It may be a holiday week, but things sure don’t slow down when there is so much great stuff happening for education! Trying to capture it all in 10 points is hard! (cc vacationing Edtech 10 guru, Carri Schneider). Sure glad Carri will be back Monday because it is going to an exciting week here at Getting Smart! If you haven’t checked out the How to Start An Online Program Infographic yet, do that first. Then go right ahead and sign up for the webinar this Friday hosted by Tom, John Bailey (Executive Director, Digital Learning Now!) and Susan Patrick (President & CEO, iNACOL). By the time the newest and final Myths Paper, Online Learning: Myths, Reality & Promise is released next week, you will have everything you need to be at the cutting edge for providing top quality online learning!

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

1. Deeper Learning? Are you hearing that term pop up all over education, lately? We are too and are excited about it because we love schools that ask kids to think! From an excellent session at ISTE, Dive into Deeper Learning, by the  awesome people at New Tech High to a great post on Edutopia from PBL expert, Suzie Boss, great educators are talking about what Deeper Learning looks like. Here at Getting Smart we are profiling schools across the country that are getting Deeper Learning right. Stay tuned to Getting Smart because each incredible school will be featured on our site throughout the summer.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

2. Although we’ve had a lot of talk about ISTE these past weeks on, there was another great conference happening around the same time, The Aspen Festival of Big Ideas. As usual, top minds from all over the world come together to lead big conversations to help mold society.

Some big question tackled were “Why Can’t Learning Be Fun?” a great conversation with Jessie Woolley Wilson from Dreambox, Fr. Joe Parks from the Cristo Rey Network of schools and Larry Scripp, founding director of the Center for Music Education. Also another great education debate held, “Will Massively Open Online Courses Change the Way We Learn?” included Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera.  Anyone interested can find all the conversations that happened in Aspen on the Aspen Institute Youtube channel.

3. [ ] Schools (pronounced Blank Schools) a brand new, exciting and brave event happening in Orlando Florida this week is definitely going to be hot, and we are talking more than just the weather. Starting July 6th, Christine Oritz and her team assembled of great people from the community as well as contributors flying in from all over the country will start their own Extreme Makeover: K12 Edition! In 6 days the team will have created an entirely new school! They will leave the hotel completely ready to implement the plan this August. Stay tuned to Getting Smart to find out the results and get a virtual “tour” of the new digs.

4. Are you ready to start planning for next spring? SXSWedu is! The PanelPicker just went live this week and they are ready for proposals. Not sure what to talk about? That’s ok, SXSW has 5 tips for success and a downloadable starter guide for first time submitters. So go ahead and mark your calendars now for March 3-6, 2014 to head down to Austin for one of the year’s most talked about education conferences.

Teachers & Tech

5. The highly anticipated list of the top 25 websites for Teaching and Learning was announced by the American Association of School Librarians this week. Categorized under Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Manage & Organize, Social Networking & Communication, Content Resources, Curriculum Collaboration each free, web-based site is also aligned to the 21st century learning standards. It is truly a great collection of school worthy sites, but we are particularly excited to see BiblioNasium included- the student version of Shelfari that can be used especially in flipped classrooms and libraries to encourage the love of reading!

6.  Starting with the bad news, 1,300 studies analyzing the impact of teacher PD on student achievement, only nine meet the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards and were found to have an impact on student achievement. The good news, Capella University and Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS) just announced a competency-based K-12 PD partnership that clearly measures and supports the effectiveness of educators and is aligned with online Master of Science in Education degree programs.

Let’s Get Personal(ized)

7. Personalized learning programs have no limits!  Mountain Peak Charter School in Vista, CA implemented PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy. In order to achieve their goal of providing high-quality and consistent speech therapy to encourage increased student outcomes for the approximately 500 students they serve across three southern California counties,they choose to employ online speech therapy services for K-12 students. This week on Getting Smart, Jessica highlighted another school service, High School Career Counseling, using the blended model to further their reach. Is it just us, or is there a trend starting?

Policy Praise

8. Competency Education in Colorado Takes a Giant Step Forward  CompetencyWorks takes an in depth look into Colorado’s new high school graduation requirements. A great blog post examining exactly how does a district know that a student is competent? For those of you thinking about state policy it’s worth taking a look. There must be something in the water this week, because Tom was thinking along the same lines on Edweek, in Considering Competency-Based Education.

Blended Schools & Tools

9. Good News for Blended Learning! Engrade, the district-level education platform that unifies the data, curriculum, and tools for teachers, schools leaders, and administrators announced it has secured $5 million in a Series B funding round to accelerate its nationwide expansion and product development. Sure is exciting to see financial support of that amount being awarded to support more blended learning platforms!

10.Edgenuity Shares New Online Learning Success Stories. Over the past ten months, Edgenuity has been advancing the conversation about what is working in blended learning by hosting  Executive Leadership Summits on Blended Learning across the country. It’s continuing discussions like these that will help shape  the future of online and blended learning.

 
[Disclosures: Tom is a director at iNACOL. DLN and Dreambox are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.]

 

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