SmartTech Roundup: Tablets, Blended Learning, STEM

Keeping Tabs On Tablets

Nexus News. Google unveiled its Nexus tablet, coming in at $199, specs reveal both an 8GB and 16 GB option for the 7-in Jelly-Bean-powered tablet.
In other Google news. Over 500 School Districts in US and Europe Use Chromebooks. Google launched new tools and collections of web apps for students and administrators, along with ST Math, VoiceThread and Achieve3000, at the ISTE conference.
The Surface surfaced. The release of the Microsoft Surface Tablet has people talking. EWeek reports that Microsoft Surface Tablet Adds Urgency to Defining Enterprise BYOD Policies, while the folks at Gear Diary wonder if the Surface is The Trojan Tablet For Digital Textbooks. Edgalaxy ponders: Is Microsoft Surface a better tablet than the iPad for schools?  What we want to know is why on earth did Microsoft choose Common Core as the name for the communications protocol between Windows 8 and the phone/tab version?  You think someone would have Binged the name and determined it was pretty well spoken for.
Kajeet, a cell phone carrier that specializes in kid-friendly mobile service, announced that it will provide Android tablets to 120 eighth-graders in Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools and 180 fifth-graders in the Chicago Public Schools.

Blended Schools & Tools

On Point with GradPoint. Pearson announced the launch of GradPoint, an online learning program for grades 6-12 that offers multiple learning paths to serve a variety of student needs on a single platform.  GradPoint is powered by at Florida Virtual and eDynamics (also used by our friends at Internet Academy).
GLASS Lab. Electronic Arts (EA) is going to be home for a new project called the Games, Learning and Assessment, or GLASS, Lab. The effort is funded in large part by $10.3 million in grants from MacArthur Foundation and Gates Foundation. The project will have two primary goals: building next-generation educational games, and creating tools to take existing games, potentially such as EA’s upcoming “SimCity,” and measure what students learn from them.
Path Drivers. EPS introduced Path Driver for Reading™ and Path Driver for Math™, two powerful online assessment systems that deliver fast, accurate and predictive measures of student proficiency.
Blended Buckeyes. New legislation welcomed digital and blended learning into the official lexicon of education in Ohio. Senate Bill 316 defines digital and blended learning, making explicit the ability of Local Education Agencies to create or convert traditional schools, all or in part, to blended schools.
Developments in BYOD. A recently released white paper shows how Katy Independent School District transformed instruction, improved engagement, and breathed new life into the curriculum by introducing Web 2.0 tools like Edmodo into classroom instruction, focusing on digital citizenship, and allowing students to bring their own Internet-enabled devices to class. (We’ll be releasing a BYOD paper in the next few weeks, stay tuned!)

Digital Developments

For parental perusal. The Pearson Foundation launched Learning Starts, a project focused on providing parents with relevant information about education and learning. It’s an ad-free, quick digital guide to education and learning written with today’s parents in mind.
From The Brilliant Blog. Speaking to some Swedish research on high-tech teaching aids, Annie Murphy Paul reminds readers: “it’s not the technologies in themselves that will improve education, but the care and thoughtfulness with which they’re implemented.” In other words, it’s mostly about execution, most of the time.
Speak Up. According to a survey report released today from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow a majority of school district administrators–52%–now endorse online classes, up from just one-third who felt the same in 2007 and matching the overall level of support from parents.
200,000 Resources and Counting. Blackboard and, announced a partnership to help teachers create high quality online courses more quickly and easily with an integration that would make’s vast catalog of rich K-12 content and tools available directly in the Blackboard LMS.
Tools for creating classrooms without boundaries. Microsoft Office 365 for education is now available, providing productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost. Office 365 for education is a cloud-based suite that includes the familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications, providing educators with powerful tools to create anytime, anywhere learning opportunities across multiple devices.
See, learning can be all fun and games! Video shared by EdWeek shows Students Tackle Video-Game Design.

Steamy STEM Gems

STEM Summit. The US News STEM Summit is taking place this week. Can’t make it to Dallas? Watch events streaming live or check out the archive.
Uh-oh. U.S. News Reports that For Most U.S. High Schoolers, STEM Knowledge Is Only Skin Deep according to assessment results released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, seventy-five percent of high school seniors successfully completed straightforward experiments as part of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress science exam. When tasked with more complicated experiments, only 25% came to the correct conclusion.
Georgia recognizing the best in STEM. Nominations accepted for first annual STEM education awards are being accepted until July 6. The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative created the awards to honor individuals and organizations with outstanding effort and achievement advancing STEM education in Georgia. Schools, individuals, companies, camps, after-school programs and public-private partnerships are eligible for the award.

Getting to the Core

How is your state doing? EdWeek shared this great Google Doc Resource that tracks legislation related to Common Core implementation by state.  While you’re at it, gauge your state’s digital health on the Nation’s Digital Report Card.  
Common Core Assessment Solution. CTB/McGraw-Hill announced the launch of TerraNova Common Core Form 2, a Grades 3-8 measure of the Common Core State Standards.
Common Core Search Solution. Lesson Planet, a curriculum search solution for PreK-12 educators, introduced a unique new feature to help teachers implement the Common Core. Lesson Planet’s Common Core solution supports teachers in understanding, planning for, and implementing the Common Core. Sounds like they’ll be competing against an AFT-backed ShareMyLesson. (No, that’s not a new edu-VC, that the union–and welcome to EdTech!)
Common Core Grading Solution. Turnitin, the leader in originality checking and online grading, has partnered with the English Professional Learning Council to develop writing rubrics aligned to the Common Core State Standards that will better prepare secondary students for college-level course work.
First set of interactive CC-aligned whiteboard lessons. Launched at #ISTE12, A unique collaboration between Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Promethean has resulted in two completely developed, ready-to-use collections of Common Core interactive whiteboard lessons for reading and mathematics.
It always comes back to relationships. Reporting from ISTE 2012, EdWeek’s Ian Quillen asserts: Curriculum and Tech Leaders Must Have ‘Common’ Language.

Come On Get App-y

Butterfly in the sky…This week, the beloved children’s program ‘Reading Rainbow’ resurfaced as an app. Like the show, the app is aimed at children ages 3-9, who are just learning to read. The free app contains 150 books and 16 virtual field trips, with additional tools available to monthly subscribers.
Improved interactions. Schoology, a cloud-based, collaborative learning platform for K-20 classrooms, announced the release of its open Application Programming Interface (API) developer platform.
App Tappestry. Float Mobile Learning introduced Tappestry at Techweek in Chicago. Tappestry is the first social network created to enhance informal learning and will compete in Techweek’s LAUNCH startup competition.
Feeling Loopy? Parents who want to give their children a lifelong learning advantage can now download the new math education app Loopy! and lay a proper foundation for quantitative skills. Unlike many math education apps on the market that are drilled-based, Loopy! is refreshingly conceptual and carefully designed for meaningful engagement with content.
Show and Tell. With newly-redesigned With ShowMe 3.0, it’s even easier to follow your favorite teachers and discover great lessons. The ShowMe app turns the iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard, allowing you to record voice-over tutorials and share them with our online learning community.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

CCR and PARCC. For the first time, chief state school officers and members of the Advisory Committee on College Readiness from PARCC Governing States met on June 20th for a joint session to discuss proposed policies on achievement levels and on determining college readiness in mathematics and English language arts/literacy on the PARCC high school assessments.
Digital Endorsement. American College of Education will offer a new digital learning concentration. One of the world’s leading providers of online advanced degree programs for educators announced it is offering a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a Concentration in Digital Learning & Teaching.
Expanded and enhanced. K12 Inc., the nation’s leading provider of proprietary curricula and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school, announced that it has expanded its course catalog available to school districts for the school year 2012-2013. The company’s catalog, the most extensive in the K-12 industry with more than 550 unique online courses and titles, includes over 85 new or enhanced courses and titles, including world languages and expanded electives.
Wharton on MOOCs. Wharton Business School’s popular Knowledge@Wharton newsletter tackled the question of whether free online courses will transform the higher education industry.
A European challenge for American start-ups? WiredAcademic reports that EU education officials are closely watching digital education trends in the United States and planning several digital initiatives of their own, ranging from college rankings to creating a portal for open educational resources such as MOOCs – massive online open courses – from top European universities.
Exposure leads to optimism. New Babson Survey Conflicted: Faculty And Online Learning, 2012 reveals college and university faculty members are more pessimistic than optimistic about online education and remain far more skeptical about learning outcomes in online programs than are academic technology administrators on their campuses. But faculty members with a greater exposure to online education take a more optimistic view than their peers.
Blending at William & Mary. Faculty members from across the William & Mary campus are exploring blended learning this summer so that next year they can teach their own blended courses, which will combine traditional in-class instruction with technology-aided learning outside of the classroom. Seventeen faculty members are participating in the seven-week E-learning Professional Development.

The Big “D”

Get Clever. The Clever Team believes that data should empower learning, not hold it back. Just launched with a mission to make powerful educational software easy to build and easy to deploy, Clever has to potential to solve some of the current big data problems facing schools.
Top IT Trends. The “internet of things” and the resultant “big data,” among other major trends, will drive change in operational technology over the next three years for higher education and other types of organizations, according to the latest research by Gartner.
Big Data and Fast Data. Campus Technology reports, “The recent ability of universities to process large amounts of data at superfast speed opens the door to automated, mobile, and deeply personalized education.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

Introducing ERIN. Created by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, The Education Research Information Navigator, or ERIN Project, is a powerful tool designed to analyze the U.S. Education system through five key lenses: policy, research, organizations, funders and technology.
Just five? Showcasing great examples of the best in education, Five Things I’ve Learned is a collection of personal reflections from education leaders devoted to improving the fortunes of others through learning launched by The Pearson Foundation. Check out Tom’s contribution.
Calling all connectors! Secretary Duncan declared August “Connected Educator Month.” The initiative will include opportunities to take part in online forums, webinars, and contests. The Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) will convene Connected Educator Month in conjunction with the AIR (which seems like a weird partner for a web2 event like this).
MIND Research Institute is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.  Edmodo is  portfolio company of Learn Capital where Tom is a partner.  

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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