"The Huntsville City School district is ditching textbooks and passing out laptops instead," reported a Huntsville TV station. Huntsville Alabama is one of many districts making the shift to digital learning this fall. Students from fourth to twelfth grade will receive laptops starting this week.


Recently, folks at the Pearson Foundation asked me to write about "Five Things I've Learned About Startups" and I listed building a great team as a key to success. Whether launching a startup or leading a school district change initiative, building a team is important but difficult work. As I noted, "When you get the talent, trust and focus right, the results are extraordinary."


New Visions for Public Schools has probably been the most effective intermediary of the last decade. By launching 135 new secondary schools and helped to develop other intermediaries that developed hundreds more, they dramatically improved the quality of high school options in New York City. Thousands of students each year graduate from high school and go to college because New Visions created high schools.


Tom Willis isn't playing golf this summer. In a few weeks, Willis will open two new schools in Detroit, an elementary (opening K-4) and a high school (starting with ninth graders). CEO of the Cornerstone Charter Schools, Willis is a construction manager this month.


At the Moorseville edtech conference (#Connection12 on Twitter) this week a Midwest high school principal serving about 700 students asked me for some advice on the shift to digital learning. Borrowing from advice to superintendents, here's 10 things I'd do right now as a high school principal.


Next month there will be a lot of U.S. students holding an iPad looking at a spinning wheel. Cheaper devices, powerful apps, successful school models, and preparation for online assessments is boosting student access to technology. But in most places, the pipes won't be ready for all the traffic.


I hadn't given much thought to the challenge of finding co-founders until Jessica Alter announced the education version of FounderDating, a partnership with Teach For America. We profiled the effort to match up interested and talented edupreneurs on Getting Smart last week and I called Jessica to learn more about what problem she was trying to solve.


Tom Greaves is an edtech expert, especially in school laptop programs. He has visited more than 400 and surveyed about 1,000. Project RED, housed at One to One Institute, is the first major study to considered two important issues: the impact of technology on student achievement and the financial impact of technology on budgets.


Governor Bob Wise, Alliance for Excellent Education, opened the Moorseville edtech conference (#Connection12 on Twitter) this week by suggesting that, like a bumpy tailwind, we're experiencing productive turbulence including adoption of real college/career ready standards, waivers from federal requirements that come with new demands, and online assessment starting in 2014-2015. Add what's likely to be a decade of constrained budgets in most states and you have a leadership challenge.


The Moorseville edtech conference (#Connection12 on Twitter) is an effort to share lessons from one of the best 1:1 programs in the country. This week, more than 400 teachers and administrators crammed the gym of Mooresville Intermediate School located about 20 miles north of Charlotte, North Carolina.


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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