EdTech 10: Going Deep with Deeper Learning

This year’s Deeper Learning conference focused on equity and entry points to deeper learning. From the maker movement to empathy hacks for school wide change, this conference covered the tangible and practical while also encouraging us all to advocate for equitable access to education for all students.
Powerful student and educator speakers from High School for the Recording Arts showed videos and spoke about their art and craft, relationships with their teachers and students and the power of unconditional support. Promising practices in the equity movement exist. Who can you/your organization connect with in this great group of edleaders, teachers and organizations who are supporting all of our students? From the people at Buck Institute for Education, Envision Schools, New Tech Network, Big Picture Learning, Internationals Network for Public Schools and many more, as well as educators from districts around the country and around the world, we know this work saves lives.
As Tom Vander Ark has quoted from the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, “Deep work is the killer app for the idea economy.” Let’s go deep.

Blended Schools & Tools

1. Hi-yah! Online classroom sharing platform ClassDojo announced that school leaders will now be able to join and participate in ClassDojo discussions alongside the teachers, parents and students in their school in order to connect whole schools. In addition, all teachers and school leaders in a school will now be able to safely and easily communicate with all parents in their school on ClassDojo.

Dollars & Deals

2. Start me up. Degreed, which offers tools for tracking lifelong learning and earning additional credentials, recently acquired Gibbon, a European startup that helps students learn by curating and sharing playlists of learning-related content. 


3. Opportunity to thrive. Our friends at Mayerson launched an amazing opportunity for schools and districts to prioritize social emotional learning (SEL) through its “Transforming School Cultures for Student Success” Request for Proposal (RFP). The grant opportunity will help schools create Thriving Learning Communities and is open to U.S. public, private or parochial schools committed to increasing student motivation, engagement, learning and performance in grades 5-8. Visit the Thriving RFP section on the website to learn more.

Stem Gems

4. Ready. Set. Code. Thanks to the BBC, its Micro:bit is in the hands of one million 11 & 12 year-olds across the UK this week, who are now able to build an air guitar, a step counter, a pocket pet or a fishing game. The hope in this mass distribution is to boost students’ coding education and further ignite interest in STEM fields. Getting Smart’s Mary Ryerse wrote about this great device and her son’s experience with it in her blog Technology Will Save Us is Powering MakerEd in UK

5. To infinity and beyond. Arizona State University has received a $10.18 million grant from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Education Community to create new, digital science courseware that engages students through virtual simulations and hands-on exploration of science. During the five-year program, ASU-based teams will work with the Inspark Science Network and ASU’s Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX) to develop a new way of learning and teaching through exploration of the unknown, at scale, via a digital learning design platform.

Higher, Deeper, Further, Faster Learning

6. Stay on target. The University of California at San Diego is in the process of rolling out its “Time to Degree Early Warning System” that aims to condense millions of data points into a simple metric used to determine if students are in danger of taking longer than four years to graduate. The system could one day automatically suggest helpful programs and services to students who show signs of falling behind.

7 . To a higher degree. Tom Vander Ark highlighted the work of the Lumina Foundation on HuffPost Business this week. The Indianapolis-based foundation is focused on quality degrees as well as recognized job credentials, and is leading efforts to boost America’s higher education attainment rate from about 40% to 60% by 2025.

Policy Pieces

8. Policy priorities. iNACOL, an organization that provides policy advocacy and lawmaker education on core policy issues related to personalized, next generation learning, released 11 Strategic Policy Priorities to Support Personalized, Competency-Based Learning. The list provides recommendations for policymakers to consider that will foster innovation, expand access to educational opportunity and ensure quality. Policies include: innovation zones and pilots, broadband access, student data privacy, competency-based systems and several more. See iNACOL’s newly enacted strategic plan for more information.

Teachers and Tech-ers

9. Planning master. Pearson released its 2016 Science and Engineering White Paper with Educator Case Studies and Implementation Worksheets detailing the results of successful Mastering and MyReadinessTest implementations. It offers best practices and, for the first time, combines the Implementation Planning Toolkit and the Results White Paper. The white paper combines technology implementation planning toolkit with case studies and worksheets to facilitate strategic decision making for course redesign.

Let’s Get Personalized

10. Learning the Charleston. CompetencyWorks just kicked off a new blog series based on visits Chris Sturgis made to Charleston County School District (CCSD), where she witnessed a district of staff, personalized learning coaches, principals, teachers and partners engaged in working toward effectively introducing personalized, competency-based education in medium- to large-sized districts.

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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