The Getting Smart team has some extra holiday cheer after this weeks’ hugely successful National Computer Science Week! With over 10 million students participating in The Hour of Code, learning skills that have historically not been accessible for students, we want to be sure to spread the word of the importance of students this essential 21st century skill. If you haven’t already, check out the recap of all our 20 posts that all help demystify how and why students should learn to code.

And as the holiday season continues, we are “singing” about all the exciting happenings in EdTech…


Blended Schools & Tools

1. Hark! The Blended Gurus Sing. Recently Tom wrote about the importance of state and district investments in blended learning and pointed to Ohio’s Straight A Fund as an interesting example. This week the Straight A Fund winners were announced. Ohio education policy guru Michael Harlow discussed the implications for digital learning a guest blog for Digital Learning Now.

2. ‘Tis the Season to be JiJi. We recently took a field trip to Palomino Intermediate School in Phoenix, AZ – a school where the students use ST Math and love the star of the program, JiJi. Read more about how the famous math penguin has increased student’s love for learning and become part of the culture at Palomino.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

3. Making a List, Checking it Twice. Dell has announced that they will join the likes of Google, Acer, HP and Samsung by releasing their own Chromebook 11– the latest addition to Dell’s new string of education-focused devices. Speaking of lists, if a new device is on your holiday wish list, here’s some shopping advice, The 7 Best Tablets, Period.


Digital Developments

4. Tech the Halls. Promethean revealed ClassFlow this week, a new cloud-based lesson creation tool for teachers so that they can build and access interactive lesson plans from any web browser. Students can access the plans through any personal device as well as interactive whiteboards- linking it all together to create a collaborative classroom experience.

Getting to the Core

5. We All Know that Change is Coming, And Soon Will Be Here. We’ve written a lot of what we call the ‘once in a generation opportunity’ presented by the implementation of Common Core and Next Gen assessments. It’s time to apply these principles across the pre-K to career continuum. We’ll be writing more about this in the coming months and would love to hear more about your thoughts on what Tom calls “Next-Gen Advisory” in his post the 10 keys to College and Career Readiness.


Dollars and Deals

6. As the Shoppers Rush Home With Their Treasures. STI, the 30-year-old maker of education data management solutions for K-12 schools scooped up Chalkable this week for $10 million, in order to bring it’s app store and learning platform to K-12. Chalkable will continue it’s mission to offer an aggregated resource for teachers and parents to find educational tools from across the web-making it easy to search and discover quality content and click to buy.

7. Joy to the World (Language Market). Rosetta Stone announced it is continuing to extend it’s reach by acquiring Tell Me More S.A.,a global language-learning software company with significant presence throughout Europe, including France and Spain, as well as in the U.S., Latin America and China for $28 million.

Come On Get App-Y

8. It’s the App-Appiest Season of All. Coursera debuts its iPhone app and will soon be bringing it’s MOOC content to your mobile phone. The app doesn’t differ all that much from the web experience but this mobile push will help Coursera reach students in emerging nations, where smartphone ownership is booming.


Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Snowing and Blowing Up Higher Ed Fun. We are always thinking “what’s next” at Getting Smart… and this week Tom shared the 10 elements of what’s next for higher education.  Virtual Learning platform EdX will create online mini-courses in calculus, physics, and macroeconomics based on what students were finding most difficult in the AP curriculum. Michael Horn covers the maturation and future plans of Udacity as they develop to enable students to go beyond video and partake in more real projects.

Let’s Get Personalized

10. And a Happy New Year! Sharing innovative insights on Wired, Amy Harrington captures how “Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age.” She writes “Adults are most useful in a child’s life when they expose them to ideas, provide resources and then allow children the freedom to let their imaginations wander in a supportive environment.” Not always what we see in today’s schools but with thought leaders like Amy sharing, hopefully 2014 will be a year a stellar year for breaking apart the idea of school as we know it.


Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

BONUS: A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Twitter named Marjorie Scardino, former CEO of Pearson PLC, to be the first woman to sit on the current all-white male board.

MIND Research Institute and Rosetta Stone are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Coursera is a Learn Capital portfolio company.