Finally, our first full week in 2015. This week’s news signaled what is expected with any New Year: optimism, opportunity and opinions. With the positive outlook for students, parents and interns, the opening of grant applications and platform providers receiving support, and the release of recent research findings and proclaiming this year’s most promising leaders, 2015 is looking up.

Blended Schools & Tools

Going For Chrome. Chromebooks have finally superseded iPads as the chosen device of choice for classrooms. Why? Tom examines four reasons for their popularity.

To Test or Not To Test. The 114th Congress will get to “work” this week and will have the opportunity to address the long awaited reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. With folks on both sides of the aisle questioning the validity of standardized tests, MindShift (@MindShiftKQED) asks what would replace them? Four potential answers.

Hot Off The Press. Anya Kamenetz’s (@anya1anya) new book The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing–But You Don’t Have to Be hit shelves this week with a fresh look at testing.

Closing the Gap. The search for five schools serving low-income students is on as College for Every Student opens applications for their high-impact program that seeks to support college and career readiness.

Dollars & Deals

Lifelong Learning Come Up. Chinese mobile platform developer NetDragon secured $52.5 million in Series A funding for the design and development of their learning ecosystem, that leverages mobile and gamification models to disruptively enhance the lifelong learning environment.

Reading & Researching

For The Kids. The environment of early education is changing for students and teachers with growing outcome demands and the push for accountability. Details are outlined in Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report focused on early-childhood education. 

GenDIY & Smart Parents

Quoteworthy. In celebration of 2015 and our recently launched GenDIY and Smart Parents projects, Team Getting Smart peered into the horizon and examined how 2015 will be different for students and parents

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Access is Everything. Well, close to. But it definitely plays a HUGE role when it comes to the rising cost of course materials for postsecondary students and the potential impact of OERs. The Hewlett Foundation (who already gives $8 million per year to promote OER use) is convening those interested to share views on access to zero-textbook-cost degrees. Have opinions? Learn more and share ‘em with [email protected].

Work-based Boost. There’s no better way to learn than on the job. With the growing agreement that internships enhance hireability, we took a look noteworthy secondary programs providing students the opportunity to acquire skills. 

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

Making The Cut. This year blended learning manager Elena Sanina (@elena_sanina) of Aspire Public Schools, GenDIY trailblazer Victor Saad (@VictorSaad) of Experience Institute, and a slew of young innovative Edu founders like Strive for College’s Michael Carter were among the select few made Forbes’ 30 under 30 2015 in Education.

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