Apr 05 2013

A Historic Week for Mobile Phones, Facebook and . . . Quidditch

The best higher education reads of the week.

This is part of our series of weekly roundups curating the best higher education technology news, articles and resources from around the web. Use the hashtag #higheredreads to suggest an article. For easy reading on any mobile device, download these stories as a Readlist.

Muggle Quidditch Comes to Florida

Twenty-nine U.S. colleges and eight international universities will meet in Kissimmee, Fl., for the Quidditch World Cup. You didn’t know quidditch is an actual sport? Neither did I.

Real-life quidditch might sound like nerdy fantasy-fulfillment but it's actually an intense collegiate sport. The game was invented in Vermont seven years ago at Middlebury College; today the International Quidditch Association (the governing body for the sport), has over 1,000 teams globally registered. This April 13-14, the top 80 teams, hailing from 22 US states and four nations (including France, Canada, and Mexico), will all be coming to Kissimmee, Florida to compete before an audience of 10,000 spectators. And there are plenty of teams for the sunshine state to cheer for: University of Miami, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, Ringling College, and Brevard College, will all be flying in from around the state for a shot at the trophy.

Read University of Miami Is a Quidditch World Cup Favorite on Huffington Post College.

Here is some footage of Boston University’s team at the 2011 World Cup.

Facebook Home Coming Soon to Android

There have been rumors about a Facebook phone for months, and CEO Mark Zuckerburg has finally addressed the speculation. As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Facebook didn’t build a phone. They didn’t build an operating system, either. What they did build is an extension of what mobile apps have traditionally done. Facebook Home leverages the openness of Android and will be the feature component of users who choose to install it. It will replace the lock screen and the home screen and enhance some features, such as messaging. As Zuckerburg said in his keynote, “Today our phones are designed around apps, not people. We want to flip that around.”

Watch this video to find out everything you need to know about Facebook Home in less than five minutes:

The Cell Phone Turns 40

There was a time in the short history of cell phones when users were more interested in making phone calls than using Facebook. In fact, mobile phones have only been in existence for four decades. On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, the cell phone turned 40. Contrary to popular belief, Saved by the Bell heartthrob Zack Morris did not actually make the first phone call on a cell phone:

“Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real hand-held portable cellphone.”

With those words, a gloat by Motorola engineer Marty Cooper to Bell Labs employee Joel Engel, a new era of business began.

On April 3, 1973, the cellphone started its long journey from intriguing novelty to always-nearby, persistent device. And while the cellphones of old look nothing like the devices we use today, they quickly found a role in business and eventually began redefining how we approach business at large.

Read 40 Years of the Cellphone: Key Moments in Mobile History on Associations Now.

Send us a tweet at @EdTech_Highered to suggest stories for next week.