A Portrait of Generation Next, Blackboard Makes a Pledge, Proposed Pell Grant Increase, Web Site with Tutorials, Notes, Quizzes

Here are some excepts from a really interesting report that accompanies the Newshour with Jim Lehrer’s series, “Generation Next: Speak up and be Heard,” an article on Blackboard’s pledge “not to assert its patent rights to sue open source projects or home-grown software used by colleges and universities,” an article on President Bush’s plan to raise the maximum Pell Grant by nearly 14 percent, and a Web site with lots of academic resources.How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics: A Portrait of “Generation Next”
A survey conducted in association with: The Generation Next initiative and documentary produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Jan. 9, 2007

“• They use technology and the internet to connect with people in new and distinctive ways. Text messaging, instant messaging and email keep them in constant contact with friends. About half say they sent or received a text message over the phone in the past day, approximately double the proportion of those ages 26-40.”

“• They are the ‘Look at Me’ generation. Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and MyYearbook allow individuals to post a personal profile complete with photos and descriptions of interests and hobbies. A majority of Gen Nexters have used one of these social networking sites, and more than four-in-ten have created a personal profile.”

“• Their embrace of new technology has made them uniquely aware of its advantages and disadvantages. They are more likely than older adults to say these cyber-tools make it easier for them to make new friends and help them to stay close to old friends and family. But more than eight-in-ten also acknowledge that these tools ‘make people lazier.’ ”

Technology Use

“Generation Nexters have also been called the ‘DotNet’ generation, because they grew up with the internet. This generation’s relationship with technology is truly unique. Young people have adopted new technologies and are using them to both expand their social networks and maintain contact with their families and friends. More than any other generation, Gen Next recognizes the positive aspects of the technology revolution. However, they also readily acknowledge its drawbacks.”

Blackboard Makes a Pledge
by Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2007

After months of criticism that its patent policies had the potential to squelch important education projects, Blackboard on Thursday announced a “patent pledge” under which it vowed not to assert its patent rights to sue open source projects or home-grown software used by colleges and universities.

The pledge followed weeks of intense negotiations between Blackboard, Educause and Sakai . Educause is an umbrella group for technology leaders in higher education and Sakai is a leading open source consortium – both groups have criticized Blackboard’s handling of the patent issue. Blackboard officials said that they believed their pledge contained more than enough protection to assure the skeptics. “The pledge covers anything anyone is realistically worried about in the e-learning community,” said Matthew Small, Blackboard’s general counsel. “Any school can look at this pledge and sleep easy at night.”

Some of those who have been criticizing Blackboard said that the company had indeed moved in their direction, and that the pledge offered much more legal protection than the company had previously offered. But if Blackboard wants its critics to sleep easy at night, it may need to ship out a lot of Ambien, because many said that they believed the company’s pledge left them as anxious than ever. And many continued to express a distrust for the company.

See the Press Release from Blackboard, “Blackboard Announces Patent Pledge in Support of Open Source Software and Home-Grown Course Management Systems”

See the Press Release from the Sakai Project, “Sakai Foundation’s Response to Blackboard’s Patent Pledge”

President Bush Will Propose Largest Pell Grant Increase in a Generation but Hasn’t Said How He Would Pay for It
by Kelly Field
Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2, 2007
(requires subscription)

“In his budget proposal for the 2008 fiscal year, President Bush plans to call for raising the maximum Pell Grant by nearly 14 percent, or $550, next year, the biggest one-year jump in the award for low-income students in more than three decades, the secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, announced on Thursday afternoon. The plan also calls for an increase of 33 percent, or $1,350, over the next five years, bringing the maximum award to $5,400.”

“ ‘This is real money that will help more low-income students achieve the dream of a college education,’ Ms. Spellings said in a wide-ranging speech on higher education, delivered at North Carolina State University. The president, who will present his budget on Monday, is also expected to call for increased spending on two new programs that provide grants to low-income, high-achieving students. Those awards are known as Smart Grants, for Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent, and Academic Competitiveness Grants.”

“But the billion-dollar question — indeed, the $2-billion question — is how the president would pay for his proposals. The secretary declined to answer that question during a briefing with reporters after her speech on Thursday, saying only that the money would come from greater revenue and efficiencies.”

Academic Resource Core LINKS
by K. W. Foster, Southwest Tennessee Community College

The majority of the subject matter is at the lower division level (first two years of college). However, many links are at the upper division undergraduate level and graduate level. Each category has a wide variety of online resources which include tutorials, course lecture notes, interactive quizzes, java applets, interactive graphing tools, power point slide presentations, and streaming audio/video lectures.

Topics include: accounting and finance, algebra/trigonometry, anatomy and physiology, architectural and civil engineering technology, art and music, assembly language programming and microprocessors, biology, calculus, careers/job search, chemistry, chemical engineering/technology, computer software, college algebra, computer science, computer engineering/technology, economics, electrical engineering/technology, e-mail accounts and Internet searches, environmental science/technology, English composition and writing, GIS and geography, MAC and graphic arts, mathematics: advanced, mathematics: developmental, mechanical and industrial engineering technology, networks and data communications, online college education, PC’s, physics, psychology, reference, standardized testing, study skills, Web design.

A Portrait of Generation Next, Blackboard Makes a Pledge, Proposed Pell Grant Increase, Web Site with Tutorials, Notes, Quizzes