Blended Schools & Tools

iNACOL is not only the online learning association. Susan Patrick has made the organization the leading advocate for competency-based learning. Susan and unusually competent sidekick Chris Sturgis launched CompetencyWorks yesterday. Check it out and contribute. Here’s our summary. (Tom is an iNACOL director.)

Bonus points if you know it all started in Prussia. Joel Rose, New Classrooms (aka, the School of One dude) wrote a piece for The Atlantic, “How to Break Free of Our 19th-Century Factory-Model System” this week. He says, we’ve fallen behind in technology adoption and we need to rethink our educational models to support new tools, technologies and outcomes for the information age.

O-hio adds i-Ready. The Ohio Department of Education approved the Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Diagnostic for its Approved List of Assessments measuring student growth for students. (CA is an advocacy partner.)

World’s 6th most populous country empowers new digital generation. Telenor Pakistan launched Telenor Talkshawk, a nationwide project aimed at providing learning and training to young people to enable them to become future leaders in the digital age.

Horizon Report on the Horizon. This week New Media Consortium pre-released its fourth annual K-12 edition of the Horizon Report Series to several partnering organizations and select media outlets. EdWeek, one of the media outlets chosen to review the document, stated that the report shows many of the shifts pushed for by ed-tech advocates are indeed occurring–including online and blended learning, as well as BYOD initiatives. The full 2012 Horizon Report for K12 will be released on June 14th.

Happy Birthday to JiJi. MIND Research Institute celebrates15 years of JiJi next week by honoring national schools in a Facebook contest. Los Alamitos Elementary’s Jaime Lock’s winning submission was, “Jiji means loving math and loving learning – without even knowing you’re ‘learning.’ Learning through play.”

Edtech see rapid growth. Carnegie Speech, the intelligent language learning company, today announced a significant 85 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in Q1 2012 compared to Q4 2011.

Steamy STEM Gems

Talent in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is working to foster and keep the STEM talent they’ve developed in the state. The state announced that it’s leading a statewide project called the Learning Network to expand resources around STEM education.

All this and the Big Bang Theory Season Finale! The American Institute of Physics, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Astronomical Society endorsed a letter urging STEM education to be considered a national priority in the budgets for the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.

Getting to the Core

Open Wide. CK-12 is a leader in the Open Education Resources (OERs) movement. CK-12 generates and distributes educational content via web-based open content material called the “FlexBook”. CK-12 is presently the only free service of its kind and offers nearly customizable 90 flexbooks across Kindle, iBooks and Google. Look for an exciting update on FlexMath.com soon.

An Implementation Investigation. New research by Professor William Schmidt at the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University announced that the Common Core State Standards have the potential to enhance students’ academic performance. Schmidt said Common Core can make a difference if implemented properly, but states have several steps before getting there.

Are you the “who?” Alfred Solis from the blog Experts and NewBIEs told us this week that Common Core State Standards is the “what” while project-based learning is the “how.”

Congrats to Coleman. David Coleman, an architect of the common core curriculum standards, will become the president of the College Board starting in October, the organization announced.

Come On Get App-y

Hello Modo. Modo Labs showed how mobile learning is growing: the majority of prospective students are viewing school sites on mobile devices.

Partnership in Land of 10,000 Lakes saves 65,000 students some cash. McGraw-Hill launched an eBook project with the University of Minnesota, which will include a complete catalog of eBooks and adaptive learning products for all 65,000 students at a discounted rate.

Hoosier HUB-U. Purdue University announced that it plans to expand online learning offerings to offer for-credit courses to the world.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Exploring the depths in the waivers. Alliance for Excellent Education released a new report this week with their analysis of the 11 state applications approved by the federal government for NCLB waivers. Providing Greater Opportunities for Deeper Learning in NCLB Waivers details that the applications vary in the degree to which “deeper learning” skills are reflected in the standards, accountability systems, professional development, and teacher evaluations.

Is Self-Learning the new Master’s Degree? The infographic created by the folks at Udemy implies that the answer is Yes! Udemy, a Learn Capital portfolio company, powers anywhere anytime learning.  CEO Erin Bali grew up in Turkey and learned everything he could online, now he’s making it easy for the rest of us.

Even college graduates should be employable. Fullbridge, a provider of career skills training for college students, raised $5.5 million in a round led by GSV.  Heavy hitters Mike Moe, Ed Mathias and John Katzman will join the board.

Common Core goes College Board. Common Core State Standards architect David Coleman has been chose to lead College Board following a great decade of leadership from Gaston Caperton.  The board couldn’t have made a better choice–Coleman is America’s most important non-academic academic.  He will define/evolve ‘college readiness’ for the next two generations.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

Movin’ up at M.I.T. Rafael Reif, an electrical engineer who has been the provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the last seven years, has been chosen as the institution’s next president. As provost, Mr. Reif led the development of MITx and edX, the institute’s new online initiatives.

Two years running! Rethink Autism, a Common Core State Standards aligned autism curriculum, won the 2012 CODiE Award for Best Instructional Solution for the second year in a row.  CEO Daniel Etra said a few weeks ago that we could expect a broader set of service offerings this year.  Great to see more edtech progress in special ed.

3D in N.Y.C. The UK”s leading 3D education provider – Gaia 3D – hosted demos and briefings in New York City this week to explore the potential of 3D interactive technologies to transform instruction.  We featured the 3D learning environments created by SMALLab Learning yesterday.

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