We hope you’re enjoying the long holiday weekend. We know you’re eager to get back to your turkey sandwich leftovers and that backyard game of tag football, which is why we’ve worked to condense the news highlights to just 10 quick items. Here’s your small talk points for early Monday morning back at the office:

Blended Schools & Tools

1. School Improvement Grants didn’t work as well as hoped (Tom has some experience in this department). Smarick said failing schools should be closed. Hassel said we can’t start good new schools fast enough. We think it’s time for an updated portfolio approach: Close failing schools, start good new schools, blend improvement strategies, and expand online learning options for students and teachers.  We think NYC is an example of a district heading in the right direction.

2. The U.S. Department of Education taps Knewton for online learning for at-risk youth in correctional facilities. Adaptive and competency-based programs raise some questions, we tried to provide some answers.

Digital Developments

3. K12 for Schools and Districts (K12 Inc.) launched the first in a series of content available through the PEAK12 Library, a new tool that enables instructors to quickly and easily personalize online courses for individual students, groups, classes, schools or districts.

4. Pearson announced that in August 2012 there were more than 78k apps in the Books category of Apple’s App Store, and more than 79k in the Education category, with 29 percent and 38 percent of those apps, respectively, free downloads – both low percentages compared to other categories.

Come On Get App-y

5. Educator Richard Byrne wrote about ClassDojo, a free app being used by teachers across all grade levels to track attendance and behaviors. Teachers using the app can assign access codes to parents so they can look in on their child’s progress.

6. ProCon.org launched a new “issue site” Tablets vs. Textbooks, to promote “critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship” by laying out reasoning for and against widespread tablet use in schools.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

7. EdX announced an innovative blended massive open online course (MOOC) offering at Bunker Hill and MassBay Community Colleges, the first community colleges to work with edX to bring a new teaching model to the classroom.

8. 2U’s anti-MOOC, Semester Online promised small classes sizes of 12-15 students and college credit.

The Big “D”

9. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation shared a great video of Chris Kingsley of the National League of Cities describing the importance of data management in community-wide collaborations at nFocus Solutions’ Communities for Change 2012 leadership symposium.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10. Forbes shared 15 education innovators harnessing disruptive technologies to change the way we teach grade school math, train the next generation of teachers, and more.

K12 Inc. and Pearson are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. ClassDojo is a Learn Capital company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

 

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