Weekly News Roundup

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  • A federal judge threw out a proposed settlement between publishers, authors, and Google Books this week, throwing into question the future of Google's massive efforts to digitize the world's literature and make it available for search. The proposed settlement went "too far," according to the judge, giving Google too much control over "orphan works," those books whose copyrights aren't known. The Chronicle of Higher Education's Jen Howard has a good write-up of this long legal saga.
  • Inkling, the makers of a textbook app for iPad, has raised a round of funding that includes a minority investment from the two largest publishers of educational content in the world: Pearson and McGraw-Hill. Inkling's app re-envisions how textbook content should appear on tablets, making them far more rich and interactive than simply converting the text to a digital format.
  • Chegg, the largest textbook rental company in the world, announced this week that it was expanding its offerings to include course selection and homework help information. The additions stem from two acquisitions the company made last year -- CourseRank and Cramster -- and it's an effort, according to Chegg, to make its services more personalized.
  • One of the largest publishers of children's books in the world, Scholastic, reported a worse-than-expected quarterly loss this week. Despite an influx of federal education technology funds, profits were down for the company, in part because of budget pressures for schools and families.
  • California Connects, a federally funded program aimed at increasing digital literacy and broadband access among under-served communities launched this week, as part of a multi-year effort to address California's digital divide.
  • The FCC and Department of Education unveiled a special version of the National Broadband Map that reveals the availability and speed of broadband at U.S. schools. According to the data, about two-thirds of schools surveyed have broadband speeds less than 25 Mbps. Most schools need a connection speed of about 100 Mbps for every 1000 students.