ASCD, CoSN, AASA & ASBO Join Forces to Certify School Data Systems

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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).

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Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education

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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.

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Technology Defines Higher Ed’s New Normal [INFOGRAPHIC]

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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.

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The Only Metric That Matters in EdTech

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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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The Periodic Table of Wearable Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

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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.”

AltSchool Raises $100M to Build Microschools

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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.”

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Read/Listen to the NPR interview/podcast on AltSchool here.

Care About Educational Equity? Care About Mobile

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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?

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