This week we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day with educators across the country. It’s the time of year when we pause to reflect on importance of great teaching and acknowledge that teachers today are rising up to meet enormous challenges. As celebrated educator Rita Pierson said in this week’s premier of TedTalksEd on PBS, “Is this job tough? You bet’cha. But it is not impossible.” We’re hoping you had time to #thankateacher this week and read about our team’s favorite teachers.
Blended Schools & Tools
1. In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day, Digital Learning Now! released the 7th DLN Smart Series paper. “Improving Conditions & Careers: How Blended Learning Can Improve the Teaching Profession” expands on the previously released (and much-shared) infographic – “Blended Learning and the Teaching Profession.”
2. Fordham released a brief that explores the great work happening in Reynoldsburg, Ohio (a top district in our “one to watch” category and early to adopt MOOCs). The report, “Limitless: Education, The Reynoldsburg Way,” highlights this large public school district as an exemplar in the district portfolio approach. (In other awesome Ohio news from this Buckeye, Cincinnati is opening a Carpe Diem school in the fall!)
Bonus: Have you nominated your favorite deeper learning school to Getting Smart yet? We’re embarking on a Deeper Learning Profile Project. This summer we will be profiling schools that provide exemplary and unique deeper learning principles. Some of the school profiles will be included in a deeper learning white paper to be released in August 2013 and will consider structures, strategies, educational philosophies, and systems that produce deeper learning experiences. Other profiles will appear on Tom Vander Ark’s EdWeek blog and GettingSmart.com.
3. This week the NEA released a policy statement on Digital Learning. We were excited to see the NEA formally acknowledge the potential of technology to ensure equity to meet the needs of every student, support and enhance educator professionalism, and enrich student learning.
4. Two cool tool updates – Curriculum Associates announced summer upgrades to i-Ready® Diagnostic & Instruction that will expand K-8 diagnostic assessments and progress monitoring tools through 12th grade in order to give teachers more and better data to personalize instruction in both reading and math. MasteryConnect launched its redesigned Common Core App with a host of snazzy new features and more great resources.
Bonus: A WestEd Study confirmed big gains from game-based ST Math in LA schools.
Getting to the Core
6. PARCC released blueprints and test specifications for its English and math assessments. The documents are intended to help teachers prepare students for the new online assessments that will begin in 2014-2015. Thinking about how your district can get ready for online assessments? Check out the “Countdown to Next Generation Assessments” infographic and “Getting Ready for Online Assessments” report.
7. The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) released a report “What Does It Really Mean to Be College & Work Ready” that provides important context for those of us in the “future of education” space.
Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning
8. Coursera & Chegg are teaming up to improve student access to digital content. Picture the students enrolled in Coursera’s courses running longingly with arms outstretched across a spring meadow with the string section swelling in the background toward Chegg’s content from Cengage, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, SAGE and Wiley (at least that’s how I picture it, but maybe that’s just the former grad student in me). Watch for more MOOC content sharing deals this month.
9. Desire2Learn unveiled its new Learning Suite that will use predictive analytics to predict and improve student performance in higher ed. The suite includes a new mobile learning app, interactive e-portfolio and student success tracking system to feed prediction information to instructors and back to students.
The Big “D”
10. CoSN and AASA released its “Closing the Gap Professional Development Toolkit” as a piece of their collaborative Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action project. The toolkit features PD resources to help teachers and administrators better use data to improve instruction.
Disclosures: Digital Learning Now!, Curriculum Associates, and MIND Research are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. MasteryConnect and Udemy are Learn Capital Portfolio Companies, where Tom is a partner.