EdTech 10: Popes, Particles & Personalized Learning

This week’s global headlines included the appointment of new Pope (with #newpope knocking #sxsw from the top spot in trending tweets) and the confirmation of the Higgs Boson “God particle” (a pretty cool return on the $9B investment in the Large Hadron Collider). Were you too busy with all the international headlines this week to keep track of all the news in EdTech? Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, you’re in luck – we’ve got the Top Ten for you again this week.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. The Learning Accelerator (TLA) received a $5 million grant from the Jaquelin Hume Foundation to jumpstart TLA’s dual mission to create several robust implementations in districts & establish solutions that can be replicated nationwide. TLA’s CEO Scott Ellis also co-authored the DLN Smart Series Blended Learning Implementation Guide, which is already being put to good use by schools and districts since it’s February release.
2. Nashville is blasting off to personalized learning with the announcement of 8 new Rocketship schools, adding to the 8 schools it will also open in Memphis.

Digital Developments

3. EdWeek released TechCounts 2013: Building the Digital District.  The 16th annual report includes features on going 1:1, modernizing facilities, professional development, and data systems. Dip your toe into the report with this infographic on K-12 Technology Usage.
4. Maine, Hawaii & Vermont formed the Multi-State Learning Technology Initiative to reap the benefits of bulk purchasing, with at least five other states considering membership.
5. CompetencyWorks is wrapping up the Making Mastery Work webinar series this month, with a link to archived webinars on this YouTube playlist. Speaking of YouTube, you’ve got to check out this great piece on The Viral Mentor from Adam Renfro.
6. A post from Pratham Books revealed a pretty interesting discovery: “When we looked at the cumulative sales data for CC books that were available on Scribd vs. CC books that were not available on Scribd, we were astounded to see that the former outsold the latter in such dramatic fashion in almost a 3:1 ratio. While we would be hesitant to say, given the specifics of our market and our model, that making books openly licensed and available online increased sales, we are a lot more confident in claiming that, at worst, it does not seem to depress sales of those books. And that, in itself, is an important learning for us and as it should be for the rest of the publishing industry.”

Getting to the Core

7. Education nonprofit CFY announced it is expanding PowerMyLearning.com to include more than 1,000 Common Core-aligned K-3 digital learning activities by the end of this year.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

8. This week we hung out with medical and engineering schools and, guess what, they have all the same issues as K-12: incorporating more applied knowledge into outcomes, creating powerful learning experiences, and competency-based pathways.  They share the same frustrations that the tools don’t exist to create Next Generation Professional Training.

The Big “D”

9.  EdWeek asked this week: Do school data systems need improvement? While you probably already know the answer to this question, the article provides a good overview of the problem and potential solutions.
10. LearnSprout, the first universal API for K-12 announced that more than 3,300 schools have registered for its Dashboard product. A semifinalist in the SXSWedu LAUNCHedu competition, we’re officially declaring LearnSprout “one to watch.”
Disclosures: Tom is a Director at iNACOL. Digital Learning Now! is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

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