If you’re like many parents, teachers and students in the US this time of year, you’ve spent at least some part of the last week walking the aisles of your favorite big box store hunting for the best deal on pre-sharpened pencils and glue sticks. Yep folks, it’s “school supply list” time, and it won’t be long before kids coast to coast are putting those pencils and glue sticks to work. Or will they? This week’s EdTech 10 reveals that perhaps there will be some interaction with new supplies this year! What would your next gen school supply list include?

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Next Gen Report Cards. We’ve been thinking a lot about next gen accountability and Tom’s article on 10 jobs of school information comes just in time as we think about heading back to school. Many parents (and teachers, realtors, policymakers and more) use online databases such as Great Schools (@GreatSchools)  to find out information about their children’s schools. There’s also a school accountability “report card” database to find out what reporting is accessible via a particular state. How would you like to access school information?

2. Class Is In. Google (@Google) launched its next gen tools for educators with Google Classroom (@GoogleClassroom) this week. The free learning management software is now in full release and is ready to use by anyone who has Google Apps for Education.

In other LMS news, Desire2Learn (@Brightspace) raised another $85 million on top of the $80 million raised in 2012.  We haven’t seen much of D2L in US K-12; it looks like the Canadian company is focusing on higher ed and will use the big bucks to further expand into international markets.

3.  More Promising Partnerships. Digital Promise (@DigitalPromise) and Verizon (@Verizon) have partnered with eight U.S. middle schools to create innovative learning environments in each of the schools. The plan is to document the process so other schools can learn how to create similar innovations in next gen learning. This initiative provides students with access to mobile tech in the classroom and at home and gives educators personalized professional development to make it all come together. The successes will be promoted on the Digital Promise website, which could result in some cool stories to demonstrate how similar innovations may happen in more schools!

4. Resource Revolution. Presence Learning (@PresenceLearning) uses online tools to help special education students, and certainly next gen learning is helping create opportunities for increased customization for schools working with special ed students. When school districts have difficulty finding resources locally, Presence Learning can help by providing online speech and occupational therapy. As Tom notes, the customized learning revolution is here, and it benefits not only high achievers, but also students with special needs.

Digital Developments

5.  Merry Men and Women. The Robin Hood College Success Prize (@RobinHoodNYC) launched in March, aiming to encourage innovation, scalability, and solutions for community college students on their path towards graduation and careers. You can read more about using prizes and pull mechanisms to boost learning here. The Robin Hood College Success Prize received applications from all over the US and around the world, and they just released their list of 18 Semi-Finalists that includes an exciting range of small to large companies, familiar names and newcomers.

6. Fuel Up. Fuel Education (@FuelEducation) is partnering with LearnBop (@LearnBop) a tool for math tutoring in grades five through nine. We all know the middle grades are critical for math, and any ways we can personalize the math learning in middle school can help on down the line in high school, college, and beyond. Oh, and check out this cool video about how a New York middle school increased state math test scores with LearnBop.

Teachers & Tech

7. Reading, Writing & Reciprocity. Evergreen Education Group (@EvergreenEdu) released Teaching Across State Lines, a report that examines the growing issue faced by teachers who teach online in multiple states. Our team believes that with online teachers, reciprocity for teaching certifications is not just important for teachers who move to another state, but for teachers who may teach students across state lines.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

8. Break On Through. What would be a breakthrough design for next generation learning models in higher education? For answers to this, see the blog post on Shaping Emerging Higher Ed Leaders. There was a recent conference of 40 of the administrators at higher education institutions in the US, Canada and Australia, hosted by Next Generation Learning Challenges (@NextGenLC) at their Breakthrough Models Academy. Participants used Design Thinking processes and had coaches on hand to imagine, design and create next gen higher education of the future. We can’t wait to learn more.

Policy Praise

9. From Cohorts to Competency. What are some ways that states can promote competency-based learning? We have 7 ideas for you. Competency Works (@CompetencyWorks) leads the way in this discussion, and we suggests investing in course access tools and guidance programs, just to name a few. The name of the game is mastery, not age-based promotion.

10. A+ for Arkansas. Arkansas Governor Beebe (@GovBeebeMedia) announced that the state is going to shift $15 million to improve outdated networking. The goal is for Arkansas to become the first state to meet the goal of linking every student to high speed internet access. The state Department of Education (@ArkansasEd) is working with EducationSuperHighway (@EdSuperHighway), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve connectivity and internet access for students.

Fuel Education, Next Generation Learning Challenges, PresenceLearning, and Digital Learning Now are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

 

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