Believe it or not, August is almost over. Its getting dark earlier and the days just aren’t as long. Children around the country are going back to school and for many parents that means doing a little happy dance. To get you back in school mode, as promised through our Smart Lists, we are recognizing some amazing people and companies. This week we highlighted 20 Teacher & Leader Developers, 10 School Improvers, 20 Learning Platforms, 10 Innovative High Schools, and 10 Deeper Learning Networks. We have a few more awards to make, so keep an eye out–we might have just saved the best for last (wink, wink).
Blended Schools & Tools
1. Eight new districts, including Riverside USD, who we know has been busting the myths about online learning for a while, have been added to the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, a professional learning network and a hotbed for demonstrating, evaluating, and scaling promising new approaches to education. We are excited to see this growth in this great innovation engine.
2. Couldn’t agree more with Katrina Stevens writing for MindShift on these Four Essential Principles of Blended Learning. In fact, we are releasing our updated version of the Blended Learning Implementation Guide in the next few weeks. You have one more week to send questions, comments, and suggestions.
3. Blended algebra works better according to a big rear view mirror RAND study of Carnegie Learning which can take a victory lap, then continue the research cycle, according to our friends at Christensen. We agree–the sector needs better short cycle blended learning research trials. For more on the study and the great videos that accompany it, head over to the Digital Learning Now! blog.
4. The dream of going paperless is alive in the Netherlands, as they open iPad Only Schools for over 1,000 students between the ages 4 and 12. Somewhere, Steve Jobs is smiling. Apple has already sold 10 million iPads–even CEO Tim Cook was surprised, “The adoption rate of iPad in education is something I’ve never seen from any technology product in history.”
5. On that note, Bookmark Now! Apple launched their new Education Website, focusing on teachers and showcasing how they enhance their lessons and engage students on iPads. The site is shining the spotlight on real stories of real teachers helping redefine education. We’re also a fan of the iTunes U virtual field trips. Now we need some simple classroom management tools.
6. Getting Smart hit the Serious Play Conference this week (see our five tips for gamifying your classroom), but we are definitely not the only ones thinking about gamification in the classroom… Graphite officially launched their new site this week, helping teachers and parents find high quality digital content and games for learning and help dispel the cynicism that can sometimes surround games in the classroom. Stay tuned to our website, as we’ll soon be posting about what we learned at Serious Play!
7. Learning proper grammar can be a lot more relevant (not to mention fun) when the sentences are about the things students love! NoRedInk, a website that personalizes language arts lessons for Middle schoolers, just picked up more funding from Google Ventures, Learn Capital and others, to stay free and help reduce incidents of bad grammar.
8. Good News for Nerds! This week Pearson announced they will continue to keep Virtual Nerd’s math tutorials available for free and the development of a new app that will put a professional math tutor at their fingertips. But don’t be fooled, you don’t actually have to be a nerd to access its instructional content that perfectly compliments all the Common Core math standards, just a middle schooler wanting to learn math.
Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning
9. We knew Boston was Smart but this week’s news takes it to the next level. The city had teamed with edX to create BostonX Open Source, offering free MOOCs throughout the city at community colleges and libraries.
Taking their cue from edX, MIT launched 6.002x, their MOOC for introduction to circuits and electronics in 2012. They are now “analyzing students’ clickstreams (recordings of where and when users click on a page), forum comments, and homework, lab, and exam scores.” They hope to better understand what helps and hinders online learning to an unprecedented depth. We can’t wait to dig into those results!
10. President Obama has a plan for cutting Higher Ed costs, and he revealed it this week. It’s a big deal and contains many new ideas that have not come up before. But no worries, Dylan Matthews breaks it down on the WonkBlog, with Everything You Need to Know about Obama’s Higher Ed plan.
Pearson is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. NoRedInk is a Learn Capital portfolio company, where Tom is a partner.