Feb 21 2014

In Their Own Words: Tech That Students Cannot Live Without

Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition, Google Glass in the library and the best stories of the week.

Welcome to our weekly roundup of tech and education news. Have a story you’d like to see here? Tweet us.

In Their Own Words: Tech That Students Can’t Live Without

Chronicle of Higher Education staff reporter Megan O'Neil sat down with a few students at Georgetown University to learn about the tech they use for learning. As expected, college students are extremely tech savvy, and every professor and IT leader can learn from talking to students about their needs.

Facebook Acquires WhatsApp … What’s WhatsApp?

Here’s what you really need to know about Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition, WhatsApp: It’s a messaging platform that’s growing by more than a million users per day. WhatsApp describes itself as a “cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.” Users can also share voice messages, images and videos, and after one year of free service, they can pay 99 cents per year to continue using it.

WhatsApp Stats

WhatsApp Metrics

The unique (and successful) business model is one of many reasons Facebook sought out WhatsApp, says Ellis Hamburger, on The Verge:

Facebook’s latest acquisition might appear to be a simple land grab for the hottest mobile app in the world, with some delightful side effects, but the reality is far bigger. Each company Facebook acquires is another hedge against the various public and private ways people choose to communicate. Instagram lets people share photos in a way Facebook’s friending model wouldn’t allow. WhatsApp lets people share messages in a way that’s familiar to first-time feature phone and smartphone users — something Facebook can’t boast. Facebook’s product portfolio is becoming vast, full of competing services and apps, and that’s okay.

Google Glass: Now Available at Yale’s Bass Library

Libraries lend more than books. It’s not uncommon that students can access and borrow hardware from their university libraries, but Yale is taking it to the next level:

In cooperation with the Instructional Technology Group (ITG) and the Student Technology Collaborative (STC), the Yale University Library has added the futuristic eyewear, Google Glass—unofficially dubbed “Yale Bass Glass” – to its collection of media devices at the Bass Library. As the group plans for general use of the technology in the fall semester, faculty and student groups are encouraged to contact the collaborative during the spring semester with their ideas to explore the potential of Google Glass in enhancing classroom instruction and the research experience.

EdTech will be following along to see whether Yale students can top classmate Henry Furman, quarterback of the football team, who wore Google Glass during a fall practice.

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