Monthly Archives: February 2011

SocialEyes – Just one more Group Video Chat for Facebook?

There are lots of text, voice and video chat applications on Facebook and some of them like TinyChat are doing pretty well as it seems. And then there is still the rumor of a deep Skype integration on the social network.

So, is there space left for another video chat? SocialEyes is a social video service and going into public beta today.

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Smarthistory – Multi Media Web Book about Art and History

In the 80s and early 90s we had a show on German television with the title “1000 Meisterwerke” – 1000 masterpieces. Every episode was about 10 minutes long and about a certain masterpiece in one of the big museums across the globe, may it be a painting or sculpture.

Back then the so called “Bildungsauftrag” – the educational mandate – that the state owned TV stations still have today was clearly noticeable. With the rise of ad financed private TV we unfortunately lost a lot of those formats.

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Lingueo launches Language Exchange Network PolyglotParty.com

Lingueo, the Paris based marketplace for online language lessons launched a new website although the actual format is around for quite some time already.

PolyglotParty.com is the new home of the very successful offline event with the same name that takes place once a month at a changing location in Paris and is hosted by the Lingueo team.

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TeachStreet and doMore – The Pan Pacific Edu Twins

Quoting the tagline of that classic movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito “Only their mother can tell them apart” and for me it was quite a shocker last week.

I got followed by doMore on Twitter early last week and when I had a look at the website I almost spit out my morning coffee. It looked exactly like TeachStreet! After getting over the initial shock and a quick email to Dave Schappell I learned that the Seattle startup actually joined forces with doMore, sharing its technology and experiences.

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Quoi? Skype illegal in France?

Today, I learned something really interesting. It seems as if Skype is not respecting French law and therefore is “illegally operating” in France. At least, that’s according to the blog Tic et Net of the French magazine L’Express.

It is not about the VoIP from PC to PC that is causing those legal implications but about the SkypeOut service which needed to be declared as a telecommunication service provider in France. But Skype have apparently refused to do so.

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The Kno alters into Software – Will it inherit Chegg’s Market Share?

Interesting news from Kara Swisher over at All Things Digital. Apparently, the Kno is in talks to sell its hardware manufacturing part of the company and then focus on software and digital textbook delivery only.

According to sources the “quicker than expected uptake” in tablet production of other manufacturers basically made the need for a dedicated educational hardware device “less critical”.

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New Academic Mindset? The Copy and Paste Generation

I find this truly a fascinating story. It has everything, a “good looking” main character who is a real Baron from one of Germany’s oldest noble families but who is also tremendously popular amongst the people. Nothing could stop him from becoming our next chancellor, at least according to yellow press and satire. But those often have a good gut feeling and are, to an extend, spin-doctors as well.

Nothing but himself it seems, now as the story takes a tragic turn, our smart Baron looks more like a train wreck. All because of the rising copy and paste mentality in society and academia.

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KWestions for Michael Schutzler – the eBay of Language Learning

Sometimes there are slow news weeks and other times you can barely keep up with all what’s happening.

Well, the company of my interview partner for KWestions episode 11 definitely falls under the second one as they introduced a bunch of interesting new features to their language learning community. I always enjoy having a talk with Michael Schutzler, CEO of Livemocha, not only because of his experience as CEO, his extensive knowledge but also due to the fact that he is always open and accessible and shares insights other people prefer better not to share.

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KWestions for Jon Bischke – Future of Education & the Reputation Graph

Jon Bischke, serial founder of startups in the education space and currently entrepreneur in residence at Battery Ventures gave me the opportunity to interview him via email.

As he is one of the thought leaders in the hackedu space, you should follow Jon Bischke on Twitter and learn about his thoughts on the future of higher education, the Reputation Graph and more at JonBischke.com.

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Zipcast – One Click Web Conference based on SlideShare

The popular presentation and document sharing service SlideShare launched an instant web conference feature based on the SlideShare platform and the VoIP service tokbox. It’s called Zipcast.

From now on you can turn every public presentation on SlideShare into a web meeting with a click of a button and invite up to 5000 people to join via Facebook or Twitter.

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How to learn French or other Languages in 2011

Some days ago my friend Vikrama Dhiman asked me via Twitter

I want to learn French. How many classes do you think one can pick it up in – writing plus speaking. Business Level.

The answer is, of course, more complex than 140 characters, so I gave it a thought as I actually get this question or variations of it at least once a week. Well, what I came up with is the Kirsten Winkler guide to learning a new language from scratch in 2011.

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Khan Academy, Google and BitTorrent

A couple of days ago Khan Academy announced a partnership with BitTorrent, up to now mostly known for being the place to get illegal copies of whatever you want. Sure, the technology itself is brilliant and in combination with a project like the Khan Academy it has the potential to bring video lessons even to places with low bandwidth connections.

The problem is that today Google blacklisted the service because of its reputation being a harbor for illegal activities.

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Livemocha and eduFire: From Languages to Culture

I have always been a firm believer that language and culture are inseparable. If you start teaching or learning a language the culture will play a major role from day one. Often the culture of a certain part of the world is even the reason why we want to learn a new language.

This week Livemocha and eduFire added some nice features to their platforms, both very different from each other but both emphasizing the cultural aspects.

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TeachStreet hits the Turbo Boost – Triples Traffic and Generates more Leads

TeachStreet have shared some interesting data with us just recently on their blog. When I got the opportunity yesterday, I chimed in for a quick talk with TeachStreet’s founder and CEO David Schappell.

In a nutshell, their efforts of building a great site where teachers can offer classes both locally and online starts to accelerate. When we compare the traffic on the site in January 2010 with January 2011, we can state that it has tripled during that time.

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Scribblar integrates Wolfram Alpha to Virtual Classroom

Scribblar added a very powerful feature to its virtual classroom today. With the click of a button in the menu bar teachers can now add educational content from Wolfram Alpha directly on the interactive whiteboard.

Stefan Richter, Founder and CEO of MuchosMedia, the company behind Scribblar, recorded a short video demo in which he shows various types of content from math to history and music.

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KWestions for Michael Staton of Inigral on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Investment

Yesterday evening, I was one lucky education blogger when Michael Staton, CEO and co-founder of Inigral made the time and agreed to do a KWestions interview. I’m happy to share the exciting news as one of the first with you.

Inigral, sometimes called the Facebook of Higher Education, are now partner of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. In a $4 million Series B founding round the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $2 million, joining the existing investors Retro Venture Partners and Founders Fund.

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Busuu Partners with The Guardian and MacMillan

Competition is good, especially for the customers. Today, Busuu, now 1.5 million users strong, announced a new partnership with The Guardian and MacMillan, two well established brands and as British as five o’clock tea and scones (in the Savoy, of course).

To quote from another recent press release in that space, the partnership “catapults” Busuu in the intermediate level and above learning sector.

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KWVlog 02-08-2011 Lessons Learned from Tutorspree

One of my resolutions for this year is to create more videos and therefore I decided to reboot my KWVlog today. The general plan is to talk once or twice a week about what I’ve learned from my EDUKWEST interviews, blog posts and other talks.

So lets start with a recap of my latest EDUKWEST interview with Aaron Harris, co-founder and CEO of Tutorspree.

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Smart.fm re-rebrands itself to iKnow! and turns into a Premium Service

Visiting the Smart.fm website you will notice that the service is announcing its migration to a new (old) site called iKnow!. Smart.fm will shut down on March 31st and does not take new registrations for that matter.

I have always been a big fan of the service although I never actively used it. And that seems to be one of the problems Smart.fm had, leading to the decision to turn the platform into a premium language learning service.

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R:ED January 31st to February 5th 2011

  1. Skype To Hire 350 People in 2011
  2. LibreDigital Raises $4 Million For Digital Reading Technologies
  3. Tablets Rekindle Our Love of Reading–Books, Too
  4. HarperCollins Plans To Publish Novel Submitted To Social Network for Teen Writers
  5. Justin.tv To Launch Social Video-Sharing App
  6. Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities
  7. Foursquare’s University Badges Now Available at All Colleges & Universities
  8. Make the Internet Smarter at Helping Us
  9. THE UNEARNED FOLLOW: Here’s Why The Cool Kids Always Get The Most Followers
  10. Google Launches Street View for Museums
  11. InternMatch Raises $400K To Help Students Find The Perfect Internship
  12. Teacher-Replacing Tech: Friend or Foe?
  13. With Clever UI, Readability Hopes to Please Readers Into Paying More
  14. What Ricky Gervais’s Bruising Comedy Teaches About Innovation
  15. Can the Ad Industry Save Education?
  16. Anybots Releases Segway-Style Telepresence Robot
  17. Kno shipments delayed, no word on why or for how long
  18. An Android Tablet Made Just for School
  19. iPhone App Raises Questions About Who Owns Student Inventions
  20. Why the Web Is Useless in Developing Countries – And How to Fix It
  21. Tango Takes Face-To-Face Video Calling Beyond The iPhone With 8 Million Downloads
  22. Rounds.com Adds Some Chatroulette To Its Facebook App, With A Twist
  23. Did Demand Media IPO Just in Time?