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Stefanie Le

Oakland Unified School District takes on tech, with corporate help

Over the last year and a half, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been making an effort to deepen its science, technology, engineering and math programs, but so far it has had to depend on donations from corporations to fund much of them. The district’s efforts to bring so-called STEM education to students have been funded in no small part by grants from Intel and Salesforce, in addition to partnerships with Code.org and the Oakland mayor’s office, among others. According…

Voters approve $9 billion for public school construction, repairs

This week, California voters approved Proposition 51, a $9 billion bond for public school construction and improvement across the state. By noon on Wednesday, the proposition led 54 percent to 46 percent and the Associated Press had declared the victory. “If you’ve been in some of our most antiquated schools, then you’ve seen, firsthand, how difficult it is to learn in that environment,” said Justine Fischer, president of the California State PTA, a nonpartisan organization that supported the measure. “We…

Google to open learning center in Oakland

Internet company Google is opening a new technology education center in Oakland for minority students amid criticism that Silicon Valley is not diverse enough. Claire Shorall, the manager of computer science for the Oakland Unified School District, said that the company had been working with local groups for over a year to pilot the project, and it will open the lab in the Fruitvale, a predominantly Latino neighborhood. The news was first reported by the San Francisco Business Times on…

Turnitin: An ed tech original

Education software company Turnitin is arguably one of Oakland’s biggest technology companies that few people know about. Turnitin, which makes anti-plagiarism software, was founded in 1998 by John Barrie and Christian Storm. Both were doctoral candidates in neuroscience at UC Berkeley when they came up with the idea after seeing a high level of plagiarism in the undergraduate papers they were grading. Using their expertise in brain wiring, Barrie and Storm wrote pattern matching recognition algorithms that can scan text…

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