EdTech 10: Everything You’re Missing While at SXSWedu

As educators, EdLeaders and nearly everyone in EdTech descends upon Austin for the annual #SXSWedu, digital developments, guiding reports and field shifting partnerships continue to take place throughout the country. This week’s EdTech 10 is inspired by the news that you won’t find coming out of SXSWedu, all the stories that are keeping the home fires burning.

Blended Schools & Tools

Stating competencies. Our friends at iNACOL are running a blog series featuring highlights from a recent CompetencyWorks road trip to Maine that looks at the shift to Competency-based Learning from the teachers and leaders making CBE happen on the ground. The first post is on lessons learned and the second is a look at Richmond Middle and High School. CompetencyWorks also released a new report on Chugach School District–the first district in the nation to fully convert to competency-based learning. The report highlights Chugach’s performance-based system, explores infrastructure (learning plans, assessments, etc.) and describes the importance of investing in a strong team of teachers.

Leaps and bounds. LEAP Innovations released Finding What Works that share results from their Pilot Network of 15 schools, that includes nearly 2000 students in Chicago. Their work in short cycle trails are part of what makes them leaders in the missing layer between schools and EdTech companies.  

Digital Developments

The state of things. EdSurge has launched a new initiative that is examining how teaching and learning is evolving through the use of tech, dubbed The State of EdTech. Don’t be surprised to see many of our predictions for 2016 echoed in the new four part series.

Early adopters. Teaching Strategies released results from a survey of over 800 practitioners that shows that the vast majority of early education teachers are confident technology users. This survey provides great insight and perspective when most of the dialogue in EdTech has focused on K-12’s older grades.

Ocean State making waves. Microsoft and Rhode Island announced a unique partnership that aims to bring computer science to every high school in the state by the end of the next school year. Innovation in Rhode Island is nothing new — a great example is the completion of RI’s 2015-2020 PreK-12 Strategic Plan that involved the most innovative planning process we’ve seen from any state or district.

In the zone. iNACOL released Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Personalized Learning, a short policy issue brief describing what innovation zones are, why they are important and examples of legislative language from various states.

Dollars & Deals

Come sail away. LightSail secured $11 million in funding led by Intuit founder Scott Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Consider this a come up for personalized learning literacy tools.

Policy Pieces

In comparison. KnowledgeWorks released a new tool that compares side-by-side the provisions in NCLB and the newly signed ESSA, with the goal of drawing attention to new opportunities to personalize learning. In similar news, The Foundation for Excellence in Education recently shared what states need to know about ESSA.

Teachers & Tech-ers

Learning tools for next-gen schools. Discovery Education announced the “Day of Discovery Tour” — a free professional learning series with opportunities in 17 cities over the next nine months for educators. Participants will leave each one-day event with ideas and strategies for integrating digital tools and with a stronger PLN.

Teaching teachers. New America’s new report Beyond Ratings: Re-envisioning State Teacher Systems as Tools for Professional Growth explain how states’ communication, support, and monitoring of evaluation as a tool for professional growth can play a vital role in ensuring that LEAs propel teacher growth.

For more EdTech 10’s, check out:

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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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