New Years Day. Day one of edu-resolutions, a time to look forward to what’s next, and a time look back at the happenings, emerging practices, and realities that defined the year. 2014 was the year of the horse in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. People born in the year of the horse are said to be quick-witted, focused on improvement, and willing to take part in venture careers. In 2014, we saw just that — teacherpreneurs creating next gen classrooms, EdLeaders leading district innovations, and record investments in EdTech ventures. This week’s EdTech 10 showcases the stories and trends that defined the field for 2014.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. The Code Road. The Flatiron School, General Assembly, and Bloc are three examples of the recently paved road to well paying careers: Code Schools. As a low-cost alternative to computer science degrees with high ROI, coding schools are an affordable option for GenDIY.

2. Pack Your Bags. Based on a couple thousand school visits and with help from colleagues and readers, we’ve compiled a list of next gen 100 schools worth visiting.

3. Pack Your Bags Part 2. Dozens of districts made progress on personalization this year. We highlighted 25 big and small, urban and rural, east, west, midwest and southern districts worth checking out.

Digital Developments

4. Improved Student Access. Last year may have been year of the horse in the Chinese Zodiac calendar, but in many K-12 classrooms it was year of the Chromebook + BYOD. This viable and incredibly cost-effective options for 1:1 classroom initiatives was the leading competitor to iPads in education.

Dollars & Deals

5. Sum Thing Big. The numbers in U.S. EdTech investment for 2014: $1.4 billion raised, 201 rounds, 386 unique investors, and the professional skills market is hot.

For The Core

6. Common Core Takes A Licking, Keeps on Ticking. Despite the fact that CCSS are leading to increased collaboration, better teaching, and serving as a key to equity and innovation, some states whipped up a Core backlash in 2014.

Let’s Get Personalized

7. This year saw the union of Deeper Learning and Blended Learning in profiles of 20 next gen schools whose success proved that blended strategies are key strategies for promoting Deeper Learning.

 

8. #CompetencyEd On The Rise. Featured in a summer spotlight, 2014 saw progress in competency-based learning. As a system that has the best potential to improve college and career readiness, 2015 is looking promising for learners to “show what you know” for today’s jobs. Thanks to Chris Sturgis and CompetencyWorks, the iNACOL team, and ExcelinEd for advancing the field.

9. Next Gen Learning for Educators. Progress for competency-based learning wasn’t limited to students in 2014. This increasingly important strategy grew in teacher prep and PD.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10. Sí, se puede. New paper and infographic, produced in partnership with Rosetta Stone Education (@RosettaStoneEd), celebrated the leadership of world language educators in the shift to school and district-wide blended, competency-based, deeper learning models.

Bloc is a Learn Capital portfolio company where Tom Vander Ark is a partner.

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