EdTech 10: No Joke

We think EdTech (and, more broadly, innovations in learning) is one of the four great change forces of our time–no joke (not even this week).  But brace yourself, we are now in the long stretch to summer. To keep you energized we’ll be covering great math stories as we celebrate Math Awareness Month.

Online and Blended Schools & Tools

1. Not In Kansas Anymore. The Kansas House Standing Committee on Appropriation is looking for ways to save money–we get that. But while traditional schools get more than $12,000 per student on average, online students get a paltry $5,700–and the legislature threatened to cut that in half this week. Tom visited Topeka to encourage full funding for online learning for Kansas kids.

2. Smart Blends. During Math Awareness Month we’re sharing lessons of blended math starting with Reflections on Khan Blends and Next Generation Blends Will Teach to One. Keep an eye out all month as we continue the #SmartBlend math series.

Keeping Tabs on Tablets

3. Make BYOD safe. Launching tabs? Trying BYOD? Learning.com (@Learningdotcom) is ready to help with The Digital Citizenship App.  It provides middle and high school students with comprehensive instruction and assessment of online safety, ethical use of digital resources, and cyberbullying. It also includes reporting functionality to help districts meet the online safety and cyberbullying instruction requirements for E-Rate funding.

Smart Cities

4. More EdTech for Baltimore. Launched by Digital Harbor Foundation, EdTechMD is a comprehensive effort to boost EdTech in Maryland. The investment committee, led by experienced EdTech investor Frank Bonsal III, aims to raise $3 million to invest in local EdTech startup companies.

5. Inspired.  We’re so inspired by teacher leaders and edupreneurs around the country that we’re updating the Smart Cities series, our effort to catalog all the cool stuff happening in every major city in the country and we would love your help.  And while we’re updating the blogs we’re writing a Smart Cities book about creating learning ecosystems.  Fifty thought leaders have  agreed to weigh in beginning with Greg Butler’s post on Building Innovation Partnerships. How can we not be inspired, when we see so much great progress happening in our cities? Here is just one example:

6. Read to Succeed. Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel (@RahmEmanuel) led the way by driving the creation of 2013 Summer of Learning (#RahmsReaders) program and allowing Chicago to become the test for the idea that digital badges could be applied to a whole city at once. Now, after much success and a polar plunge into Lake Michigan, Emanuel hosted a panel of big city mayors and it looks like many, including LA, New York, DC and Dallas are ready to try it this summer, too.



Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

7. Let’s Try a MOOC. Educause (@Educause) is teaming up with University of Central Florida (@UCF) to offer their first MOOC, BlendKit2014 – Becoming A Blended Learning Designer. The MOOC will be hosted on Instructure’s (@instructure) Canvas platform and will provide assistance to faculty and instructional designers in developing and designing blended learning courses, starting April 21st and running for 5 weeks.

8. Rethink Education.  The World Bank’s IFC hosted global education leaders in San Francisco this week (#IFCeducation) to advance their goals of ending poverty and boosting prosperity by supporting edupreneurs worldwide. Themes were familiar to EdTech 10 readers: disrupting diplomas and accelerating employability; blended and personalized learning; and taking what works to scale.

Let’s Get Personalized

9. Getting Proficient at Personalization. The Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) provided a preliminary report of competency-based implementation in the state. The BFO–it’s going to be very difficult to create proficiency-based diploma programs.  The state will probably need to play a more active role in developing common standards.  Districts need to provide strong support for teachers.  It’s tough being first–we appreciate Maine’s leadership as well as support orgs like NESSC and CompetencyWorks.

10. Teachers+Textbooks+Technology. McGraw Hill (@McGrawHillk12) has opened up a new tool for K-12 teachers, Create– allowing teachers to access library of resources and select content from thousands of different texts. They can also add their own original content– resulting in digital texts that fit their student’s need. Create also allows teachers to share the project and collaborate with other teachers.


Educause, Instructure and Learning.com are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners.

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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