EdTech 10: A Texas-Sized Update

Last week, a half a dozen of us visited Austin, met 110 Edupreneurs, conducted a fund raising shark tank and school design workshops, visited with impressive 21st century students and eat a lot of the world’s best queso. We spent not just one day, not two but more than three days together exploring all this year’s #SXSWedu experience had to offer.  SXSW has moved from education to interactive and more. But you don’t have to be in Austin to have all the fun. Here are this week’s top EdTech news.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Growing with Google. As more schools look to choose the right device for their students, Google has produced support docs with the New Chromebooks and Tablets for Edu Grants Guide while also announcing this year’s dates and location for their well known PD opportunity, Google Teacher Academy (@GoogleforEdu). Add in the latest paper, Smart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement and any district can be fully prepared to make some smart implementation decisions.

Dollars & Deals

2. Taking Good Teaching to Scale. Knowledge Delivery Systems (@KDSI) brought in $6M this week in the fourth-round of institutional funding. Already being used in some large districts across the country, the funding will give KDS more opportunity to reach more teachers – now 50 teachers at a time can effectively go through online training, connected coaches to improve job performance, which in turn benefits students.

3. New Mexico, Now “The Broadband State.” Senate Bill 159 was signed this week, making a $50 million dollar investment, $10 million for each of the next 5 years, to provide internet access for all students. Funding will go towards physical hardware necessary to support connectivity and education technology equipment for school districts and school buildings.

4. Going Global and Beyond. Knewton (@knewton), the adaptive learning platform, announced a new partnership with Sebit, the Turkish educational technology company.   For more than 25 years, Sebit has been providing solutions used by more than 3 million students in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Along those lines, Knewton has aligned with Microsoft (@Microsoft_EDU) to provide more adaptive learning for students worldwide. Microsoft will leverage the Knewton API to create personalized learning experiences while streamlining global deployments of the adaptive materials.  (link to press release when it goes live in the morning)

5. Learning Never Stops. General Assembly raised a Series C round of $35 million (@GA) led by  Institutional Venture Partners. The blended learning provider of tech, design, and management training for entrepreneurs will use the funding to open new campuses.

 6. Schools Using Big Data. BrightBytes raised a whopping $15 million from Bessemer as well as previous investors Rethink and Learn Capital. The hot education analytic company (@Brightbytes) is already supporting 10% of US schools.  Read about the short cycle EdTech trials they are hosting.

Digital Developments

7. Download the Full Report. Grade Change – Tracking Online Education in the United States released the eleventh annual report in the series on tracking online education in the United States by Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board (@CollegeBoard). Using responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities, this study is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature, extent, and growth of online education.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

8. Learn Anywhere! Coursera released it’s brand new iPad (@coursera) app that includes over 600 courses. No access to wifi? No problem. The app allows you to download the content and take the course with you wherever you go.

9. The Times Are A’ Changin.’ Research released this week by the National Literacy Trust  (@Literacy_Trust) said that young children who had access to both touch-screen technology and books at home were more likely to enjoy reading and perform in line with national targets for their age than those who could only access books. Definitely results worth looking into for those pondering investing in tech for schools and students.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

10. Who Will Win the Prize? The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship (@minervaproject) announced the induction of 14 educational innovators to the Minerva Academy, an honorary institution that will select the winner of the $500,000 Minerva Prize for Advancements in HigherEd, announced in May 2014.

We are thinking about inducements and incentives here at Getting Smart, so keep your eye out for the upcoming paper on prizes and pull mechanisms.

Stay Tuned: Defining College and Career Ready. In preparation for our upcoming paper in the Digital Learning Now Smart Series (@DigLearningNow) student guidance and college and career readiness, Mary Ryerse reviewed Naviance (@Naviance) — a comprehensive college and career readiness platform that helps connect academic achievement to post-secondary goals.

Digital Learning Now! is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. BrightBytes, Coursera and General Assembly are portfolio companies of Learn Capital 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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1 Comment

Michael Hanson

Hey everyone,
We are running a challenge that anyone who has an interest in EdTech should get involved in. The All Children Reading (ACR): Global Challenge for Development (GCR), is run in association with World Vision, USAID and Australian AID. The aim of this project is to encourage innovative solutions to tackle illiteracy in developing countries. We want to spur software development that will simplify the process of developing early-grade reading materials and create cost-effective, rapid production of children’s titles in African, Asian and Latin American languages.
You can find out more about our challenge through our website http://allchildrenreading.org/

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