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Weekly News Roundup

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  • Booksurfers, a new e-book series available only for the Kindle and aimed at readers age 9 to 12, follows four adventurer kids as they jump into -- well "booksurf" -- classic (and public domain) novels. The e-books lets readers switch back and forth between the plot of these adventure stories and the classic texts themselves. The first two titles are Treasure Island and The Wizard of Oz.
  • Language learning platform Babbel has added four new languages: Indonesian, Polish, Turkish and Dutch, bringing its portfolio to 11 languages total. Babbel's courses are browser-based and don't require any downloads.
  • Intel is asking students to tell the company "what inspires you to learn?" It's a contest for students age 14-18. Students can submit entries of at leasat 50 words, but that can include other multimedia content. The winner will receive a Toshiba laptop with Intel 2nd Generation Core i5 technology plus a Sony Internet TV for her or his school. Submissions are due August 15.
  • Punflay, the makers of a virtual frog dissection app (see our story from earlier this year) has launched a special website, which means that those without iPads can now take advantage of the virtual dissection.
  • Microsoft announced the winners of its Kodu Cup, a contest that challenged kids age 9 to 17 to build video games using Kodu, the visual programming language. The grand prize winner was 10-year-old Hannah Wyman, who built a game called Toxic.
  • Good news for open educational resources from Brazil this week. Federal legislation was introduced that would require that government funded educational projects be openly licensed. And the Sao Paolo Department of Education also mandated that all its educational content would be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share-Alike license.
  • Apple has announced its new back-to-school offer for students buying Macs for college. No longer will a Mac purchase include a free iPod. Instead, students will receive a $100 gift card for iTunes.
  • Popular VOIP service Skype released new facets of its new "Skype in the classroom" program. You can now search for teachers and classrooms to connect with by country. Over 13,000 teachers have already signed up for the service since it launched earlier this year.
  • The for-profit institution Kaplan University has launched an iPad app. The app will let its online students access courses, archives lectures, syllabi, and discussion boards.
  • Describing the features as "knocking down barriers to knowledge," Google unveiled a number of updates to its search capabilities this week, including the ability to search by voice and by image via your computer.


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