EdTech 10: Spring Has Sprung

Spring. When teachers are in the swing of things and can channel MacGyver’s creativity and when students begin to close on their HigherEd options.

As secondary schools begin to make plans for next school year, they should consider adding or updating their advisory period. We’re big fans of technology, but there’s nothing more important for student success than a sustained adult relationship. This week, the team summarized 5 core and 10 optional advisory elements.

Whether it’s educators finally recognizing opportunities to blend instruction or the launch of new game-based learning programs this week’s top EdTech news stories focused on springing toward new beginnings.

Blended Schools & Tools

Insight From Arne. “Innovation in education is – about how tech tools can empower students to become who they want to be,” said Arne Duncan, US Sec. of Ed on Medium where he raised important issues about what education innovation means and what we must keep in mind when it comes to equity. More on how EdTech, innovation, and communities can close the learning opportunity gap check out Smart Cities That Work for Everyone.

Study Buddies. Seven studies that highlight progress by programs using blended learning strategies and tools were shared on EdWeek by senior writer Michelle Davis. As teachers look for implementation techniques to improve instruction through blended learning models, these studies by thought leaders such as iNACOL and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, go on to explore teacher satisfaction, student productivity, and the use of data to inform instruction.  

How About Now? Don’t know if you are ready to go blended? EdSurge released a Blended Learning Readiness Checklist with 20 questions to test if you are ready to blend. Take the test here. How’d you do? If it looks like it’s time for you to blend, here’s our Blended Learning Implementation Guide that you’ll need to get started.

Digital Developments

Badges, Not Just For Scouts. It’s all about badges, competency-based learning, and credentialing for the IMS Digital Credentialing Initiative. Their goal is to further the, “Adoption, integration and transferability,” of badges within schools, businesses, and institutions.

Game On. PBS Kids launched an online game called Kart Kingdom. The game, created for students ages 6 to 9, is aimed to build collaboration skills. Given the game-based learning market is set to hit close to $9 billion by 2017 according to Ambient Insight, PBS is capitalizing on a growing market for online learning games.  

Go Big Or Go Home. Full Measure Education just obtained $5.5 million in Series B financing to increase student retention in higherEd. According to founder Greg Davies (original team member at Blackboard in the late ‘90s), higherEd institutions only have a 46% completion rate in 6 years; the completion rate at community colleges is a dismal 30%.  

Leading Leaders

Bringing Leadership to Life. Funded by the Wallace Foundation in association with WNET, PBS Learning Media announced the launch of School Leadership in Action: Principal Profiles, a collection of free videos that bring key practices of exemplary principals to life. The five practices echo findings of an upcoming report from Getting Smart and Digital Promise that will describe a new vision for Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning. Check out dozens of blogs for our “Preparing Leaders” series.

Dollars & Deals

Millions to OER. The Learning Accelerator and The Hewlett Foundation will fund a total of $2 million to support the creation of free, high-quality open educational resources (OER) that are standards aligned and support K-12 math and ELA curriculum. Along with the funding they’ll partner with 10 content developers to create prototype units of the content for review this summer.

Policy Pieces

All In Favor. The Senate Education Committee passed the first rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Watch the Alliance for Excellent Education’s coverage of what went down on Capitol Hill. Despite ESEA not mentioned in the State Of The Union, elected officials took on the long awaited update of the Bush-era education policy.

End Of Week-Long Test. New developments will soon mean a gradual reduction in the size of and reliance in heavyweight summative assessment to smaller, less frequent tests that check the validity of local assessments. Tom traveled to Virginia to talk better models and better tests with Gene Wilhoit, the former Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, who said, “We don’t give up on mastery, we provide the supports for the student to get there.”  


#ComputerScience Now Trending. The most recent trends report from The Education Commission of the States (ECS) identified states that are either making computer science coursework a requirement for HS graduation or allowing it to count towards requirements in math, science, or foreign language. For more on Computer Science in High School Graduation Requirements, check out the full report.  

Amazonazing Summer Opportunity. Amazon announced that they would make its TenMarks Summer Math Program available free of charge starting May 19th. The adaptive program, covering content from K – Algebra 2 is available via the web and on most tablets (iPad, Android, and Fire OS). For additional ideas on summer learning opportunities, check out 5 + 5 = 10 Summer Learning Ideas for Teachers and Students.  

For more EdTech 10s, check out:

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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