EdTech News Round-Up: The Digital Economy, Classroom Discourse, And API-Led Healthcare

edtech news May 8

This week’s news round-up looks at the rise of the digital economy, developing student discourse with technology, and Fitbit’s API-enabled foray into healthcare.

How the Digital Economy Shapes American Cities

Online companies have transformed our lives in a multitude of ways by providing digital product and services for entertainment, information gathering, and social interactions.

The Internet-based sector takes 6% of GDP in the USA, which amounts to about a trillion dollars. In addition, it supports around 3 million jobs.

Digital economy jobs and businesses are thriving in almost every city and in metro areas across the US.

The cities that best integrate digital technologies into their economies and ecosystems are well-positioned to achieve more for their residents; those that do not are in danger of falling behind.

Cities such as Columbus, Ohio, Kansas City, Missouri, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh are good examples of thriving digital economies.

Looking at these six cities, several elements surfaced time and again that demonstrate how they are developing in tandem with their investment in the tech economy. These include:

  • Transportation systems: The future of mobility is reliant on technology.
  • Open data for governments and businesses to improve services, products, and efficiency.
  • Merging Tech and heritage.
  • Working towards economic inclusion, building programmes that allow every resident the opportunity to connect to the Internet.
  • Small-scale projects are a valuable way of testing ideas and are also manageable for local start-ups who may not have the capacity for full-scale implementation.
  • Investment of time and resources to build well-rounded labor markets and diverse economies.

The clear takeaway is that the digital economy is driving an unprecedented expansion of ever smarter, more-connected cities and local leaders need to prepare if they want to be part of that growth.

How Students Can Lead the Way for Civil Debate on Challenging Topics

Today, schools across the country are trying to improve the standard of classroom discourse. Word Generation, a resource with the mission to teach today’s youth how to engage in social and civil debates, has aided this goal by providing an open education resource that is available and free for all.

Word Generation enables teachers to bring important social issues into the classroom by providing the materials and guidance needed in order to promote respectful conversation. This allows students to develop and support their position based on rational and fact.

Topics focus on social or civic dilemmas of interest to students in grades 4 to 8. The resource allows students to become familiar with current issues and persistent dilemmas while acquiring skills that are prioritized in the common core state standards.

With guidance and support from teachers, students learn how to develop and support their arguments. The resource also gives students the opportunity to listen and respond to one another’s reasoning become comfortable with changing their minds after considering new evidence or arguments.

Fitbit will use Google Cloud to make its data available to doctors

Fitbit has announced plans to utilize Google’s new Cloud Healthcare API in order to continue its push into the world of healthcare devices.

Google announced Cloud for Healthcare, taking a major step into the world of health and is leveraging existing cloud offerings to create information sharing infrastructure for healthcare. A partnership with Fitbit would be a major step towards mainstream Cloud for Healthcare offerings.

For Fitbit, the deal means moving a step closer towards healthcare legitimacy as the plan is to offer a centralized service from Fitbit’s devices.

Recently acquired partner, Twine Health, will help Cloud for Healthcare give more insights into issues like diabetes and hypertension. The timeline for the release of a service is not yet known.

Featured image courtesy of Denys Nevozhai | Unsplash.

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