We know that everyone learns differently, and there is no single correct way to learn. However, it is always important to review results and determine if progress is actually being made. So this week’s EdTech 10 contains stories around the importance of research and measurement as well as examples of many different types of learning it can apply to: blended learning, student-centered learning, personalized learning, place-based learning, next-gen learning and more!

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Ask Not What Blended Learning Measurement Can Do For You. The Learning Accelerator released the Blended Learning Measurement Agenda: A Path Forward For the Ecosystem. This action-oriented guide explores the growing need for a coordinated measurement agenda, and highlights the current conditions and unique challenges we face in measuring blended learning. Check out lead researcher Saro Mohammed’s exclusive with Getting Smart covering the release, and join the conversation online using #BLMeasurement.

2. Blueprint for breakthroughs. Christensen Institute released a new white paper that describes a research agenda for student-centered learning. Researchers Michael Horn & Julia Freeland Fisher explain, “An effective research agenda moves beyond merely identifying correlations of what works on average to articulate and test theories about how and why certain educational interventions work in different circumstances for different students. The report, A Blueprint for Breakthroughs, highlights how the federal government can boost productivity of future research efforts.

Digital Developments

3.  Hail to the Chief. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced via Facebook Live that they’ve appointed former U.S. Education Department deputy secretary Jim Shelton as the new Education Chief for their Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation. The education arm of the Foundation will focus its efforts on personalized learning and underserved communities. We are delighted for Jim and wish him the best in this new endeavor! On a side note, he wrote a review of our Smart Parents book last year that you can see here.

Dollars & Deals

4. Here are three deals that made headlines this week:

  • Teacher brand. Teachable, an online platform that provides teachers assistance with building course websites, has closed $2.5 million in additional funding led by Accomplice Ventures, Naval Ravikant and Learn Capital. Teachers who use this program have complete access to student data and control over branding and pricing, allowing them to create their own marketing strategies.

  • Time for a roadtrip. USA Funds has acquired a minority interest in Roadtrip Nation, an organization that provides career exploration and planning resources for students and adult career-changers. The investment will help expand its reach of career exploration tools and content to help millions of people define their “purpose” and their ideal career path.
  • Fresh perspective. FreshGrade, an education platform for teachers, parents and students that assists with growing engagement through technology, raised $11.6 million  through Accel Partners and Emerson Collective, bringing its total funding to $15.9 million.

5. Student assessment boost. Major testing provider ACT Inc. has acquired OpenEd, a free search and recommendation for open educational resources (OERs), in an effort to ramp up its ability to direct academic resources to students whose assessment scores show they need help. The acquisition is the ACT’s first that is directed at making open-ed resources available.

6. Leap into next-gen. The partnership Breakthrough Schools: Chicago, led by Chicago’s LEAP Innovations, Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) and The Fund, announced it recently awarded seven breakthrough school grants. The $4 million competition is held for school designers and other entrepreneurial educators to develop and launch next-generation schools in Chicago that provide personalized instruction. We recently discussed Chicago and the other five NGLC regional hubs for innovation in Getting Smart on Regional Next-Gen School Design.

All About That Place

7. Your favorite place. Belkin, an organization offering technology solutions for the office, classroom, IT infrastructure and mobile environments, recently announced its partnership with California State’s PORTS distance learning program to push real-time content into K-12 schools across the state around unique natural and cultural resources found in 10 of state parks. Over the next year, we’ll be running a series of blogs focusing on the subject of place-based education, featuring examples of this type of learning innovation.

Research & Reports

8. Imagine if… The New Media Consortium (NMC) released a documentary video and summary report highlighting activities from the Personalized Learning & Student Success Summit. The summit convened grantees and partners of the Postsecondary Strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and served as a call-to-action for education leaders to first imagine if and then commit to trying new, evidence-driven to bolster student success for first generation and low-income students in higher education.

9.  Center stage. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation just released a comprehensive analysis of student-centered approaches to learning, highlighting 12 New England schools implementing this approach. The report is was created to help schools and communities across the country who are seeking ways provide a more student-centered education for their learners, but are unsure of how to begin this process or of what student-centered learning actually looks like.

Teachers & Tech-ers

10. Follow the leader. Through the new Teacher Impact Grants (TIG) program from ASCD, teachers will have a chance to develop, expand and evaluate promising practices and programs that can help transform the academic trajectory of students. The grant program is part of Teach to Lead, an initiative jointly convened between the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD and NBPTS to cultivate the expertise of teachers to drive transformation in schools, districts and states.

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