Ansip said:  “ Without data, we will not make the most of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and other technological advances. These technologies can help us to improve healthcare and education, transport networks and make energy savings: this is what the smart use of data is all about. “Our proposal will free up more public sector data for re-use, including for commercial purposes, driving down the cost of access to data and helping us to create a common data space in the EU that will stimulate our growth.” Below is a breakdown of what the Commission is proposing in the various areas it’s focusing on. Regional industry bodies’ response statements to the plan include the usual mix of welcoming platitudes combined with calls for “ a cautious approach to regulation” to “allow AI to have the space to grow”, as tech advocacy association, the   CCIA , puts it. While consumer advocacy group, BEUC , criticizes the Commission for postponing what it dubs “hard decisions to later” — calling for it to make a clear commitment to update the bloc’s product safety and liability rules to ensure they are fit for the risks of the AI age. Target of €20BN+ into AI research by end of 2020 On the investment front the Commission says its target is to increase investments in “AI research and innovation” in the bloc by at least €20BN between now and the end of 2020 — across both public and private sectors. To support that it says it will increase its investment to €1.5BN for the period 2018-2020 under the  Horizon 2020  research and innovation program — and is expecting this to trigger an additional €2.5BN of funding from existing public-private partnerships, such as on  big data  and  robotics . “This will support the development of AI in key sectors, from transport to health; it will connect and strengthen AI research centres across Europe, and encourage testing and experimentation,” it writes. The EC also says it will support the development of an “AI-on-demand platform” to “provide access to relevant AI resources in the EU for all users”. And it says it intends to use the  European Fund for Strategic Investments  to provide companies and start-ups with “additional support” to invest in AI — aiming to, as it puts it, “mobilise more than €500M in total investments by 2020 across a range of key sectors”. Push to open up public sector data-sets The Commission is also eyeing a range of ways to open up access to data — as a strategy to stimulate AI developments. On this it’s proposing legislation to open up more data for re-use , including public sector data — proposing a review of the rules that govern this (aka the PSI Directive) — along with a package of other measures geared towards making data sharing easier; including a new set of recommendations for sharing scientific data ; and guidance for the private sector on data sharing collaborations with the private sector ; and for business-to-business data sharing (it says it will come out guidance to help companies on this front, and also says it will call for proposals to set up a support center this year, funded via the Connecting Europe Facility )

Read More »

A university is giving scholarships to top Fortnite players

A Midwestern university wants to recruit the nation’s best Fortnite players for its varsity esports team, and it’s throwing out the dough to bring on some quality talent. Ashland University in Ohio will embrace the feverishly popular battle royale title into its competitive esports program, which it will officially launch this fall. Fortnite will join the team’s current competitive-title teams League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. Interested gamers can hit up this form to apply to the program. “Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience,” the school’s esports head coach Josh Buchanan said in a release. “We’re excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills.” Admission in the school’s undergraduate program with room and board on the Ashland campus goes for $31,284 full-price, so the $4,000 scholarship offers a nice incentive, but this is probably best for people who have other reasons to go to Ashland University in Ohio, as well. The embrace the title has already received from the gaming community is pretty notable. It’s one of the most-streamed titles on gaming sites and there are millions of people playing concurrently.

Read More »

Udacity tackles cybersecurity with its latest nanodegree

Responding to the talent shortage and increasing demand facing the cybersecurity industry, Udacity said that it is now developing a new nanodegree focused on security . Launched at the security industry’s  RSA Conference , details about the new program (including potential partners) are still sketchy ( there’s little available on the information page on the Udacity’s website about the program). The announcement at RSA actually included an active call for partners for the security program. To the leaders in this field, we are extending the opportunity to join us. Your organization, together with Udacity , can help shape the future of Cybersecurity training, and nurture the world’s most advanced pipeline of highly-qualified Cybersecurity talent. Through our partnership, your organization will have early access to this incredible talent pipeline, and the opportunity to hire those experts who have trained on the curriculum you helped to build.   As we consider the technological landscape of the future, we continually seek opportunities to apply the world’s most transformative technologies to the world’s most pressing challenges, and to educate, develop, and nurture the talent that will solve these challenges. We see this kind of opportunity in the field of Cybersecurity, and we look forward to building this program in partnership with the world’s leading Cybersecurity experts. Your expertise and experience will inform the development of our curriculum. Your subject matter experts will provide vital leadership and deliver valuable knowledge to our students. Through the establishment of scholarships, you will help ensure maximum opportunity for the most deserving and qualified students across the globe. Announcing the new program on the company’s blog, Udacity cited reports from the Department of Labor indicating that job opportunities for “information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.” Udacity’s security sales pitch is that it has already trained 10,000 artificial intelligence engineers (no word on how many the company has successfully placed in companies), and has thousands of students actively enrolled in its artificial intelligence and data analysis classes. Through its paid and free classes Udacity claims some 8 million students and 30,000 graduates of the company’s nanodegree programs. Udacity has made its reputation by offering classes in some of technology’s most sought after fields including autonomous vehicle systems, artificial intelligence and big data.

Read More »

Equity podcast: Coinbase buys a startup, Discord’s a unicorn and Netflix soars

Hello and welcome back to  Equity , TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Katie Roof and Crunchbase News’s Alex Wilhelm sat down with Science Inc’s Michael Jones  to dig through the latest in the world of technology and money. And goddamn was there some stuff to get through. On our even-more-stuffed-than-usual agenda this week we first dug into the Coinbase-Earn.com deal , and how it came to be. This raised the question of dividends (which somehow Alphabet still doesn’t have to pay, bringing a new high watermark to the concept of corporate adolescence) and venture firms bringing together two of their own deals under one roof. Scooting along we turned to Netflix’s staggering earnings run , including its share price rally that has been nigh-parabolic. That took us into MoviePass, whose parent company you have not heard of, and seems to be in potentially serious financial trouble . After that we jumped into Discord , a popular gaming chat service that is raising another $50 million at a $1.65 billion post-money valuation. That’s a hell of a lot of new money, and a hell of a lot of new market cap. (At this point we also started talking about League of Legends. I am sorry.) Finally, back on theme, we poured over the DocuSign IPO pricing range that it just dropped, and the Pluralsight S-1 , which brought up many fun questions. All that and we had a few laughs. Hit play, and we’ll chat you all next week! Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on  Apple Podcasts ,  Overcast , Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

Read More »

Holberton raises $8M for its full-stack engineering school

Over the course of the last few years , the Holberton School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Engineering has made a name for itself as one of the more comprehensive coding schools. The two-year program trains full-stack engineers with a focus on the basics of engineering and sees itself as an alternative to a traditional college experience. Today, the San Francisco-based school announced that it has raised an $8.2 million Series A round that will help it expand its programs. The funding round was led by current investors daphni and Trinity Ventures . The Omidyar Network joined as a new investor. With this, the school has now raised a total of $13 million. Holberton is currently teaching about 200 students (who have to pass a pretty rigorous entry exam) and the plan is to scale the program to 1,000 students per year. That’s a larger cohort than the computer science programs taught at even the biggest schools currently. Past students have found jobs at companies like Apple, IBM, Tesla, Docker and Dropbox. Instead of charging tuition, the school takes a 17 percent cut of its graduates’ salary for the first three years after they get their jobs. To enable its expansion to 1,000 students, the team recently moved into a far larger space in San Francisco that can handle about 500 students. As the team has repeatedly told me, part of its mission is to bring in a diverse group of students — and one that isn’t held back by the prospect of student loans

Read More »

Duolingo adds new language exercises and revamps its leveling system

Duolingo today launched one of its biggest updates in recent years. The company is introducing a range of new exercise types, as well as a new leveling system that lets you choose between delving deeper into specific skills or learning new content. When you are building a popular language learning service like Duolingo, you’re inevitably confronted with a problem: Some of your users are really serious about learning a new language and some are just casual users. Finding a balance is hard, even as you try to personalize the experience for every user. But as you add harder content, user engagement goes down and learners drop off. To counter this, Duolingo is now launching “Crown Levels.” These new levels are part of a redesigned skills tree that gives users a choice between delving into harder content about a specific skill — or moving on to new skills. The company quietly announced this feature earlier this year and after A/B testing it, decided to launch it to a wider audience now. “Whenever we tried to add harder content in order to teach better, our engagement metrics would go down. Learners would get discouraged and leave the app,” the team explained at the time. “This made it really hard to make any progress on our goal to not just be a fun learning app, but an effective one that really taught you a language well.” The new tree now allows casual learners to move through the Duolingo skills tree just like before, while advanced learners can dig deeper into the new skills they just learned. Ideally, this means that everybody should be happy now and learn better. With this update, Duolingo is also introducing a number of new exercise types that focus on listening and pronunciation.

Read More »

Final Cut Pro X Update Introduces ProRes RAW Format

Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 introduces a groundbreaking format from Apple, ProRes RAW, which combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the performance of ProRes. Final Cut Pro 10.4.1 will be available on April 9 as a free update for existing users, and for $299.99 (US) for new users on the Mac App Store.

Read More »

Tencent and education startup Age of Learning bring popular English-learning app ABCmouse to China

Tencent is teaming up with Los Angeles-based education company Age of Learning to launch an English education program for kids in China. ABCmouse , Age of Learning’s flagship product, has been localized and will be available as a website and an iOS and Android app in China, with Tencent handling product development, marketing, sales and customer support. The new partnership extends Tencent’s involvement in ed-tech, which already includes a strategic investment in VIPKID, an online video tutoring platform that connects Chinese kids with English teachers and competes with QKids and Dada ABC. ABCmouse, on the other hand, uses videos, books and online activities like games, songs and stories to help kids study English. The Chinese version of ABCmouse includes integration with Tencent’s ubiqutioius messenger and online services platform WeChat, which now has more than one billion users, and its instant messaging service QQ, with 783 million monthly active users. This makes it easier for parents to sign up and pay for ABCmouse, because they can use their WeChat or QQ account and payment information. It also allows families to share kids’ English-learning progress on their news feeds or in chats. For example, Chen says parents can send video or audio recordings of their children practicing English to grandparents, who can then buy gift subscriptions with one click. Though you probably haven’t heard of it unless you have young kids or work with elementary school-age children, Age of Learning has built a significant presence in online education since it was founded in 2007, thanks mainly to the popularity of ABCmouse in schools, public libraries and Head Start programs. Two years ago, Age of Learning hit unicorn status after raising $150 million at a $1 billion valuation from Iconiq Capital. Jerry Chen, Age of Learning’s president of Greater China, says there are more than 110 million kids between the ages of three to eight in China and the online English language learning market there is “a several billion dollar market that’s growing rapidly.” He points to a recent study by Chinese research agency Yiou Intelligence that says total spending on online English learning programs for children will be 29.41 billion RMB, or about $4.67 billion, this year, and is projected to reach 79.17 billion, or $12.6 billion, by 2022. The localization of ABCmouse will extend to the design of its eponymous cartoon rodent, who has a more stylized appearance in China. Lessons include animations featuring an English teacher and students in an international school classroom and begin with listening comprehension and speaking before moving onto phonics, reading and writing. Tencent-Age of Learning products will also include speech recognition tools to help kids hone their English pronunciation. In an email, Jason Chen, Tencent’s general manager of online education, said that the company “reviewed several companies through an extensive research process, and it became clear that ABCmouse had the most engaging and effective online English self-learning curriculum and content for children. Age of Learning puts learning first, and that commitment to educational excellence made them a perfect fit for our online English language learning business.”  

Read More »