EdTech 10: Hitting the Standards

Digital learning and common standard are breaking down barriers and allowing teachers to share resources, tools, and strategies across state lines. But for dubious reasons some states are ignoring the opportunity and stepping off the innovation platform–it’s a bit like going back to Blackberry. For those of you in fast forward, here’s the top ten EdTech stories of the week.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Adding Nine. This week, the Digital Promise League of Innovative School, (@digitalpromise) the coalition of school districts and education agencies collaborating across the nation to transform teaching and learning with technology added 9 more members. The total now comes to 46 across 25 states, representing almost 3 million students. Digital Promise will be accepting applications in the summer for acceptance into the Fall 2014 cohort, so let’s keep the list growing! Watch for a new paper on competency-based teacher preparation that we developed with Digital Promise.

2. Mission to Math. During this year’s CUE conference in his keynote, Sal Khan announced the new math resource that is now launching on Khan Academy (@KhanAcademy)– fully aligned Common Core math missions that lead students from kindergarten through high school to mastery of the common core math standards.  (See Reflections on Khan Blends.)

3. One Student. One iPad.  In New Jersey, middle school students are grabbing their personal iPads and diving into school work with a new sense of engagement and it’s beginning to be noticed- whether it’s a history class, virtually visiting museums in Rome or in the spacious math centers at William C. McGinnis Middle School in Perth Amboy, which is half-way through its first year of Teach to One Math (@teachtoone). With 94-minute blocks, carved into four units and feature eight different learning zones, from computer-based tutorials to peer-to-peer problem solving to a version of the traditional teacher-led lesson- all are focused on giving each student what they need.

Digital Developments

4. By This September.  Tom Wheeler, FCC (@FCC) Chairman announced this week that they aim to have E-Rage reforms done by this fall  and will seek to discontinue E-Rate funding for legacy technologies in its forthcoming E-Rate modernization with new regulations that will change the structure of the program for 2015. (See digital learning coalition comments for more).

For the Core

5. Field Tests are Underway. 22 states began participating in the practice run of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards that Smart Balanced (@smarterbalanced) just launched. It is allowing teachers and students a chance to practice with the CCSS computerized assessments before they are officially implemented in the spring of 2015. Looks like Indiana will not be practicing, as the dropped the Common Core, deciding to step off the Platform for Equity and Innovation.

Dollars & Deals

6. Investing in Students Experience. Takelessons (@takelessons) raised $7 million and has acquired Chicago-based online lesson facilitator company, Betterfly (@betterfly) in order to provide students of all ages ways to keep their minds and bodies healthy, active, and inspired, by learning something they’ve always wanted to learn how to do. San Francisco-based Clever (@getclever) raised $10.3 million to help develop their API in order to keep up with all the apps students and schools are using, letting schools integrate all new learning software with their existing district data systems.

7. Two Pitches are Better Than One. Tuesday night in Boston, LearnLaunch (@LearnLaunch) hosted Pitch Perfect pitch session during which 6 edtech companies got everyone excited for the future. We wish we were headed down to New Orleans for tonight’s Edu Pitch Night at 4.0 schools (@4pt0Schools) introducing ten new education experiments and ventures that are working on building the future of school! We will be following along with  #EdPitchNOEW.

Teachers & Tech

8. Taking It Into Their Own Hands. While some states are waiting to see how things work out, the teachers in Nevada are not waiting. The are leading the way devising strategies and best practices for implementing and teaching the Common Core State Standards.

The Big “D”

9. It’s All About the Data. This week Bob Wise (@BobWise48 ), president of the Alliance for Excellence in Education, spoke to all those attending the annual CoSN Conference (@CoSN) in D.C. “In the next two years, the future of truly personalized learning and student achievement outcomes will largely be determined on how effectively data is used. Success depends on addressing fast growing issues of how data is collected and maintaining student privacy.” Wise spread the message that now is the time to address these issues in order to avoid setting back the promise of technology.

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10.  Online Learning is Hiring. Coursera (@coursera) announced former Yale University President, Rick Levin will take the reigns as the new CEO. While after 13 years as an exec at Vistaprint, Wendy Cebula will be named President and COO of EdX (@EdX).


Coursera is a portfolio company 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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