SMARTtech Top 10: Change Urgency

As we head into the holidays and think about the New Year, edtech happenings are in full speed ahead. At the Excellence in Action summit leaders spoke urgency to change for the economic demand of the future. News this week reflected a shift toward competency-based learning, common standards, literacy rates, and more.

Digital Developments

1. The Foundation for Excellence in Education hosted their annual summit Excellence in Action in Washington D.C. this week. Jeb Bush’s suggested steps for education improvement included higher standards, robust accountability, teacher evaluation systems, school choice, and technology. Checker Finn wrote a glowing review of Bush’s keynote.
2. Smart Teacher Alison Anderson is using monsters to motivate her Kindergarteners to read. Teach Your Monster to Read is a game-based program that motivates students to engage in learning.

The Science of Getting Smart

3. OrlandoFest announced plans to launch Performance Workshops designed to develop and enhance key music skills for elementary, middle and junior high, and high school music ensembles.

Steamy STEM Gems

4. Microsoft announced a $250 million, five-year renewal of the Partners in Learning (PiL) initiative designed to support and train teachers’ and schools’ use of technology to better prepare students for college and careers.
5. SparkFun Electronics announced a $3,000 grant from the state of Vermont to include SparkFun STEM kits in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics pilot.

Getting to the Core

6. Jobs for the Future released a case study of Boston Day and Evening Academy that took a close look at competency-based standards.
7. Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) announced that it has reduced the length of its assessments to balance meaningful and useful exams with less time spent on testing. SBAC also announced that education software company Wireless Generation will develop software to report and analyze results from the Common Core State Standards.
8. At a CCSSO meeting this week, groups interested in career preparation and social emotional learning discussed measures and potential innovations.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Pearson published The Learning Curve, a report designed to help policymakers, school leaders, and academics identify key factors that drive improved outcomes in literacy and graduation rates. View the report.
10. The U.S. Department of Education announced the Race to the Top-District finalists, which will award $5-40 million to innovative learning programs. Final awards will be announced by the end of 2012.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education and Pearson 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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