Posts with «schools» label

The UK moves another step closer to banning phones in schools

Mobile phone ownership has become standard for people of most ages, and, while there's a convenience argument, experts and regulators alike have expressed concerns about children's well-being and distraction while learning. To that end, the UK government has become the latest to announce guidance for banning the use of phones during school. It follows other European countries like France and Italy, which prohibit phones in classrooms. 

Some schools in the UK already have no-phone policies in place, but these guidelines could bring widespread adoption and uniformity. "This is about achieving clarity and consistency in practice, backing headteachers and leaders and giving staff confidence to act," Gillian Keegan, the UK's secretary of state for education, said in a release. "Today's children are growing up in an increasingly complex world, living their lives on and offline. This presents many exciting opportunities – but also challenges. By prohibiting mobile phones, schools can create safe and calm environments free from distraction so all pupils can receive the education they deserve."

While the UK government encourages schools to create their own policies, it outlines a few overarching options. The first — and most extreme — is a complete ban on mobile phones from school premises. However, the guidance acknowledges that this could create complications or risks for children when traveling to and from school. The next option takes care of that problem while still taking phones away. It suggests having students hand in their phones when arriving at school.

Then there's the locker route, where phones are kept strictly in students' lockers or whatever personal storage they get at school. While this allows students to keep possession of their device, it still wouldn't be usable at any point in the day, even when accessing the locker during breaks. The final option aligns with what many schools do — let students keep their phones in their bags, but they should be turned off and never accessed. 

The guidance also recommends teaching students about the mobile phone's potentially harmful impact on young people. Study after study has found that social media, in particular, can negatively impact young people's mental health. The UK government argues that, in addition to combating the social media issue, restricting phone use can increase students' concentration, time being active and spending time with peers face-to-face. 

Parents are encouraged to contact the school directly rather than through a private phone if they need to get in touch with their child. The guidance also encourages parents to discuss the rules at home and, once again, the risks of phones and the internet.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Samsung Wallet gets digital school ID support for campuses across the US

Students at 68 colleges and universities across the US will easily be able to use their Samsung phones to tap for access and purchases. Samsung's Wallet app now supports digital student IDs, so long as it's on the United States versions of the brand's latest devices. Some of the educational institutions that have enabled ID integration for Samsung Wallet are Penn State, the University of Florida, Central Michigan University, University of North Alabama and the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Apple has supported contact-free student ID cards since 2018, allowing students to tap their phones to access facilities and, say, get food at the cafeteria. Google Pay also launched student ID integration in 2020 in partnership with a company called Transact, which offers solutions for tuition and other student expense payment. That's the same company Samsung has teamed up with to enable this integration, which means users will have to download the Transact eAccounts mobile app from Google Play, as well.

Like other digital student ID integrations, Samsung Wallet allows students to access school facilities with their phone. The app's Fast Mode feature will let users tap their phone without having to unlock their screen, while Power Reserve means they can use their digital ID even if their phone has switched off due to low battery reserves. That said, the capability to pay using NFC at on-campus stores and vending machines aren't available at all of the participating institutions.

At the moment, students can only use Samsung Wallet's digital ID support if they have a Galaxy S20 phone or later, a Note 20, a Galaxy Flip or Fold device, or a Galaxy A53. Galaxy Watch support is coming this fall. Samsung also says that it's working to expand the offering and make it available for students in more institutions. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

ChatGPT (barely) passed graduate business and law exams

There's plenty of concern that OpenAI's ChatGPT could help students cheat on tests, but just how well would the chatbot fare if you asked it to write a graduate-level exam? It would pass — if only just. In a newly published study, University of Minnesota law professors had ChatGPT produce answers for graduate exams at four courses in their school. The AI passed all four, but with an average grade of C+. In another recent paper, Wharton School of Business professor Christian Terwiesch found that ChatGPT passed a business management exam with a B to B- grade. You wouldn't want to use the technology to impress academics, then.

The research teams found the AI to be inconsistent, to put it mildly. The University of Minnesota group noted that ChatGPT was good at addressing "basic legal rules" and summarizing doctrines, but floundered when trying to pinpoint issues relevant to a case. Terwiesch said the generator was "amazing" with simple operations management and process analysis questions, but couldn't handle advanced process questions. It even made mistakes with 6th grade-level math.

There's room for improvement. The Minnesota professors said they didn't adapt text generation prompts to specific courses or questions, and believed students could get better results with customization. At Wharton, Terwiesch said the bot was adept at changing answers in response to human coaching. ChatGPT might not ace an exam or essay by itself, but a cheater could have the system generate rough answers and refine them.

Both camps warned that schools should limit the use of technology to prevent ChatGPT-based cheating. They also recommended altering the questions to either discourage AI use (such as focusing on analysis rather than reciting rules) or increase the challenge for those people leaning on AI. Students still need to learn "fundamental skills" rather than leaning on a bot for help, the University of Minnesota said.

The study groups still believed that ChatGPT could have a place in the classroom. Professors could teach pupils how to rely on AI in the workplace, or even use it to write and grade exams. The tech could ultimately save time that could be spent on the students, Terwiesch explains, such as more student meetings and new course material.

A US college is shutting down for good following a ransomware attack

Lincoln College says it will close this week in the wake of a ransomware attack that took months to resolve. While the impact of COVID-19 severely impacted activities such as recruitment and fundraising, the cyberattack seems to have been the tipping point for the Illinois institution.

The college has informed the Illinois Department of Higher Education and Higher Learning Commission that it will permanently close as of May 13th. As NBC News notes, it's the first US college or university to shut down in part because of a ransomware attack.

Lincoln says it had "record-breaking student enrollment" in fall 2019. However, the pandemic caused a sizable fall in enrollment with some students opting to defer college or take a leave of absence. The college — one of only a few rural schools to qualify as a predominantly Black institution under the Department of Education — said those affected its financial standing.

Last December, Lincoln was hit by a cyberattack, which "thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of fall 2022 enrollment. All systems required for recruitment, retention and fundraising efforts were inoperable," the college said in a statement posted on its homepage. "Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester."

Barring a last-minute respite, the one-two punch of the pandemic and a cyberattack have brought an end to a 157-year-old institution. Lincoln says it will help students who aren't graduating this semester transfer to another college.

Over the last few years, ransomware hackers have attacked other educational facilities, as well as hospitals, game studios, Sinclair Broadcast Group and many other companies and institutions.

DoorDash adds a cheaper DashPass plan for students

DoorDash is courting students with a cheaper DashPass subscription. The DashPass for Students plan costs $5 per month, which is half the cost of the regular DashPass. The annual student plan costs $48. There's a free 30-day trial as well. All undergraduate and graduate students at accredited US colleges and universities are eligible to sign up.

Those who do will get benefits such as no delivery fees on food and grocery orders above the minimum spend, reduced service fees, five percent credit on eligible pickup orders and exclusive promotions and menu items. For a limited time, DashPass members can order Buffalo Wild Wings' new Doritos Flamin' Hot Nacho Wings.

DoorDash cited a study that suggests 70 percent of US college students order from a food delivery app each week. They do so four times per week on average. Around 27 percent spend more than $100 per week on food delivery, and nearly three quarters say they're more likely to place orders while studying for finals or midterms. Signing up for DashPass for Students could help them save on delivery and service fees — as long as their preferred restaurants are served by DoorDash.

The regular DashPass has more than 10 million members. DoorDash is likely hoping that students who sign up for the cheaper plan will move on to the regular subscription after they graduate.

College sim 'Two Point Campus' arrives on May 17th

Two Point Campus, Sega and Two Point Studios' follow up to Two Point Hospital, will arrive on May 17th. The quirky college life simulator is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass subscribers can play at no extra cost on launch day.

You'll be able to build a dream (or nightmare) college campus from the ground up, from residence halls and classrooms to ornamental pathways and forests. Players will be able to give students a college experience packed with relationships and extracurricular activities, such as concerts and a sport called Cheese Ball, and possibly even an education.

Students can take classes such as gastronomy and robotics, and they each have their own character traits to be catered to. Keeping students happy and helping them earn strong grades can boost your college's prestige, allowing you to enroll more students and boost the institution's bank balance.

Pre-orders for most platforms are open today, and will be available on the Switch eShop later. Locking in a pre-order will net you in-game goodies for not only Two Point Campus, but Two Point Hospital as well.

Sega/Two Point Studios

The SAT will drop the pencil and go completely digital by 2024

The SAT standardized college admissions tests will be taken exclusively on computers starting in 2024, The New York Times has reported. The new system will spell the end to tests taken on paper with No. 2 pencils, a right of passage for American high school students since the SAT was first administered nearly a hundred years ago.

Students will instead complete the exams on laptops or tablets, either their own or devices issued by the school. If students don't have a device, the board will provide one on the test day. And if a student loses power or connectivity, "the digital SAT has been designed to ensure they won't lose their work or time while they reconnect," said the College Board, which administers the tests.

On top of the technical changes, the testing time will be shortened to two hours instead of three. It'll feature shorter reading passages with one question for each, reflecting a wider range of topics more representative of what students will see in college. For the math section, calculators will finally be allowed. And students and teachers will get test scores in days rather than weeks, with educators no longer having to deal with packing, sorting or shipping test materials. 

It felt a lot less stressful, and whole lot quicker than I thought it'd be.

The College Board said that in pilot testing, 80 percent of students found the digital-only tests less stressful. "It felt a lot less stressful, and whole lot quicker than I thought it'd be," 11th grade student Natalia Cossio told the board. "The shorter passages helped me concentrate more on what the question wanted me to do."

The new testing standard was announced amid a growing trend for schools across the US to drop the SAT (or rival ACT) tests altogether. For Fall 2022, around 1,815 schools (of nearly 4,000 degree-granting institutions) have eliminated the requirement for standardized test scores, according to the FairTest non-profit foundation. 

"Schools that did not mandate ACT/SAT submission last year generally received more applicants, better academically qualified applicants and a more diverse pool of applicants," FairTest Executive Director Bob Schaeffer told the Los Angeles Times last year. 

Critics have also noted that the SAT tests handicap students who don't have access to expensive test preparation courses or who can't afford to take the $55 test multiple times. The digital SAT shift "does not magically transform it to a more accurate, fairer or valid tool for assessing college readiness," Schaefer told the NYT. The College Board, meanwhile, has said that SAT scores can actually help students who don't have top-flight grade-point averages. 

EA dips back into college football with Campus Legends event in Madden NFL 22

Electronic Arts is dipping back into college football with a limited-time mode in Madden NFL 22. The Campus Legends mode features ten school teams, including rosters filled with college football icons, as well as current and former NFL stars who are alumni of those squads.

The event is available through the Superstar KO multiplayer mode. The college teams are Clemson University, University of Miami, Louisiana State University, University of Florida, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, University of Southern California (USC), University of Oregon, University of Nebraska and Michigan State University.

The NEW Campus Legends event is now live, ft. 🔟 historic programs to challenge your friends with! 💥

Rivalry Happens Here ➡️

— Madden NFL 22 (@EAMaddenNFL) August 31, 2021

EA notes Madden 22 is now the first game since 2013 to include a college football experience. The publisher announced earlier this year that it's bringing back the College Football series. The next game in the no-longer-dormant franchise is likely years away though, so college football modes in Madden might have to do the trick for now.

To mark the release of the mode, former college and NFL stars Vince Young and Reggie Bush will play against each other as their respective alma maters (University of Texas and USC). The pair faced off in the Rose Bowl in 2006, and they'll return to the Rose Bowl Stadium to repeat the matchup in Madden 22. You can watch the showdown tonight starting at 7PM ET on the NFL YouTube or Madden NFL Twitch channels.

You have a few weeks to check out Campus Legends. The mode will be available until September 27th.

Apple's digital student IDs are coming to Canada and more US schools

With the start of a new school year quickly approaching, Apple is once again expanding the availability of its contactless student IDs. Following an initial rollout in 2018 and subsequent expansions since, the software is making its way to Canada for the first time.

In 2021, the University of New Brunswick and Sheridan College outside of Toronto will allow students to add their ID cards to Apple Wallet and use their iPhones and Apple Watches to access facilities and pay for food and other items and services across campus. In the US, “many more” schools, including Auburn University, Northern Arizona University, University of Maine and New Mexico State University, will adopt the software this fall.

It will likely take many more years before every school offers digital student ID cards, but the technology is clearly becoming more ubiquitous. In April, Apple said it saw more students use their mobile IDs to make purchases and access campus facilities than their plastic counterparts for the first time since it launched the software. In the fall, the University of Alabama, one of the early adopters of the tech, will exclusively issue mobile IDs to students with the necessary hardware, marking a first for the platform.

Intel's AI degree program expands to 18 additional community colleges in 11 states

Following an online pilot in the fall of 2020 with Maricopa County Community College District, Intel is expanding its AI for Workforce Program to include 18 additional schools in 11 states, including California, New Mexico and Michigan. With the expansion, more than 800,000 students can take part in a curriculum designed by the company, at the end of which they can earn a certificate or associate degree in artificial intelligence.

The program includes courses on data collection, computer vision, model training, coding and AI ethics. In addition to designing the curriculum, Intel has provided training and technical advice to the college faculty involved in the program. Dell is also helping with technical and infrastructure expertise.

According to Carlos Contreras, senior director of AI and digital readiness at Intel, the program consists of four parts. In the initial “Awareness” section, a teacher introduces students to some of the “possibilities” and “issues” around AI, with an emphasis on class discussion. The following two parts involve a lot of hands-on learning while students are gradually introduced to the technical skills they need to become proficient in the field. The final part of the program, “Capstone,” sees students asked to create and present projects that use AI to impact society.

For Intel, the company says working with community colleges offers a chance to “democratize AI technology.” Citing data from the American Association of Community Colleges, the company notes they attract people from various backgrounds and walks of life. But as with most programs of this type, it’s also an opportunity for the company to find candidates in a demanding field. It’s no accident then Intel plans to expand the program to include 50 more schools by 2022.