Blended Schools & Tools

MIND Research Institute announced that Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools showed significant gains, nearly doubling their growth in math proficiency between 2010 and 2012, with MIND’s ST Math®, a visually based instructional software program featuring the animated penguin named JiJi, which fits naturally into a blended learning environment.

Digital Learning Now’s Utah Digital Learning Summit brought together national experts on blended and online learning, and provided expert advice on implementation and action.

The Janus Foundation, which manages charitable contributions for Janus Capital Group, will be committing $2.1 million over three years to the Denver Public Schools to accelerate blended learning.

Michael Horn & Heather Staker’s latest installment in their THE Journal series focuses on 5 Skills for Blended-Learning Teachers.

CityBridge Foundation and NewSchools Venture Fund are partnering to launch the Education Innovation Fellowship, a competitive fellowship that introduces a cohort of Washington, D.C.’s strongest teachers to the most promising innovations in blended learning.

Digital Developments

SETDA announced key initiatives of its newly adopted Strategic Plan. The 2013-2016 Plan charts the direction for SETDA’s continued growth and success over the next three years and will serve as the blueprint for achieving SETDA’s mission.

Five Chiefs for Change states were featured in the new study by CRPE: “Modernizing the State Education Agency: Different Paths Toward Performance Management. The report underscores the need for state education agencies to shift from a compliance management model to a performance management model in order to successfully increase outcomes for all students in under-performing schools.

Knovation released its list of Top 100 “Digital Learning Award” winners . The contest was established to honor school districts that are effectively using digital resources to impact the teaching and learning environments. The winning districts have employed netTrekker Search to deliver educator-vetted, standards-aligned digital resources to every student and teacher in their district.

Resources for the Race

Turnaround for Children and AIR released two white papers on the foundational conditions and metrics for personalized learning.  If you want to move beyond reading and math assessments to a comprehensive dashboard, you need to read these papers.

Check out iNACOL resources for RTTD and 35 Getting Smart Blogs for Districts Planning for Personalization.

Edmodo provides a unique platform for personalized learning that increases student engagement and teacher capacity. Check out the overview and tips on your RTTD application.

Getting to the Core

Compass Learning’s George Rislov provided insight into Common Core Assessments in the first of two Q & As on the topic.

A new Future of Children policy brief from Brookings and Princeton University examines the ability of standards to boost literacy and close the achievement gap. The authors assert that Common Core State Standards can address the nation’s literacy problem when paired with other improvements to assessments, curriculum and professional development.

The HechingerEd Blog asked: Are New Online Standardized Tests Revolutionary? and reviewed some of the big issues in the move to online assessments. The next Digital Learning Now! Smart Series paper will explore these issues deeply. For a preview, check out Tom’s post: Getting Ready for Online Assessment.

EdWeek reported: Common Core Catches On With Private Schools, noting that even though the focus is on the shift to new standards for public schools, many private schools are also making the transition.

New Tech Network President Lydia Dobyns shared An Uncommon Path to Common Core Implementation and urged educators to ask how they can turn the CCSS into compelling instruction.

Check out Common Core resources from American Achieves.

Come On Get App-y

Wanderful Interactive Storybooks introduced “Harry and the Haunted House” just in time for Halloween.  Originally written by Mark Schlichting for the revolutionary Living Books series, “Harry and the Haunted House” has been updated with new features designed by Schlichting himself for the launch.

Nearpod launched its all-in-one solution for the synchronized use of iPads to support teaching and learning. The app has been downloaded more than 150,000 times, and nearly 250,000 students have logged into Nearpod classes. Now available on the App Store, the new version of Nearpod is fully compatible with iOS 6 and unifies the teacher and student app into one.

NanoProfessor announced that SENAI and SESI of São Paulo, Brazil recently incorporated the NanoProfessor Nanoscience Education Program into five mobile nanotechnology classrooms in launching its Nanomundo Nanotechnology Educational Program.

The Nature Conservancy has partnered with Five Ravens to create a new version of My Bird World, an educational mobile app to advance conservation education.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Pearson is hosting a one-day conference on October 19th in Boston for leaders in social media research and practice in higher education for educators, instructional designers, deans of academic technology, chief information officers, and chief technology officers looking to expand their teaching with social tools.

Penn State University’s new Video Learning Network program has taken the college classroom, blended it with the concept of online learning, added a mix of students from across the state in a virtual environment, and put live professors at the front of the class to create a hybrid college experience.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged participants at the 2012 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference to move to a competency-based model on higher education. Tom was on the founding WGU board 15 years ago and thought competency-based learning would catch on; he was right (but like online learning) was just 15 years early.  We appreciate Gov. Perry’s higher ed leadership on cost and competency.

The Big “D”

Digital Learning Now! released the second in its Smart SeriesData Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles. The paper was timed with the White House Education Datapalooza event.  Tom and Carri reflected on the paper’s topic in the Vander Ark on Innovation blog.

The latest issue of ECS’s The Progress of Education Reform explores “Producing Quality Credentials: Why Data and Analytics Matter.” The report highlights ways that states can leverage data and accompanying strategies to strengthen the fit between the production of credentials and workforce demand.

Steamy STEM Gems

Online Universities compiled a list of 40 Important Online Resources for Women in STEM.

More than 800 schools and community groups from across Iowa will offer new programs aimed at boosting access to and interest in STEM education, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced. The programs are one of the efforts undertaken by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, a public-private partnership for expanding education in those areas and improving Iowa’s workforce.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

ACT announced an expanded Board of Directors and named new officers, including KnowledgeWorks Founder Chad Wick and AACC President and CEO Walter Bumphus.

Disclosures: Digital Learning Now, Pearson, MIND Research and Compass Learning  are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Edmodo is a Learn Capital portfolio company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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