Blog Archive

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Recipe for selling software in a pandemic: Be essential, add some machine learning, and focus, focus, focus

Sales of software programs are already being affected by the pandemic, as seen this week in the disappointing results of Slack Technologies, makers of the popular program for team collaboration. 

It turns out, when companies are cutting staff, they have less need for such programs. 

But it turns out there is a way for a nimble software maker to thrive in the current era, namely, by bringing valuable tools to very specific parts of the market. 

Such is the case for thirty-year-old software vendor Prophix, based just outside of Toronto, Ontario, in Mississauga. The company sells software for the finance department of mid-sized companies for evaluating financial data and performing forecasting. 

Prophix’s tools are designed to be much more accessible than general ledger programs from giant vendors such as Workday and Oracle, for the finance department that doesn’t have access to teams of analysts. Most of Prophix’s clients are companies

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Apps to help your child stay safe while learning virtually

Parents are scrambling to get their kids, and computers, ready for online learning.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Families are starting school next week and a lot of kids will be learning virtually at home. Many parents also working from home and supervising that online activity is going to be challenging.

“I am as ready as I am going to be,” said Shalan Fry, a mom of two girls. 

Fry is taking online learning in Union County seriously.  Fry set up a classroom at home.  The kids are in middle school and high school and there will be a lot of screen time, more so than usual for that age. It’s a concern for her and other parents who may be distracted with their own work at home schedule.

“I lock it down, and we are talking about adding another layer, an app called Bark as an extra measure of safety,” she

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Stressed out and overwhelmed by distance learning? Here are some resources that might help

With the announcement that the Sacramento City Unified School District will begin the year with distance learning, many parents are looking for ways to support their children as they learn from home.

Supporting a student engaged in distance learning can be challenging for parents, particularly those who are juggling working from home, working in essential jobs, or supporting multiple students at the same time.

There are a wide variety of resources online, through the Sacramento Public Library, and through tutoring agencies. Here’s a guide to help parents get started as they support students learning from home this fall.

Have patience

Andrea Venezia, an Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Education Insights Center (EdInsights) at Sacramento State University, said parents should be patient with themselves and with their children.

“Take a breath and know that this is an unusual time, and that our kids might not learn as much as

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Milwaukee schools face challenges with virtual learning plans

CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the lives of Americans in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Joyce Peoples, a middle school English language arts teacher in Milwaukee, said she thought that she might spend a few weeks away from the classroom when Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers shut down schools in mid-March as COVID-19 started spreading across the country..

“We were thinking, OK, we’ll be closed for [a few] weeks and then spring break and then just going to wait for things to calm down,” Peoples said. Her students — and 75,000 others in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) — did not return to the classroom. 

When it was clear students wouldn’t be returning any time soon, challenges arose, including reaching students’ families, communicating plans for the road ahead and making sure students had devices and internet access for virtual learning. Peoples said remote online learning in the spring provided

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6 Ways Parents Can Deal With The Anxiety Of Remote Learning … Again

When schools around the country abruptly stopped in-person learning last fall, many parents had one endpoint in mind: September. We’d slog through the Zoom classes and meltdowns and clinginess, push through the summer, and by the time fall rolled around, we’d be able to send our children back to school and reclaim some level of normality.

But recently a growing number of major school districts, from Los Angeles to Houston, have announced plans to start the new academic year online. New York City has said children will be in the classroom, at most, three days a week. 

For some parents, the extension of online learning into the fall, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, is a relief.

For others, it is devastating — and for many, it is a bit of both. 

“It is an impossible situation,” said Annie Snyder, a senior learning scientist at McGraw-Hill. “There is no good

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L.A. Latino, Black students suffered deep disparities in online learning, records show

A gate in front of Los Angeles High School was locked on July 13. <span class="copyright">(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)</span>
A gate in front of Los Angeles High School was locked on July 13. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

More than 50,000 Black and Latino middle and high school students in Los Angeles did not regularly participate in the school system’s main platform for virtual classrooms after campuses closed in March, a reflection of the deep disparities faced by students of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic and of the difficulties ahead as L.A. Unified prepares for continued online learning.

The numbers, reflected in a first-of-its-kind report by Los Angeles Unified School District analysts examining student engagement during campus closures, paint a stark picture of students in the nation’s second largest school district struggling under the new pressures of online learning.

Nearly every category of students — sorted by race, income and learning needs — included large numbers who did not regularly participate in distance learning. But low-income students and

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L.A. Latino, Black students suffered deep disparities in online learning, district records show

A gate in front of Los Angeles High School was locked on July 13. <span class="copyright">(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)</span>
A gate in front of Los Angeles High School was locked on July 13. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

More than 50,000 Black and Latino middle and high school students in Los Angeles did not regularly participate in the school system’s main platform for virtual classrooms after campuses closed in March, a reflection of the deep disparities faced by students of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic and of the difficulties ahead as L.A. Unified prepares for continued online learning.

The numbers, reflected in a first-of-its-kind report by Los Angeles Unified School District analysts examining student engagement during campus closures, paint a stark picture of students in the nation’s largest school district struggling under the new pressures of online learning.

Nearly every category of students — sorted by race, income and learning needs — included large numbers who did not regularly participate in distance learning. But low-income students and Black

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These 2 books will strengthen your command of Python machine learning

Mastering machine learning is not easy, even if you’re a crack programmer. I’ve seen many people come from a solid background of writing software in different domains (gaming, web, multimedia, etc.) thinking that adding machine learning to their roster of skills is another walk in the park. It’s not. And every single one of them has been dismayed.

I see two reasons for why the challenges of machine learning are misunderstood. First, as the name suggests, machine learning is software that learns by itself as opposed to being instructed on every single rule by a developer. This is an oversimplification that many media outlets with little or no knowledge of the actual challenges of writing machine learning algorithms often use when speaking of the ML trade.

[Read: How the Dutch government uses data to predict the weather and prepare for natural disasters]

The second reason, in my opinion, are

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LinkedIn, Microsoft launch free Learning Path job training courses to fight coronavirus unemployment

Microsoft and LinkedIn want to put a dent in the nation – and the world’s – unemployment numbers.

The software giant and the professional networking site, which Microsoft acquired in 2016 for $26.2 billion, identified in-demand jobs and are offering free, online training to help job seekers improve their skills and land positions.

LinkedIn data showed 10 specific jobs with the most current openings and a four-year trend of being in demand, pay “a livable wage,” and have skills that can be learned online and remotely. LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky posted the details on the site’s blog about the initiative.

LinkedIn’s top 10 in-demand jobs

1. Software developer 

2. Sales representative 

3. Project manager 

4. IT Administrator 

5. Customer service specialist 

6. Digital marketer ​ 

7. IT support/Help desk 

8. Graphic designer 

9. Financial analyst  

10. Data analyst 

LinkedIn and Microsoft created Learning Path training modules for those 10 positions.

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Parents and kids hate online learning, but they could face more of it

In his suburban New Jersey home-turned-classroom this spring, parent Don Seaman quickly found himself in the role of household vice principal.

While his wife holed up in the bedroom to work each day, Seaman, a media and marketing professional, worked from the family room where he could supervise his children’s virtual learning. A similar scene played out in millions of American homes after schools shuttered and moved classes online to contain the coronavirus.

Now that the year’s over, Seaman has strong feelings about the experience: Despite the best efforts of teachers, virtual learning didn’t work. At least not uniformly, if his three children in elementary, middle and high school are any indication.

“The older kids were saying ‘This is hell,'” Seaman said. “My kids feel isolated, and they can’t keep up, and they’re struggling with it.”

But like it or not, remote instruction and virtual learning are likely to continue

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