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Some News To Note

I am so looking forward to EdNET this year. Vicki has put together a terrific program and there are lots of real issues to discuss. See you in Dallas!

I had a note from Victor Rivero, Editor-in-Chief at EdTech Digest. Victor wants to be sure that everyone knows that there is still time to enter the 7th annual EdTech Awards. The entry deadline is September 30, 2016. The EdTech Awards honor cool tools, inspiring leaders, and innovative trendsetters in the education and technology sector. Check out the press release in today's Announcements section for details.

The President was busy last week. He hosted two White House Summits, one on reinventing high school and the other on computer science. The pattern of these events has become very familiar. Read More »

Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition

The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 K-12 Edition has been released. The report is produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), made possible by Share Fair Nation under a grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation. CoSN also released a new Toolkit to accompany the 2016 Horizon Report, designed to assist schools share the report's latest education trends and open conversations around whether and how the identified trends relate to challenges in their local communities. Read More »

The New Head Start Performance Standards

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the new Head Start Performance Standards. Department officials say that the new standards represent the biggest changes made since the standards were originally published in 1975. Even without new regulations Head Start has changed a lot since its 1965 inception. Over the years the program has placed more emphasis on expanding children's learning opportunities, with a resulting demand for better-prepared teachers. Building on that ongoing evolution, the new standards further strengthen curriculum requirements for children, increase expectations around professional development for teachers and ramp up the program's efforts on behalf of children with disabilities, homeless students and English language learners Read More »

ED's Draft ESSA Spending rules

The Department of Education released its revised rules governing how school districts allocate billions of Title I dollars meant to educate poor children. The underlying idea is that districts must use Title I dollars to add resources to poor schools on top of the baseline that districts provide to all schools, the supplement not supplant principle. The initial proposal was widely criticized. In that set of rules the Department asked districts to demonstrate that state and local per-pupil funding in Title I schools is at least equal to the average per-pupil spending in non-Title I schools. It is clear that the Department took the comments it received seriously and incorporated a number of changes into these revised rules, but critics - Republican Congressional leaders, the teacher unions, the chiefs, district superintendents - remain unhappy. Read More »

Education Next 10th Annual Poll

With all the back-to-school activities and EdNET Conference planning in full swing, I guess I have to admit that summer is truly coming to an end. Vicki has been involved with EdNET planning for months now, but recently I have joined her on a series of planning calls with our various speakers. That's when I begin to get really excited, as we toss around questions and share ideas with people building companies and thinking about the next generation of innovative and challenging learning products. We keep returning to issues related to discoverability, product evaluation and efficacy research. After a planning call for an EdNET session on the changing procurement environment, I was reminded that Digital Promise is collecting examples of how ed-tech developers use research to design, improve, and evaluate their ed-tech products. Researchers from Columbia Teachers College will review all submissions and select three companies to be featured on Digital Promise and EdSurge's sites. And, all participating companies will be listed on the Digital Promise site. Submit your examples by September 30th. This is a great opportunity to tell your story and share it with the education community. Read More »

EQUIP Launches

I couldn't resist picking up the story from the Paper and Packaging Board that you'll find in the Featured News section. I for one am a big fan of paper. I'm old enough that I find it easier to jot down an address than reach for my phone and hunt and peck away at immediately entering it in my contact list. I also believe there are a few tasks that, for me at least, demand a handwritten note - an expression of sympathy or a heartfelt thank you. I love the heft of an engraved invitation and look forward to opening Christmas cards. Of course, I'm not exactly the embodiment of the 21st century digital citizen. Nevertheless, I'm betting paper will be around for a long time to come.

The Department of Education announced that it had invited eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment. Read More »

Back to School

Back to school season is in full swing. (It seems to come earlier every year.) The back-to-school stories have been popping up for several weeks now. Companies offering free access to their products, community drives to collect school supplies for children in need, volunteers helping to spruce up classroom or playgrounds. MDR's data show that by mid-August nearly 25% of U.S. schools will already be open with another 50% opening before the end of the month. Summer is quickly drawing to an end. Read More »

Memories of Seymour Papert

The worlds of learning and technology lost a giant this week. Seymour Papert, Professor Emeritus at MIT, creator of the Logo programming language, pioneer of the Constructionist theory of learning and a founding faculty member of the MIT Media Lab passed away on Sunday at his home in Maine. While attending a conference on mathematics education in Hanoi in 2006, Dr. Papert suffered a serious brain injury when struck by a motor scooter. That accident removed him from active participation in the educational technology arena, but his influence continued to loom large. American education is rediscovering an understanding that children learn best when they are actively engaged in constructing their own knowledge, an idea Papert was championing in the 1960s. Read More »

Are Students Using Technology for Learning?

AdvanceED has published a short paper documenting its findings about technology use in the classroom. The bottom line: students do not routinely use technology for learning. Based on direct classroom observations of 140,000 classrooms in K-12 schools across 39 states and 11 countries, AdvancED found there are still relatively few classrooms in which the use of digital tools and technology is a regular part of a student's school experience. Read More »

Broadband Expansion

Underserved schools are getting some extra support in their quest to access high-speed broadband services. The Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition - an internet access advocacy group - released its new "Broadband Action Plan" last week. The plan is made up of 10 research papers that detail strategies for ensuring that anchor institutions - schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community colleges, public media, public housing, and other community organizations - have access to gigabit internet speeds. These anchor institutions are central to ensuring that broadband Internet is available to those most in need. While a lot of attention is paid to residential or commercial access to high-speed broadband, connecting anchor institution is a cost-effective way to ensure that every community and every individual has high-speed access to the Internet The action plan is part of the coalition's broader "Grow2Gig+" initiative, a push to connect all anchor institutions to gigabit speeds by 2020. Read More »