Weekly News Roundup

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  • The VOIP service Skype officially launched "Skype in the Classroom," a directory to help connect educators with others who are using the service. Skype has recognized that teachers are already using the service to connect their classrooms, and so it wanted to make it easier for teachers to find others and to share Skype lessons and resources.
  • Google Summer of Code is now open for student applications. The program gives college students the opportunity to spend the summer doing real-world, open-source programming with mentor organizations. These organizations include Wikipedia, Moodle, and many, many others. Applications are due April 8.
  • The computational knowledge engine WolframAlpha has launched two more of its Course Assistant apps: one for Astronomy and one for Multivariable Calculus. The apps are available for iPhone, cost $4.99, and beg the question: why on earth would you bring a calculator to class when you can bring WolframAlpha.
  • The ACLU has started a campaign, reports eSchoolNews, demanding that high schools remove filters that block access to websites that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.
  • Sesame Street has launched an e-book reader for iPad. The app itself is free, and books are available for subscription. GeekDad's Daniel Donahoo points out, however, that there aren't any free copies for you to sample before you buy, but he does not that the quality of the content there is high.
  • Professor Dan Cohen has just released a database of over one million course syllabi, gathered from the Internet between 2002 and 2009. The data is available for people to download, and via analysis and visualization, I'm guessing this data could give us some very interesting insights into changes in college instruction. Cohen is the director for the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.