EdTech 10: Paths, Policy, Partnerships and the Planet

Apps & Mobile, Blog Series, EdTech, EdTech10, Learning, Online & Blended, Platforms & Data, Social Media

This week’s EdTech 10 is brought to you by the letter “P.” We’ve got news about personalized learning paths and policy developments that will boost access and equity. Add that to perspectives about improving education across the planet and headlines about partnerships and products, and you’ve got one perfect pile of stories.

Digital Developments

1. Linked to Lynda. LinkedIn acquired the instructional video site Lynda.com and launched more than 50 courses called “Learning Paths” to prepare users for a specific role or to update users’ skills for their current job. Some of these courses include how to become a digital marketer, photographer, digital illustrator, small business owner, project manager, bookkeeper and web developer.

2. A new experience. EdTech company Blackboard Inc. announced the launch of the Blackboard K-12 New Learning Experience Platform for districts and schools. The platform brings together institutions, parents, teachers and learners in an integrated approach to address fundamental requirements for student success. This includes school safety and security, family and community engagement and personalized competency-based learning.

3. Mobile management. Microsoft and OpenED.com are helping helping teachers connect with Open Educational Resources (OERs) through a new free app. The Open Educational Search app is now available to help teachers discover OERs available from within their Learning Management Systems. The app includes free videos, games, assessments and lesson plans, all content is aligned to relevant standards, it is vetted and rated by teachers and can be filtered by subject and grade level.

4. Ecosystem growth. Four new edtech companies join West Corporation’s Education group’s growing initiative to support schools selecting and deploying complementary web-based products and services. The newest partners in the SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program are Hero from HeroK12; Professional Learning Maps; EdProtect from Education Framework; and Eduvision from JDL Horizons. Introduced in fall 2015, this program allows districts to provide teachers, staff, parents and students with quick and secure access to online learning applications, open educational resources (OER), and a variety of school management and administration software programs using single sign-on (SSO).

Smart Planet

5. Podcast props. Getting Smart’s Learner Experience Manager Bonnie Lathram recently recorded a podcast with the Meet Education Project discussing her unique personal and professional experiences that helped shaped her perspectives today, and lead the passion she has for her work. http://meeteducationproject.com/2016/04/05/bonnie-lathram/

6. Education makeover. Some of the world’s biggest education influencers are gathering in Toronto April 5th and 6th to shape our schools of the future at this year’s Education Technology Summit 2016. Speakers include Andreas Schleicher, a Director at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who recently told The Memo that “the road ahead will be challenging, but an overhaul of education is vital for everyone.”

Dollars & Deals

7. That’s a lot of seeds. San Francisco-based college planning startup Schoold recently raised an incredible $4.5m in a seed round. This is proof that times are changing as a typical seed round (where debt is taken on that converts to equity in a Series A, the first priced round) used to be around $500k.

8. Funds found. A project-based learning software startup company has raised $1.25 million in a seed funding round that began in 2014. Milwaukee-based Project Foundry raised these funds from 22 investors for further development on its products as well as for marketing and sales efforts. Schools throughout the country use Project Foundry software, mostly concentrated in the Midwest.

Policy Pieces

9. ESSA explained. The new Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law Dec. 10, 2015, promises many changes to education in the United States, the biggest being more leeway in decision-making for states. EdWeek released an ESSA Overview & Video ESSA Explained: Inside the New Federal K-12 Law, and check out this overview of what states need to know from our friends at ExcelinEd.

10. Internet equity. The FCC recently voted “yes” on modernizing the Lifeline program, which will result in numerous changes to streamline and improve the program over the next few years. Specifically it will help low-income students and families by increasing access to broadband, provide discounts to those eligible, expand choice and competition and establish minimum broadband service standards.

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