Reposted from CoSN:
The Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal initiative will allow school system leaders to communicate their privacy efforts to parents, communities and other stakeholders and assure the school system is adhering to best practices and taking steps in the right direction.
“When looking at the evolving digital tools and ongoing related activities in classroom settings, we agree with parents: They need assurances that student data are protected,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “That is why school system technology leaders and our diverse education leadership partners are putting forth this national program that builds a culture of trusted learning in all K-12 school systems.”
Over the next six months, the four national education organizations will collaborate with 28 U.S. school systems to create the seal and establish criteria for schools nationwide to follow. When formed, the TLE Seal will be available for adoption to all K-12 school systems, irrespective of size, location, socio-economic profile or governance form (i.e., public, private or charter).
Reposted from Wired:
If you are truly fed up with the school status quo and have $20,875 to spare (it’s pricey, sure, but cheaper than the other private schools you’ve seen), you might decide to take a chance and sign your 7-year-old up for this little experiment in education called AltSchool. Except it’s not really so little anymore. And it’s about to get a lot bigger.
Founded in 2013 by former Google head of personalization Max Ventilla, AltSchool has poached high level executives from Google and Uber. It’s got users—in this case, parents—applying by the thousands. It’s actually making money. And as of today, Mark Zuckerberg just became one of its largest investors.
AltSchool is a decidedly Bay Area experiment with an educational philosophy known as student-centered learning. The approach, which many schools have adopted, holds that kids should pursue their own interests, at their own pace. To that, however, AltSchool mixes in loads of technology to manage the chaos, and tops it all off with a staff of forward-thinking teachers set free to custom-teach to each student. The result, they fervently say, is a superior educational experience.
This new infographic from Flat World Education illustrates how technology has helped foster growth in the education world, and has also increased the workload. The data also shows that 45 percent of today’s students will take at least one online course, whereas learning in the 1980s was confined to classrooms. Also, two two out of three college students today use a smartphone for school work — a capability that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, let alone 30.
View original post here.
Reposted from Forbes:
There’s a lot of discussion about education technology these days. What’s often missing from the discourse is the most important goal of public education: outcomes. Whether one cares most about social mobility that drives economic competitiveness; serving special needs and gifted students; improving infrastructure; or closing the achievement gap, the only metric we should use to evaluate the role of technology in public education is the success of our students.
Of course, technology isn’t a silver bullet, but it has central role to play in improving outcomes—and identifying the right role for education technology isn’t the role of the private sector, alone. We need to put politics and perception aside, and encourage more teachers to lock arms with entrepreneurs to help ensure that educators’ voices are heard as entrepreneurs build tools to support great teaching and learning. Educators can help education companies better understand their needs, and craft solutions to address real-world challenges and opportunities. Technologists and investors can help educators see persistent problems differently, and work collaboratively toward solutions. We need patient investors that take the time to understand the market, and are willing to spend time—and money—on research that tests the efficacy of their products.
Schools of education can also play a critical role. They are preparing the next generation of educators—and have a responsibility that extends beyond the university and into the classroom. Leading education school deans are now collaborating to transform the way we prepare educators. Earlier this spring, we helped launch a unique ed tech accelerator with the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, in order to bring educators together with entrepreneurs, investors with academics to cultivate a more collaborative, outcome-focused discussion about education technology.
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APX Labs, which sells Skylight — software that connects wearable tech to enterprises — is out with a smart “periodic table” of the enterprise wearable ecosystem. It’s worth looking at because it gets so much right. The chart’s focus is not on hardware or software, although those layers are certainly represented. Instead, it breaks down enterprise needs by function. Categories on the edges — communications on the left, and “work and help” on the right — are about “doing your work,” Ed English, APX’s chief product officer told WTI. “If the left-hand column is about connecting to people, the right-hand column is about connecting to work, getting your help and getting instructions.”
Reposted from IndustryWeek:
Tech industry leaders including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have raised $100 million for an education initiative aimed at “reimagining” schools from the elementary school level. The San Francisco-based AltSchool announced Monday the latest funding came from the venture capital groups Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation led by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla. Other contributors included Omidyar Network created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and venture investor John Doerr.
“From SpaceX to Airbnb to Oscar, today’s strongest entrepreneurs are creating technology-enabled models to transform some of the oldest and most established industries in the world. We believe the time has come to reimagine education,” said Brian Singerman of Founders Fund. “The US education system has remained largely unaltered for decades. AltSchool has the audacious vision and scalable solutions to accelerate truly transformative change in the education space.”
AltSchool calls itself “a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research, and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation.”
Read/Listen to the NPR interview/podcast on AltSchool here.
Reposted from edSurge:
For all the talk about educational equity and access, K12 has been slow to adopt mobile communication–the one technology that is indispensable to low-income families. Take a look below: this is how families see the New York City Schools website on their mobile phones. The country’s largest school district serves 875k low-income students and has a $25 billion budget.
I don’t mean to pick on NYC Schools. Of the 10 largest school districts in the country, which serve over 2.5 million students in poverty, only Chicago Public Schools’website renders properly in a mobile browser. (I’m not counting Houston Independent School District, which has a mobile-friendly landing page, but clicking on any button leads to pages that are not mobile-friendly.)
For school districts, making their webpages legible on phones is only the first step. How about making it insanely easy for families to use their phones to enroll their children in school, sign up for meals, check grades or talk to their teachers?
This infographic, from the Innovative Learning Institute, offers an excellent analysis of the value blended learning can bring to a classroom, as well as why every flipped classroom is a blended learning environment, but every blended learning environment isn’t necessarily a flipped classroom. Be sure to click the infographic for the full version.
Reposted from Fortune:
In 2014, venture funding for education technology reached $1.87 billion dollars. It’s expected to hit $2 billion this year. That’s a big jump from $385 million in 2009, according to CB Insights, the first year the venture capital research firm started tracking education funding.
“The education space is attractive because it’s a big and important part of the economy,” said Rob Hutter, managing partner of Learn Capital an education based venture capital firm. “The edtech companies that get funding can be important 50 years down the line, and not just in a few years.”
And it’s a good business to be in, said Bob Sun, founder of online math site, First in Math. “There’s a high profit margin with no warehouses and not much cost except for research and development,” explained Sun, who also said his firm has grown 20% in the past six years and hasn’t needed outside funding. But while many sing the praises of education technology in the classroom, some question if it’s having the desired effect.
Reposted from Business Wire:
Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Educational Technology and Services business of Scholastic Corporation for $575 million in cash, subject to customary working capital adjustments.
The acquisition would provide HMH with a leading position in intervention curriculum and services and extend its product offerings in key growth areas, including educational technology, early learning, and education services, creating a more comprehensive offering for students, teachers and schools. The transaction is expected to be accretive to HMH net income and free cash flow in 20161 and to yield synergies in 2016 and beyond with annual cost savings of $10 to $20 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2015, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval.
The transaction would provide added digital infrastructure and expertise to support the continued development of next-generation products for HMH’s pre-K-12 and consumer businesses. In addition, HMH believes that combining EdTech’s digital intervention solutions sales expertise with HMH’s already strong sales organization will create new opportunities and accelerate the Company’s growth. “As HMH drives a learning transformation powered by technology, we believe the EdTech segment of Scholastic will strengthen our offering in both K-12 and other key growth areas, including digital intervention, early learning, consumer and professional development,” commented Linda K. Zecher, HMH’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that by diversifying our education portfolio, we will be taking an important step toward optimizing our growth while also enhancing our resiliency throughout economic and market cycles.”