EdTech 10: When Impact Potential is Ripe

Summer is a time to dream big. It’s a time to reflect, recognize what’s working and identify big future opportunities. That’s why this week we released 25 Impact Opportunities in U.S. K-12 Education, developed with support from Vulcan Inc., a Paul Allen company.

One big impact opportunity is improving PowerSchools, the student information system that owns about a third of the market but nobody seems to like.  Pearson announced this week that they sold the SIS to Vista, a private equity fund, for $350 million.  While Pearson has been oddly reluctant to attempt to build a platform ecosystem around the franchise, perhaps Vista will invest in next gen functionality.

Blended, Competency-Based Schools & Tools

1. Microschool, big impact. We’ve seen how microschools could, in most cities, accelerate the transition to next-gen learning. That’s why we were so excited to see AltSchool highlighted in a video on CBS News This Morning.

2. Turn it up. The case for competency-based education (CBE) is gaining traction in HigherEd, credentialing, and especially when it comes to assessment. NPR added to the growing conversation with a feature on a partnership between Windsor Locks Public Schools and Central Connecticut State University. 3. Fit to print. Western Governors University is partnering with Wiley to launch  The Journal of Competency-Based Education. WGU is uniquely positioned to lead the publication of the new journal as a leading competency-based HigherEd option.

Digital Developments

4. Mind the gap. Closing the Achievement at Three Virtual Academies, is a new report from K12 that highlights the progress of Texas Virtual Academy (leaders in Course Access in the Lone Star State), Arizona Virtual Academy, and Georgia Cyber Academy in creating opportunities for low-income students.  

5. Human Capital Analytics Platform. Margaret Roth (one of the 70 difference makers at SXSWedu) shared with us the launch of Yet Core, Yet Analytic’s new platform for collecting and visualizing learning, training, and human performance. This builds on data news from last week that more data will be produced in the next two years than in all of human history.

6. App-tastic. Scholly, the scholarship app best known for being featured on Shark Tank, recently announced multiple bulk purchases by both government and educational institutions. The company also announced deals with both the city of Memphis and the state of Montana, that are purchasing the app for every high-school senior. After signing up, a student inputs basic information and the program searches its database of over 20,000 scholarships and displays the ones for which the student qualifies.  

Leading Leaders

7. Throw out the clock. Woodrow Wilson Foundation launched the WW Academy for Teaching and Learning to transform policy and practice for teacher and school leadership preparation through a new graduate school and an education research lab developed in partnership with MIT. The WW Academy will also serve as an incubator and innovation lab, studying what works and why in preparing teachers and education leaders, and offering new ideas and models to meet the needs of 21st century schools. The WW Academy will ‘throw out the clock,’ shifting the focus of certification from credit hours to demonstrations of competency. Art Levine and Woodrow Wilson Foundation are among the innovators featured in Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning and Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning, both produced in partnership with Digital Promise.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

8. Drumroll please… The 2015 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation went to Kentucky and its Board of Education. Kentucky was selected for its improvement in college and career readiness. Congrats! This is a huge accomplishment considering the innovative work of their neighbors to the north.

9. Let’s talk about it. Lumina Foundation is leading a new initiative to better align credentialing policies with needs of students and employers. Alongside more than 40 business, labor and ed groups, National Dialogue on Credentials is an effort to better understand the field of credentialing, which Getting Smart Advocacy Partner, the Foundation for Excellence in Education recently pointed out is sending false signals.

Policy Pieces

10. Be honest. The gap between students deemed proficient on state exams and students deemed proficient on the Nat’l Assessment of Educational Progress is being highlighted by Achieve in their new #HonestyGap campaign.  

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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