EdTech 10: Rocks or Frozen?

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer.  To paraphrase the great American poet Jimmy Buffet, it’s time to nibble on sponge cake, watch the sun bake, and gear up for summer break.  Check out this week’s Top Ten, then resume the hunt for your lost shaker of salt.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. A new report issued by the newly-named Clay Christensen Institute (formerly Innosight) offers a new perspective on the rise of blended learning. The paper “Is K-12 Blended Learning Disruptive?” advances the field of blended learning with an updated definition of blended learning, a view of blended learning through the lens of disruptive innovation, the introduction of the concept of hybrid innovation, and some action steps for ed leaders interested in cultivating disruptive innovation.

Here’s the short version: rotation = hybrid, flex = disruptive.  That’s why Tom keeps saying there are at least 10 Reasons Every District Should Open a Flex School.  Follow the hashtag #HybridInnovation for more information.

Teachers & Tech

2. We’re pretty pumped to see the changing roles of teachers getting more attention. EdWeek offered Digital Trends Shifting the Roles of Teachers and  Ed. Schools Lag Behind Digital Content Trends.  Learning Forward released Seizing the Moment: State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning. Edgenuity has launched new & improved PD services aimed at helping teachers make the most of online and blended learning programs.

Check out the recently-released “Improving Conditions & Careers” paper and “Blended Learning & the Teaching Profession” infographic from DLN, Public Impact, and your friends here at Getting Smart for a thorough discussion of the topic.

Digital Developments

3. CoSN and NMC unveiled the 2013 K-12 Horizon Report that details the six emerging technologies that will impact K-12 in the next three years. Spoiler alert:  widespread use of cloud computing and learning analytics are just around the corner and 3D printing and virtual science labs are on the horizon.

4. Macmillian announced a partnership with Knewton. This means that in 2015, students and teachers using Macmillan’s digital materials will benefit from Knewton’s adaptive learning tools and analytics. Knewton announced a similar partnership with Pearson in the last year.

The Science of Getting Smart

5. The Getting Smart team has been thinking a lot lately about non-academic skills and dispositions that contribute to student success. This new test on non-academic skills from ETS definitely piques my interest (and makes me wonder when we’ll see a K-12 complement).


6.Code is definitely the new black. T.H.E. Journal covered three student-friendly apps that are “hooking tomorrow’s programmers.” Tom covered the Code.org movement with his piece “Teaching Kids to Code: An Economic & Social Justice Issue.

For the Core

7. This week the Chiefs for Change issued an open letter in support of the Common Core, stating that “Only through world-class academic standards, measured through rigorous assessments, will we realize a world-class education system that raises student achievement and, ultimately, maintains our nation’s economic competitiveness.” We agree. For more on our support for the Core, check out: “Common Core: A Platform for Equity & Innovation” and “In Support of the Common Core.”

8. With the help of a $2 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Khan Academy is now working to develop more (and deeper) Core-aligned content and diagnostics in math.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. A new report from the New America Foundation explores the The Next Generation University with a focus on six public research universities–Arizona State University, University at Buffalo, University of California at Riverside, University of Central Florida, Georgia State University, and the University of Texas at Arlington–that are “continuing their commitment to world class research while increasing enrollment and graduation rates, even as the investments from their states have declined.”

The Big “D”

10. This week SETDA released a new report, “Transforming Data to Information in Service of Learning,” that helps make sense of  the flurry of activity (and players) in the world of eddata. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a total ed-data geek, so I get excited about things like this & hope you do, too.  We’re always looking for new members of the eddata club, check out “Data Backpacks” and the “Powering Personalization” infographic, and you’re automatically in.

Disclosures: Digital Learning Now! and Pearson are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.


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