Is it just me or has this week felt like the opening credits for the weeks to come? The first day of summer leads to daydreaming about the weeks ahead. The flurry of edtech announcements leads to increased excitement over the trip many will take to San Antonio for ISTE13 next week. Are you ISTE-bound? Check out this handy dandy cheatsheet, and sign up for one of the few spots left at the EdTech Women Dine event. Our own Alison Anderson will be leading the Getting Smart coverage of ISTE13. Be sure to say hi, grab a guest blogger card, and tell her what you’re excited about these days.
Blended Schools & Tools
1. In big blended learning news this week, LAUSD announced a $30 million contract with Apple to equip students at 47 of its schools with ipads that will come pre-loaded with educational software. That’s right, the nation’s second largest school district will be toting tablets! We’re hoping LAUSD leadership plans to download copies of the Digital Learning Now!’s Blended Learning Implementation Guide to make the most of this device deployment.
2. Are you “evidence-junkies” like we are? If so, you’ll be happy to see this comprehensive lit review on flipped learning from the Flipped Learning Network™, George Mason University and Pearson’s Center for Educator Effectiveness. A Review of Flipped Learning focuses on how the model affects personalization and differentiation, discusses active learning and explores how flipped learning serves diverse student populations. An analysis of implementations and results in K-12 schools and colleges and universities is also included.
3. Amplify announced a lineup of more than 30 ELA and STEM games targeted at middle-school aged students for the Amplify tablet and other operating systems that will be available in the 2014-15 school year. The potential of gaming in education continues to get the attention it deserves with a new SRI study showing that an analysis of 77 peer-reviewed journal articles of students K-16 studying STEM subjects, “when digital games were compared to other instruction conditions without digital games, there was a moderate to strong effect in favor of digital games in terms of broad cognitive competencies.” This gels with a WestEd study we covered this spring that confirmed gains tracked by schools using the innovative ST Math program from MIND Research Institute.
4. We join Digital Learning Now! in raising a glass to Texas for offering expanded options and flexibility to its 2.5 million students with the passage of SB 1365 and HB 1926. Together, this legislation supports competency-based learning by allowing students to earn credit for courses by meeting rigorous benchmarks on selected exams and guarantees every student in grades six through 12 the option to take up to three high quality online courses. To learn more about these bills, check out DLN’s summaries and analysis of Senate Bill 1365 (Credit by Exam) and House Bill 1926 (Online Course Choice). In other policy praise, DLN, iNACOL, and CCI released a statement congratulating Louisiana on moving forward in support of Course Choice.
5. In this week’s interesting stats, K12 Inc announced that over 4,000 students graduated this year from online and blended schools using the K12 program. Udemy revealed new stats showing that more than 8,000 courses have been taught to more than 800,000 students – earning some of the top instructors a combined revenue of more than $5M. Hey folks, looks like this online learning thing has legs.
7. Follett Corporation announced the establishment of the $50M “Follet Knowledge Fund” that will be co-managed by Atrium Capital, based in Menlo Park.
8. Everyone from Blackboard to Bill is backing Open Badges. At the annual CGI America conference in Chicago, former President Bill Clinton announced the 2 Million Better Futures initiative dedicated to helping 1 million students and 1 million U.S. workers access opportunities through Open Badges. It was also announced that Chicago’s DePaul University will be one of the first institutions to join the Open Badges commitment by starting to accept badges for college credit. (In other Chicago news, if you’re an early stage nonprofit using innovative models to create opportunity for low-income Chicagoans, check out abetterchicago.org/projectimpact/ for info on the $100,000 program.)
Come on Get App-Y
9. Have a hankering to create some hyperbolas? Desmos announced the launch of their first iPad app that features many of the familiar elements of desmos.com, but with dozens of built-in examples, an enhanced design, and offline support.
10. Public Impact launched the first in a series of case studies that will provide in-depth looks at how districts, charter schools, and other programs have begun using Opportunity Culture models or experimented with similar means of expanding teachers’ impact on students and peer teachers. The first study Leading Educators: Empowering Teacher-Leaders to Extend Their Reach by Leading Teams, profiles Anna Lavely of Kansas. Check out what Public Impact has to say about the potential of blended learning to improve conditions and careers in this white paper they co-authored with some other names you might recognize.
Disclosures: Digital Learning Now!, K12, Pearson, and Mind Research are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Desmos and Udemy are Learn Capital portfolio companies, where Tom is a partner. Tom is a director at iNACOL.