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Teachers Are Awesome: This Bostonian's Running 155 Miles Across the Sahara For Student Laptops

Liz Byron's running the 155-mile Marathon de Sable in Morocco to raise $50,000 for laptops for her sixth grade class.


Boston teacher Liz Byron is really going the extra mile for her students—155 extra miles to be exact. In April 2013 Byron plans to run what's considered the world's most difficult race, the Marathon de Sable, through Morocco's section of the Sahara Desert. Runners carry their own food and supplies, "endure 120 degree heat, sand storms, and run between 26 and 50 miles a day." She's putting herself through such an extreme race to raise $50,000 to purchase a set of laptops for her sixth grade class at Gardner Pilot Academy in Boston.

Right now Byron's students have just four laptops to use, which makes it pretty tough to ensure that they're all digitally literate and able to access the wealth of educational resources available on the web. Given that 92 percent of Gardner's students live at or below the poverty line, it can't be assumed that they'll have access to technology at home, either. "It’s frustrating to know that technology is so embedded in our lives and then you come to school and it’s absent," Byron told local television station WBZ.

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Dubai Student Designs Mobile Prenatal Care Device

This 20-year-old Dubai student's new mobile device could make childbirth much safer in developing countries.

It’s not hard to guess from his technology competition name—The Hex Pistols—that 20-year-old Shawn Frank is a fan of music. He's also a strong advocate of ensuring that women in developing nations have access to quality prenatal care. Six months ago, while walking to an internship, Frank came up with the idea for momEcare, a mobile device that helps provide medical assistance to pregnant women who can't get to a hospital. Now Frank, who just graduated from the computer science program at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, is headed to Microsoft's Imagine Cup, a technology competition for socially conscious high school and college students happening next week in New York City (we've covered the other young finalists here, here and here). I caught up with him to find out what first sparked his interest in technology and learn more about how momEcare works.

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South Korea's Making the Switch to Digital Textbooks

No more heavy backpacks. South Korea is investing $2 billion to develop digital textbooks for all schools by 2015.

When it comes to digital textbook adoption, it looks like Florida's turning into a global trendsetter. This spring the state passed a law mandating that schools make the switch to digital textbooks by 2015. Now South Korea's Education Ministry has announced that it's making a $2.4 billion investment that will enable all of that nation's schools to go digital by 2015.

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Education Reform? Student Activists Are Doing It Themselves

While debates about education policy rage on in Washington, D.C. many students are taking matters into their own hands.

The people making education policy are used to asking parents, teachers, and community members for input. But what about the opinion of the people these decisions impact most, students? Well, increasingly, this generation of students isn't waiting to be asked what they think.

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“The Modern Educator Is Not a Teacher”: Updating Learning for the 21st Century

Classrooms operate almost the same way they did 100 years ago. A group of of middle schoolers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area want to change that.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGvl5dg3l2M

Why do classrooms and schools operate almost the same way they did 100 years ago? A group of middle schoolers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area began asking themselves this question during a class discussion of Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel Ender's Game. More importantly, they began to wonder, "Could children, using the internet, have a dramatic impact on the world around them? Could they influence public opinion, and make a mark on their world?" Thus began "Education Evolution," a class video project that brings a student perspective to what's going wrong in the modern classroom, and offers up ideas of how it can be fixed.

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