Yesterday the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded $100,000 to the top five teams in an assessment scoring competition. The goal was to build software systems that could grade short answer responses on state standardized tests as accurately as trained experts--a more difficult challenge than the essay competition held in the first quarter of this year where the winning algorithms equaled experts.


Anyone thinking about building the pipeline of educational system heads has a new opportunity set. The explosion of anywhere/anytime learning resources suggests it's time to rethink the institutional time-bound cohort model of leadership development (as discussed in the "Learning Design Opportunity of our Time").


As career fields increasingly require four-year degrees, it's more necessary than ever before to be educated. The demand is driving many to endure debt, work excessive hours, and find alternative solutions to get ahead. Yet, the landscape of higher ed is changing. You can't just check it off your list, you have to prove how college transformed your skills, attitude, and abilities.


"What's new and different is bringing in an adult ed instructor and teaching elements within the [vocational] program," said Dr Jay Box, Chancellor of Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) where eight colleges are involved in Accelerating Opportunity. "All of the general education type of teaching is contextualized to the technical program."


If you're interested in human development, the opportunity set has never been more interesting. Search in the browser marked the beginning of anywhere/anytime learning opportunities, but the official beginning of the new era was a decade ago with the Wikipedia launch.


Never before has the opportunity been greater to use existing resources differently to benefit student learning. Shrinking school budgets and rising expectations are challenging schools and communities across the country to think and act differently and use their resources more efficiently and effectively to ensure all students reach higher standards.


We've tried to avoid presidential politics here, but some comments about the federal role in education this week (covered well by K-12 Politics) suggested the need to reiterate the importance of common standards and the constructive role that the federal government and national organizations can play.


Paul Tough takes on the enormous question of How Children Succeed in his new book. In a well-produced long interview with Ira Glass, Tough said, "We don't teach the most important skills," a list that includes "persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence."


Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has a long standing reputation in the education community for providing quality news, media, material, and more for engaged learning. Today, PBS is leveraging front-edge tech -- the flipped classroom, learning playlists, online professional development, games, and more -- to research and refine quality content and delivery of learning for students, parents, and educators. Here are four ways PBS is innovating for students futures.


It has never been easier and cheaper to build brand equity--a favorable impression with an audience that matters to you. Sure, it's noisy out there, but with a little sweat equity you can build support for your school, project, or product.


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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