Monthly Archives: October 2011


The Fun is Over – Everyone needs a Social Media Strategy

Social Media

If you are following this blog on a regular basis or worked with me on a social media project for your company in the past, you know that one of the corner stones in my strategy has been to use social media quite freely so that it fit with your habits and workflow.

This worked pretty well throughout 2009 and 2010 when social networks were still a thing of the pundits and digerati. In 2011 we saw a tipping point and more “regular” users joined the services which eventually led to much more content flying around, making it more difficult for professional users to get their message through.

I already wrote about the “decline” of Twitter last week, and I will give you a short update on my new strategy and its outcome today.

But, as you can already tell from the title of this post, the message I want to get through is pretty clear: everyone, may it be a startup, established brand or individual user needs a strategy for social media. It’s getting far too serious to just use it for fun.

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Monday RoundUp

MRU: More Tablets, More Funding, More Innovation

Monday RoundUp

The week started with some thoughts on the iPad and its growing importance in teaching special needs students.

As the Online Education market is constantly growing, it attracted the first fraud rings.

Education Elements raised $2.1 million for blended learning solutions.

Stickery raised $325k for math education apps

Udemy raised $3 million from Groupon co-founders for international growth and marketing.

busuu launched a Spanish Business course.

Rosetta Stone is searching a new CEO.

Boogie Board Rip, a robust note taking tablet.

Stanford Student creates Braille Writer app for visual impaired learners.

After Hours #5 with Knewton, Skype, AnyMeeting, AcademicPub, YouTube, BenchPrep, 99designs, Online Education, OpenClass, Steve Wozniak, Siri & more.

Big Think: Text Messages – The Least Common Denominator in the Classroom


Is Twitter becoming the Exhaust Pipe of Social Media?

Over the past couple of weeks I have become increasingly frustrated with Twitter. I have the feeling that I get less value out of it than maybe 6 months ago. Clearly Twitter lost some of its appeal when Google+ launched.

Now, before I get deeper into that, let me explain the three main (and up to now only) ways I used Twitter for.

Number one has been to get first hand information, insights and personal tidbits from interesting people I followed. It rounded the profile of blogger, podcaster and CEOs I was reading / watching / interviewing. Number two was to get breaking news of the industry. And number three was to share my posts or interesting links.

Two of those reasons are completely broken, only one still works rather well.
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Contest: EDUKWEST is giving away 5 Free Tickets to LAUNCH Pad Oct 21st


We have the first LAUNCH Pad Tablet Conference coming up on Oct. 21 at Microsoft in Mountain View, California. As the name suggests, the conference will focus on how tablets have changed the way we use technology and engage.

The potential of iPad and other tablet devices is immense, throughout the conference you’ll learn how they’re being used and what’s being developed for them.

EDUKWEST has the privilege to give 5 free tickets to our readers (each is at a value of $1000 for non-developers). As EDUKWEST is a media company for education, we are, of course, interested in hearing what you develop/would develop for an educational use of iPad/tablet devices, where you see its greatest potential and how you see today’s students want to learn with tablets.

Everybody, developers, teachers, schools administrators, principals, startup people, is more than welcome to join the competition. To enter the contest you need to

  1. subscribe to the free EDUKWEST Newsletter
  2. answer the questions “How would you use iPad in an educational context? What products would you build for teachers to use or you think students would like to learn with?” in the comments of the blog post linked below.

Good Luck!


Disqus is building a Social Network based on Blog Comments


Yesterday, I came across a new feature of Disqus, the comment system I have been using on all my blogs since early 2009. At a first glance, I barely noticed the red notification message that now shows up on each Disqus enabled comment section.

I noticed it because Big Think, the blog network which I contribute to with Disrupt Education just switched their comments to Disqus. Sunday, I wrote a blog post about Siri, the new voice enabled assistant on the iPhone 4S and its implications on learning and education.

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Monday RoundUp

MRU: Guest Posts, ESL Giants, Chegg, E-Readers and Tablets

Monday RoundUp

In a guest post Christopher Grant whom you might remember from several interviews (Sclipo, emagister and review:ed) he lays down why user experience is becoming increasingly important in education.

Abril Educacao continued its shopping tour and acquired the Brazilian publisher Maxiprint.

The second guest post of the week came from James Ashenhurst. He shared his thoughts on the future of textbooks, becoming a hybrid between book and application.

GlobalEnglish announced a complete relaunch of its brand along with the launch of three new, communication and collaboration centered products.

Chegg enters the daily deal space with the Chegg Deals platform. Another step towards the goal of becoming the place to go to for students.

The $35 USD tablet effectively became a $50 USD tablet but it is reality as promised. The first 10,000 Aakash devices are going to be shipped to schools.

As a defensive answer to Amazon’s new Kindle line up, German booksellers offer their own e-readers at competitive pricing.

LearnBoost launched the Spanish version of its LMS. The translation has been crowdsourced by the users and more major languages will follow in the weeks ahead.

PointScribe tries to raise money via Kickstarter to port its technology that enables children to learn handwriting and cursive on their own to the iPad.

On Sunday I reflected on the iPad and its importance when teaching special needs students.

In EDUKWEST #74 I had the pleasure to talk with Osman Rashid, Co-Founder and CEO of Kno. As you know, I have been rather critical about Kno from the start and therefore it was really interesting to talk to Osman and get his point of view.

In EDUKWEST #75 I talked with Tim Brady, founding partner at imagine K12. Tim was Yahoo’s third employee right after the two founders and has a tremendous knowledge and track record in the Internet industry. We talked about the incubator and the first class that graduated recently.

Sunday’s Big Think post was about Steve Job’s last “One more thing” and how Siri will replace learning.

And last but not least, After Hours brought you all the interesting news that we could not cover on EDUKWEST.

Monday RoundUp

MRU: Video in Education, Tablets in Education, Value your Education


YouTube launched a dedicated channel for teachers. Here educators can find and share videos with best practice tips, classroom activities and so on.

sofatutor, a Berlin-based startup in the online video tutoring space relaunched its website and opened its own production studio.

The science and researcher platform Mendeley in partnership with PLoS invited developers to create apps that make science more open.

The domain is up for sale. Perfect fit for language or translation business?

Rosetta Stone launches new Experience Kiosks in malls across the US. Visitors can actively interact with students and Studio Coaches.

“This is not a dream, this is reality” India’s $35 USD tablet will ship on October 5th.

My thoughts on the results of the babbel survey about learning types and having a plan for learning a language.

Teacher resource site BetterLesson raised $1.6 million. A growing market?

ShowMe added some new features to its platform, making it easier to browse the video lessons.

Project WissensWerte is civic education for the YouTube generation and something I’m planning on writing more about in the coming weeks.


Thanks to Google you can read the famous Dead Sea Scrolls online.

Popplet is a new and easy to use brainstorming and mindmapping platform.

Teagueduino lets you build small, computer controlled machines and teaches you essentials in coding.

Wacom introduced three new Bamboo tablets which are great for interactive whiteboards.

The dream of every IT admin who needs to prepare multiple iPads in school or in a company: Griffin MultiDock.

Big Think

Thoughts on the launch of the Kindle Fire and its potential in the classroom.

Why digital media is competing with the information learned in school and how this can be used to flip the classroom.


Value your Education – my interview with Lexiophiles about what makes a good teacher and the future of education.

After Hours

Last but not least, my 10 minute video recap of all the stories that did not make it on EDUKWEST in form of a blog post.


How to foster Handwriting in Schools and use its Creative Potential

I remember a time when my classmates and I were taught handwriting in school and had to practise pages and pages (at least in my memory but as a child everything appears to be a lot) of how to write the individual letters of the German alphabet correctly. We even got marks on how beautiful our handwriting was back in elementary school.

These days are definitely over! The reality in schools is that already today devices play a bigger part in modern classrooms. A good thing you might say as nobody should be judged for bad handwriting? Let’s see, as there are also benefits to still writing cursive.

I have also realized about myself that the more I’m using technology and devices the worse my handwriting gets. I’m not able to write as quickly as I was used to, and I also think it’s not as beautiful as it once was. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I’m at risk of unlearning it but my handwriting has become untrained, increasingly now as the majority of my work day takes place in front of one or the other device and includes pen and paper less and lesser.

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