SmartTech Roundup

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Learning Platforms

The Gates Foundation finally launched a website with a little info on the Shared Learning Collaborative. Five states are expected to pilot something next year, but will it be a full personalized learning platform in the sky or a data warehouse? 

Instructure, a Salt Lake LMS, worked some hometown magic and showed up in all the state universities last year. Last month they released Canvas K-12, an LMS that allows parents and teachers to track assignments, tests, grades, and more.

Home of the Free

The Obama Administration recently announced its push for digital textbooks in every classroom in the new “Digital Textbook Playbook” initiative. 

Utah adopted a new open educational resources (OER) policy for textbooks, allowing expert-produced materials to be available online for free through open licenses.

New in the Not-Free World

Bloomberg and MediaBeat reported that Apple iBooks is not an education revolution that will make reading cheaper.

Barnes & Noble reports that it’s working on a new eReader and India launched its first cloud-based tablet called the e-tutor tablet.

Dreambox Learning expanded its online K-3 math curricula with 100 new lessons aligned with Common Core Standards.

McGraw Hill Education is on the auction block and is aggressively cutting costs but saw a 39% boost in revenue last quarter.

Games for Learning

New studies report that students engage in video games over lectures because of the dopamine output in the brain’s reward system.

Students can now relive the perils of the Underground Railway with Flight to Freedom, a free game from WNET.

Going to College

A WaPo blog points a Udasity as evidence suggests we may be witnessing An Arab Spring of free online higher education.

Pearson launched Alleyoop, a get-ready-for-college site targeting secondary students with math help and guidance.  See the TechCruch story.

Tax exempt edu-giant ETS acquired MyCollegi and launched LikeLive, a video interviewing platform.

Strive for College, which helps high school students make the best post-secondary decision, is going to Houston with a grant from Houston Endowment.

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