Are you headed to Austin next week for some queso and #SXSWedu fun? We are, too. We have even started to plan out our schedule and try and map out where we will be. In addition to the Tex-Mex, queso and sunshine, we are looking forward to the jam-packed sessions and EdTech hallway chats. If you’re looking to brush up on your #blendedlearning cooking skills stop by our workshop session (#ChoppedEdu)!

Blended Schools & Tools

1. What’s in Your Toolkit? CoSN (@CoSN), ENA (@ENAconnects) and the eLearn Institute released the Becoming Assessment Ready Toolkit to help ensure schools and districts are ready for the next-gen assessments. The Common Core State Standards online assessments will be coming to a district near you in the next two years and these groups want to make sure you’re ready!

2. Spreading Their Wings. In it’s third move outside of the Bay Area, Rocketship announced they are expanding in to DC (@RocketshipEd). According to Rocketship, community engagement in DC was a large deciding factor in deciding to make the move to the nation’s capital. Look out for new schools in the Bay Area, Milwaukee and Nashville too!

3. Smart Procurement Study. Digital Promise (@DigitalPromise) and Education Industry Association (@EdIndustryAssoc) launched a study that is seeking district participation this week. With funding from Gates Foundation (@GatesFoundation) the organizations are gathering data and information that will help identify problems and create solutions. It’s likely to confirm the advice of the Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement— watch the Smart EdTech Procurement Google Hangout for more on buying smart.

Digital Developments

4. How Do You Score? Smarterer (@smarterer) raised a $1.6 million round led by Rethink to launched Flock TeamSourcing, a crowdsourced hiring app that quantifies knowledge and identify skill gaps. It’s a step closer to data-driven employability and likely to have ripple effects on HigherEd.

5. Measure It, Master It. MasteryConnect (@masteryconnect) announced this week that they have received $3.4 million from investors. The assessment sharing platform is used by teachers in 35,000 schools.  See how they Reinvented the Report Card.

Dollars & Deals

6. Next-Gen Higher Ed. Education social network Piazza (@piazza), which allows students to crowdsource answers online, landed $8M from Khosla Ventures.  In related news,  2U (@2Uinc) filed for a $100M IPO.

Policy Praise

7. 21st Century Ed. The Donnell-Kay (@DonnellKay) foundation unveiled initial plans to  create a new education system. Design for the project, called ReSchool Colorado will be completed by the end of 2015 with the policy and implementation strategy taking effect in 2016.

Teachers & Tech

8. A+ Teachers. One of the most critical factors supporting student success is high quality teachers. That’s why this week the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign (@OTLCampaign) launched “Excellent Teachers for Every Child”. Developed by seven organizations representing a large population of students, educators and parents, the state policy guide provides a blueprint for practical changes to improve teaching quality around the nation.

Let’s Get Personalized

9. Making the Shift. Looking for best practices for implementing standards based grading? Our friends over at MIND Research Institute (@MIND_Research) featured a blog on Sums & Solutions about standards based grading at Starr Detroit Academy. It’s a hot topic we’re all familiar with, and  founding principal Jeremy Vidito gives readers an honest, up front look into what the transition looked like at his school.

The Big “D”

10. Big Data, Big Week.  The Department released guidelines on the proper use, storage, and security of the flood of education data in the era of online and blended learning. SIIA offered best practices to safeguard student information privacy and data security. Tom encouraged policy makers to embrace privacy and innovation in School: A Zone of Privacy and Innovation.

 

DLN and MIND Research Institute are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. MasteryConnect is Learn Capital portfolio company where Tom is partner.

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