SMARTtech Roundup: Blended Learning, Common Core & STEM

Blended Schools & Tools

Check out who’s blending. Our friend Marina Ballantyne Walne published a summary of blended models and school profiles—a mix of familiar and new comers. It’s worth a look. Sieze the day Indy! Carpe Diem opened a couple schools in Indy and was featured at Education Nation, which headlined lots of charters, Common Core, and edtech. Get the party started. Junyo announced that they’ve given up the pole position in blended platforms to focus on analytics… and the party was just getting started. We need your vote! Cast your vote for our SXSWedu panels this March 2013.

Digital Developments

Keep digital learning in mind. Gov. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, testified before the Texas Joint Interim Committee to Study the Public School Finance System on the necessity of digital learning in the new funding formula. Citizenship goes digital. Edmodo and Common Sense Media teamed up to create a Digital Citizenship Starter Kit, which includes a poster and series of activities and lessons on digital citizenship like Internet security, privacy, plagiarism, cyber-bullying, and more. Hello online learning! Michigan HB 5923 was introduced to the House Education Committee, which would authorize additional types of specially-designed public schools like online schools to meet the needs of students. Rhode Island is getting comprehensive about tech. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) selected CDW-G, a leading provider of technology solutions to education and government, to deliver the state’s vision of the modern classroom to schools across the state, CDW-G announced today. Starting this fall, Rhode Island schools will be able to select a comprehensive technology package for students and teachers that includes Lenovo laptops, software from Microsoft and Dyknow, wireless access and professional development. Schools will be able to select additional classroom technology tools from CDW-G’s full catalog. What’s on the big screen? Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of 16 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools, was chosen by FRONTLINE, a production of WGBH, Boston, to author a community screening guide for their segment, Middle School Moment. Get to the root of m-learning. Grunwald Associates LLC will conduct a research study to examine student uses, parent perceptions and family requirements for mobile learning platforms. The study will be conducted with support from AT&T and in collaboration with the Learning First Alliance, a major national education organization. K-12 edtech involves economics. The Hamilton Project released two new papers, “Harnessing Technology to Improve K-12 Education” and “A Dozen Economic Facts about K-12 Education,” at the September 27th education forum in DC featuring remarks by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Four points for games in education! WhatCulture shared four reasons why gaming must be used in education. Students weigh in. Arizona students shared their take on blended learning. Education to careers. Strive, noted in Cincinnati’s success featured on the NBC Today Show, has been turning heads with its organizational backbone to collaboration.

Steamy STEM Gems

Buh-bye expensive calculators! Google Ventures backs math education startup Desmos to hire, expand, and grow efforts to bring its online graphing calculator to more students. You mean engaging students with their interests – actually works?! Researchers at Southern Methodist University found that personalizing algebra word problems to ninth grade students’ interests in sports, music, movies, etc. improves performance. They should teach that. Guest writer Mitch Pearlstein at StarTribune says there should be a high school that teaches STEM disciplines … lucky for him, there is! #STEMLAB It’s here! New Media Consortium (NMC), the Centro Superior para la Enseñanza Virtual (CSEV), Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Electrónica y de Control at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education Society (IEEE) released Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2012-2017 to inform educational leaders about significant developments in STEM. Wire in for STEM. STEMwire, a news site dedicated to elevating and informing the conversation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in America, launched this week. The project is part of 100Kin10 (, a nationwide initiative aiming to add 100,000 STEM teachers to classrooms in the next decade. Join the #STEMwire Twitter party from 4 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 3.

Getting to the Core

Despite recent critique, Common Core has positive impact across subject areas. A survey by the National Science Teachers Association shows that Common Core State Standards are changing science classroom with math- and literacy-infused content. And despite recent and public misconceptions… Checker Finn shares why the Common Core and a national curriculum aren’t the same thing. Shorter assessments, but still Common Core. A 25-state coalition plans to offer the choice of both a shorter and longer assessment pegged to the Common Core.

Come On Get App-y

Get campus connected! Campus Squad, Inc. launched its first app Campus Squad, which allows students to promote and share things on campus, on the iTunes store. Learning apps take hold. App developer Duck Duck Moose for kids raised $7 million from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Stanford University to hire additional designers, engineers, and marketing staff. Interactive games get funding. Ubooly announced $1.5 million in seed funding from SoftTouch, 500 Startups, David Cohen, and more to provide a digital experience to a child’s digital toy. Can an app get you into college? The Gates Foundation announced a $2.5 million initiative, College Knowledge Challenge, that will offer grants to teams committed to making apps aimed at helping students get into college. Proposals for app grants are due Nov. 16.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

STEM-spansion! NanoProfessor announced that Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) will expand its leadership in nanotechnology education by implementing the NanoProfessor Nanoscience Education Program. MOOC out of the way! MOOCs shift from curiosity to employability as MongoDB takes center stage.

The Big “D”

Knewton is going global. Wiley partnered with Knewton to offer a Knewton Math Readiness course as a developmental math solution for university students in Australia and New Zealand.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

Give your pitch. The EdGrowth Open, taking place November 1-2, 2012 in New York City, invites early-stage companies to pitch ideas to hundreds of investors and influential leaders in the education community. Spotlight on! The Atlantic recently featured entrepreneur, teacher, and new College Board CEO David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core.   Edmodo, Desmos and Junyo are Learn Capital companies where Tom Vander Ark 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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