We all consistently struggle with staying on top of our “to dos” and feeling caught up. But the good news is that every week there are new tools and resources to lighten the load and increase the impact. There are a couple of great reports out this week and a few interesting tools from some unexpected players. Once again, we wrap up the week’s top events, hoping to help you feel like maybe you have one less thing “to do” this week.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. EdTech Directors Get Answers. The State Educational Tech Directors Association (@SETDA) launched a brand new website,The Guide to Technology Requirements to help define the requirements for online assessments in every state. This free site outlines all the digital requirements each assessment requires, taking the uncertainty out of new purchasing decisions for schools. Add in the Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement and you have one well informed EdTech director!

2. When Blended Learning Just Becomes Learning. Scott Ellis, CEO of The Learning Accelerator (@LearningAccel), works with many school districts across the country because they feel confident that blending is the best idea for improving education in the US. But, currently there are a tremendous amount of obstacles to be overcome and TLA is going to work hard over the next 5 years to identify and remove them in order for every student to have access to the personalized learning environment that can transform education as we know it now.

 

 

3. End Of An Era. Clever (@GetClever) unveiled “Instant Login” is now in beta allowing students in schools using clever to have a “one click” login to many of their applications they are using in the classroom. Taking a unique step of only partnering with FERPA compliant applications, Clever is helping schools protect and secure student information. The list of applications accessible through clever already includes DreamBox Learning (@Dreambox_Learn), PowerMyLearning (@PowerMyLearning), MasteryConnect (@MasteryConnect) and many more… and this is just the start.

 

Smart Cities

4. Hot Time, Summer in the City. It keeps getting hotter in our #SmartCities Series with updates on Providence, RI (highlights include good news from the Highlander Institute and their work with Next Gen Teacher Prep) and Denver, CO. Also, superintendent, Terry Grier, from Houston ISD talks about the key to success for Houston is building human capital from both ends of the spectrum. More on Houston coming up from TLA’s soon to be published Snapshot on HISD’s success with EdTech purchasing.

 

Digital Developments

5. Great News for Learners. San Francisco based Udemy (@udemy), an online marketplace that lets anyone with subject matter expertise create, distribute and sell video-based courses online while providing online learners with resources to learn anything, anywhere- raised $32 million led by Norwest Venture Partners. This raises the company’s funding to $48 million in venture capital to date.

Also, for inspired learners who happen to still be school aged, their “Education Universe” just expanded by the Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly). Students and families now have a new tool for course choice, a strategy for students to learn from unconventional providers that might range from top-tier universities or innovative community colleges to local employers, labs, or hospitals.

6. Shifting Services. Traditionally known for copiers and cameras, Konica (@KonicaMinoltaUS) announced a brand new suite of services launching All Covered, a K-12 education and IT services suite. The new cloud-based software will unify applications through partnerships with PassTheNotes, SchoolBrains, Hapara and Tableau Software. All Covered is part of the EnvisionIT Education portfolio, meant to help streamline classroom workflow and reduce overall costs.

 

Teaching & Learning

7. Extended Reach. Public Impact released a major policy brief, analyzing North Carolina’s Opportunity Culture model and what would would implementation and results look like from statewide. Opportunity Culture models rethink job expectations for excellent teachers to extend the reach. Using conservative assumptions for this next generation of students, Public Impact’s results show huge gains in student learning, teacher earnings and state revenue.

8. Show What You Know. The Christensen Institute (@ChristensenInst) published their first of two papers, focused on competency-based education in New Hampshire. From policy to practice: How competency-based education is evolving in New Hampshire takes a snapshot of what is happening in NH by profiling 13 schools, highlighting the strategies and the challenges for implementing competency based learning. In a few weeks, the second paper will look closer at blended models that support those competency-based pathways.

9. Next Gen Career Matching. Cengage Learning has partnered with Matchpoint Careers (@mpcareers) to provide highered with access to the Career Positioning System, an online personalized career guidance tool, known as a “GPS for Careers.” It’s true- even our guidance systems in schools are being disrupted, so keep an eye out for our new paper and infographic focused on Next Gen College and Career Readiness, coming soon!

 

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10.  New CEO for NewSchools. New Schools Venture Fund (@NSVF) has a changing of the guard. Current CEO and founding Board Member, Ted Mitchell was confirmed as Under Secretary Of Education for the US DOE and, in late July Stacey Childress (@NextGenStacey), Deputy Director for Innovation of the Gates Foundation for the past four years, will trailblaze her way over into the New Schools CEO role, bringing her passion for new school model development for personalized learning for all with her.

The Learning Accelerator and DreamBox Learning are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Udemy and MasteryConnect are Learn Capital portfolio companies where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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