EdTech 10: Personalization As A Priority

This week as knowledge economy leaders gathered at ASU+GSV to move the needle in expanding opportunities, efforts in EdTech made real, new ways to personalize and enrich the learning experience. From the Dept. of Ed’s resource for EdTech developers to the launch of Intel’s news accelerator, Nellie Mae’s online credit recovery brief to Starbucks expanding on tuition support for employees, this week’s news demonstrated the drive of edupreneurs, educators, and EdLeaders making personalization a priority.

Blended Schools & Tools

Empowering Educators. Instructure, Getting Smart Advocacy Partner, announced the award winners of the 2015 Canvas Grants. A total of $110,000 was given to 16 education institutions spanning K-12 and HigherEd. “We launched the Canvas Grants program two years ago to show our support for innovation in education,” said Jared Stein, VP of Research and Education at Instructure. “This year’s theme, ‘Lossless Learning,’ encouraged educators to find new ways to connect technology to the face-to-face classroom, to improve learning and enhance the critical feedback loop.” This announcement came on the day that the company shared information on their new partnership with North Carolina Public Schools.

Digital Developments

Guiding The Way. The Dept. of Education addressed key questions about the ed ecosystem and highlighted opportunities to develop learning tools and apps with a resource tailored for EdTech developers. EdTech Developer’s Guide: A Primer for Developers, Startups and Entrepreneurs is free! Also, check out 12 features of next-gen platforms from our survey of performance assessment and mastery tracking tools, one opportunity outlined in the DOE’s new guide.

Accelerator for Excellence. In an effort to support EdTEch startups in the development of products that really move the needle towards better educational experiences, Intel Education and Intel Capital launched the Intel Education Accelerator, a program, designed to provide guidance and resources (as well as the opportunity to secure investments of up to $100,000) to make products that will transform education. Apply online by May 22, 2015 at 12pm PST.  

Smart Parents

Data for Action. Focusing on how student data can and should be used to empower parents to make data driven decisions, a new brief and video from Data Quality Campaign highlights the importance of data, not only in the classroom, but also as a tool to guide productive dialogue with parents. For more on how data powers personalization, check out Data Backpacks: Portable Records and Learner Profiles.

Dollars & Deals

Making Cents. Online marketplace for classroom products, Educents, secured $2.9 milling in funding from SoftTech VC, Learn Capital, Crosslink Capital, Deep Fork Capital, and Kapor Capital. Though far behind education marketplace Udemy, this seed funding puts Educents on the map.

Footing The Bill. Expanding on their partnership with ASU, Starbucks announced that they will pay the full cost of an online degree for employees who work 20 hours a week. The coffee giant expects to spend up to $250 million to support 25,000 employees to graduate by 2025. This presents a huge opportunity for GenDIY students who are rethinking college.

Let’s Get Personalized

Hit The Road. Roadtrip Nation launched Roadmap, their new book that supports readers answer the age old question of “What should I do with my life?” As we catalogue and share the stories of GenDIY, we are elated that RTN has penned a piece that explores the many realities that people face today when it comes to unique pathways to careers, college, and contribution.

Catching Up Online. High schools are increasingly offering students the opportunity to take courses online that they have previously failed in the classroom – an approach known as “online credit recovery.” A new report from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, funded by the NellieMae Education Foundation and the Dept. of Ed, provides promising practices for the complex instructional and administrative demands that teachers face when leading these courses. For more examples of what online credit recovery can look like, check out the case studies highlighted in Fueling a Personalized Learning Revolution in Secondary Education.

Movers, Shakers & Groundbreakers

Hanging Up The Spurs. As members of the Terry Holiday Fan Club (Terry was recently featured in a Smart List), we are excited to celebrate the Kentucky Education Commissioner as he announces that he will be retiring at the end of August. Everybody, ‘round of applause for Terry!

And the Award Goes To… Congratulations to Getting Smart Advocacy Partners, Connections Education, Curriculum Associates, DreamBox Learning, and The MIND Research Institute, who were all selected as finalists for the 2015 CODiE awards. For almost 30 years, SIIA (Software and Information Industry Association) has supported this peer recognition program that acknowledges content, education, and software companies for innovation, vision, and overall industry impact.

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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