EdTech 10: Future’s So Bright

Every week we love gathering up the latest in EdTech and highlighting what’s the most exciting. It reminds us how quickly this space evolves and the incredible development that happens in just 7 days. The future looks bright for education- especially for our students.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow morning as the 5 authors of the latest Smart Series paper, “Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement” come together live via Google Hangout to dig deep and add context for all EdTech stakeholders looking to buy smart for schools and districts. If you can’t join in the morning, bookmark the event – the conversation will be recorded and archived. Feel free to share with anyone looking for guidance when it comes to making smart purchasing decisions.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. PD Coming to Your School. ASCD (@ASCD) just announced that they are now offering blended Professional Learning Services- customizable and integrated professional development for schools and districts. The ASCD faculty will work with the schools to create a PD plan to meet the individual needs of the district or school staff. Turns out what works for students works for teachers, too.

Digital Developments

2. Better than Mardi Gras. 4.0 Schools (@4pt0schools) and New Schools for New Orleans, with support from Khan Academy (@khanacademy), launched the $250K Future of School Challenge– giving educators and entrepreneurs the runway, training, and funding to create radical new schools in New Orleans in 2016. We’d still like to see a 4.0 Schools in every major city.

3. Planting the Seed. NewSchools’ Seed Fund (@nsvf) supporting high impact EdTech entrepreneurs focused on K-12 reached the fundraising goal of $12 million. Seed Fund has already invested in more than 22 ventures and will now be able to continue investing to make education more accessible, engaging and connected. Learn Capital, where Tom is a partner, has co-invested in many notable startups including LearnZillion (@LearnZillion), BrightBytes (@brightbytes), NoRedInk (@noredink) and ClassDojo (@classdojo).

4. Rich Resources Revealed.  Yesterday, Education Networks of America (ENA) with CoSN(@CoSN) and eLearn Institute released an entire suite of resources to outline the steps districts should take when creating online assessment. The resources include a white paper, case studies, FAQs as well as a link to webinar done by the partners with leaders from Smarter Balance and PARCC.

Dollars & Deals

5. First Time Investor. Google Capitol, the search giants investment vehicle, has made it’s first move by investing $40M (valued at $1BIL) into learning analytics firm, Renaissance Learning. Renaissance (@RenLearnUS)offers a wide variety of desktop- and web-based learning and assessment tools, but at its core, its mission remains to provide a data-driven approach to learning to both teachers and learners and to enable teachers to use this data to help their students.

6. Something To Pique Your Interest. New EdTech platform, Curious (@curious) launched last summer for life-long learners, hobbyists and curious minds a little video-based platform and marketplace lands $15M in the latest round led by GSV to help teachers monetize their lessons that they create for the site.

7. Gen Y Women- Movin’ On Up. Levo League(@levolegue) Lean In Gen Y’s partner (@LeanInOrg) raised $7M in angel round to further career coaching for today’s young women entering the workforce. Levo offers a mix of mentoring, classes and job postings, is the largest workplace site for Gen Y women, and already reaches 8 million women.

Teachers & Tech

8. Our Research Never Rests. The Getting Smart Research and Policy team is getting ready to publish their next paper on preparing teachers of deeper learning. But you don’t have to wait for the full paper to start the conversation now. Check out our 2 posts this week, Blended Learning Moves Into Teacher Prep Programs and Leading with Teacher Innovation and let us know what you think!

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

9. Competency Based Degrees on the Rise. We hear a lot of talk about competency based learning in K-12 but it’s nice to more about it from Higher Education this week, too. Western Governors University, Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College, and recently, the University of Wisconsin system, are relying on competency-based programs that allow students to gain academic credit through a combination of assessment and documentation of experience. More are sure to come as distance education continues to be the biggest disrupter of higher-ed right now.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10. Party in Miami. Alberto Carvalho (@MiamiSup), superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools was named 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. Rightly so as we love hearing about all the innovative schools happening there.

Bonus Event: Are you attending or following the 14th Annual Education Industry Days Summit– home for education industry entrepreneurs? Lots of the DC EdTech start ups and policy wonks are there so watch for updates.


LearnZillion, Newsela, BrightBytes, NoRedInk and Class Dojo are Learn Capital portfolio companies where Tom Vander Ark 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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1 Comment

Rick D'Errico

Great resources here. Thanks. For future reference, NYBizLab is a business accelerator/incubator that is focused on EdTech. Located in Schenectady, NY, the birthplace of GE, the NYBizLab provides a number of resources for companies targeting the k-12 market.

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