EdTech 10: Giving Thanks for Blended & Deeper Learning

Lots of new tools and schools to be thankful for this week–many contributing to powerful learning experiences for young people.  We spent the summer studying 20 schools that promote Deeper Learning rather than thin test prep.  Earlier this month we released an info graphic, this week we shared the executive summary and soon we’ll be launch 20 school profiles and a paper, Deeper Learning For Every Student Every Day. Before you dive into cornbread stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes and way too much pie, check out what happened this week.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Big Blended Competitions. Two big grant programs were announced this week:

  • The Department of Education named 31 finalists for Race to the Top District program and the list includes a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools that have a particularly strong emphasis on personalized learning- check out the full list.

2. All About the Blend. Count on us to keep you up to date on the blended education world. This week Carri wrote about her visit to the new Carpe Diem at Aiken, Tom shared tips on how to blend a network and private schools, Megan and Caroline shared more good news from Detroit and Chris Sturgis from CompetencyWorks defines PBC, personalized, blended and competency. We are guessing our team’s Thanksgiving chats will include blended learning this year!

Digital Developments

3. Pearson Progress. As part of a new global education strategy to measure and increase its impact on learning outcomes around the world and gain ever-clearer understanding of how to maximize and measure learning outcomes, Pearson announced a new efficacy framework to share with the sector. They also built a web app “where you can get a report on the likely impact of your educational product or serve–kind of like a prospective FreeCreditReport.com for EdTech.” We are thinking a web app where you can get a report on the likely impact of your new recipe for green bean casserole would go over well too.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

4. Reviews Are In–Google Play for Education Rocks. Installing apps onto tablets- whether it’s a student, a small group of students, an entire class, a whole school even a complete district is NOW as simple a sharing a Google Doc! All you need is a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Play for Education account. Teachers no longer have to wait. They can buy any app with a school purchase order and immediately roll it out to their students. That’s Googly.

5. Everybody’s Doing It. Rumor has it now Nintendo has an educational gaming tablet in the works. It probably won’t be out to add to this year’s Christmas list, but one to be looking for in the next year.

Ready for the World

6. More Than One Way to Learn a Language. Verbling has learners use in-browser video chats to connect with native speakers live. Colingo is using an in-browser, Google Hangouts-based video chat to bring learners together with native speakers to learn through conversation. Lastly, Tom will be in Orlando this weekend to talk about our World Language Paper. Maybe you could impress your grandma over Thanksgiving dinner with newly acquired language skills.

Come On, Come On Get App-Y

7. Bookworms Delight. LightSail Education raised $3.5 million in funding for an app designed to improve student literacy for K-12 and ensure word nerds will continue to exist for generations to come. Speaking of literacy, the digital reading platform formerly known as Gobstopper will now be known as Curriculet — new name but still the same mission to reinvent how schools buy and teach with books.

8. Have You Tried the New Dreambox Math App? Need a break from too much family time next week? Its the perfect time for math! All the personalized, adaptive math instruction we’ve gotten used to online is now available to all Dreambox users on the iPad for free. The app puts more than 1,200 PreK-5 interactive lessons and virtual manipulatives at your fingertips.


9. What a Headline! Tech is Hiring More Women Than Men For The First Time in 10 Years. With great videos like this making their rounds on social media this week, this number is sure to grow as the next generation of girls grows up surrounded by STEM.

Dollars & Deals

10. More MOOC Money. Coursera added another $20 million in funding with three university backers. Learn Capital partner Rob Hutter observed that in 2012, 60 technology startups in the education space were venture funded, ending the drought from the last couple years. He believes there’s still a lot of open territory; “globally the market for education is $4.6 trillion, and the total market capitalization of companies in the space is just $50 billion.”

Happy (early) Thanksgiving from our team. As always, we are thankful for your support and look forward to bringing you the top EdTech stories each week!


Pearson and Dreambox are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Verbling and Coursera are portfolio companies of Learn Capitol where Tom is a partner.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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