EdTech10: #SXSWedu–A Big EdTech Selfie

Its been a busy week of announcements at #SXSWedu. The best quote of the week from a  charter exec and first time attendee to SXSXedu in Austin was, “It’s like a big EdTech selfie.” The education prefunc to the giant entertainment and interactive SXSW has hundreds of breakouts with useful lobby connections and pretty good parties at night. Our friends in EdTech use the kickoff the the spring EdTech conference trifecta to announce stuff. Here’s our favorite 10.

1. SAT Gets a Remodel. College Board President and CEO, David Coleman announced this week a partnership with The Atlantic to create student prizes in writing. College Board also announced on Wednesday they are eliminating the essay portion as a required component of the test, vocab words will include words more commonly used in college and return to a 1600 point scale. Changes were implemented because as Coleman said tests, “have become disconnected from the work of our high schools.” For more on Coleman’s session see our #SXSWedu Wednesday wrap up.

2. Twelve Under Twenty-Two for Dell. Today, Dell launched a new initiative, Student Innovation Advisors, which are lovingly being referred to as the 12 under 22, in order to strengthen student voice in the internal decision design decisions made by Dell. As a corporation, Dell believes students need to be front and center and are very excited to have the students participate in their quarterly Think Tank meetings and help advise the company as it moves forward.

3. And The Canvas Winner Is… Instructure (@Canvas) announced the 15 winners of Canvas Grants at SXSWedu here in Austin this week. The program awards $100,000 in education grants to spur technological innovation from within the education community. The program provides $50,000 for K-12 initiatives and $50,000 for select projects in higher education. Tom was excited to serve as a judge during the process.

4. More Good ConnectED News. President Obama is not actually here at #SXSWedu but he did include $200 million in grant funds in the ConnectED budget proposal designed to help educators “leverage technology and data to personalize learning and improve college- and career-ready instruction, ensuring that as schools increase access to broadband Internet through the ConnectED Initiative.”

5. CoSN SENDs Out New Initiative. This week CoSN (@CoSN) released SEND (Smart Education Networks by Design) the first phase of comprehensive guidelines to support K-12 chief technology officers in building, strengthening, and maintaining durable education networks, supporting tech-rich 24/7 learning.

6. Big Sky Partnership. ConnectEDU (@ConnectEDUInc) and IBM (@IBM) announced a partnership this week that will allow the the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to build a greater link between K-12 and postsecondary education. Using a solution that will use IBM’s Data Warehouse and Reporting and ConnectEDU’s Connect! platform they will securely store data, share transcripts between state districts and universities, and facilitate productive collaboration around students’ futures.

7. Samsung Gets Googly. Samsung (@SamsungBizUSA) launched their new device, the Chromebook 2– the lighter, better performing version of the beloved Chromebook. It will be a great addition to Google Play for Education and a great new, still  affordable option for students, classrooms and schools.

8. Smart Investments. Our friends over at the Learning Accelerator (@LearningAccel) invested nearly $2 million dollars in the human capital sector to help support educators making the switch to blended learning.The four initiatives benefiting from the investment include The Highlander Institute, Relay GSE (@RelayGSE), TNTP (@TNTP), and BetterLesson (@BetterLesson).

9. Gold Star Funding. Behavior management software- Class Dojo (@ClassDojo) raised $8.5 million in this round of funding from believers like Shasta Ventures, General Catalyst, SoftTech VC and a few others. This is a significant jump from previous rounds’ fundraising of $1.6 million. GSV Advisors (@GSVedu) also announced this week that Wikispaces has been acquired by UK-based TSL Education Ltd. The Wikispaces community provides teachers, academics and students a platform to crowd source, collaborate and organize content.

10. What’s New For Teachers. Two great new digital educator tools An Estuary (@anestuary)and EduClipper (@educlipper) announced coming together to provide the type blended learning that we strive to provide students. An Estuary is wrapping great PD around EduClipper, so any teacher can log in for free, complete all the learning activities, earn badges and master the best practices for implementing EduClipper into the classroom.


The Learning Accelerator is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.  EduClipper and Class Dojo are Learn Capital 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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