SmartTech Roundup

Blended Schools & Tools

Who needs a hard-drive? New Google Chromebook “gets it right” and, with plans to offer a steep discount to schools, might answer the call of blended-curious districts.
Alabama moves ahead! Thanks to H.B.165, the Alabama Ahead Act, participating high school students and teachers will have better access to electronic textbooks and mobile learning devices.
Districts race to personalize.  While Rick Hess has resumed dry-heaving over the latest round of Race to the Top, we appreciate the opportunity that a couple dozen districts will have to advance personalization with new adaptive instructional products like Curriculum Associate’s i-Ready.
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” Retired Canadian Superintendent quotes Dylan to describe today’s obsolete classrooms and potential of online lessons to change the face of learning.
The Mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools received $1.6m from several foundations for blended learning programs in 22 schools.
OMW with assignments: Video from EmergingEdTech explores embracing the cell phone in the classroom with text messaging assignments.

Steamy STEM Gems

Highest Honors to High Tech High. U.S. News and World Report released the list of top public STEM schools generated from their Best High Schools rankings and evaluation of student participation and success on AP science and math tests. Speaking of AP, check out our thoughts on making AP and bigger and better competency-based system.
“What’s good for us, is good for our students.” Video from Massachusetts Secretary of Education explains importance of partnerships between early education, K-12, higher education, business, industry and government to advance STEM and eliminate gaps in achievement, opportunity, and inspiration.
All aboard the NanoExpress! The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced six Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) awards to programs that broaden participation of underrepresented minorities, including Howard University’s NanoExpress mobile laboratory that will bring science experiments to local schools.
Mast booster.  NSF and US ED are gathering input to shape a $60 million math R&D initiative. Tom thinks they should focus on the mysteries of math motivation.

Getting to the Core

Business As Usual, Bare Bones or Balanced? Fordham released Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost? to explore costs and potential savings for states implementing Common Core. The study reveals that districts could save over $900 million by using technology to access open-source materials, online assessments and online professional development. We believe “the Common Core will result in better content and tools, will save districts and states millions, and most importantly create clear college and career ready expectations for American students.”
The future of state testing is “fun.” Several Ohio school districts took part in the Ohio Department of Education’s Online Assessment Pilot that allowed school officials and pupils to see how online assessments might work when the state implements the Common Core State Standards in the 2014-15 school year.
New assessments in the Old Line State. Maryland Governor O’Malley signed S.B. 293 that requires the state to assess learning gains for middle school students toward achieving mastery of the Common Core State Standards.
Collaboration around the Core: Education Week reports that efforts to train principals in Common Core implementation – including webinars, seminars, and resource guides – are on the rise.
Straight Schmidt.  Achieve released William Schmidt’s study that suggests that Common Core math standards will lead to improved achievement.

Come On Get App-y

Won’t you take me to Magic Town? UK-based, educational app developers Mindshapes secured $4M to further develop its line of educational apps – including recently-launched Magic Town that incorporates licensed picture book characters from content Simon & Schuster and Penguin Group and others into e-learning tasks.
There are students using apps, and then there are students designing them. Students at Apex High School’s Academy of Information Technology in North Carolina are one of five schools across the country piloting a project created by the National Academy Foundation (NAF) and Lenovo to create the very kind of apps they already use on their mobile devices.
There’s been a lot of edtech buzz about Nearpod this week. It seems everyone, including Getting Smart, is talking about how Nearpod helps leverage the ipad for learning.  We’re intrigued.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Udacity, Udemy, Coursera, Oh My! U.S. News and World Report says options abound for free online education programs from top universities.

Even college grads should be employable. MutualForce is attempting to tap alumni power for mentoring and job connection with tools like Live Resume that automatically captures evidence of professional networking from social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.  With similar aims but a more direct training appraoch for first-job skills, Fullbridge raised $5.5m from our friend Michael Moe and GSV to fuel growth of educational programs for career success.
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, Higher Education is about to get flipped!  Blending learning giant Echo360 has reached over 1 million students in over 6,000 classrooms and 500 institutions. With giant investment of $31M from Steve Case there will be more flipped college classes.
The eLearning Caucus is Comin’ to Town. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is on the horizon. ECampusNews reports that “online education advocates will have a legislative dog in the fight…thanks to a rare bipartisan charge to include web-based courses in national policy discussions.”

The Big “D”

Data on Distance Learning. The 2012 Condition of Education Report from NCES reveals that over half of public school districts had students enrolled in distance education courses, including those delivered online. This is up from 30 percent since 2002-03. Fifty percent of districts that offered distance education courses in 2009–10 reported that a post-secondary institution delivered the courses in which students were enrolled.
Data in the Driver’s Seat. While we would certainly add a sixth reason (ahem, implications for education), this list of five reasons that big data is a big deal is a great conversation starter.
Data Solutions. Symantec Corp. announced the launch of SymEd, a new licensing model designed specifically to help K-12 and higher ed academic institutions address security, virtualization and mobility challenges.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

Horn on Jobs. Check out this great piece by Innosight Institute’s Michael Horn explaining why Steve Jobs would have loved digital learning.
Exodus.  Kevin Carey is the latest to leave  EdSector.  He’s heading to New American Foundation.
Just ducky.  And, finally, holy cow, Rudy Crew is the new Oregon superintendent. You forgot that he was Northwesterner–he was Tacoma superintendent in 1995 before heading for the Big Apple.

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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