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The Big Show

The Big Show

Attendees at the 2013 International CES enjoy LG's exhibit in the Central Hall.

Seems like edtech could be the next “big thing,” considering the amount of attention it received this year at the world’s largest electronics extravaganza. The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, held last month in Las Vegas, Nevada, saw more than 150,000 visitors gawking at the latest and greatest technology. Among the more sexy gear, there were reports of more and more products and applications focused on education. In a surprise keynote, former President Clinton took the issue of edtech front and center in his role as brand ambassador for the Samsung Hope for Children program: “Technology can help overcome challenges that are not even economic,” he said. Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify and former Chancellor of the The New York City Department of Education, also spoke about the importance of a better tech-enabled K-12 system: “Everything else has already made the leap,” Klein said. “Education has to do the same.”

There were major product announcements as well. The One Laptop per Child Association (OLPCA) unveiled for the first time the XO Learning System, an Android-compatible software suite for child-centric learning, which is available by license to computer manufacturers, governments, NGOs, and content providers such as book publishers. Tablets under such a license will be called XO Tablets. The organization also showed off the fourth generation of its iconic green and white laptop, with both a keyboard and a multi-touch screen using Neonode technology. McGraw-Hill also released an e-reader to enhance study at the college level which could soon have implications in the K-12 space. The new “LearnSmart Advantage” suite takes adaptive learning—one of the biggest trends in education in 2012—beyond the realm of course study tools by using adaptive technology to provide more dynamic, personalized learning experiences across new aspects of the student learning experience. Included in the suite is SmartBook, the world’s first-ever adaptive e-book, which revolutionizes college reading by focusing students’ attention on the content that is most critical to their learning.