In this week’s EdTech top storylines, new structures, frameworks, and resources were released and launched that will support in building new visions for learning.

Are you planning for fall conferences like we are? The SXSWedu PanelPicker voting window will open soon – look for an upcoming blog post on how to vote for your favorites. National Education week registration opened this week and join our team at iNACOL’s Blended and Online Learning Symposium in November.

Blended Schools & Tools

Comm’ on man. Communications Planning for Blended Learning is a new step-by-step guide from The Learning Accelerator that helps district leaders understand the importance of, and how to develop, a blended learning communications plan. Check out our re-released Blended Learning Implementation Guide 3.0 for recommendations for developing and implementing an effective plan to adopt a blended learning model.

Digital Developments

Turn it up. The Getting Smart Podcast is now available on iTunes and Stitcher! Download the apps and start streaming today. Check out our last episode on why talent matters, stay tuned, episode five on student-centered learning and our new book Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful learning will be launched in August.

Who’s going first. Smart Sparrow is EdTech’s first instructional design platform that allows instructional designers to create adaptive online learning experiences. For more on platforms, check out how learning will work in the near future.

Evaluating Evals. K12 Inc. and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching released a rubric for evaluating, coaching, and teacher development in K12’s online learning environments. Teacher talent matters (listen why). That’s why we we’re really excited for this next-gen teacher evaluation tool.

A story to tell. Just in time for the annual release of the Common Application and the ‘15-’16 College Admission cycle, Story2 released an update to EssayBuilder that lets students research colleges, and find and track application essay prompts and deadlines. As high school seniors begin to rethink college, this is big for students as the essay prompts can give a glimpse into the values of institutions.

Dollars & Deals

Big funding. BrightBytes, which helps 1 in 5 US schools make better decisions, landed $33 million in follow on financing.

Konichiwa. Pearson announced the sale of FT Group to Nikkei Inc. for £844 million (and it looks like the sale of the Economist is right behind it). With FT Group circulation increasing by 30% in the last five years and with digital circulation growing to represent 70% of traffic, and mobile driving almost half of all traffic this has big implications for our Smart Planet.

Seed & Grow. Investment firm, University Ventures announced allocation to a $5 million seed portfolio for early stage EdTech startups that are working to solve challenges in HigherEd and workforce development. “To be successful, emerging companies need more than just access to capital. They also need access to market insight, relationships, and domain experience,” said Paul Freedman, Founder of Entangled Ventures.

Stem Gems

Absolutely Fab Lab. Thanks to support from Chevron, The Fab Foundation announced the expansions of a fabrication lab (Fab Lab) in Washington DC. The Fab Foundation supports Fab Labs worldwide in a wide range of projects that foster and accelerate education, innovation, entrepreneurship, business development and community building.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

Free from MIT. A new website, founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University is providing clutch resources for AP students. Free lessons designed by Davidson College for high school AP calculus, physics and macroeconomics are now live. Move over massively open online courses, make room for massively open online lessons.

For more EdTech 10’s, check out:


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