Teaching with technology and training the robot workforce
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn … and change.” - Carl Rogers, an American psychologist
APRIL 23, 2020
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Joe Phillips learned the ins and outs of the technology sector while also experiencing the value of efficiency when he was serving 16 years in the U.S. Army, where his roles included chief information officer and chief of staff.
Now, Phillips is transferring that unique background into his new role as tech director for Kansas City Public Schools.
The job was essentially created from scratch, which means Phillips had to do everything from creating an inventory of what the district had on hand to establishing a roadmap for the future. He had to create a zero-based budget—and now must maintain it—while also ensuring that kindergarteners through high school students have the technology they need to succeed.
“We’re a taxpayer-funded district, and we should make effective and efficient use of all of our resources. Ultimately, we need to direct everything we do toward our students and their achievement,” Phillips told EdTech Magazine. “People in my position really should understand that you’re either behind or you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to educational technology. But you’re never going to reach the finish line because it’s constantly changing, constantly evolving.”
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Move over, Mr. Wizard. Knoxville startup teaches science online
Julie Coder hit a wall trying to raise her son while teaching high school chemistry. Hoping to teach in the classroom but outside the school system, she quickly found out that in-person classes were going to be too expensive for her students' families to pay. Instead, she created STEM Launcher, a digital science classroom for students of all ages.
Coder also offers free classes featuring short experiments on Facebook. Most of her students are homeschoolers, but she also has traditional students looking for more science experience, as well as students from other countries. And now that so many students are stuck at home with so many parents trying to teach for the first time, the sky’s the limit.
FLYOVER U RESEARCH
3D printing and predictive software win IU innovation award
Two teams of Indiana University students were co-winners of the fifth annual Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge. The challenge, created to encourage students “to use technology in innovative ways to address compelling problems,” awarded each team $7,500.
The winning teams—Modular 3D-Printed Elastomeric Prosthetics (M3DE Pro) and NeuroNursing—competed against six other teams, pitching their ideas via eight-minute videos.
The M3DE Pro team is developing affordable upper-limb prosthetics for amputees. Grad students Veda Narayana Koraganji and Vakar Ahmed plan to use their prize money to make fully functional prototypes of the prosthetics.
NeuroNursing is aimed at improving the care of Alzheimer’s patients using predictive charting software. Team member Maggie Kennedy said the software “focuses on connecting caregivers, other medical staff and family members with information that consistently tracks every aspect of an Alzheimer's patient's well-being.” The team will use its money to develop NeuroNursing into a company.
Researchers getting close to schizophrenia breakthrough
Scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine are exploring the role of genetics in schizophrenia. They’ve completed the largest-ever study of the role of the human genome in understanding this pernicious disease.
They found previously undetectable mutations, indicating distinct regions of the genome with strict boundaries between them. When these boundaries are broken, congenital defects can occur, resulting in cancers and developmental disorders. The UNC team found these broken boundaries occur significantly more often in people with schizophrenia.
If confirmed by future research, the study could lead to precision medicine treatments that could repair the breached boundaries or the gene expressions impacted. The study is also seen as something of a breakthrough in understanding genetics’ role in disease.
FUELING THE FUTURE
American Heart Association awards $14 million for medtech research
The American Heart Association has announced more than $14 million in grants for scientific research. Four teams will develop a new network focused on innovation in health technology. Along with Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, there will be teams housed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the University of Michigan. Each will receive $2.5 million, plus $4 million for collective research.
Iowa’s VIDA closes Series C funding round
VIDA Diagnostics, headquartered in Coralville, IA, has received a $2 million investment from OSF Ventures. VIDA created LungPrint, a suite of tools that use AI to diagnose and treat patients who have or are at risk of developing lung disease.
Raleigh startup raises $8.6M
With a goal of $30 million, Raleigh startup 10 Federal Self Storage has just raised $8.6 million in equity, bringing its total funding to $24.5 million so far. The company acquires and automates self-storage facilities.
NC firm buys Louisville area truck dealership
McMahon Truck Centers, based in Charlotte, NC, has acquired Kentuckiana’s Premier Truck Center, a medium and heavy duty truck dealership that has locations in Clarksville, IN, and Louisville. The price of the acquisition wasn’t disclosed.
Peak Nanosystems closes investment to acquire PolymerPlus
Peak Nanosystems has announced that it has acquired Cleveland’s PolymerPlus, thanks to $25 million in funding from Squadron Capital.
Cleveland PE company invests in Virginia’s QueTel
The Riverside Company, a Cleveland-based private equity firm, has invested in QueTel, a Virginia company that provides digital and physical evidence management software. QueTel will serve as an add-on to Riverside’s Omnigo Software platform, which offers tools for managing public safety, incident reporting, and security.
Michigan's Fanuc partners with Titans of CNC to advance robotic training
Like so many other industries, manufacturing is changing faster than workers can keep up. The revolution in robotics and other technologies has left a skills gap that is a growing problem.
To address that need, a Detroit-area robotics supplier is collaborating with a California machining academy to educate robotics workers.
The academy offers online courses that teach high-tech manufacturing from the ground up or to those who want to improve their skills. The video-based curriculum also offers support to machinists, programmers, and shop owners.
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