Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are the most important professional development trend and development in education. They embody many of the broader adult learning trends: interest-driven, high engagement, flexible, and social. There are PLCs for teachers by level and discipline, PLCs for teachers in districts and networks, PLCs for principals—and even PLCs for specific tasks like aligning texts to the Common Core.


The first half of this update on LA highlighted the warming ed-tech scene and the first Startup Weekend EDU in the City of Angels scheduled for the weekend of January 24th at UCLA Anderson. This post highlights some of the blended developments in LA schools.


These may be short of axioms, but if you're building (or buying) a learning platform, these are 10 pretty good planning assumptions.


With two historic shifts under way simultaneously—the adoption of common college- and career-ready standards, and the shift to personalized digital learning—we asked 32 education leaders what they were excited about.


The first draft of Getting Smart was written three years ago and a lot has changed since then. I reread the book on a plane recently and it holds up reasonably well, but there are things I wanted to provide in an update. Below are the top 10 developments I've seen since writing Getting Smart.


The expectation debate in this country has been focused on common math and English standards but there are other outcomes that can be even more important to life success. A University of Chicago CCSR review and a couple of popular books suggest, "We don't teach the most important skills."


Last year, my Smart Cities: LA post complained about the lack of "innovation and collaboration" in the city, but things are more interesting a year later. The first Startup Weekend EDU in the City of Angels will take place on the weekend of January 24th at UCLA Anderson.


This fall the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made grants of $1.3 million for short cycle efficacy trials. Three "test bed networks" each received $100,000: New Schools for Chicago, NYC iZone, and the Bay Area Innovation Hub. Five platforms shared the balance: BrightBytes, CFY (PowerMyLearning), eSpark, Motion Math, and Common Sense Media.


I am a big fan of Paul Graham's writing, especially his list of frighteningly ambitious startup ideas - big problems that will take incredible persistence to tackle. With that in mind, here are some experiments I'd like to see someone try in education next year. I think we'd learn a lot about how to make frighteningly better schools.


We've been investigating performance assessment tools so we were interested when we heard that CTB McGraw-Hill had added performance-based items to its widely use Acuity platform. We call CTB President Ellen Haley for the scoop.


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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