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The Five Best Projects from the Gates Foundation's Education Technology Competition

Here are our five favorite projects from the Gates Foundation's education technology grant competition.

On Tuesday the Gates Foundation announced 19 winners of the second phase of its Next Generation Learning Challenges grant competition. The NGLC's priority is using technology to improve college readiness among low-income students, and what makes these new grantees noteworthy is that they're working on targeting the critical seventh- through ninth-grade years—well before students can either drop out or fall too far behind in higher level math and science. Each project is also aligned with the new Common Core Standards, which are all about developing higher-order thinking skills. While all 19 grantees are noteworthy, here are five that really stand out:

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Northwestern University Psychology Professor Holds Masturbation Demonstration. Hands-On Learning Gone Too Far?

A demonstration of female orgasm has sparked a controversy at Northwestern. Where's the line between educational experience and sensationalism?

Does the average student enrolled in a human sexuality class need to see a woman being stimulated, live and in-person, by a sex toy in order to understand what a female orgasm is? According to Northwestern University psychology professor John Michael Bailey, yes. An optional after-class presentation late last month featured a woman being penetrated with a "fucksaw" so that students could truly learn about female ejaculation. Predictably, Bailey is in the hot seat now, and students and academics across the country are wondering, how much hands-on learning is too much?

Bailey's class is popular—almost 600 students are enrolled—but only about 120 stayed for the demonstration, which was titled, “Networking for Kinky People." Students watched as a woman took off her clothes, lay down on a towel with her legs spread and, according to freshman Sean Lavery, "grabbed the mic" and "explained that she had a fetish for being watched by large crowds while having an orgasm." Then her boyfriend turned on the sex toy and, as the students watched, used it on her till she did indeed have an orgasm.

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