News Update :: Tuesday, April 25, 2006


California Community Colleges Set for Internet Video

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) has finished migrating all of the state’s community colleges to the H.323 Internet standard. The standard facilitates multimedia across IP-based networks, including California Research and Education Network (CalREN). By complying with H.323, multimedia products and applications from multiple vendors can interoperate, allowing users to communicate without concern for compatibility.

CENIC now can offer Video-over-IP services to over 140 educational sites in the state, including the California Community College system, the California State University system, the University of California system, and a number of K-12 schools. The services are delivered over the high speed CalREN network, which connects most of the state’s K-20 schools. The next step will be implementing software to provide state-wide scheduling of videoconferences by all campuses.

Catherine McKenzie, lead specialist for information systems and analysis at the California Community College Chancellor's Office, said the upgrade will enable “researchers and educators in the state's community colleges…to collaborate much more seamlessly with their colleagues within the system and beyond." For more information, click here.

Pennsylvania Troubleshooting High Tech Education Deficit

Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities increased their production of skilled graduates in math, science, computing, and engineering by 25 percent in the last decade. But according to a new study on its higher education system, a significant part of that growth has been due to the enrollment of out-of-state students. One of four first-time undergraduates is from out-of-state. The bottom line: Pennsylvania still has a shortage of the technically skilled workers it needs.

According to the report, "A Rising Tide: The Current State of Higher Education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” by Ron Cowell of The Education Policy and Leadership Center and Robert Zemsky of The Learning Alliance for Higher Education, the schools that “import” students from the outside the state are the same schools most likely to produce graduates in math, engineering, and computing.

“Mobile to start with, these students have less well-developed attachments to Pennsylvania – and hence are more likely to return home or relocate where the best jobs are found,” wrote the authors. “What Pennsylvania may lack are not college graduates in these fields, but jobs that appeal to them more than positions in other states.”

Responding to the study, Pennsylvania secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak said that while " Pennsylvania is making positive steps…for far too many citizens who are low-income, live in a rural region of the state, or are African-American or Hispanic, a college degree still remains out of reach.” For more information, click here.

Indiana Informatics School Deploys RFID in Annual Bike Race

Indiana University’s School of Informatics has organized a project to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to capture time and lap information on individual riders during the university’s annual Little 500 bicycle race. RFID tags will be secured to helmets of riders participating in the project, dubbed iCycle. The tags will be read by an RFID antenna posted at the first turn. The RFID technology is from Manhattan Associates, Inc., and Symbol Technologies.

William C. Woods, a participating student at the Indiana University School of Informatics, said the RFID solution “will update a Web site in real time so that there will be an accurate lap count for the entire race, by team and by rider." IU’s School of Informatics focuses on developing specialized skills and knowledge of information technology including offering degrees in bioinformatics, chemical informatics, health informatics, human-computer interaction, laboratory informatics, new media, and computer science. For more information click here.

Carnegie Mellon to Induct Celebots Into “Robot Hall of Fame”

Five famous robots, including Maria, the art deco star of Fritz Lang's 1927 film "Metropolis" and Gort, the metallic giant from the 1951 sci-fi thriller “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” will be inducted into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame during a ceremony this June.

The third class of inductees also includes David, the boy-like android in Steven Spielberg's "Artificial Intelligence: AI"; AIBO, Sony Corp.'s dog-like robot pet; and the Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA), a widely used industrial arm designed to assemble consumer products. The inductees were announced last week during a four-day celebration of Carnegie Mellon's first 50 years of computer science education.

The hall of fame was founded by James Morris, former dean of CMU’s School of Computer Science. "We decided to give awards to both real and fictional robots because the fictional ones provide inspiration to the real ones," Morris said. "Now, however, we see that some robots occupy a middle ground. AIBO is real but also entertaining. R2-D2 started off with (actor) Kenny Baker inside but then became automated. Eventually, our deliberations will confront the age-old question of real vs. fiction." For more information, click here.

Train Wreck or Mash-up? MTV Funds Student Multimedia

MTV’s “college network,” mtvU has funded 10 student multimedia projects to create digital "mash-up” programming that would combine elements of short-form programming, gaming, social networking, blogging, instant and text messaging, podcasting, and mobile phone-based interactivity. The network’s "Digital Incubator" development team was funded with $250,000 in grant money and offered a national platform to “pioneer the broadband content of tomorrow.”

The first projects will run on the network in May. "The student groups on our first Digital Incubator development team are pushing the boundaries of digital media and we're proud to hand over our network as a laboratory for their creative passion," said Stephen Friedman, general manager of mtvU, which is funding the grants with Cisco Inc.

Among the funded projects are: from NYU, a camera phone-based scavenger hunt where the "tag" occurs via text messaging; from UCLA a site where college students post a dilemma involving a friend or family member and seek advice from an online community; and a social networking media player from Georgia Tech that is designed to build “affinity groups” around similar tastes in music. For more information, click here.
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