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Weekly News Roundup

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  • A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania ruled that students have the right to mock their teachers and administrators on Facebook and other social media sites. The court said that schools were wrong to suspend students for these sorts of actions and that students' speech is protected under the First Amendment.
  • Crowdsourced translation site Universal Subtitles announced this week that Khan Academy had fully integrated its translation services with its videos, meaning that viewers can help translate the content into other languages.
  • Oops. Over the weekend, fans of the kid-friendly virtual world Club Penguin feared the site had been hacked or closed. But it turned out Disney had just forgotten to renew the domain name.
  • Author J. K. Rowling revealed her new site, Pottermore, this week. Coming this fall, the site will be the digital bookstore for all the Harry Potter series, with new, interactive content as well. Rowling retained all the rights to the digital copies of her books, and she is self-e-publishing them here, bypassing the other major e-booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • The University of California libraries have released the results of an e-book survey they launched in October 2010. Among its findings: 49% prefer print books for their academic work, while 34% prefer e-books.
  • Foreign language learning company has launched an iPad app for travellers. The free app will help learners with their Spanish, French, German, Italian,Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Polish and English.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched a Global Education Challenge to find creative ideas for tools to help students' educational outcomes. $250,000 in prizes are available, but the deadline is fast approaching: July 15.
  • The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) has joined the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW), meaning that students at the 200 schools that are part of CCCOER will now have better access to the open textbook and opencourseware resources of the OCW.
  • Textbook rental company Chegg has acquired the study-guide company Notehall. This is the third acquisition for Chegg, which acquired CourseRank and Cramster last year as part of its plans to offer a more comprehensive suite of e-commerce and administrative tools for students.
  • The American Library Association, which is currently holding its annual meeting, reports that two-thirds of libraries in the U.S. now offer e-books. You can view a map of those libraries here.
  • And speaking of annual meetings, Tina and I are off to ISTE 2011 next week in Philadelphia. We will be reporting on some of the latest innovations in education technology and on how teachers are integrating technology into their classrooms. We hope to see many of you there!


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