California Is Ready For The Robot Revolution

Technology revolutions are nothing new in California. Local leaders say we can handle the way automation is changing the jobs landscape.

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The robots are coming.

Automation is expected to eliminate 1 million U.S. jobs by 2026. This has plenty of people panicked. But  a group of California political, educational and business leaders believe the state is well-prepared to handle this transition as workers who are displaced train and move into higher-paid jobs that either can’t be done by robots or work in human-machine harmony.

Says University of California President Janet Napolitano:

Every time we undergo a major shift in technology new jobs that haven’t yet been imagined are created. We need to educate the next generation with an eye towards this unpredictable future and retrain older workers for new types of work.

Read more from local leaders here.

 

High Schoolers Get Mobile Hot Spots to Bridge Digital Divide

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Author: Maureen Magee

Keneshia Johnson is among 250 students at Crawford High School to get a free mobile hotspot device and wireless Internet access under a pilot project that took effect Thursday.

It’s a big deal for the 17-year-old on a couple of fronts: It allows her to use her school-issued laptop at home for homework and even to surf YouTube at Netflix, and it will give her more time to sleep in the mornings.

“I usually get up extra early so I can get to school and log on my computer to finish up my homework,” said Keneshia, an eleventh-grader who gets to Crawford up to an hour before classes start at 7:15 each morning. “Now I can actually use my school laptop at home. My family is allowed to use it, too. ”

The San Diego Unified School District is part of a national project that gives free mobile hotspots to students whose family can’t afford Internet access at home.

Under a partnership Sprint, the 1Million Project aims to help curb the so-called “digital divide” that contributes to the achievement gap among student groups.   

An estimated 5 million U.S. families with school-aged children have no internet access at home, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data. At the same time, roughly 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires web access, creating a “homework gap” that educators say puts these students at a disadvantage academically.

“It’s so easy to take Internet access for granted,” said Richard Lawrence, principal of Crawford, where 80 percent of the 1,100 students qualify for subsidized meals based on family income. “This program allows students to log on to computers to study at home or on a bus. It opens up access to a world of information for their parents, too.” 

Sprint and the Sprint Foundation are working on the multi-year initiative to reach one million low-income students across the country by providing them with connectivity to use with school district-provided computers.

“We have heard some powerful and heart-wrenching stories from disadvantaged students about their efforts to find connectivity to keep up with their school assignments when they don’t have home Internet access,” said Kevin Kunkel, Sprint’s Regional President for Southern California.

San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten said the program compliments the district’s technology initiative that has put take-home laptops and other devices in the hands of 16,000 students in 44 schools this year, including every student in the elementary and middle schools that feed into Crawford in and around City Heights.

“We are recognizing what our students need and trying very hard to give it to them,” Marten said. “We want our students to be able to learn 24/7 and we want to give them access to modern learning tools.” 

Giving students Internet access at home not only allows them to work on lessons from their regular classes, it allows them to study for online make-up classes offered at Crawford and better compete with online charter schools. 

San Diego was chosen as one of the project’s 11 markets nationwide to pilot the Sprint initiative with 4,000 students.  Educators will study the pilot program through the end of the school year in preparation for a full roll-out at the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of San Diego Unified made it a good candidate for the project, officials said. Families with a household income of $40,000 or less are dramatically less likely to have broadband internet access at home, according to a recent report from the Public Policy Research Institute.  

Schools and school districts that want to apply to participate in the program can visit www.sprint.com/1million project for more information.

How Entrepreneurs Are Rethinking MOOCs

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Author: Mike Montgomery

I write about the many issues technology entrepreneurs confront.

Only a few years ago, plenty of people were arguing that MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were going to completely disrupt colleges. Instead of having a professor lecture to a few hundred students—how inefficient and retro!—thousands of people from around the world could register for that same course, learn the material and take tests on their own time.

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How Laurene Powell Jobs’ XQ Institute Is Inspiring Entrepreneurs to Help Fix America’s High Schools

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Author: Mike Montgomery

I write about the many issues technology entrepreneurs confront.

It’s pretty clear that our high schools are almost hopelessly broken. In math and science, the United States scores below countries like Slovenia and New Zealand. But the question of how to fix our schools is a thorny one.

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Why Your Child’s Next Tutor Will Be Online

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Author: Mike Montgomery

With school starting around the country, many parents are feeling that twinge of fear — what difficult academic problems will their children bring home this year? That stress can be particularly acute when it comes to math. A recent story in the New York Times reported that up to 20% of adults suffer from math anxiety, and pass that anxiety on to their kids when they struggle to help them with their homework.

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