The viral adoption of web and mobile learning tools, apps, and resources is probably the most important trend in education over the last three years—it's less discussed than the Common Core State Standards but has had a bigger impact on classroom practice. There are hundreds of thousands of teachers off and running, using the digital resources they can find and encouraging kids to do the same.


After 17 years at the helm of Florida Virtual School and 30 years as a Florida educator, Julie Young told the board and staff last week that she was retiring.


"In the new world the learner will be in the driver's seat, with a keen eye trained on value." That was the conclusion of Pearson's senior academic team who said "an avalanche is coming" to higher education. Chief Education Advisor Sir Michael Barber and his colleagues Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi released a report last year that outlined this problem statement for higher education:


New tools are making it easier to customize learning for every student. Playlists, projects, and portfolios support big blocks, maker spaces, and flex schools. One thing I appreciate about the Christensen Institute definition of blended learning is that it stresses student agency by requiring "student control over time, place, path, and/or pace."


Alpine School District, the largest in Utah, serves more than 73,000 students in 80 schools in a sprawling area south of Salt Lake City. It has among the lowest per-pupil-funding in the country, but strong academic results. The district has several partnerships with local companies resulting in school-wide improvements and individual student success stories.


A person who knows state government, but is relatively new to the digital learning revolution asked what to read to get up to speed. Here's a quick list.


As a college freshman, Michael Carter realized that many students had survived a more circuitous route to college than he had. As we noted last year, Carter did some digging and found out that many well-prepared, but low income students don't enroll in four year college.


A couple of people called last week looking for advice for state and district leaders on personalized learning. Here's a recap of our conversations.


The Miami Dade County School District won the 2012 Broad Prize. Reviewers noted the use of data to drive minority achievement gains and a unique problem-solving strategy to help challenged schools improve their student performance.


The good news is that the learning opportunity set is rapidly improving—devices are getting cheaper, learning systems are becoming adaptive, and new school models are blending the best of online and face-to-face instruction.


The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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