Using Big Data to Make Education Smarter | P4SC
Numbers have always been a core part of any education. Now with smart analytics, schools can harness the power of data to better measure and track student performance in real time. Read how that adds up to fewer dropouts at one school system that has instituted a program of prevention through prediction.

Using Big Data to Make Education Smarter | P4SC

Numbers have always been a core part of any education. Now with smart analytics, schools can harness the power of data to better measure and track student performance in real time. Read how that adds up to fewer dropouts at one school system that has instituted a program of prevention through prediction.

Reusable Certificates of Excellence

A reusable certificate of excellence is a transferable token of recognition that anyone can give, and anyone can receive, as an award doing something excellent. In theory, a collection of these certificates might behave in a manner similar to paper currency, except that self-interest would be supplanted by interest in the common good. The project’s efforts so far have focused on developing durable, wallet sized certificates, and on developing a website where each certificate can commented on as it moves from person to person. Some initial successes of this project are reported at http://wanderingawards.org.

A short promotional video can be found here.

Further development might involve distributing certificates that reward specific types of excellence, such as charitable giving, educational achievement, and participation in health and wellness activities. Anyone who would like to utilize such a system is welcome to do so, and is invited to contact the author for support materials and resources.

Location: Columbia, SC, USA

Next American City » A New Education Model Strives for Success
This interview is the second in a series of conversations with friends and members of Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative of 22 foundations and financial institutions. On September 27th, Living Cities will be hosting a 20th anniversary event with a live webcast available on their website.
While Living Cities is best known for its work in helping cities  overcome their infrastructural, administrative and housing challenges,  it also happens to espouse an education strategy that will help cities  educate students and create homegrown talent. That model is Strive, a collaborative network of 300 organizations preparing children for  success from the cradle until their careers. Founded in 2006 in  Cincinnati as a local education reform initiative, Strive is now  expanding across the country with participating programs from Texas to  Oregon, California to Virginia.
Chad Wick is the CEO of KnowledgeWorks Foundation,  which helps redesign urban high schools and supports student-centered  approaches to delivering a better education through programs like  Strive. He talked with Next American City about Strive’s successes, the  need for collaborative leadership and philanthropy as a catalyst for  education reform.

Next American City » A New Education Model Strives for Success

This interview is the second in a series of conversations with friends and members of Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative of 22 foundations and financial institutions. On September 27th, Living Cities will be hosting a 20th anniversary event with a live webcast available on their website.

While Living Cities is best known for its work in helping cities overcome their infrastructural, administrative and housing challenges, it also happens to espouse an education strategy that will help cities educate students and create homegrown talent. That model is Strive, a collaborative network of 300 organizations preparing children for success from the cradle until their careers. Founded in 2006 in Cincinnati as a local education reform initiative, Strive is now expanding across the country with participating programs from Texas to Oregon, California to Virginia.

Chad Wick is the CEO of KnowledgeWorks Foundation, which helps redesign urban high schools and supports student-centered approaches to delivering a better education through programs like Strive. He talked with Next American City about Strive’s successes, the need for collaborative leadership and philanthropy as a catalyst for education reform.

is sim city 4 still making us stupid? | Human Transit

Long ago I did a post on my memories of the original Sim City, which I played a bit in the 1990s until I’d hammered its limited possibilities to rubble.  My impression looking back was that despite a minimal transit option, Sim City encouraged us to think in terms of 1960s city planning: rigid separation of commercial, residential, and industrial zones, and a car-based approach to transport supplemented by rail only at very high densities.

(read more)

Sim city logoLately I’ve played a little withSim City 4 including its “Rush Hour Expansion Pack.”  Given that I have a fulltime job plus a book to write, this was a perilous lapse, but I’m relieved to report that the game spat me out within just a few days, uninterested in playing further, and not just because it crashed my MacBook a few times. 

Has Sim City 4 really improved the range of cities that we’re allowed to envision?  Certainly, its small grid squares allow the creation of neighborhoods that feel more “mixed use.”  The Rush Hour module also allows you to look in more detail at the travel choices of your simulated residents. 

But a few things are still not good, and one thing is actually worse than in the 1990s version.

What’s worse is that buildings must now have orientations toward a particular street.  A building that can be accessed from several directions is deemed impossible.  A building that loses the street it’s “facing” dies even it it still has access on another side.  And the simulated travel patterns assume that everyone goes through each building’s front door, even when the “building” is a shopping mall, university or stadium.  (And even though the stadium has only one door, nobody ever gets hurt in a crush of stampeding fans.)

From a transit standpoint, the greater irritant is that while many new modes of transit are now provided for, you still don’t control transit service, and the prevailing assumption is that creating transit infrastructure — wherever you find it convenient — will cause useful service to exist.  A SimCity model of the Bay Area, for example, would leave the user clueless about the difference between BART (every 20 minutes or better) and Caltrain (every two hours at off times).  Both have rails, so what’s the difference?

 Anatomy of a smart city - SmartPlanet
A comprehensive analysis from Forrester Research explores the role the information and communications technology (ICT) will play in creating the foundation for smart cities — whether those cities are newer communities being built from scratch or centuries-old metropolises. The report, “Getting Clever About Smart Cities: New Opportunities Require New Business Models,” suggests that new management approaches will be required to manage urban areas, as the population in those areas grows by an anticipated 2.3 billion over the next 40 years. That data (which comes from the United Nations) suggests that 70 percent of the world’s total population will live in cities and surrounding regions by 2050. According to Forrester, a smart city is one that “uses information and communications technologies to make the critical infrastructure components and services of a city — administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation and utilities — more aware, interactive and efficient.” 

 Anatomy of a smart city - SmartPlanet

A comprehensive analysis from Forrester Research explores the role the information and communications technology (ICT) will play in creating the foundation for smart cities — whether those cities are newer communities being built from scratch or centuries-old metropolises. The report, “Getting Clever About Smart Cities: New Opportunities Require New Business Models,” suggests that new management approaches will be required to manage urban areas, as the population in those areas grows by an anticipated 2.3 billion over the next 40 years. That data (which comes from the United Nations) suggests that 70 percent of the world’s total population will live in cities and surrounding regions by 2050. According to Forrester, a smart city is one that “uses information and communications technologies to make the critical infrastructure components and services of a city — administration, education, healthcare, public safety, real estate, transportation and utilities — more aware, interactive and efficient.” 

smarterplanet:

IBM To Give $50 Million In Tech And Consulting Services To 100 Cities
IBM today announced a plan to give away $50 million of its services and technology over the next three years to 100 municipalities through a program the company is calling the Smarter Cities Challenge. Funded via IBM’s philanthropic division, according to an IBM press statement, the Smarter Cities program aims to help municipalities around the world— with populations of 100,000 to 700,000 ideally— solve local problems in any of the following areas: healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities.

smarterplanet:

IBM To Give $50 Million In Tech And Consulting Services To 100 Cities

IBM today announced a plan to give away $50 million of its services and technology over the next three years to 100 municipalities through a program the company is calling the Smarter Cities Challenge. Funded via IBM’s philanthropic division, according to an IBM press statement, the Smarter Cities program aims to help municipalities around the world— with populations of 100,000 to 700,000 ideally— solve local problems in any of the following areas: healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities.

smarterplanet:

 How cities are good for science, and vice versa | Grist

This week’s issue of the journal Nature is all about the connection between cities and science. They’ve put a terrific package together, with lots of great graphics (want to know where the next megacities will emerge, or where the most scientific papers are published?) and feature articles on the synergy between urban areas and scientific innovation. Some of the articles is behind a paywall, but there’s a lot that’s available to non-subscribers as well.

“Cities are … home to considerable scientific capital; they hold most of the world’s top universities and the vast majority of its researchers…. The resources that cities offer can stimulate outstanding science for reasons that researchers are just starting to explore. On the other side of the equation, scientists can assist cities in tackling their biggest problems.”

In an effort to help kids “keep learning” all summer long, a Lansing, Mich. non-profit called Keep Learning… Our Future Depends On It launched the Passport to Adventure. The summer competition gained kids and their families free or discounted access to institutions of learning, like the Impression 5 Science Center, Potter Park Zoo, Michigan State University Museum, state Capitol building and Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, where they went on a trivia hunt. Here, the top 10 prize winners check out their “smart” rewards, ranging from a netbook, iPods and flip cams to digital cameras, a Nook and the grand prize, an iPad. Keep Learning is a volunteer organization committed to helping greater Lansing get smarter to compete in the global economy, starting with our elementary school kids and parents.

In an effort to help kids “keep learning” all summer long, a Lansing, Mich. non-profit called Keep Learning… Our Future Depends On It launched the Passport to Adventure. The summer competition gained kids and their families free or discounted access to institutions of learning, like the Impression 5 Science Center, Potter Park Zoo, Michigan State University Museum, state Capitol building and Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, where they went on a trivia hunt. Here, the top 10 prize winners check out their “smart” rewards, ranging from a netbook, iPods and flip cams to digital cameras, a Nook and the grand prize, an iPad. Keep Learning is a volunteer organization committed to helping greater Lansing get smarter to compete in the global economy, starting with our elementary school kids and parents.