Smart Cities

This book and series was created from a two year investigation project launched to discover the civic formula required to dramatically boost learning outcomes and employability. For more visit our Smart Cities book page.

Personalized Learning

Smart Cities: Twin Cities is no Wobegon but on the Rise

A Literacy Specialist in the Eden Prairie School District said, “I am thinking about the thousands of iPads being handed out to kids right now in districts around the Twin Cities and I’m curious to see what we will be able to do with them and to what degree we will be able to differentiate for our students.”

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Smart Cities: Los Angeles

LA significantly lags the Bay Area, New York, and Chicago as an edtech leader. The activity level is closer to that of Seattle, a metro area less than a third its size.

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Smart Cities: Baltimore’s Digital Harbor

Last Thursday night a closed recreation center became a Tech Center in Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood. When Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the city was closing 25 of the 55 rec centers , Andrew Coy (@AndrewCoy) a teacher at Digital Harbor High School and Shelly Blake-Plock (@BlakePlock) faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University School of Education sought an alternative to the center closing. One of the rec centers was a block from Digital Harbor High School where Andrew was developing an after-school program in web design.

Personalized Learning

Smart Cities: San Francisco Schools Improving, But Impervious to Creative City Assets

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) appears to be in a time warp. Yesterday, I outlined the leadership role that the Bay Area, especially the city of San Francisco, plays in learning innovation. However, the contrast between one of the most creative cities on the planet and the local school districts is stark. The district has higher test scores than other California urbans but it is small and has a relatively low level of poverty.


Smart Cities: San Francisco

The Bay Area is unquestionably the world's leading innovation hub--and that includes learning. Ten years ago it was all about Silicon Valley, but recently Oakland emerged as an edreform hotspot. The innovation center of gravity has definitely moved north in the Bay Area as San Francisco has become home to leading investors and startups.

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Smart Cities: Houston’s Low Tech Lift Off

"Houston, unlike other cities, is insanely entrepreneurial and optimistic. It incubates the hell out of new ideas," said nonprofit leader Rhetta Detrich. She would know; she helped build Education Pioneers national network. Lacking the provinciality of East Coast cities, "Houston exists because it was founded on the premise of outsiders bringing good ideas and industry."

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Smart Cities: New York City is an EdTech Hotspot

New York City schools have been among the most innovative in the country as discussed last week. NYC is home to the most education industry leaders and the second most prolific tech startup and EdTech hotspot on the planet (after the Bay Area).

Personalized Learning

Kansas City: A Great Education Improvement Story

In what may be the most improved urban American district, Kansas City, Kansas achieved results by a sustained focus on rigor and relationships. They started with a new goal—college and career readiness (a novel idea ten years ago). They got to know their students, they got them in the right courses, and the teachers got on the same page about good teaching.