EdTech 10: SOTU and Beyond

Much of this week’s ed chat was about Obama’s SOTU Address. Along with the spotlight on Tuesday’s pomp and ceremony in the House Chamber, there was also big developments from mobile learning apps to blended partnerships, LX advancements to opportunities for parents. This week’s EdTech 10:

Smart Parents

1. Calling all parents! In partnership with The Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we’re building a resource guide for parents and by parents creating, choosing and advocating for powerful, student-centered learning experiences with their children. We’re calling on parents to join in sharing their stories and advice in 6 categories.

Blended Schools & Tools

2. O-H-I-O. We have visited some great schools in Ohio this month including RAMTEC and Metro.  We’ve been impressed with the regional leadership there–and so is The Learning Accelerator who announced their support for the Ohio Blended Learning Network to convene state actors to create a roadmap that identifies resources required for blended learning to be implemented statewide in the Buckeye State.

Digital Developments

3. Do a lil dance. National School Choice Week (NSCW) (#SCW) begins on Sunday, January 25 and runs until Jan. 31. The week will shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for students. Learn more about the week that is set to engage thousands of students, educators, parents and EdLeaders, and don’t miss the NSCW dance. Did someone say flash mob?

4. “Biggest Class Dojo update yet.” New Class Dojo app is designed to, “help connect teachers, parents and students to build strong relationships with each other,” and support in developing “the soft skills students need for success like persistence, curiosity and teamwork,” according to CEO Sam Chaudhary (@usamahc).

5. Class act. 17 new EdTech startups including BrightLoop, Picolab, and Trinket were introduced as part of Imagine K12’s most recent class that addresses a wide range of needs in education.  

Dollars & Deals

6. Mobilizing your learning world. AT&T is contributing $2.25 million to Khan Academy for their enhanced mobile platform, that includes a new personalized, interactive app.

Teachers, Tech and Trends

7. A perfect match. Learners can now select online teachers who suits their needs, personality, schedule and preferred LX. MindLaunch, creators of the “Intelligent Educator Match” is the first online tutoring company to incorporate a matching system.

Stem Gems

8. Sparking success in science. Low-income and first-generation college students who often have trouble in gen ed science courses will soon have access to a supports from the Inspark Science Network. 200 highered faculty and presidents demoed new technology behind the network at ASU in Tempe.

Policy Pieces

9. Dear Congress. KnowledgeWorks and iNACOL shared recommendations with federal policymakers to support the growth of competency ed in K-12 in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Movers, Shakers & Ground-breakers

10. Thoughts and prayers. Team Getting Smart was stricken with sadness with the news of the passing of Greg Butler, a long time friend and ally in advocating for learners and educators worldwide.

Bill Gates noticed work the Greg and sidekick Bruce Dixon were doing in Australia in 1994 and introduced them to 10 districts in the US including the one where Tom was superintendent. They helped US districts adopt Anytime Anywhere Learning strategies. Greg was passionate about building better partnerships and chaired an international group aiming at spreading productive partnering strategies.  When we described the Smart Cities project, Greg immediately agreed to participate–his contribution opens and frames the Collective Impact chapter. He was a kind and thoughtful colleague and advisor.  (Read more on TakingITGlobal.)


The Learning Accelerator is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Class Dojo is a portfolio company of Learn Capital 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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