SMARTtech Roundup: Blended Learning, STEM & Apps

Blended Schools & Tools

RTT-D pushes for personalized learning. RttT-D kicked off the $400 million competition for increased personalized learning. CRPE says portfolio schools have the advantage. Tom comments, adds a list of 10 questions for districts, and contributes a  list of 35 blogs lends help to districts planning for personalization.
Everyone’s going 1:1. Leyden High School District 212 welcomed its 3,500 students back this year with a 1:1 Google Chromebook program. It’s now one of more than 500 schools piloting this year.
Mooresville in the lead. Mooresville, N.C. announced “Fixing Our Schools,” a documentary scheduled for Fox News Channel Sunday. Gov. Jeb Bush played a critical role in the making of the film as an education reform leader and advocate in Florida. See Tom’s blog on how important the Mooresville culture is to the improvement seen over the last four years.
WSSB leads the way in online learning. Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) announced plans to leverage online learning in a statewide program, Digital Learning Commons.
Skype in your classroom! Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced plans to virtually visit Iowa classrooms this school year in a “Skype Your School” campaign.
Blended learning gains traction and expands. A recent Mashable article on Rocketship Education shows how blended learning can improve student performance, achievement, and other learning outcomes. Ohio schools and districts announced plans to introduce blended learning to middle- and high-school students upon passing upcoming reform bills. EdWeek featured an article about hybrid or blended learning home schools gaining traction in Georgia and across the U.S.
Get immersed in games. Toolwire announced a plans to host the presentation “Bringing reality to learning through Immersive Learning Environments and Serious Gaming” at the Association for Learning Technology conference.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

Flipped classroom shows results. Houston KIPP Academy saw a rise in math scores after flipping the classroom with iPads using the YourTeacher Algebra 1 iBooks.
iPads are still in the lead. Public sales figures released this week show Samsung sales fell way behind the iPad.
Take your bets! Rumor has it Microsoft’s Surface Tablet will be revealed as $199 in its October release, which puts it against Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.
Learning is Personal. Our disruptive friend Marie Bjerede published a report on a 5th grade tablet pilot conducted in the  West Linn-Wilsonville School District in Oregon.   The report explores differences and preference in writing on tablets vs netbooks and concludes that intermediate students quickly become responsible device users. You can find the report here:
Watch for our eReader review on Saturday on EdWeek.

Digital Developments

Find out what’s in Mike Sommer’s backpack. E-Learning Queen Susan Smith Nash published an interview with Mike Sommer, Digital Learning Backpack, for her Innovators in E-Learning Series.
FLVS raises a high bar. AdcancED conferred re-accreditation to Florida Virtual School (FLVS), rating the school “highly functional” in all seven required standards.
Kentucky is transforming education. The Kentucky Board of Education announced plans to continue developing the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky and to look at the Colorado Legacy Foundation as a fund model.
Startups are in the money. Next Education India Pvt. Ltd. announced plans to raise $27 million by the end of December 2012. Educreations announced $2.2 million in funding from Accel and NewSchools to turn iPads into a classroom flipped model tool. EverFi, Inc. announced $10 million in Series B funding by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Twitter founder Evan Williams, Rethink Education, and others. ClassDojo announced $1.6 million in seed funding from Learn Capital, New Schools and others. MeeGenius announced $2.4 million in funding from Sonja Perkins, Broadway Angels, Sunrise Capital Partners, and others.
Tutoring just got cheaper. Jonathan Kaplan, Flip Video’s co-founder, unveiled Knowmia, which intends to help parents cut the cost of tutoring.
Digital and rental may be the death of textbook purchasing. Amazon expanded its textbook rental program beyond digital texts to traditional paperback books for up to 70 percent off the purchase price.
Prepare for the unknown. Fast Co.EXIST published a great infographic, “Mapping the Future of Education Technology,” which predicts that 65 percent of grade school students today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist.

Steamy STEM Gems

Public-private partnerships further STEM. Florida Power & Light Company announced plans to support STEM education in Florida schools for the next school year. The MdBio Foundation announced plans to support high school science with an online video game to reach students across the U.S.
One step further in STEM. Khan Academy launched a new Computer Science learning platform. In Khan Academy style, the company released a video-based description.

Getting to the Core

Let’s get personal. Tom featured Person’s 1:1 Learning Framework to personalize digital learning and power the Common Core.
Get a sneak peek at the test! The Smarter Balanced Assessment and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC) provided a preview of Common Core State Standards assessments.
Fingers crossed! Gov. Andrew Cuomo received New York AB 10205, which would allow boards of cooperative educational services to enter into contracts with out-of-state school districts for special education and/or career and technical education services or for the use of existing products that demonstrate how to map the Common Core standards to assessments and/or provide access to existing webinars or online courses related to implementation of the common core standards.
What tech is Common Core ready? WeAreTeachers published a blog on eight helpful tech tools for the Common Core State Standards that’s worth a read.

Come On Get App-y

Early learning is app friendly. Daniel Donahoo published a compelling blog on the Huffington Post about the future of apps for young children.
How good it is it, anyway? YogiPlay announced YogiMeter, a new rating system for mobile learning apps.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Pave a new path to college credit. The Saylor Foundation announced partnerships with Excelsior College and StraighterLine, which offers a new path to college credit. StraighterLine also announced access to Excelsior College Examinations directly from StraighterLine’s website.
Get it cheaper. Pearson launched Pearson College with a private U.K. partner to offer degree courses, which will be significantly less per year on average than other universities and validated by London universities.
Ready for college? JSOnline published a great article on tech tips for college-bound students and their parents.
Should we also ask the students? A new report by Mark Kantrowitz details the majority of college students graduate with affordable debt averaging about $27,000.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

How’s your state gathering data? New York chose four companies to build an education database for test scores, curriculum materials, and education apps: ConnectEDUeScholar, Pearson PLC or Schoolnet.
Innovative educators receive national recognition. Microsoft announced its 16 educator winners in the Partners in Learning U.S. Forum, which will move on to the Global Forum in Prague this November.
See you there? NBC News announced The New York Public Library will host the 2012 “Education Nation” National Summit this September.
Disclosures: ClassDojo is a portfolio company of Learn Capital  where Tom Vander Ark is a partner. Pearson and FLVS  are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

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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