EdTech 10: No Break for EdTech

I don’t know about all of you, dear readers, but next week our family is hitting the road for a spring break adventure.  Has this blissful seasonal milestone already passed for you? Or perhaps your spring breakin’ days are long gone altogether. Either way, there’s plenty of adventure in this week’s EdTech 10 to keep you busy.  And, fear not, the Getting Smart team will bring you next week’s top ten – same time, same station, different conductor.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Have you signed up yet? The Blended Schools Network is offering a MOOC using the SoftChalk platform! Today’s Blended Teacher: A MOOC Made for Community and Curation begins April 15th.

2. We’ve been thinking about how blended learning can improve conditions and careers for teachers. In fact, we’ll release the next DLN Smart Series paper co-authored by the fine folks at Public Impact on this topic next month.  We were excited to see EdWeek agrees with our core premise, as evidenced in Josh Woodward’s piece How Blended Learning Saved My Teaching Career.

3. We also enjoyed this interesting look at the 16 Race to the Top district winners, tasked with prioritizing personalization, that explains how each winner is addressing the challenge in a different way. Trends include individualized learning plans, personalized professional development for teachers, better student data systems and $77 million in spending on technology.

Digital Developments

4. It was a week of big deals and big dollars. LearnZillion, that offers K-12 video lesson plans, teamed up with NearPod, that offers cool tablet-management tools for teachers, to offer common-core aligned video lessons using NearPod. Online language-learning service Babbel closed a $10 million round. Alumni management provider EverTrue raised $5.25 million round led by Bain Capital.

5. In DC developments, Ed.gov launched the next round of the i3 grant program. Bob Slavin (of Success for All fame) advocated for a federal R&D shop for education – ARPA-Ed.

6. Congrats to Pearson, who topped the 2013 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODiE Awards for education with 14 programs earning finalist honors. Programs selected included: digits, Pearson iBook2 Textbooks, EQUELLA, Pearson Compass Suite, Lab Investigator Tools, OpenClass, iLit, PowerSchool, MyFoundationsLab, MyMathLab with Knewton Adaptive Learning, Prep for the GED Test: MyFoundationsLab Edition , Propero, Schoolnet, MyEconLab with Knewton.

7. There’s new digital learning legislation in North Carolina that will specifically direct the State BOE to develop and implement digital teaching and learning standards for teachers and school administrators and make good on NC’s intent to move from funding textbook to funding digital materials by 2017.

8.    A partnership between the Helios Education Foundation and SRI International launched a Center for Digital Learning in Florida to create digital learning projects focused on STEM, evaluate digital learning models and conduct research.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Happy Early College High School Week!  To celebrate, check out this great video: What Is Early College? and Early College High Schools Show Promise.

International Perspectives

10.  Take a little trip with me.  First, to India courtesy of the NY Times, What Are You Doing to Fix India’s Broken Education System? Next to Finland courtesy of Edutopia for a peek into its celebrated system. And finally to Punjab, thanks to Sir Michael Barber, for The Good News from Pakistan (covered by Tom on Getting Smart.)

Disclosures: Pearson and Digital Learning Now are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. LearnZillion is a Learn Capital portfolio company, where Tom is a partner.


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