What’s not to love about summer time? Longer days. Fruity drinks. Backyard barbeques. Family vacations. That’s not all we love about this time of year. There’s lots of love about all the developments in this week’s top EdTech news stories. Dive in!

Blended Schools & Tools

1. New Book on Rocketship Education. In the 20 years since the first charter school was authorized, high-performing public charters have seen skyrocketing growth and impressive academic achievement — but they still only educate a small percentage of American students. In the new book “On the Rocketship” Richard Whitmire (@richardwhitemir) tells the story of Rocketship education, revealing the importance of high-quality options for students and what’s at stake without them.

Digital Developments

2. Staying Competitive. According to a new study from Udemy (@Udemy), Americans are honing their tech skills to be competitive in today’s workplace. The Skills Index, an analysis of trends in American skills development based on data from Udemy’s top 100 paid online courses, found that technology courses have the highest enrollment numbers of any subject among Udemy students in the U.S.  Udemy, the leading online learning marketplace, serves 3 million learners with 16,000 courses.

3. Expanding Wi-Fi. Visiting a middle school in Oakland earlier this year, Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC), the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (@FCC), got a glimpse of the need for better high-speed Internet connections. In a recent blog post, Mr. Wheeler spoke of the progression of technology in the classroom and has made it a goal to put new equipment in place by the 2015 school year. For more, check out EducationSuperHighway and the Erate briefing from Digital Learning Now.

4. Cool Trial Tool. We always get a little wave of excitement when innovators are rewarded for great new ideas, but this one piqued our interest as fans of short cycle trials. Congrats to Lea(R)n (@LearnTrials) who was named a Winner of the NC IDEA grant program. This handy video shows how Lea(R)n could set up trials (like clinical trials prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry) to gauge effectiveness of EdTech solutions.

Dollars & Deals

5. Billions of Dollars Spent on EdTech. The Software & Information Industry Association (@SIIAEducation) released “2013 U.S. Education Technology Market: PreK-12,” an annual overview that found that digital content comprised 42% of the edtech market in 2011-2012, up 6% from 2010-2011–with an estimated $3.3 billion in annual sales in the United States.

Teachers & Tech

6. Creative Commons. SETDA (@SETDA) published a brief for state and district ed leaders that focuses on strategies to equip educators with the knowledge to navigate the use of digital content. “Clarifying Ownership of Teacher-Created Digital Content Empowers Educators to Personalize Education, Address Individual Student Needs” provides insight into important legal considerations when using teacher-created digital materials, identifies policy options related to OER and provides recommendations to encourage more teachers to create, share, and repurpose high-quality tools and materials.

7. Leading, Learning, Listening. Last week educators came by the masses to the U.S. DOE (@usedgov) headquarters for the #EdCampUSA. A few takeaways from this self-proclaimed “unconference” was that technology is a tool but cannot be considered a magic wand, that innovation can be cost efficient, and that connected educators who participate in personal learning networks open up doors to share and receive a huge bank of helpful resources.

STEM Gem

8. Partnering in the name of STEM. AASA (@AASAHQ), the school superintendents, and JASON Learning (@JASONLearning) have created a partnership designed to bring industry experts from around the world into STEM classrooms across the country. Recognized for their expertise in the software and information industries, JASON is a recent winner of two CODiE Awards. The program is developed in part by the scientists and mathematicians from National Geographic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and AASA members will be able to access the cloud based content for an entire class for less than the cost of two traditional textbooks.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Innovating Digital Technology. Yesterday a higher ed consortium, Unizin, announced their plans to provide a common platform to create and share digital education resources. The consortium, made up of Indiana University (@IndianaUniv), Colorado State University (@ColoradoStateU), the University of Florida (@UFlorida) and the University of Michigan (@umich), as stated on their website, is “coming together in a strategic way to exert greater control and influence over the digital learning landscape.” They have chosen Canvas by Instructure (@Instructure) as its foundational learning platform, largely in part of the company’s commitment to openness and ease of use.

For The Core

10. College Support for the Core. While a couple of states have recently turned away from CCSS, higher ed leaders have formed Higher Ed or Higher Standards Coalition to show their support. The group includes over 200 higher ed leaders from 30 states and is working to combat the negative perception of the CCSS to support college ready standards that “can help improve student success and reduce postsecondary remediation rates.” For more, see Common Core: Better Standards, Conditions, Tools, & Outcomes and a new paper Core and More, from Digital Learning Now (@DigLearningNow).

 

Instructure and Digital Learning Now are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Udemy is a portfolio company of Learn Capital  where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

 

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