Around Town | August 3, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 3, 2012

Around Town

NO PROBLEM TOO BIG, OR SMALL ... This year's Edtech Expo, scheduled to be held Aug. 3-4, is the chance for Stanford students from the learning, design and technology master's program to show off solutions to challenges in education and learning. Many of the projects are brimming with heady idealism and lofty aspirations. Chalk allows educators across school systems to communicate with one another about issues and solutions they've uncovered, while Amplify Ghana seeks to educate Ghanaian farmers on ways to fix dire agricultural problems such as a collapsed well or unfamiliar pests. Other projects are, well, less lofty. Barup.mobi pits users in rap battles using "tweet-like raps" called tracks. Users build respect and sell tracks for virtual cash to grow a virtual rap empire "to the likes of Diddy or Jay-Z" and, hopefully, learn a little about writing creatively and understanding the financial aspects of selling records. Presumably they will espouse different values than Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" or Diddy's "When Thugs Die." Some projects, like Super Laces, are content to seek solutions for the most basic of problems. It uses shoelaces embedded with magnets and color-matching activities to teach young children the superhero skills needed to tie their shoes. These include mastering "gravitational force fields," "incredible flight" and "superhuman strength." The superhero mask, the project's website says, is included.

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