Corporate News: November 2008
November 2008

Corporate News: November 2008

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LearnHub launches free CAT community for IIM aspirants

LearnHub.com, an online social learning network, has announced the launch of free CAT community on their website. Learnhub.com is a centralised online education destination for teachers and learners, launched by Canada based e-Learning company Savvica Inc in which Indian education content providers Educomp Solutions has a majority stake.

LearnHub.com has added a Common Admission Test (CAT) community to its list of free test preparatory resources. Available at http://CAT.LearnHub.com, it is a repository of original and valuable study material. The focus is on the development of sound concepts, clearly elucidated by examples. The courseware is further supported by the world’s largest free collection of questions, including full solutions and forums where the right approach to problem solving/concepts are discussed.

NIIT launches comprehensive ‘NIIT eGuru’ solution for schools

Global talent development corporation NIIT has launched a spectrum of products and solutions for  next generation schools under its ‘NIIT eGuru’, in collaboration with Intel and Microsoft. The solutions comprises interactive classrooms for teachers, ‘Math Lab’, and ‘IT Wizard’ for students, and an ERP solution for school management ‘Quick School’.

While the ‘Interactive Classroom’ solution is based on Intel technologies and architecture, the ‘IT Wizard’ curriculum is based on Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Office 2007 Suite. The solutions also conform to the guidelines of the ‘National Curriculum Framework 2005’. As part of the offering, the  benefits of the NIIT Mind Champion Academy will also be extended to schools.

Generating interactive display through the ‘Many Eyes’

Scientists at the Watson Research Centre of IBM in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have created an  experimental website ‘Many Eyes’ (www.many-eyes.com), where users can upload the data they want to visualise, then try sophisticated tools to generate interactive displays. These might range from maps of relationships in the New Testament to display of the comparative frequency of words used in poltical speeches.

The site, created to help people publish and discuss graphics in a group, is the brainchild of IBM researchers Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda B Viegas. The Many Eyes site that began in January 2007 offers 16 ways to present data, from stack graphs and bar charts to diagrams that let people map relationships. TreeMaps, showing information in colourful rectangles, are among the popular tools.

NComputing Inc to provide PCs to AP schools

A Silicon Valley company is claiming a major victory in its efforts to sell computers to schools that might otherwise be enticed by low-cost laptops such as the green-and-white XO from One Laptop Per Child or Intel’s Classmate PC. NComputing Inc. has announced it would be providing computers in 5,000 schools in Andhra Pradesh. The deal is expected to benefit 1.8 million students in the state due to the special software they use. .

California-based NComputing Inc. uses a technology more common to server farms than rural schools to slash the cost of operating PCs. It is called virtualisation – a layer of software that lets many ‘virtual’ computers run simultaneously on the power of a single souped-up desktop. In Andhra Pradesh, the government will install 10,000 computers and turn each into five virtual PCs.

Tata chairman gifts US$ 50m to Cornell University

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata has gifted US$ 50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater, an endowment considered ‘one of the most  generous ever received from an international benefactor by an American university’. The gift will help recruit top Indian students to the campus and to support joint research projects with Indian universities in agriculture and nutrition.

The gift from Tata Trusts, a group of philanthropic organisations run by the head of the business conglomerate Tata Sons, will allow Cornell to establish and expand partnerships with Indian scientists and build on its strength in applied agriculture research. The donation will also be used to set up a scholarship fund to bring more Indian students to the university.

John Wiley & Sons Inc, Texas University tie-up for digital content

John Wiley & Sons Inc. and the University of Texas at Austin have announced a partnership in a pilot project to license Wiley’s digital learning materials to students directly via the University. The materials include WileyPLUS, an integrated suite of teaching and learning resources, featuring an online version of the textbook, homework management tools, an online gradebook, interactive tutorials and simulations, as well as image libraries. The primary goals of this pilot are to improve the teaching and learning experience for students and faculty, while reducing the costs to students.

Scheduled to commence in spring 2009, the multi-year pilot will give students enrolled in particular courses access to download a digitised version of the print textbook they may otherwise have purchased. In addition, students may be given access to the WileyPLUS version of the textbook, which has been enhanced with tools that benefit both the student and the professor.

Michael Golden new Corporate VP of MS Education Products Group

Microsoft Corp. has appointed Michael Golden as corporate vice president of the Education Products Group. In the new role, Golden will report to Anoop Gupta, corporate VP, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group and Education Product Group, Technology Policy and Strategy. The newly created role is designed to fuel and to drive forward Microsoft’s global vision in terms of education. According to the software company, Golden will be responsible with bridging the gap between Microsoft’s technology and scholastic systems worldwide.

Most recently, Golden was senior VP of marketing and strategic planning at Pearson School, a global leader in educational publishing, assessment, information and services.

Microsoft research into using games to teach middle school students

Microsoft is teaming up with a consortium of universities to study how best to use computer games to teach middle-school students math and science. The interdisciplinary research project will involve New York University and a consortium of other institutions — the City University of New York, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Parsons the New School for Design, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Columbia’s Teachers College and NYU’s Polytechnic Institute are also involved.

In middle school, many students become discouraged or uninterested and pour their time into gaming. ‘We think gaming is our starting point to draw them into math, science, and technology-based programmes,’ Ken Perlin, an NYU professor of computer science added. The research will be called the Games for Learning Institute and will have a US$ 3-million budget for its first four years. Half of the money will come from Microsoft, with the balance put up by the universities.

First North African nanotech centre by IBM

The Egyptian government and IBM Research have entered into a partenrship to establish the first North African nanotechnology research centre in Cairo, beginning January 2009. Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Science and Technological Development Fund (STDF) signed the three-year partnership agreement with IBM. Joint investments will be in the region of US$ 30 million.

Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education Hany Helal said the IBM deal was important for implementation of Egypt’s science and technology strategy. Partners in the centre, Cairo University, Nile University and IBM, will collaborate in the areas of simulation and modelling software, alternative energy sources and energy recovery for desalination.

Educomp Solutions acquires Takshila Management Services

Educomp Solutions, education solutions providers,  has acquired 51% stake for an unrevealed amount in Takshila Management Services. The company participates in building high quality schools in Tier II and Tier III cities across India. According to reports, Educomp Millennium learning system shall be used in all the ‘Takshila Schools’ as an integral part of the academic system.

Sources said Takshila Management Services proposes to build three schools in Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) and Gaya (Bihar) to be ready for the coming academic fiscal by June 2009. The company has also intended to set up further 25 schools over the next couple of fiscals.

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