Blended Schools & Tools

HBCU blends. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Connections Education will launch TMCF Collegiate Academies a blended learning program that will allow students to individualize their education and work at a personalized pace.

More than “just add water.”  PBS/Media shift provides two questions to guide technology integration: “What are the educational goals of technology integration?” and
“Do the current systems and processes support the integrative and innovative goals?”

Distraction to Reaction. Top Hat Monocle, a maker of instructional software, has brought in $8 million in venture-capital funding. The company’s software allows professors to incorporate students’ mobile phones into lesson plans. Since launching a few years ago, the business has grown to include 65,000 college students at 150 institutions.

Ready. Set. Blend. Christoper Dawson offered some great blended and elearning tips this week on ZDNet Education.

Embracing the Inevitable. A new BYOD-focused white paper offers some guidance on developing Acceptable Use Policies for this new era of mobile active learning.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

Tablet Tools. A tablet webinar on August 29th will detail how tablets offers many advantages over traditional computers or laptops and provide participants with tools to engage struggling learners, increase learning time, and provide good PD for strong implementation.

Clever Comparison. Techpinions points out that “there’s virtually nothing standing in the tablet’s way” noting that The PC is the Titanic and the Tablet is the Iceberg.

Digital Developments

Gauging CCR with online assessments. The National Academy Foundation (NAF) has partnered with WestEd, a leading educational research, development, and service agency, to develop a student certification assessment system for its national network of high school, career-focused academies. The system is designed to measure students’ knowledge and application of key career-related technical content and foundational skills, in a nationally-recognized, industry-authenticated certificate. All assessments will be delivered online. Tom explained on Getting Smart that this in fact a pretty big deal.

Response to NEPC. This week the NEPC released a report that throws stones at K12 Inc. K12 issued a comprehensive response to the report to set the record straight. Robin Lake of CRPE responded to the NEPC study noting that “any serious study of the impact of online programs, then, has to assess individual student trajectories, rather than making comparisons with all kids who are in regular schools.”

Digital Citizenship Tools. new curriculum, available on YouTube, is intended to help teachers show teenagers how to be good digital citizens. The curriculum, developed by Google, features 10 lessons prepared for teachers, including a course on YouTube’s own policies, how to protect online privacy, report inappropriate content and be responsible YouTube users.

Digital Learning in Lagos. In an attempt to improve quality of teaching and learning and also grant access to international best practice, Nigeria is developing Talent Centre-consisting of  of an interactive board, a tablet PC for each student to access the content and an iTutor. Its Chief Operations Manager notes, “It is high time [Nigerian] schools grabbed the competitive advantages available in the 21st century teaching and learning.”

The Science of Getting Smart

Aussie assertions. International Conference of the Learning Sciences was held at University of Sydney and focused on the future of learning. With research pointing to classrooms becoming increasingly collaborative spaces, the conference attracted leading international educators examining ”more innovative and exciting and effective ways to learn.”

Learning Gene? Brilliant Blogger Annie Murphy Paul shared new research that has identified genetic markers associated with academic achievement and failure.

Steamy STEM Gems

LEGOs on Steriods. Electronic building blocks company littleBits today announced a $3.65 million Series A round led by True Ventures and including Khosla Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Lerer Ventures. The company also announced a major partnership with leading supply chain management company PCH International, which will begin producing littleBits in August 2012. The website explains: “Just as LEGOs™ allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together.

STEM Data Workshops. To help educators learn about the various ways to integrate data-collection technology into their laboratory experiments, Vernier Software & Technology is offering free workshops this fall. each 4-hour, hands-on workshop will educators with the opportunity to hone their data-collection skills while teachers new to probeware learn and explore the basics.

STEM Master Corps. The Obama administration unveiled plans to create an elite corps of master teachers, a $1 billion effort to boost students’ achievement in STEM subjects. Teachers selected for the Master Teacher Corps will be paid an additional $20,000 a year and must commit to participate multiple years.

NC New Schools Project.  Developing network of innovative STEM secondary schools with a focus on biotechnology and agriscience — including a regional STEM school in northeastern North Carolina — will be significantly enhanced by a $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to the NC New Schools Project, a key partner in the network and regional model school.

Getting to the Core

Deeper Learning and the Common Core. Funded by a number of foundations, including the William and Flora HewlettJohn D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, and Nellie Mae Education foundations, the report, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century, associates three sets of “21st century competencies” with the deeper learning approach. The report also encourages states working to implement the Common Core State Standards to “devote significant attention” to understanding the relationships between the competencies, the effectiveness of teaching and assessment strategies, and successful adult outcomes for students.

CCSS impact. The McGraw-Hill Research Foundation released a new white paper, “Common Core State Standards: What Effect Could They Have on Adult Education and High School Equivalency Programs in the U.S.?”

A step in the right direction. Louisiana’s new Technology Footprint provides a great example of a statewide plan to monitor readiness for the online assessments coming in 2014-15. In an effort to proactively assist LEAs in planning and implementing strategies to ensure their schools are technology ready for supporting online assessment, Common Core, and embedded 21st Century electronic resources, the Louisiana Department of Education has produced a technology footprint for each LEA who submitted data within the Technology Readiness Tool in order to provide them with a picture of their current state of technology readiness.

Come On Get App-y

Fetch! Book Retriever, a mobile application recently released by Classroom Library Co., continues to be an iTunes top seller even during summer break. The app allows parents and teachers to match a child’s reading level to items found in a database of more than 130,000 books.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Coursera Consortium. The NY Times reported this week that universities are reshaping education on the web, breaking the news that Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, will announce that a dozen major research universities are joining the venture. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free MOOCs that are expected to draw millions of students.

Here comes Coursemodo. TechCrunch reported this week on Coursemodo – a new interactive learning management system which focuses on student engagement in the classroom. The company is currently in the process of closing a seed round of around $500,000 to $1 million. Currently, that platform includes four key components: a web-enabled application which can be used from any Internet-connected device, including phones, tablets or computers; a polling feature for getting instant feedback from students; a quizzes feature which supports instant grading an export to a teacher’s preferred LMS, and an announcements feature for teacher-student communication which extends outside of course hours through SMS messaging.

$25m more for Edmodo. VentureBeat reports that Edmodo‘s campaign to bring collaborative, social media tools to the classroom was bolstered today with a $25 million funding round led by new investor, New Enterprise Associate’s Tony Florence. With this round of financing, Edmodo has raised $47.5 million to date.

What’s in your wallet? NerdWallet’s scholarship search tool launched this week and includes more than 10,000 different financial aid awards.

News on Knewton. A new UNLV uses online program to tackle students’ lack of math skills.  The program relies heavily on Knewton, an online course that helps students get up to speed on college-level math. It’s a course that’s seen success at Arizona State University and is being used at large public universities such as Penn State and Washington State. Want to know more about Knewton? Check out this great Q&A with Jose Ferreira, Founder and CEO.

The Big “D”

Big Data Analytics in Ed. The second in this two part series on Big Data dives into learning analytic systems, user knowledge, educational data mining, and recent ED movements in Big Data.

Data dilemmas. This piece from The Atlantic asserts that collecting rigorous, in-depth data related to education and labor issues should be a federal priority.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

On August 1, Myk Garn will depart SREB and join Straigher Line as Vice President for Academic Alliances, where he will  help colleges and students leverage the innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunities that SL has been receiving significant recognition for already.

Connections Education and K12 Inc. are a Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Edmodo is a Learn Capital company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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