The Nation’s Report Card, the result of sampling 4th and 8th graders, showed small gains from the prior year. Tennessee was the only state to show big gains. They were the first state to win a big Race to the Top grant and have worked hard to catapult low performing schools to the top performers. Washington D.C., where strong charters will soon serve half of the students, also showed big gains.

It was also a busy week in edtech with other signs of progress in reports, announcements, acquisitions, and planned public offerings.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Eye Candy. We have plenty of it this week on Getting Smart and we’d hate for you to miss it! Here’s the Blended Learning 2.0 infographic and tune in to watch the latest Digital Learning Now! video, Blended Learning Models.

2. Reflections of a Blended Principal. This year the talented education leader, Oliver Sicat was “given the opportunity to take the torch at USC Hybrid High (an NGLC grantee) to refine the current model and expand our schools in Los Angeles and across the country.” We here are at Getting Smart are definitely anticipating a trip down to LA for a visit to USC Hybrid High soon!

3. Online Options. Louisiana announced expanded Course Choice including vocational courses and student support services.  On our visit to Florida Virtual School we uncovered 10 secrets to their success.

4. This Just In: Math Scores Up in VA & DC!  Virginia schools that implemented the game-based ST Math blended learning program in 2012-13 experienced triple the growth rate in math scale scores on the Virginia Standards of Learning tests, compared to other similar schools. In DC, schools implementing ST Math have tripled in the growth on math proficiency and the proficiency rate in DCPS is now at a record level.

Digital Developments

5. Every Kid Loves Fieldtrips! Google’s new Connected Classrooms know what kids crave. They want to get out of the classroom and experience new things. Now, via Google+ Hangouts, classrooms around the world can participate in Google organized virtual field trips all across the globe. Don’t fret if you missed the first few, just check the calendar- there are plenty of great trips planned for the rest of the year!

“In the Money”

6. Twitter isn’t the Only IPO. Selling shares to the public used to be an option for growing education companies but the market for initial public offerings (IPO) has been hard to tap for a decade. That appears to be changing–at least for companies focused on higher ed– with two announced IPOs this week. Publisher Houghton Mifflin is hoping to raise about $250 million after restructuring. And textbook rental company Chegg is planning its IPO to fuel a transition to digital.

7. Ranku’s the New Yelp for College Students. Microsoft Ventures announced that it is including Ranku- a service to help students who are looking to go back to school online, in its investment portfolio.

Teachers and Tech

8. Partnerships for Next Gen Educators. It’s happening… studies show more than half of K-12 school districts are already offering or interested in starting blended and online learning programs. Partnering for Success: A 21 st Century Model for Teacher Preparation, published by iNACOL is great resource for everyone in the field want to build upon the work of pioneering leaders.

Come On Get App-Y

9. Make,Take or Share Apps. Now anyone can make an app, with the uber popular Stanford app creating course is now available on iTunes U. Take learning anywhere with new apps from both Curriculum Associates  (World’s Worst Pet– already getting great reviews) and the new Dreambox app for the iPad. Share information by texting parents safely and securely through Edmodo.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

10. Colonial Williamsburg Gets Techy. The USAID’s Office of Science and Technology is  hosting TechCon 2013 on November 17-18 at William & Mary College, to support the creation of Development Labs and catalyzing innovations at seven top universities both in the US and abroad. Follow the conversation on Twitter at @USAID, @USAIDscitech and #HESN.

It’s early bird registration time for the Teaching and Learning Conference held in Washington DC, March 13-15, 2014. Their schedule is already filled with a very impressive line up of speakers and attendees will also be able to take advantage of the education culture of the city pre-conference with museum workshops held at multiple DC cultural landmarks.

 

MIND Research, Dreambox and Curriculum Associates are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Edmodo is a Learn Capital portfolio company where Tom is a partner.

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