EdTech 10: Leveraging Teachers; Rating HigherEd

Whether school has already started or you are gearing up to welcome the students this coming Tuesday, all the hard working teachers out there deserve a day off to rest and relax because the school year is here and it’s bound to be a great one! But “great” can’t happen without incredible amounts of hard work, so, this Labor Day, we sure hope all those teachers realize how appreciated their hard work is.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Building Non-Cognitive Skills into a Blended Model Here’s a must read post from a “superstar teacher” getting ready to teach first grade. We love how she plans to use the blended learning model to have more personal time with students, teaching them about social expectations. We’ve written frequently this year about smarter blends including Fortified Environments Turnaround Impacts of Poverty; Deeper Learning: Not Just for Suburban Students; and Summit Denali: Engaging Student-Centered High School Model.

2. New LAUSD technology panel tackles details of iPad project – It doesn’t go unnoticed when one of the largest districts in the country decides to buy every one of their students iPads! We definitely want to know the “deets” on how it’s going over there… check out this Daily News post.  We’re excited about the potential to Transform Special Education with iPads in LAUSD.  Watch for a deep dive this week on iPad content in LA.

Digital Developments

3. Attention all good iNACOL members. Please add your feedback in this survey iNACOL has created to help improve broadband access for student learning! They want to highlight not only how their members use the internet but also the challenges they face. It’s only 12 questions, won’t take long and you will be helping students connect all over the country.

4. Pearson keeps pushing into the future and taking students with them. This week they launched an online, interactive guide to strategies for using performance assessments to measure 21st Century higher-order skills like critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. The guide “provides educators, policymakers, students and parents with an overview of different types of assessments and the ways that they can be used to support student learning. The guide offers policymakers with a comprehensive understanding of performance assessment.” If that’s not enough for you, Pearson also has announced they are partnering with Knewton to add adaptive learning features to MyLab and Mastering offerings. Worth watching.

Teachers & Tech

5. Leveraging great teaching with tech. Both Secretary of Ed, Arne Duncan and the Christensen Institute wrote about the importance of teachers and how technology can leverage great teaching.  Opportunity Culture wrote the book on this topic.

6. myEdmatch has a the art of a good pitch down, that’s for sure. They were founded less than a year ago but just closed a round of funding bringing their total investment up to almost $3 million. When you have a great idea like connecting the right educators with the right schools based on missions, beliefs and goals, it should be easy to find support.


7. If you consider yourself a gamer, an educational gamer that is, MIT’s Education Arcade is one of the top resources you should have bookmarked. This week they launched a new online math and science game for high schoolers called The Radix Endeavor. It’s a “World of Warcraft” like game completely aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for Biology and CCSS for math. Sounds like a win-win for high schoolers everywhere. Interested? Katrina Schwarz covers it here on KQED.

In case you missed it, earlier this week Jessica Slusser posted 5 Tips to Successfully Gamify Your Classroom or School.


Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

8. We heard it here from Adam Renfro first, but it is definitely official–Linkedin has lowered it’s age restriction to 14 and is opening has announced the addition of  University Pages. This is good news- we hear those college students like to socialize, in the real world as well as virtually.  We think this has the potential the potential to improve employability.

9. The president proposed performance-based funding for HigherEd base on an outcome rating system. Inside Higher Ed provided comprehensive coverage and Brookings notes shortcomings.  Meanwhile innovators are changing the postsecondary landscape.  With the combination of new competitors and new incentives, things could change fast.

10. By the way, while you are over at Inside Higher Ed, take some time and catch up on the latest opinion on MOOCs- their  Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests the 2,251 professors are still skeptical that MOOCs are truly where we are headed. But that’s not all they say… this report is overflowing with data and analysis of what could or could not make a MOOC a success.


Pearson is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Tom is a Director at iNACOL.



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