Along with top EdTech and education innovation stories, the 2nd Annual “Smart Lists” are back. During October and November, you’ll see about 20 “Best of” lists, not in order, not exhaustive, just people we appreciate doing innovative work. We started the lists with 45 policy and advocacy orgs making a difference and continue with lists that range from must know K-12 change makers, blogs and blasts, and will continue with many more leaders moving the needle in education innovations. But first, this week’s top stories:

Blended Schools & Tools

1. The Disconnect. Now, more so than ever, Internet access is vital to learning opportunities and innovations. But, according to a report by CoSN (@CoSN), affordability and inadequate funding are preventing adequate connectivity and the transformation of the learning environment. Only 9% of the districts surveyed have adequate bandwidth. In similar recognition of the importance of boosting connectivity, Getting Smart released Modern Policy for Modern Learners and engaged in a webinar that addresses policy opportunities for expanded access to broadband.

Digital Developments

2. Get with IT. Online learning leader Lynda.com (@Lynda) launched their latest content category: IT. Alliteration aside, these course will help business and professionals development critical skills in hardware infrastructure, network administration, business intelligence and many more.

3. Press Play. A broader vision for higher and deeper learning accountability and flexibility for students was paved in a event hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education (@All4Ed). Watch the briefing, check out the report and read Tom’s thoughts on #TheNewAccountability.

For The Core

4. Ready, Set, Writing! The Curriculum Associates (@CurriculumAssoc) family of Ready programs welcomed a new member this week with the addition Ready Writing. The new research-based program is built to support educators with the rollout of CCSS and provides resources for students to meet the new writing requirements that includes a research element.

Dollars & Deals

5. Starting Strong. Venture investors have poured $1 billion into #EdTech #startups this year according to Reuter’s PE HUB. This funding has supported the launch of startups like the 12 who made their debut at Demo Day from the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator (@EdTechAccel). Meet the 2014 class of startups that includes, Lea(R)n, CreatorBox, and reKode.

Smart Cities

6. Leading Smart. Leaders like Kevin Johnson in Sacramento, Michele Cahill in New York and Adrian Fenty in Washington DC helped make significant strides towards educating and training citizens for college and careers. As the world’s population continues to move to urban centers, it’s time for every person, organization and region to create smart cities that work for everyone. Tom discussed the 7 keys to education and employment with West Virginia leaders this week. See #SmartCities for more.

Leading Leaders

7. Principal Prep. In the spirit of October’s educator professional development theme for Connected Educator Month (#CE14), Tom shared best practices and next steps for principals and Edleaders in the third blog in the series of Preparing Principals.

8. Road Warriors. A roadmap released by The Aspen Institute (@AspenEdSociety) and Leading Educators (@LeadingEds) outlines pathways for educators to take leadership roles in classrooms and schools. Leading from the Front of the Classroom, provides practical guidance crafted for teachers to lead.

The Big “D”

9. Powering Personalization. The “learner profile” has been seen the endgame for personalized learning proponents who envision portraits of students as they progress writes Ben Herold in EdWeek. “It’s the type of information that parents and teachers want to know, and frankly, should know,” said Digital Learning Now’s (@DigLearningNow) John Bailey in the blog. John co-authored “Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learning Profiles,” a report that addressed the potential of student data to power personalized learning.

Let’s Get Personalized

10. What is in a Personalized Name? We blog A LOT about personalized learning. That said, do all of us know and share a common understanding of what personalized learning means? Sean Cavanagh asks this as Getting Smart’s non-profit friends and leaders such as iNACOL, the Christensen Institute, the Gates Foundation and several others released a four-part working definition of the term.

 

Tom is a Director at iNACOL. Digital Learning Now and Curriculum Associates are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

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