Raising your hand is so passé: Pearson buys real-time student feedback and polling startup

I wanted these cool real time polling gadets in my business school. First experience a certain kind of polling device during a session at Kellogg School of management which was kind of a real time survey mechanism. Personally, I would like to see some of the European schools adopting these fancy gadgets. Makes a great classroom experience

Gigaom

Pearson (s PSO) — the big kahuna of ed tech — has snapped up another startup. The company on Monday said it had purchased Learning Catalytics, a company founded at Harvard University by a trio of academics.

Like services from Top Hat Monocle, Socrative and other student response systems, Learning Catalytics turns students’ laptops, smartphones and iPads into classroom engagement tools. K-12 teachers and college professors can use Learning Catalytics to ask students questions during class and gauge their mastery of the material.

But Paul Corey, Pearson’s higher education president of science, business and technology, said a few key features distinguish Learning Catalytics: it enables teachers to ask all kinds of questions (not just multiple choice) and it gives teachers a quick graphical display of student responses.

Also, it doesn’t just turn students’ otherwise distracting devices into productive tools, it can promote more offline interaction between students. For example…

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Four superlatives for Netflix, which is now bigger than HBO in the US

On which fronts Netflix should be careful about? 1. The rise of aggregated content streamers such as Hulu which will not only contend for share of future subscriptions but also eat into existing market shares 2. Of course, there are the HBOs and the Star Movies which have traditionally offered movies through subscription fees charged to cable operators and are now trying out the direct to customer model 3. The existing cable operators who are planning to form partnerships or acquire wireless carriers (e.g. the DishNetwork and Sprint deal) and who will start offering its customers its rich content across multiple devices. I think if these kind of operators price their product offering appropriately and can form some partnerships with the big media houses, they will provide the biggest threat. Verison is also venturing into this space. So, there are different partnerships being formed though they are fundamentally the same .5. Lastly, there are the likes of RedBox who have till date built a strong kiosk based model and are looking to expand into online streaming through their service, RedBox Instant.

In light of all above potential threats, I think that though Netflix will face significant challenges , it is way ahead of the herd right now. Recommendation – ‘ Maintain the core but expand its reach’. RedBox would be a very good acquisition target for Netflix

Will Best Buy Have The Guts To Close Stores?

How the brick & mortar model needs to evolve to include a strong online footprint to function as an enabler. While a lot has been written about how pure online retail players are cannibalizing existing market share and grabbing growth from brick& mortar model retail players, what has perplexed me is how little the incumbents( the best buys and the targets ) have done to change the growing trend. I do agree that these brick and mortar players have significant cost overheads in maintenance of property and equipment and personnel costs , advertising and utilities . But the very fact that they are present in so many cities should help them to provide same day fulfillment and help them to achieve greater customer satisfaction. Just visualize how mobile signals are handed over from tower to tower based on the geographical reach of a tower , thus covering a vast territory. If these brick and mortar players have a decent online platform, offer comparable prices along with certain degree of free customer support and an immediate and quick fulfillment platform at free or comparable prices( to USPS OR UPS) through the ‘mobile tower’ like mechanism (maybe loosely term it as a hub and spoke fulfillment mechanism).

24/7 Wall St.

BestBuy storefront OKSince the of return founder Richard Schulze and its partnership with Samsung to place many stores inside its thousand locations, there remains a single and massive problem. Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) continues to have too many stores in the United States. Until that issue is addressed, Best Buy will continue to be also-ran because the cost of operating bricks and mortar locations and the fact that it still sits hopelessly behind Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) in terms of its presence on the Internet.

Wall St. has pressed up Best Buy shares to more than double their value since the beginning of the year. The price is still well below where it was two and five years ago. Investors are willing to gamble on a turnaround, but they not been sold on the notion that the retailer can ever get back to its glory days…

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