SmartTech: Tab Testing, Apps, Biz Models, & Better Higher Ed

Tablet testing.  We think there’s a pretty good chance that both PARCC and SBAC will allow tablets (iPads specifically) for testing.  That would be good news for all the districts buying tablets but as Tom discussed in getting ready for online assessment, there are many issues regarding comparability that must be worked out.  We’re more concerned about writing–we want to see students write a lot in class and on state tests and we’re not convinced yet that tablets are great production devices.  What’s your take?
Appalicious. Speaking of tablets, Khan Academy just released an iPad app.
And speaking of Apple, the AppleInsider said, “Apple has begun signaling to education shoppers that it plans to relaunch and overhaul its online store in the near future, making it easier to do business.”
In Japan, there are already augmented reality textbooks for smartphones. Next up, AR glasses–see Mashable article on Google’s heads up display glasses.
Business Models. Blackboard’s acquisition of MoodleRooms fueled discussion of open education resources (OER) and business models that promote quality and scale.
Nelson Heller interviewed NROC’s Gary Lopez who said “the OER populating the web simply can’t provide all the attributes traditionally required of instructional materials, say, like those stipulated in ‘adoption’ states. We hit the wall with the old NROC model of polishing up orphaned content.” NROC’s solution is an “innovative marriage of social authoring with its traditional in-house editorial team.”  Lopez continues, “Now a smaller capital investment pays for coders, graphics talent, and editors working with a community of users, and someday soon membership fees will be enough to fund this kind of development. The investment is made ‘once’ and scholars get backing to owning scholarship. It’s not a wiki, not wide open but has the flavor of a community. This is where freemium is going.”
Show What You Know.  SmartTech got a look at a couple startups hoping to be the go to place for certification of post secondary learning.  HigherNext developed a business test that certifies bachelor-level business knowledge and skills.
Smarterer has a bunch of crowdsourced tests that “provide people a simple, fun, and authentic way to show what they know.”
ShowEvidence makes it easy to build and score standards-based performance tasks and do it consistently.
PathBrite is a very capable portfolio system that makes it easy to capture and share learning artifacts.
Better Higher Ed.  Sapling Learning great online homework supplement for college sciences; it’s so good that we think profs may stop requiring textbooks.  Sapling will soon become a popular high school STEM supplement.
As Tom reported Wednesday, Minerva, powered by $26M from Benchmark, announced the intent to launch a better and more selective university than the Ivies.  There is unquestionably room for him to deliver much better value than the Ivy League.
Did you see Udacity’s Sabatian Thrun on TechCrunch?

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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