"I think Portland is incredibly interesting," said venture investor Brad Feld in a recent article. "They have a smart counterculture of people."


When I visit with superintendents, principals, teachers, and school board members, I always ask them what they are worried about. With plans for high-access environments, tech support is on everybody's list. So, I called Keith Krueger and Denise Shorey from CoSN.


Shelly Blake-Plock wrote an impassioned blog recently claiming, "edtech doesn't exist." He argued for a "thrust of imagination and creativity" that combines semantic web and "new forms of interaction between the Internet and humans."


Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World is a new report from the EdTech Office at the Department of Education. "The report discusses the promise of sophisticated digital learning systems for collecting and analyzing very large amounts of fine-grained data ("big data") as users interact with the systems," said Karen Cator, the outgoing EdTech Director.


Chicago has a long history of learning innovation. DeVry launched career schools more than 75 years ago and was one of the first to serve returning vets under the GI bill. Chicago is also home to Career Education Corporation which serves 90,000 students from 90 worldwide campuses and online.


Christopher Nyren made a strong case that Chicago, not New York, is the second city for education innovation, "For over a generation, Chicago has served as the epicenter of for-profit, technology-enabled education entrepreneurship and investment."


"We are introducing the blended learning model into South Africa to provide quality education at a cost that the country can afford," said Stacey Brewer, a recent MBA graduate following the now prevalent U.S. trend of smart kids becoming edupreneurs.


Earlier this month the Department announced the 16 winning applicants to the Race to the Top District competition. The nearly $400 million will be split by 55 districts in 11 states.


I have a hard time watching evening news--especially in the last few weeks--the headlines are hard to swallow. You can't help but assume that things are getting worse. It's depressing. But the news doesn't give you an accurate picture of the long term trends that are making life better for more people on this planet.


Three years ago Doug Weber and Mick Hewitt had left a web design agency and were consulting on a social network in Japan. During that same time, Cory Reid was CEO of Instructure. Trenton Goble, a school principal, and Mick were training for a marathon and discussing Trenton's frustrations around tracking progress of formative assessments in a mastery learning approach.


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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