EdTech 10: Groundhog Day Edition

This week celebrity groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter again this year. We’ll admit, we were pulling for an early spring (and a Seahawks win, but that’s another story entirely). So while we all bundle up for what promises to be a blustery February, let’s think warm thoughts with all the hot EdTech news this week!

Blended Schools & Tools

1. App-tastic! We think Matt Candler’s tweet said it best: “Do you realize how big a deal it is for people this good at teaching math to release a game as good as #impoppable?” Non-profit Zearn released this new math facts game with Relay/KIPP/Zearn co-founder Dave Levin (@Dave_KIPP) leading the design.

Digital Developments

2. Partnerships for Special Ed. Fuel Education (@FuelEd) and PresenceLearning (@PresenceLearn) have announced a partnership to expand access to powerful, innovative and flexible special education to more schools. The speech, occupational therapy and special education services are now available through FuelEd’s Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK.

3. Ed-more-do. Edmodo (@Edmodo) added a new suite of premium features in addition to its free features used by 300,000 schools and 47 million teachers and students. We’re excited about the new PD offerings & enhanced progress monitoring.

4. Open Wide! This week the Open Education Group released a nice summary of peer-reviewed research on the efficacy/impacts of OER. Spoiler alert: The main findings reveal that: “(1) students and teachers generally find OER to be as good or better than traditional textbooks, and (2) students do not perform worse when utilizing OER, then (3) students, parents and taxpayers stand to save literally billions of dollars without any negative impact on learning through the adoption of OER.”

Dollars & Deals

5. Nurturing Growth. Two new raises got our attention this week: $16 million to Civitas Learning (@CivitasLearning) to support growth across college campuses and $8 million for Seattle’s Koru (@JoinKoru) effort to scale its job skills program.

Stem Gems

6. Two Great STEM Releases. This week brought two great resources related to STEM learning. All the cool kids are writing the language of… coding. In this new Smart Bundle, Getting Smart on Coding for College & Career Readiness, in partnership with Microsoft (@Microsoft), read more on Hour of Code (#hourofcode), reasons why coding is the world’s hottest language, and how coding prepares students for college and career.

Ever wonder how the middle school mind works and how to impact it? DreamBox Learning (@DreamBox_Learn) has released “Nurturing the Middle School Mathematical Mind: Strategies for Teaching Middle School Math” and an accompanying infographic to explain the attitudes and behaviors that make pre-teen and young teen learners tick.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

7. Survey Says!  Babson Survey Research Group released the 12th annual Survey of Online Learning and an infographic of the report’s findings. The survey, representing views from more than 2,800 HigherEd academic leaders, found that the number of students taking online courses continues to increase but at slowing rates and, unbelievably, few faculty know about or use open resources.

Policy Pieces

8. #FaceTheStrain. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) partnered with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice to release a one of a kind report- “Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education”. The report closely analyzes demographic trends of the nation and the crippling impact they’ll have on the future of education. Remember Duncan’s do more with less speech of 2010? Prepare for more of that with the graying of America.

Let’s Get Personalized

9. It’s All About the Students. Inside Philanthropy(@InsidePhilanthr) published this story about how Nellie Mae Education Foundation (@NellieMaeEdFdn) is funding personalized learning. Over here at Getting Smart, Nellie Mae is our partner on a blog series (and culminating book) called Smart Parents– a series for parents, by parents and we want to hear from you. Share your story about educational choices you are making with your students- and get inspired and learn from other parents.

The Big “D”

10. Data News You Can Use. This week the National Center for Education Statistics (@NCES) announced the release of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) Version 5. The new version contains nearly 250 new and updated data elements including: postsecondary performance indicators, career pathways, early learning finance and assessment updates.



FuelEd, PresenceLearning, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, ExcelinEd and DreamBox Learning are Getting Smart Advocacy Partners. Edmodo 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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1 Comment

David Wiley

@OpenEG_sig is not the Twitter handle of the Open Education Group mentioned in #4. It's the Twitter handle of the Open Education SIG in the UK. The Open Education Group who published the review (http://openedgroup.org/) is not active on Twitter (@openedgroup).


Tom Vander Ark

Thanks David

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