After a hot beginning of the week in Phoenix, a rainy day in Seattle, your substitute EdTech conductor is reporting live from Akron–and who wouldn’t want to make a Spring Break trip to Akron?! It’s now the storm before the calm of summer as Spring Breaks around the country come to an end. Conference season is in full gear and we’ll all need an extra cup of java in the mornings to power through. Don’t worry; while you cram your days to wrap projects before the last school bell, we’ll continue to bring you the top news stories each week. Your trusty EdTech regular author will also return next week after an Instagrammed Spring Break.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Nassau BOCES (Long Island) will be piloting a computer-based approach to new measures of college readiness. The pilot project, led by Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network Center for College & Career Success hopes to make college and career readiness assessments more innovative–a productive next step toward comprehensive learner profiles.  

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

2. Please don’t buy a truckload of iPads without a plan!  Common Sense Media created the 1-to-1 Essentials Program with three steps–Envision, Communicate and Implement–with useful contributions on acceptable use policies. For more on the 5 big decisions that should be in your plan, see the DLN Blended Learning Implementation Guide.

Digital Developments

3. In an effort to help students prepare for daunting end of course assessments, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) has partnered with Shmoop, a publisher of digital curriculum and test prep. The guides provide humor while helping highlight problem areas that students should focus on using Shmoop’s bank of practice problems. Glad to see students can smile about test prep!

4. edX, the Harvard, MIT, and UT-backed non-profit got smarter this week with Stanford’s contribution of Class2Go, released in January to the edX platform.

Getting to the Core

5. The Common Core has been taking a beating lately. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute set the record straight by clearing up some of the big misconceptions.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

6. Free online courses just got better with Saylor.org. Students who successfully complete a course can now apply for course credit through seven regionally accredited colleges and universities.

7. Know a great educator at a charter, virtual and magnet school? Help celebrate pioneering teachers by nominating them for the American Pioneer of Teaching Award contest hosted by PublicSchoolOptions.org. Read more from Beth Purcell on Getting Smart. For more pioneering teachers check out our latest Smart Teacher posts.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

8. Rosetta Stone acquired Seattle-based Livemocha for a bargain price this week–another sign that language acquisition is just hard work and that tools are still improving.  Rosetta Stone claims to be used in 20,000 K-12 schools.

9. Arizona State University, the Clayton Christensen Institute and GSV Advisors announced the finalists for the inaugural Return on Education (ROE) Innovation Awards. Winners in each category will be announced at the ASU GSV Education Innovation Summit on Wednesday, April 17th. Our team is looking forward to attending the conference again this year, here’s what we had to say about it last year.

The Big “D”

10. Still trying to figure out what inBloom does or how states and districts will use it? After making a splash entrance at SXSWedu, and taking flack from some hyperventilating critics, Audrey Watters followed up with their team to get the scoop on all the data and how its being used.

Listen Up!

Bonus Item: Just in case you haven’t seen Kid President’s Pep Talk yet – do yourself a favor and be one of the 17 million to view the video. Our favorite lines include “You were made to be awesome” and “Two roads diverged in the woods and I took the road less traveled… and it hurt man! Not cool Robert Frost”.

Disclosure: Pearson and FLVS are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

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