October, Connected Educator Month (#CE14) is here! The 31 day event kicked off this week and to celebrate we announced three upcoming Twitter chats hosted by Getting Smart (#SmartCE). In the spirit of ASCD’s CE14 theme, one discussion will highlight talent development, a key to educating and employing citizens outlined in Smart Cities. Also this week with the announcement of NYC schools shedding their dated report care system, we asked: Isn’t it time to re-imagine reports cards for schools too? These stories and more in the top 10 EdTech stories of the week.

Digital Developments

lynda-logo-800x4001.Integration. Online learning juggernauts, Lynda.com (@Lynda) and Blackboard (@Blackboard) have announced new integration for Blackboard Learn. Showcased this week at EDUCAUSE (#EDU14), students and faculty will now experience easier access to lynda.com’s robust collection of courses and instructional videos. (Image via Daily Monster)

2. NewClassrooms and NewTech. New Classrooms (@NewClassrooms) is reflecting and sharing their journey on a new blog. (Anyone else as surprised as we are that the original School of One pilot was five years ago?) The first three posts are worth a read: Teaching in the reimagined classroom, Five Years On: Reflecting on Lessons Learned, and Geeking out on the Skill Map – Part 1.  In other blended schools news, NewTech Network announced (@NewTechNetwork) its complete spin-out from KnowledgeWorks (@WorldofLearning). With 160 schools and districts in 27 states, the organization will now function as an independent non-profit. See our coverage of the results they released this summer.

3. Drive. Google announce Drive for Education featuring unlimited storage. With the recently launched lightweight platform, Classroom, it’s easy to organize assignments into Drive folders. Apps Vault for organizing and monitoring email will be available by the end of the year

Dollars & Deals

gates-foundation-building-634x3174. Building the Digital Ladder. Seven finalists were announced the Gates Foundation’s (@GatesFoundation) Digital Courseware Investments. Acrobatiq, Cerego, CogBooks, Lumen Learning, Rice University OpenStax, Smart Sparrow, and the Open Learning Initiative at Stanford University will received funding totaling $20 million to develop courseware to support low-income postsecondary students. Goal: improve the postsecondary success of over 1 million low-income students by 2018. (Image via dailymail.co.uk)

5. Paying to Remember. Remind (@RemindHQ), the teacher-student-parent mobile communication app, raised $40 million round from investors including Kleiner Perkins. During peak back to school season Remind dwas adding 300,000 users a day. Educators, parents, students, appreciate the simple structure, Yes/No responses, and secure environment.

Empowering Parents

6. Power to the Parents. Web-based report card, Parent Power Index, released by The Center for Education Reform (@edreform) revealed that many states are below average when it comes to providing parents with access and information on learning options. Only six states earned rankings above 80%.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

collegeforAm-1x27. Seizing the Opportunity. The Granite State’s Southern New Hampshire University has built their own custom learning management system unique to the instructor-student relationship.  College for America (@CollforAmerica) is the solution to what the university recognized need for learning management systems based on competency-based education. Go Penmen! (Image via Inside Higher Ed)

8. First in the World. Twenty four colleges and universities in 17 different states are now part of the Department of Education’s (@usedgov) new First in the World (FITW) grant program; $75 million will be distributed to the different institutions to foster innovative ideas to decrease postsecondary costs, while increasing outcomes.

For the Policy Peeps

9. New Start on Accountability. Building on #TheNewAccountability, Tom reviewed proposals for new state education accountability systems from CRPE (@CRPE_UW) and from Gene Wilhoit and Linda Darling Hammond; he thought both underestimated the importance of the explosion of formative data in supporting student-centered learning and quality options.

Let’s Get Personalized

10. Pubs. CompetencyWorks (@CompetencyWorks), an iNACOL initiative (@nacol), published three must-share introductory resources this week:

Disclosure: Tom Vander Ark is a Director at iNACOL

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