October 2012 Archives

Two recent reports point to the importance of so called non-cognitive skills to success in college and work. A University of Chicago literature review funded by the Lumina and Raikes foundations said, "Students must develop sets of behaviors, skills, attitudes, and strategies that are crucial to academic performance in their classes."


"The future of our education system and the future of the country are inextricably tied," said Imagine K12 co-founder Tim Brady. He said transformation is "not a matter of if, only how" and #ik12 plans to be part of "ushering in the how, keeping student outcome front and center."


A brewstorm (a lightning round of Pabst-powered edu-visions) at Matt Candler's 4.0 Schools last Wednesday was the kind of gathering that could only be held in a handful of cities. New Orleans has always been a creative hotspot, just not in education. When I visited in the spring of 2005, the academic performance, the condition of school facilities, and the level of corruption were unbelievably bad -- in some cases worse than what I had seen in South Africa the month before.


A policymaker at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) Virtual School Symposium (VSS) said, "We want to advance competency-based learning, what kind of bill should we introduce?" Let's start by looking at the 10 design elements of a competency-based system (an update of a May blog).


When I joined the iNACOL board three years ago, I was hoping to see a shift in emphasis from virtual schools to a focus on helping all schools incorporate online and personal digital learning. That shift was evident in the name, Inventing the Future of Learning, and content of the Virtual School Symposium program this week in New Orleans.


This July the National Academy Foundation (NAF), a network of more than 460 academies across the U.S. serving more than 60,000 students, launched a student certification assessment system to drive real college and career readiness. Recently, NAF partnered with ConnectEDU to track college and career readiness by providing real-time reports on engagement and academic progress.


Virtual schools and online courses work better for some kids than others. Some of variance is provider based; some of it is student based. In most cases, there is not very good data on students or providers. A new report explained, "Most state accountability and data systems can't easily provide the information about individual student growth on mastery outcomes that is necessary to produce the answer."


The 20-mile stretch from Stanford University to San Jose, Calif. produces more innovation than any place on the planet. As Richard Florida noted, the unique confluence of a great R1 University, venture investors, tech talent, and great quality of life make it a creative hotspot.


The Rodel Foundation hosted the fifth Vision 2015 Conference. The First State scored first in the Race to the Top (RTTT) grant competition largely because of the vision, organizing, and grantmaking of the Rodel Foundation and its Executive Director Paul Herdman.


Author Bernie Trilling asked, "What would it take for more students to benefit from deeper learning?" Trilling was referring to education that pushes beyond the basics, is engaging and challenging, and prepares young people for college and careers.


Social justice advocates have been working in Oakland for 20 years. Recently, they've been joined by reformers, talent developers, school networks, and investors seeking an affordable Bay Area hub.


Common Sense Media aims to provide "trustworthy information to parents and teens about technology and media." Founder and CEO Jim Styer has been working on this mission for 20 years. He's the author of a new book, Talking Back to Facebook: A Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age, a look at how digital media affects the development of young children.


"Provide student the skills and knowledge the will need to be success in the 21st century society." That's the goal of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Deeper Learning initiative. The Foundation convened grantees this week to discuss how to expand access to programs that promote better college and career preparation.


There are lots of Reasons Districts Should Open Flex Schools. Flex schools, as classified by Innosight Institute are small individualized schools with an online curriculum. Students move at their own pace and augment online work with projects, tutoring, and work-based learning. Flex schools create personalized options for students and an example of competency-based learning for educators to visit.


Last week Secretary Duncan said it was time to dump the heavy, expensive books students lug around in their backpacks. We agree, it's time to shift to digital. High-quality open educational resources (OER) help make the case.


Digital Learning Now! (DLN) today released "Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles," the second in the DLN Smart Series designed to provide specific guidance on adoption of Common Core State Standards and the shift to personal digital learning.


Every once in awhile, we see pictures of the future -- a graphic image, a set of relationships, new tools at work, the buzz of a culture that feels remarkably productive. For me, site visits to Big Picture and Edvision schools were really influential 12 years ago -- and why I'm still enthusiastic about flex school models that engage and empower students.


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.


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