We have a had a great week singing the praises of the teachers we know, work with, and admire in every capacity. To celebrate on Tuesday, Tom hosted a Teacher Talk Google Hangout, highlighting three talented teachers from three different learning environments: online, blended, and special needs. The common thread running through the three is high-quality teaching deserves high-quality technology. Here is the weekly round up of the 10 top stories pushing EdTech forward, for both students and teachers.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Next-gen learning. The Next Generation Learning Challenge (@NextGenLC) is a great framework for blended and personalized learning.  The national grant program that supports new and redesigned schools just announced 21 new Planning Grant and 16 new Launch Grant recipients winners. The NGLC recipients signal 10 trends and are worth watching.

2. Speaking of Grant Winners. 7 Chicago schools will get $100K technology grants from the Chicago Public Education Fund in partnership with LEAPinnovations, the first round of regional grants based on the NGLC framework. There is a lot of exciting EdTech momentum in Chicago–see our latest #SmartCities update, Smart Cities: Chicago Develops In “Leaps” and Bounds.
3. More Google in the “Classroom.” In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, Google (@GoogleEdu) announced the launch of their new LMS, Classroom, that will lay over Google Apps for Education, making it easier for teachers and students to use the suite of collaborative apps as a full learning management system.

Smart Cities

4. Ask and You Shall Receive.  When you are lucky enough to have such a deeply talented PLN coupled with an equally as deep generous spirit the request to share their expertise by authoring a post is answered in spades. Last week, we started running the guest pieces covering so many issues affecting our cities today on both EdWeek and Getting Smart. Alex Hernandez (@thinkschools) details the essentials for growing innovative ecosystems while Phyllis Lockett illustrates why Our Kids Can’t Wait in Chicago and through the country.

For The Core

5. Blogging to the Core (#CoreMatters). The Alliance for Excellent Education (@all4ed) launched a new blog series illuminating best practices for implementation of the Common Core State Standards for struggling students, particularly. Starting next month, new content will be published on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The Alliance will use the series to bring attention to the methods for delivering on the promise and potential of the standards for all students, especially those who have been historically underserved by the education system.  Like the Alliance, we think the Common Core is a big platform for equity & innovation.

Digital Developments

6. Socrates Has A Point. Although the central goal of teaching and learning has never changed, our methods are transforming basically before our eyes. Slate’s post this week, What Would Socrates Think About MOOCs  discusses how modern technology allows for never before experienced interactivity and connection, allowing for communities of learners to form on a global scale. Also, the speed and capacity of computers to process information means that we can now “replicate and improve upon fundamental processes of learning.” Very interesting.

7. New Additions for Fuel Education. Although new itself, FuelED (@FuelEducation) is already announcing the newest additions to their course catalog— including multiple middle and high school math courses and career-building electives. Please see FuelEd Press Room for more information. Read Fueling a Personalized Learning Revolution to know more about how blended learning can provide high quality learning opportunities for secondary students.


STEM Gems

8. Robotics is All the Rage. 12,000+ students traveled to St. Louis, Missouri this past week for the FIRST Championship at the Edward Jones Dome. With almost 70,000 students competing in regional and district competitions– this culminating event was a huge celebration of STEM learning for thousands of enthusiastic and engaged students. We caught the Robotics fever too when teacher blogger, Dave Guymon, reviewed the new Sphero Curriculum (@gosphero) this week.

 

Teachers & Tech

9. Assembling the Dream Team. With 4,000 applications for 200 spots, LearnZillion(@LearnZillion) has been able to gather some of the most talented Math and English Language Arts teachers from across the globe. The team will come to New Orleans from June 4-7 to participate in Teachfest and kick off their summer long collaboration- where they will return to their hometowns and continue to work together online to create quality formative assessment tools aligned to the common core.

10. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We know teachers are some of the busiest people we know. So we just want to be sure you didn’t miss the launch of our paper we wrote with Karen Cator (@kcator) of Digital Promise (@DigitalPromise) focused on how we go about preparing our teachers to innovate and inspire deeper learning for all students. Read Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning and check out the infographic on competency-based teacher prep.

 

Bonus: Don’t forget to register for the webinar with Christensen Institutes’s Michael Horn (@MichaelBHorn), Blended Learning in K8 Schools, hosted by DreamBox Learning (@Dreambox_Learn). Michael will be talking disruptive innovation on May 13th, 2014 at 2 pmET.

NGLC, DreamBox and FUEL Education are a Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

LearnZillion is a portfolio company of Learn Capital where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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