If your home is anything like mine, it’s ringing with the joyous sounds of children counting down the days until summer vacation. (We’re down to 5 here, if you’re wondering.)  Maybe you’re one of the lucky parents, teachers or administrators whose school is already out for summer. In that case, check out our round-up of summer learning opportunities. Or maybe you’re one of our readers who will march on through June, July and August with nary a break to anticipate. If that’s the case, cheer yourself up with a healthy dose of this week’s Top Ten.  

Blended Schools & Tools

1. I just love highlighting my hometown news. Cincinnati has proved itself worthy lately with new Carpe Diem and New Tech Network schools opening in the fall and a great piece on blended learning math implementation at Purcell-Marian High School. (Our Reds are looking pretty good this year, too!)

2. Amplify announced that one of the largest tablet deployments in K-12 will feature Amplify tablets.  More than 20,000 tablets will be used by students and teachers in 24 middle schools in Guilford Co, North Carolina beginning in the fall. For more in tablet news, check out how LAUSD is trying out e-readers and Houston’s plans to equip high-schoolers with laptops.

Digital Developments

3. We’ve been balancing our blogging efforts lately with co-authoring the 8th paper in the DLN Smart Series. This time we’re tackling the myths, reality and promise of online learning with iNACOL’s Susan Patrick on board as co-author. Here are a couple of previews of what’s to come in the paper – 10 Reasons Online Learning Matters & 10 Trends in K-12 Online Learning. We’d love to hear your thoughts on other aspects of online learning you’d like to see us tackle.

4. A new paper from the Center for American Progress & Broad Foundation addresses the important albeit “dry subject” (their words, not ours) of K-12 governance. We agree on the important part – especially as we think about building state capacity to better support the shift to personalized digital learning.

5.  The winners of the first “Gap App” challenge were announced. Winners – KnowRe, Mathalicious, Hapara and LiveSchool – will be piloted in NYC schools beginning this fall. Our own Tom V. served as a judge and was impressed by the 200 entries.

6. The fine folks at Digital Promise have sure been busy. This week they shared an outline of their work with IDEO – “Evolving Ed-Tech Procurement in School Districts– that offers an explanation of how to make edtech procurement “more modern, efficient, and attuned to demand.” Sounds good to us!  Digital Promise will also host a webinar next week

Providing Internet Access for Students in Need (scheduled for 4 p.m. EST, Wednesday June 5.) that will provide participants with insight from Connect2Compete.

Come on Get App-y

7. Blackboard launched TipTxt, a two-way texting service that will allow students to confidentially notify school officials of activity related to bullying or school safety. The service will be free to all K-12 schools and districts in the country.

For the Core

8. This week, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released sets of example test questions for grades 3–8 and 11 in both ELA & math. The practice tests feature a range of question types and are freely available on the Smarter Balanced website: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/practice-test/.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. There’s been quite a bit of Coursera buzz this week with the announcement of ten state university systems and public university flagships, including the State University of New York (SUNY), and the University of Colorado system – earning Coursera extra credit in the “massive” category.   Interested in learning about MOOCs? Vanderbilt University’s new Institute for Digital Learning will study MOOCs and more.

10.  Northern Arizona University announced the launch of its Personalized Learning program that will offer accredited, competency-based online bachelor’s degrees for just $5,000 a year. Initial degrees include Computer Information Technology, Liberal Arts and Small Business Administration.

 

[Disclosures: Digital Learning Now! is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Tom is a Director at iNACOL.]

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