Weekly News Roundup

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  • The Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released its study on children's media usage. Among its findings, television is still popular, but children are engaging in a variety of other media platforms. Almost 25 percent of young children under age 5 use the Internet at least once a week, and just under half of those under the age of 6 play video games.
  • The social learning platform Xplana released its report on digital textbooks in higher education, calling the industry at a tipping point and contending that by 2015, one out of every four textbooks will be e-books.
  • Google rolled out some changes to its Google Docs enhancing its collaboration features. Google Docs has allowed comments for almost a year, something that makes the apps great for classroom - for teachers and for students giving feedback. This week, Google expanded those comments into "discussions," making them editable, making them appear in threaded conversations, and letting collaborators use the @ symbol to refer to each other by name. Google Wave lives on!
  • A complaint was filed against Northwestern and New York University, charging that the schools' use of Google Apps for Education violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the National Federation of the Blind, Google's educational suite is not fully accessible. Google has responded saying it has "a strong commitment to improving our products," but the company did not offer any details.
  • Microsoft released an update to its video game development platform for kids, Kodu. Kodu is an icon-based development environment, requiring no programming skills but teaching some of the basics of computational thinking and used to build games for PC and Xbox. Microsoft also announced the Kodu Cup competition for students age 9 to 17.
  • A new education-focused startup incubator launched this week. ImagineK12 will provide a 3-month accelerator program, with funding and mentorship, for early stage ed-tech startups. Founded by startup veterans Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady andAlan Louie and modeled after the very successful Y Combinator program, ImagineK12 aims “to effect positive change in the K-12 education space.”