March 28, 2013: Steps and Leaps Into Next-Gen Learning
By Michael B. Horn
As schools across the country adopt blended-learning models, a few clear trends are settling in, and, at the same time, some groups—like the Next Generation Learning Challenges—continue to help schools push the design envelope on what’s possible for students.
First, many schools are embarking upon a variety of design processes, RFPs from vendors and the like only to arrive at the same cluster of solutions centered around the basic models of blended learning we identified here. There is nothing wrong with that per se. Entering into a design process, for example, can help gain buy in from teachers and others in the community for adopting blended learning, which is still radically different from traditional schooling. Adopting what are becoming tried-and-true blended-learning models (yes, I know it still may be too soon to use that phrase for blended learning, but I just did it) to individualize learning for students and improve teachers’ lives is better than remaining stuck in a failed factory-based model of schooling, even if the model is not the most innovative thing ever that pushes the blended-learning field forward for students. Some standardization around a select few models—and a branding of those models—will likely be necessary ultimately to scale the practice nationwide.
The downside is that the process to arrive there can waste a lot of time and energy in reinventing the wheel, when, depending on the problem a school is trying to solve, the level of freedom it has to solve it, and the type of team it deploys to attack it, there is some predictability to the blended-learning model it is likely to adopt. Heather Staker and I are working on a white paper that will have more to say on this topic soon. But by way of an example, elementary schools are most likely to adopt Station-Rotation models or, in some cases, what some call the “Rocketship” model—which tends to be a Lab-Rotation model that emulates the basics of what Rocketship Education, a blended-learning network of charter schools, does today.
Depending on the model adopted or the framing of the problem, there is also some predictability to the groups schools might then work with to implement a solution—a further suggestion that schools ought to cut to the chase and foundations and others fostering the ecosystem should help them there. If a school plans to use a Station-Rotation model for math with one curriculum provider, for example, it will likely contract with one math vendor that provides supplemental math content—like Dreambox Learning or ST Math—or use a free solution like the Khan Academy. If it wants to work with multiple content providers on the other hand, there is a good bet it might work with a company like Education Elements, which is emerging as a leader in helping schools move to blended-learning models and offering a single sign-on software solution for schools so they can easily work with multiple content vendors. Although the company helps schools enter into a design process to rethink the use of time, teacher roles, and so forth, the basic model that most schools using Education Elements adopt tends to be pretty consistent.
Read the full article here.
March 22, 2013: Blended Learning at Aspire
NewSchools Venture Fund Blog
By Jen Carolan
Aspire is one of my very favorite networks of public schools. You can walk into any of their 34 schools (serving 12,000 kids) and viscerally feel that these are great schools for kids. The kids are happy, the educators are amongst the most inspiring, hard-working and modest that I know — and the student performance results shine as a result. The overall learning system is thriving. Yet, never complacent, Aspire wanted to do more for their kids. Liz Arney, a teacher and curriculum specialist by training, envisioned how technology could enhance learning and help Aspire students better prepare for life in a wired world. Liz led the introduction of blended learning into two of their schools in 2011.
I wanted to share this video with you because I think it captures the spirit of innovation imbued in great schools that are able to evolve along with the changing world around them. And in doing so, they help their students adapt and become better prepared. Rocketship and Summit Prep embody this ethos of innovation as well.
Read the article and watch the video here.
March 21, 2013: Detroit: Pulling Out of the Death Spiral
By Tom Vander Ark
“The Motor City’s traditional district remains the worst-performing big-city school operator in both the Midwest and the nation,” reported RiShawn Biddle . “With 69 percent of its fourth-graders and 57 percent of eighth-graders being functionally illiterate in 2011, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Detroit has become infamous for perpetuating educational neglect and malpractice.” Biddle notes, “the district’s financial mismanagement has been even more spectacular.”
Enrollment in the state’s largest district has has dropped by more than 100,000 students since 2003–more dramatic than New Orleans. The Detroit News reports that, “District officials have shuttered more than 100 school buildings in an attempt to right size the district as it fell deeper into a financial crisis. The city is in even worse shape and was taken over by the state on March 1st.
So, asks the Smart Cities reader, why write about the disaster that is Detroit? Like New Orleans, Detroit families are beginning to benefit from the man-made disruption and corruption. The portfolio emerging from the disaster is worth watching.
Disaster Recovery . Modeled after the successful Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD), Michigan created a statewide school improvement district in 2011. The Education Achievement system will assume operation of the lowest 5 percent of schools. Education Achievement Authority (EAA) started operating 15 Detroit schools in September 2012.
While the RSD has relied on chartering, the EAS continues to operate schools with only a few charters. Chancellor John Covington, building on work he started in Kansas City, is leading development of an NGLC grant winning blended competency-based turnaround model. The Buzz platform built in partnership with Agilix (the Brainhoney people) features Compass Learning’s Odyssey that “uses assessment data to prescribe a personalized learning path complete with rigorous and engaging curriculum and instruction.” The approach is tailored by School Improvement Network.
Teach for America was shut out of Detroit for years but two years ago they were invited back to the District, to EAA, and to charter schools in the city. The University of Michigan, in nearby Ann Arbor, sends more grads to TFA than any other school.
Matchbook Learning is another NGLC grant winner and EAA partner working with middle schools in Detroit. As we noted in January, the conversion focuses on school culture, teacher coaching, stakeholder engagement, and blended classrooms powered by EdElements. Students are “grouped into small and flexible groups based on student readiness, interests, learning style and profile, and specific instructional objectives.”
Read the full article here.
February 28, 2013: Reynoldsburg Schools Attracting Rave Reviews
By Tom Vander Ark
On Tuesday I visited the Reynoldsburg City Schools, an inner ring suburb of Columbus, Ohio and had a chance to see the great work that is drawing attention not only statewide but nationally.
In this piece by the Columbus Dispatch the schools’ efforts at innovating around STEM and career and college readiness was highlighted with a visit from U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Deb Delisle to tour the innovative programs. Reynoldsburg has been at the forefront of innovating and personalizing student learning. Debbie Howard, Chief Innovation Officer of EDWorks, a group that focuses on high school improvement notes “Reynoldsburg is rapidly becoming a national demonstration site for innovation,”.
The district has partnered with the Columbus State Community College to create an Early College High School where students can earn college credit up to an associates degree. Local partners including Mount Carmel Health Systems providing health-care learning opportunities.
As a result of the work being done, the schools have earned an A+ in the state report card, which its the highest grade ever. Another first for the district was opening its’ enrollment to students from outside the district which resulted in additional revenue for the district in state aid.
One of the most innovative things I saw was Reynoldsburg students learning while doing in Capstone program. The triple block course pack in Advanced Placement courses, internships, technical writing and applied learning. Each of the High School’s four academies are working on Capstone programs for their students.
Read the full article.
March 19, 2013: Education Technology: The Next Generation Panel at The Brooking Institution on March 20, 2013
We are looking forward to participating with The Brookings Institution on its Education Technology: The Next Generation panel this Wednesday at 2 pm EST. Join us in DC! http://www.brookings.edu/
January 29, 2013: Education Elements Supporting Digital Learning Day and NYSCATE Blended Learning Summit in Albany on Feb 6
Education Elements is pleased to support Digital Learning Day coming up on February 6. We are participating in many ways including presenting at NYSCATE’s Blended Learning Summit in Albany. To learn more, visit http://www.nyscate.org/conferences.cfm?subpage=588.
December 10, 2012: December 11 Webinar: Creating Your Game Plan for Professional Development
Please join us on December 11, 2012 9 am PST/12 pm EST for an Education Elements Webinar:
Click Here to register
November 21, 2012: November 27 Webinar: Selecting the Right Digital Content for Your District
Please join us on November 27, 2012 9 am PST/12 pm EST for an Education Elements Webinar:
Click Here to register
April 11, 2013: Education Elements triples its portfolio of content and application partners
San Carlos, CA––April 13, 2013 ––Education Elements, the leader in building Blended Classrooms that help schools integrate instructional practice and technology, announced that it has added over two-dozen new digital content and application partners to the ecosystem of educational products that integrate with its Hybrid Learning Management System (HLMS).
The HLMS is a cloud-based platform that provides students, teachers and administrators each with a single entry point to access digital content and the detailed performance data they need to guide instruction and learning. It leverages the latest cloud-based technologies to:
- Simplify access to digital content and applications in the classroom
- Distill detailed data from multiple sources into actionable insights
- Facilitate personalized learning opportunities for every student
The HLMS integrates with digital content from leading publishers such as Pearson, Compass Learning, and Dreambox. The content portfolio features programs that demonstrate a robust and research-based pedagogy and a rigorous curriculum, and many are specifically designed for the Common Core. The HLMS also works with a multitude of lesson planning and classroom management applications such as Pathbrite, Goalbook, and Kickboard. It is an open platform that affords teachers and administrators the flexibility to present the right product to the right student at the right time.
“This effort is all about giving schools options. Our goal is to simplify access to an array of powerful digital content and applications and help make the data they produce immediately actionable. That’s why we are so excited about the expansion of the ecosystem, because it gives schools more ways to effectively bring digital learning to life in the classroom for every student” says David Sanchez, Vice President of Product and Partnerships at Education Elements.
Together with its partners, Education Elements is helping redefine the role of digital content and applications in the classroom. The move to Common Core in many states is also helping accelerate the integration of digital content as a core curriculum fixture that serves the needs of all students. As part of its rigorous vetting process, the Education Elements content analysis team, which includes a number of deeply skilled former teachers, spends an average of 40 hours researching each partner in depth. This team uses a detailed rubric that considers aspects such as pedagogical approach, content depth, user interface, and data integrity. This information is also used to make recommendations for clients based on their unique needs and instructional objectives.
“Education Elements has been a valued strategic partner. Not only have they enabled high fidelity implementation at a number of our most advanced school partners, but they have also provided great technical and academic feedback that has made our product stronger.” – says Arthur VanderVeen, Vice President of Strategy at Compass Learning.
Education Elements develops and maintains a rich ecosystem of leading online content and applications that serve grades K-12 and address core and supplemental material across reading, math, ELA, science, writing and social studies. The company collaborates with 3rd party developers to integrate access to both activities and performance reports into a single, unified experience.
About Education Elements
Founded in 2010 and based in San Carlos, California, Education Elements is an early-stage start-up that aims to help schools integrate instructional practice with technology to improve outcomes. Together with its cloud-based, instructional data integration platform, the company offers rich design and implementation services that help schools effectively build and run blended classrooms. Education Elements is currently working with over 50 district and charter institutions across the US that are pioneering the concept of the 21st century classroom.
Education Elements’ ecosystem of content and application partners includes these leading companies:
- Apex Learning
- Compass Learning
- Curriculum Associates
- Exit Ticket
- Illuminate Education
- Lexia Reading
- MIND Research Institute
- Middlebury Interactive Languages
- Revolution K12
- Ten Marks
- The Teaching Channel
To learn more, please visit our website:
March 5, 2013: KnowledgeWorks, Education Elements Present at SXSWedu on Blending Classrooms and Communities
AUSTIN – KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Innovation, Lisa Duty, Ph. D, in partnership with Amy Jenkins, General Manager, Strategic Initiatives, and Vanessa Gonzalez, Design and Implementation Consultant, for Education Elements, will discuss an innovative new school model that combines blended learning and notions of collective impact to create a dynamic learning ecosystem Tuesday at the annual SXSWedu conference.
The conference, which began Monday, runs through Thursday at the Austin Convention Center. The session, In it Together: Blended Classroom and Communities, will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Hilton Downtown Austin, in Salon A.
“Combining blended learning with notions of collective impact engages the entire community, extends learning beyond the classroom and results in the creation of a student-centered learning ecosystem,” Duty said. “Students are able to master skills at their own pace through a seamless integration of learning in school and throughout the community.”
Blended learning integrates technology with face-to-face instruction in the classroom to address multiple modalities and enable differentiated instruction for all students. Collective impact engages all sectors of a community to systematically support each child’s success in schools. When paired together, blended learning and collective impact have the potential to deliver transformative change in teaching and learning.
“At its core, blended learning is about delivering a personalized learning experience for every student. The integration of community-based learning, which is the vision for the Oasis model, can enhance the impact of personalized learning in the classroom and magnify the focus on each student” said Jenkins.
The presentation will focus on the efforts of KnowledgeWorks, Education Elements and Reynoldsburg City Schools in fusing blended learning and notions of collective impact to create the “Oasis” model. Duty, Gonzalez and Jenkins will share, in an interactive discussion, the project’s goals, design challenges and their expectations for how the system will unfold.
“Education Elements has partnered with many schools that are pioneering blended learning models,” Gonzalez said. “We see the Oasis model as another way to keep pushing the boundary of innovation for how to approach teaching and learning and achieve better outcomes for students.”
The SXSWedu conference seeks to provide meaningful conversation and collaboration about promising practices and tools for improved learning. The content of the conference has been designed for a diverse audience of not only education professionals but also business, industry and policy leaders who are committed to creating a better tomorrow.
KnowledgeWorks, a Cincinnati-based social enterprise, is bringing the future of learning to America’s high schools and creating widespread, lasting change in the communities and states we serve. Our portfolio of high school approaches includes New Tech Network , andEDWorks Fast Track, New Start and STEM Lab high schools. KnowledgeWorks subsidiaryStrive is a national initiative that works to build the cradle to career civic infrastructure in communities to identify, sustain and scale what works for kids.
Education Elements, based in San Carlos, California, provides technology and services that help schools design and implement blended classrooms. The company’s core goal is to enable schools to create personalized learning environments that engage every student and make data-driven instruction sustainable for teachers.
March 7, 2012: Education Elements raises $6 million to continue helping schools transition to blended learning
Palo Alto, CA—March 7, 2012—Education Elements, a pioneer in helping schools blend technology into everyday instruction, announced today that it has closed a $6 million round of funding. The round was led by Harmony Partners and joined by Rethink Education (which includes experienced educational technology investors Seavest Ventures, Jonathan Sackler, Matt Greenfield and Brian Olson) and individual investor Eff Martin of Anthos Capital, as well as by prior investors Tugboat Ventures, NewSchools Venture Fund, and Wally Hawley. The funding will allow Education Elements serve significantly more schools, by expanding its education consultant and support teams, strengthening its content and technology partnerships, enhancing its technology platform, and opening an East Coast office.
October 21, 2011: Ed Tech Market Map Goes Live
Visual Presentation of Ed Tech Ventures Cuts through Clutter Created by Highly Dynamic Market
San Francisco, CA — October 12, 2011 — NewSchools Venture Fund announced the release of a graphical, interactive representation of the burgeoning K-12 education technology market to help investors, donors, and entrepreneurs better evaluate today’s landscape of education technology ventures. After launching at The Philanthropy Roundtable’s K-12 Education conference today, the education technology market map of more than 230 companies is available at www.newschools.org/entrepreneurs/edtechmap.