September 2012 Archives

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.


On Tuesday we co-hosted OpenBlend, a blended learning conference with the Tacoma Public Schools and the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) featuring a full-day track of Khan Academy workshops as well as other innovative and open tools.


"Instead of 'fixing' K-12, let's build something better," said Alex Hernandez from Charter Growth Fund (@ThinkSchools) who opened a conversation among experts in the future of learning. "Blended learning is not about technology, it's about personalizing learning for students. We can give students the instruction they need, when they need it."


An international school administrator recently wrote on U.S. high schools and education reform. Here, Tom Vander Ark, shares a list of a baker's dozen high schools worth visiting.


A lot of people (including some educators) have a lot of anxiety about math: How do we teach it? How do we learn it? How do we remember it all and use it correctly in real life? Math actually is a logical, accessible, and useful subject, but not enough people know or experience that.


Matt Candler is growing people that are growing educational solutions. His New Orleans-based incubator, 4.0 Schools, is based on a process that most organizations start as an idea and go through a five-stage process: itch-->hunch-->test-->launch-->scale.


Alesha Bishop and Lisa Valerio worked together for 10 years at Charles Schwab. After both gave birth to sons with special needs, they have reunited to support the development of learning tools for students with special needs and family-friendly apps.


An international educator told me his school community was discussing the "ethics and educational validity of streaming -- deliberately dividing students up into class/work groups based on ability, i.e., a strong and weak group." He asked for my thoughts.


A national research agency received a grant "to frame a program of research reviews [focused on learning technology] that would summarize, synthesize, and draw conclusions from the research. An ongoing program of research reviews would help educators, developers, and policymakers to monitor and apply the latest research in the development and implementation of learning technologies and also to identify key questions and methodologies for future research and development."


How do we manage the shift to personal digital learning? That's the current whole-systems challenge in education. As Chancellor of the largest district in the country, Joel Klein decided New York City needed a kickstart and created the iZone.


"Coders are tough to find since nearly every industry is looking for them and they are also able to start their own company," said Alan Louie, the founder of the edtech incubator ImagineK12. He continued, "There's no magic bullet to finding them. It's old-fashioned networking based on sharing your exciting idea that will change the world through education. Current employees, meet-ups, startup-weekends, friends and family, ex-coworkers, industry friends are all people to tap."


Since the Common Core State Standards were introduced, there has been much discussion about what they mean for educators and students and how they will impact teaching and learning. While the standards have been adopted by 45 states and 3 territories so far, there is a lot of concern, anxiety, and debate around what is best for students, potential challenges for teachers, and what implementation should and can look like. While many educators, parents, and concerned citizens have delved deep into the world of Common Core and understand the detail and complexity, most people have only a cursory understanding of ...


Michael Fullan is certainly one of the three to four most influential edu-writers of our time. On whole systems design and change, only Paul Hill has earned equal influence. His most recent contribution, Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge, is very short and very optimistic.


Last month California State University (CSU) announced a partnership with Pearson to expand Cal State Online. It sounded like interesting because K12, Inc., Connections Education, Apex Learning and others are providing similar services to public school districts in K-12. However, I hadn't heard of similar deals in higher education and it sounded like a new line of business for Pearson. So I called Matt Leavy, President of eCollege, a Pearson subsidiary serving higher education.


PresenceLearning delivers more than 10,000 online speech therapy sessions a month to schools in 25 states. The company, formed by two recent Stanford MBAs, is a good example of two translational innovations--synchronous online instruction and distributed workforce--now deployed in education to meet widespread special education challenges.


You've got a great idea. Coders are turning it into reality--at least an early version. You're about ready to release a beta version of your new learning application. How do you create buzz that promotes rapid adoption? We asked some experts.


Students went back to school last week (or will next week) but most did not arrive with any information. Teachers get to know a lot about their students but there is no systematic way to share that when students move from grade-to-grade or school-to-school. As a result, most teachers start from scratch, trying to unlock the student-learning puzzle.


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