Though hearts are still breaking over the USA’s loss to Belgium in the World Cup game yesterday, we’re here to boost you back up with the latest in EdTech news. This week we’re focusing on exciting announcements from our time spent this week at ISTE and National Charter Schools Conference. Happy 4th Ya’ll!
1. Get in Gear for the New School Year. Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) announced the launch of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) which is a month-long initiative to help educators get back in gear for the new school year by providing new tactics and strategies for transforming blended teaching and learning. DEN launches August 1 and touts being one of the largest and most active communities of tech-savvy teachers. Throughout the month of August, each day of the week will be dedicated to introducing new digital tools and resources educators can use to create authentic engaging learning environments for students.
2. Common Core Made Easy. Edmodo (@Edmodo) released its new micro-assessment tool, Snapshot. Designed to assist teachers in learning how to teach Common Core as easy as possible, Snapshot allows for regular formative assessment of student progress with very little energy required. Built into existing U.S. online and mobile accounts, Snapshot is simple, reliable, visual, and insightful. Edmodo users can log in to their Edmodo account to create a Snapshot today. See how Snapshot can make teaching anything but standard.
3. Return of Connected Educator Month. From ISTE (@ISTEConnects), together with the US Department of Education’s Director of the Office of Educational Technology, Richard Culatta (@rec54), Connected Educators(@edcocp) officially announced October 2014 as Connected Educator Month. Within the next few weeks, activities and calendar events will be promoted. Follow #CEM14 for updates and to learn more about the event, check out details of the announcement here.
4. Micro-Credentialing With Summer Pilot. Digital Promise (@DigitalPromise) announced program for microcredentialing at ISTE. Through their micro-credentialing for professional educators initiative, Digital Promise is building a coalition of educators and partners to develop a micro-credentialing system that provides teachers with the opportunity to gain recognition for skills they master throughout their careers.They are seeking teachers interested in participating for their summer pilot.
5. Hablas Español. DreamBox Learning (@DreamBox_Learn) announced the integration of native Spanish into their math curriculum. All content and components of the user experience will be available in Spanish. All elements have been carefully tested by student focus groups and evaluated by Spanish speaking teachers to ensure a quality learner experience for all. Program, including Spanish voiceovers of all lessons will be available for the 2014 – 2015 school year.
6. Summer Spin. The KnowledgeWorks Foundation (@WorldOfLearning) recently announced that they’ll be spinning out New Tech Network (NTN) (@NewTechNetwork) to become an independent non-profit organization. This move was made to help NTN, whos had proven results; move into their next stage of growth. Barry Schuler of the Schuler Family Fund is leading this transition and the fund has committed an initial $10 million grant, with KnowledgeWorks committing $1.5 million. This new support will help NTN fund ongoing operations and new program initiatives. Check out the great work NTN is doing in Deeper Learning For Every Student Every Day.
7. Seeing the Future. The Software & Information Industry Association (@SIIA) released their seventh annual Vision K-20 Survey Report this week that reports on progress of building a framework that embraces technology and e-learning. The survey which reached more than 1,000 educators, found that there has been an increase in BYOD technology and the need for increased technology integration in K-20 education.
8. Adding to their ePortfolio. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHco) announced the acquisition of ePortfolio company SchoolChapters (@SchoolChapters). The purchase signals a move into the school services and solutions game for the HMH team. SchoolChapters, a cloud-based solution, provides teachers and students with the ability to “document, record, and share learning artifacts and experiences, showcase knowledge and achievements, and align these portfolios to educational standards across the pre-K-12 and college spectrum.
9. Cool New Products. Lots of cool new products were introduced this week. Here are three that caught the eye of our bloggers.
– Network Referee (@NetReferee) is set to debut this fall. A comprehensive, new technology created by Verite Educational Systems, NetRef is designed to disrupt Internet educational security while lessening classroom distractions and increasing online safety for children at school, at home, and on-the-go. Easy to use and integrate, NetRef helps teachers and children focus on learning by intelligently managing children’s access to the Internet on any device. Network Referee maximizes school’s tech investments while building the boundaries that kids need.
– Knowledge Delivery Systems (@KDSI) debuted a groundbreaking and seamlessly integrated cloud based Professional Learning Platform for districts and teachers. PLP is a centralized solution for teacher professional development that combines personalization, collaboration, and content to allow educators to connect and transform their teaching. Such collegial learning is critical in helping districts tackle challenges such as Common Core implementation, cultural competency, personalized learning, and the needs of diverse learners. PLP will begin its roll out in districts in Pennsylvania and New Mexico.
– SRG Technology (@SRGTechnology) launchedIMPROVE powered by Blender, a suite of products and services supporting Next Gen Assessment in the K-12 sphere. IMPROVE powered by Blender provides assessment and accountability tools, portal-based analytics, reporting and remediation technologies, all integrated in a single secure point of access. Additional features of IMPROVE powered by Blender include creation and access of Common Core-based assessments, clear analytics to inform and tailor instruction, Common Core-aligned content to support intervention and enrichment, and differentiated access to data using a role-based, single sign-on platform. IMPROVE powered by Blender launches this month.
10. Global Challenge.Variable Inc (@VariableInc), developer of the NODE+ wireless sensor platform for smart devices, launched the HACKANODE 2014 online mobile app global challenge. The contest, hosted by Challengepost.com (@ChallengePost), will be open to all developers to build new apps that incorporate the NODE+ wireless sensor. This will include the creation of new apps from scratch as well as the creative integration of NODE +’s capability into existing apps. Entries will compete for a variety of prizes across 12 categories. Among the list of big name tech enthusiasts that will act as contest judges is Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz), co-founder, Apple Computer Inc. and chief scientist, Fusion-io.
DreamBox Learning is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Edmodo is a Learn Capital portfolio company, where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.