Weekly News Roundup

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  • The Gates Foundation-backed Next Generation Learning Challenges announced the finalists for its second wave of education grants. The $10 million in grant money will go towards projects to help boost college-preparedness among middle-schoolers.
  • Google has announced the students who've been selected to participate in its 2011 Summer of Code. 1116 students will work on various open source projects over the summer, doing real-world development work with mentoring organizations.
  • Pearson, the largest education company in the world, is acquiring the data analytics company SchoolNet for $230 million. The acquisition points to the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making in education.
  • Barnes & Noble's Nook Color e-reader has received a major upgrade: it will now run a newer version of Android and have access to wider selection of apps. The line between e-reader and tablet continues to blur.
  • The Facebook Fellowship Program has 5 new scholars joining its ranks with the announcement of the 2011 winners. The program supports the research of PhD students whose work addresses issues a variety of academic topics, including Internet economics, cloud computing, social computing, data mining, machine learning, and systems and information retrieval.
  • Microsoft Partners in Learning is recognizing innovative teachers and providing them with an opportunity to come together for the 2011 US Innovative Education Forum to be held this summer at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington. The event will include keynote speeches from Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, and Dr. John Medina, the author of Brain Rules. Applications are due May 15.
  • The inventor of the CAPTCHA, the word-identification system that helps insure humans, not bots, are completing Web forms, has revealed a little bit more information about his latest project, Duolingo. Duolingo aims to be a language learning platform that simultaneously will work to translate the Web at the same time. You can watch his TEDxCMU talk here.
  • Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing is being re-enacted on Facebook. The modern interpretation of the play is being brought to the social networking site by the Weekly Reader, The Ophelia Project, and White Plain's High School. Shakespeare's play, if you recall, is a romantic comedy that addresses questions of reputation, lies and deception, and the play is being utilized to as an educational resource to discuss cyberbullying.
  • Good news for users of the bookmarking site Delicious. News leaked last year that Yahoo was planning on "sunsetting" the popular site, and many panicked that their years of bookmarks might be lost. Yahoo announced yesterday that it has sold Delicious to the co-founders of YouTube, who plan to start a new company called Avos which will continue and expand the bookmarking service.