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Category: #Apps (Page 1 of 32)

Zoom’s earliest investors are betting millions on a better Zoom for schools

Zoom was never created to be a consumer product. Nonetheless, the video-conferencing company’s accessibility made it the answer to every social situation threatened by the pandemic, from happy hours to meetings.

Months later, we’re realizing that force-feeding social experiences into an enterprise software company isn’t a perfect solution. Zoom School is a perfect example of what’s not working: Remote education is a hot mess for students, teachers and parents. Instructors, who could once engage a classroom through whiteboard activities, mini-group presentations and one-on-one discussions, are now stuck to one screen.

Well more than six months into a global pandemic, former Blackboard CEO and former PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen is daring to dream: What if we didn’t assume Zoom was a Band-Aid fix for schools? What if someone created a Zoom experience that was designed, not just marketed, for classrooms?

“If I told you that the majority of classes being held online today, teachers couldn’t take attendance, hand out assignments, give a test or a quiz, grade anything or talk one on one with students, you would say how is teaching and learning even happening?” he told TechCrunch.

Chasen is launching a new company, ClassEDU, with a first product that isn’t too shy about its ambitions, named Class for Zoom. Although the name might convince you that it’s a third-party add-on to Zoom, it’s an entirely independently owned company. And it’s built for teachers who need to find a way to create more-engaging, live-synchronous learning.

When a teacher logs into the Zoom call, they’ll be brought to a screen that looks like this:

Image Credits: ClassEDU

As you can see, they can toggle between the classroom, assignments, tests and quizzes, or the whiteboard. Instead of unorganized tab time, the teacher can take the video call as a one-stop shop for their entire lesson, from syncing materials from the CMS system to polling students on their thoughts to grading the quiz they just took. It’s a full-suite solution, and an ambitious one at that.

The best way to break down Class for Zoom’s features is by separating them into two buckets: instruction tools and management tools.

On the instruction side, Class for Zoom helps teachers launch live assignments, quizzes, and tests, which can be completed by students in real time. Students can also be polled to motivate engagement. Instructors can be granted access to unmute a class or mute a class during appropriate times.

Image Credits: ClassEDU

The marquee feature of the instruction tools is that teachers and students can talk privately without leaving the Zoom call if there’s a question. This is key for shy students who might not want to speak up, inspired by Chasen’s daughter, who struggled to share in front of an entire classroom.

Image Credits: ClassEDU

On the management side, tools range from attendance trackers to features that allow a teacher to see how much time a student is participating in activities. Chasen, who founded Blackboard when he was in college, also gave a nod to his prior company by allowing teachers to integrate CMS systems right into the Zoom classroom.

Less popular, Chasen jokes, is Class for Zoom’s ability to give teachers intel on if a student has Zoom as the primary app in use on their screen. The attention-tracking feature is not new, but it is oversight some people might not be okay with. Students can disable the ability to track focus, but administrators can make it mandatory. The platform also allows teachers to monitor a student’s desktop during an exam to limit cheating.

Class for Zoom’s access to a student’s personal computer could make some users uncomfortable. Zoom has been banned from some school districts due to security concerns, and a wave of Zoombombing attacks, where an unwanted participant hacks into a call and streams inappropriate or offensive content. In response, the video conferencing company has put in security measures, such as verification tools and waiting rooms.

Chasen says that Class for Zoom is balancing its access to information by giving students the option to opt into tracking features versus forcing them to.

Class for Zoom isn’t the only startup trying to make Zoom a better experience. A number of tools built atop Zoom have launched in the past few months, partially because the price of Zoom’s SDK is $0. Macro raised $4.3 million to add depth and analysis to Zoom calls, with an interface that tracks metrics like speaker time and notes. It has more than 25,000 users. Mmhmm got buzz in July for its creative demo that lets users create a broadcast-style video-conferencing experience atop their videoconferencing platform of choice.

Somewhat predictably, Zoom launched a competing feature with Mmhmm that calls into question whether the startups that layer atop incumbents look more like features instead of full-fledged platforms.

Of course, one threat to any of these products is Zoom’s mood. If Zoom tweaks its policy on SDK and API, it could completely wipe out Class for Zoom. But Chasen has reason to be optimistic that this won’t happen.

Today, Class for Zoom announced that it has raised a $16 million seed round, pre-launch, from a cohort of investors, including some of Zoom’s earliest backers such as Santi Subotovsky, a current Zoom board member from Emergence Capital; Jim Scheinman of Maven Partners, an early investor in Zoom and the person who is credited with naming Zoom; and Bill Tai, who is Zoom’s first committed backer. Other investors include Deborah Quazzo, partner from GSV Ventures, and Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and CEO of Revolution.

When asked if the Zoom investor involvement works as “insurance” to protect the startup, Chasen said he didn’t view it like that. Instead, the founder thinks that Zoom is focused more on scale than in-depth specialization. In other words, Zoom isn’t going to pull a Twitter, but instead likens the platform’s developer friendliness to that of Salesforce, which has tons of tools built atop of it. Second, Class for Zoom is a certified Zoom reseller, and makes money off of commission when a district buys Zoom through them. The informal and formal partnerships are enough glue, it seems, for Chasen to bet on stability.

As for whether the technology will stay exclusive to Zoom, Chasen says that it’s the main focus because Zoom is the “de facto industry standard in education.” If other platforms pick up speed, Chasen says they are open to experimenting with different software.

Chasen declined to share exact numbers around pricing, but said that it is a work in progress to find a price point that districts can afford. It’s unclear whether the company will charge per seat, but the founder said that it will charge some type of subscription service fee.

Accessibility in edtech solutions often relies on the medium that the technology and instruction lives on. For example, even if a product is free to use, if it needs high-speed internet and a Mac to work then it might not be accessible to the average home in America. The digital divide is why products often test usability on Chromebooks, low-cost computers that low-income students, teachers and school districts employ.

In Class for Zoom’s case, the first iteration of the product is being rolled out for teachers with Macintosh computers, which could leave out some key demographics due to expense. It’s worth noting that while students can still participate in a class being run on Class for Zoom without the software, the view, tracking and engagement software will be missing.

Thankfully, the new financing will be used to help ClassEDU build software that is usable on low-cost computers such as Chromebooks, as well as Windows, Android or iPhones. When that happens, teachers and students can both benefit from a more engaging view.

Chasen said that the idea for the startup began brewing just weeks into quarantine, when his three kids began learning from home. Months later, Class for Zoom is finally set to launch its beta version and is opening up its waitlist today. By January, Chasen hopes, it will be accessible to any school that wants it.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/23/class-for-zoom-earliest-investors-are-betting-millions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Natasha Mascarenhas

Microsoft’s Edge browser is coming to Linux in October

Microsoft’s Edge browser is coming to Linux, starting with the Dev channel. The first of these previews will go live in October.

When Microsoft announced that it would switch its Edge browser to the Chromium engine, it vowed to bring it to every popular platform. At the time, Linux wasn’t part of that list, but by late last year, it became clear that Microsoft was indeed working on a Linux version. Later, at this year’s Build, a Microsoft presenter even used it during a presentation.

Image Credits: Microsoft

Starting in October, Linux users will be able to either download the browser from the Edge Insider website or through their native package managers. Linux users will get the same Edge experience as users on Windows and macOS, as well as access to its built-in privacy and security features. For the most part, I would expect the Linux experience to be on par with that on the other platforms.

Microsoft also today announced that its developers have made over 3,700 commits to the Chromium project so far. Some of this work has been on support for touchscreens, but the team also contributed to areas like accessibility features and developer tools, on top of core browser fundamentals.

Currently, Microsoft Edge is available on Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as

macOS, iOS and Android.

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Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA Techcrunch?i=FXZ2MMeYL_U:s0C-KhzrGhE:-BT Techcrunch?i=FXZ2MMeYL_U:s0C-KhzrGhE:D7D Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/22/microsofts-edge-browser-is-coming-to-linux-in-october/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Frederic Lardinois

You can now set Firefox as your default iOS browser

d4149980-fcc8-11ea-b8b4-9aec3fbb96d6One big benefit of iOS 14 is that you can set non-Apple-made apps as your default, including for email and web browsing. Hot on the heels of you being able to set Chrome and Gmail as your clients of choice, Firefox is enabling you to make its browser…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/mozilla-firefox-ios-14-130014162.html
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TikTok and WeChat Both Avoid an App Store Ban for Now

The TikTok and WeChat apps on an iPhoneAscannio/Shutterstock

Last week the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a ban on both TikTok and WeChat that would remove both from all U.S. app stores starting Sunday, September 20. That date has passed, and both apps are still available for download. Both apps managed a reprieve, but it still remains to be seen how long that will last.

TikTok’s attempt to avoid a ban involved a buyout process that would turn into a U.S. company. The U.S. administration had said that nothing less would be acceptable, due to national security concerns. In the beginning, Microsoft was the frontrunner to purchase TikTok from Chinse parent company ByteDance, but those talks fell apart.

Oracle and Walmart teamed up and won the bidding process, but that left ByteDance as the majority owner, with Oracle merely owning a 20% stake. When the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the impending ban, it seemed the Oracle/Walmart bid wasn’t good enough.

But things change quickly, and now President Trump has given his approval of the Oracle and Walmart deal to purchase a stake in TikTok. The exact details are murky, though. According to Oracle’s CEO: “Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”

ByteDance seems to disagree and maintains it will have majority ownership of TikTok. In any case, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it will push back the ban by one week to September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m (no timezone given). So for now, TikTok remains available in app stores for download while all the companies involved hash out the details.

WeChat, on the other hand, isn’t involved in a buyout of any form. Instead, the courts intervened to block the ban. WeChat users sued on behalf of the company, arguing that a ban would impede First Amendment free speech rights.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler agreed, and blocked the ban on those grounds, writing “the plaintiffs have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor, and the plaintiffs establish sufficiently the other elements for preliminary-injunctive relief.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce didn’t comment on the ruling, but it can appeal to attempt to overturn the order and followthrough with the ban. So WeChat isn’t out of the woods just yet.

via The Verge, TechCrunch, CNBC

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/54572/tiktok-and-wechat-both-avoid-an-app-store-ban-for-now/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Josh Hendrickson

How to Use the Apple Translate App on iPhone

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Apple’s Translate app, introduced in iOS 14, allows iPhone users to quickly translate between languages using text or voice input. With speech output, support for a dozen languages, and a comprehensive built-in dictionary, it’s an essential tool for travelers. Here’s how to use it.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/690997/how-to-use-the-apple-translate-app-on-iphone/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Benj Edwards

How to Transcribe Audio in Microsoft Word 365

Transcribe-Audio-Microsoft-Word-Cover.jp Microsoft Word has become the go-to software for creating documents. Alongside the traditional downloadable Office Suite, Microsoft also offers an online version of Microsoft Word as part of the Microsoft 365 package. An additional feature available in the online version of Word is an audio transcription feature. This allows you to convert audio directly to text. The text can even be separated based on the audio speaker. Here we show you how to transcribe audio in Microsoft Word 365. Related: 6 Online Tools for Teams Working Remotely Transcribe Audio in Microsoft Word First,… Read more13889980.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/13889980/transcribe-audio-microsoft-word
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Shujaa Imran

Trump administration’s WeChat ban is blocked by U.S. district court

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A few days ago, the U.S. Commerce Department published a series of rules that aimed to block the downloading of TikTok and WeChat by American users, following an executive order signed by President Trump back in August. TikTok got a last minute reprieve yesterday following its signing of an investment and cloud services deal with Oracle and Walmart, which delayed the implementation of its download ban at least for a week. However, WeChat was effectively going to be shut down today, with a ban on downloads and a ban on any services that powered the service.

Now, there is a new wrinkle in the battle over the future of the social app, which is widely used in Chinese-speaking communities and is owned by China-based Tencent. A district court judge in San Francisco has temporarily stayed the nationwide ban, following a lawsuit of WeChat users arguing that the ban undermined the free speech rights of American citizens. That court case, U.S. WeChat Users Alliance v. Trump, will be allowed to proceed.

In her short opinion published yesterday, United States magistrate judge Laurel Beeler, argued that the government’s case showed weaknesses on First Amendment grounds, its authority to act within existing legislation to allow the government to control industry, and its overall vagueness compared to the damage a ban would likely have on the Chinese-speaking community in the United States.

From her opinion:

Certainly the government’s overarching national-security interest is significant. But on this record — while the government has established that China’s activities raise significant national- security concerns — it has put in scant little evidence that its effective ban of WeChat for all U.S. users addresses those concerns. And, as the plaintiffs point out, there are obvious alternatives to a complete ban, such as barring WeChat from government devices, as Australia has done, or taking other steps to address data security.

Given the likelihood of a lawsuit proceeding and the immediate damage a ban would have if implemented, the judge initiated a nationwide injunction against implementation of the Commerce Department’s order to ban the app.

Commerce will have a chance to respond to this development, and whether it chooses to edit its order, pursue other avenues through the courts, or just rescind the order entirely, we will see in the coming days.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/20/trump-administrations-wechat-ban-is-blocked-by-u-s-district-court/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Danny Crichton

What’s the Deal with Google Home and Nest? Is There a Difference?

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In the smart home world, there are two brands you hear about a lot: Google Home and Nest. Both are actually owned by Google, but the way the company uses these names has led to some confusion.

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Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/690138/whats-the-deal-with-google-home-and-nest/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joe Fedewa

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