New from MOOC-Ed Leading the Digital Learning Transition: Creating Future Ready Schools

Leading the Digital Learning Transition: Creating Future Ready Schools

The MOOC-Ed course will run from March 2  through April 26, 2015.

Learn more and register at

This Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) is designed for school and district leaders, and any others involved in planning and implementing K-12 digital learning initiatives. Everyone involved in digital learning (also known as blended learning, e-learning and instructional technology) in a K-12 school or district is welcome to join the course.

This course will help you:

  • Understand the potential of digital learning in K-12 schools;
  • Assess progress and set future goals for your school or district; and
  • Begin to develop a plan to achieve your digital learning goals.

The DLT MOOC-Ed is organized around the Future Ready Schools Digital Learning Framework. This framework shows the Digital Learning Transition Vision-Plan-Implement-Assess cycle around the seven DLT planning elements, which are all centered on improving student learning. It also shows, in the outer circle, that leadership is critical throughout the transition process.

The DLT MOOC-Ed consists of five units scheduled over eight weeks. Participants are invited to work in all the units or to select those that are most relevant to their personal learning goals.  A certificate of completion to obtain CEUs is available for those who complete certain requirements. There is no cost for participating in the DLT MOOC-Ed.

Dr. Glenn Kleiman and Dr. Mary Ann Wolf are the program directors, with many others from school districts and other organizations throughout the country contributing to planning and facilitating the course.

Other MOOC-Ed courses currently open for registration include Learning Differences, Disciplinary Literacy for Deeper Learning, Coaching Digital Learning, and Teaching Statistics through Data Investigations. More information about these courses can be found at


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House Education Committee Approves NCLB Rewrite on Party-Line Vote

The Republican-controlled House education committee approved an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act Wednesday afternoon on a party-line vote.

The measure, which would significantly curtail the footprint of the federal government in K-12 schools, will be considered by the full House the week of Feb. 24.

Among many other things, the bill would allow Title I money for low-income students to follow them to the public school of their choice, including charter schools; block-grant and make transferable funding for teacher preparation/development (Title II) and after-school programs (Title IV); and consolidate or eliminate more than 65 federal education programs. (You can read more about the bill here.)

The day-long markup process did not alter the bill significantly, but it did preview at least one policy debate that’s sure to cause fireworks when the bill hits the chamber floor: allowing Title I funding to be used at private schools.

A Democratic substitute of the Republican NCLB rewrite, which would restore separate streams of funding for several programs, was defeated handily on a party-line vote. (You can read more about that bill here.)

In general, Democrats got no love during the markup as none of their amendments were adopted. As a rule, if an amendment created a new program or cost additional money, Republicans defeated it specifically on those grounds.

Indeed, an explanation oft-repeated by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the committee chairman: The Republican NCLB rewrite, the Student Success Act, would block-grant several education programs to give states the flexibility to use funding as they see fit.

Some notable Democratic amendments that didn’t make the grade included a proposal that would have included early-childhood education in the law, one that would have encouraged states to adopt dropout programs, and another that would have enshrined the Obama administration’s Investing in Innovation competitive-grant programs in law. Continue reading

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A Critical Moment for Public Education in New Hampshire

A number of bills proposed in the Legislature would undo the progress we’ve made

So many things are going right in New Hampshire public education right now. Our students score among the top in the country. Our educators have led the successful effort to set higher standards for our students and make the new lesson plans to match. Our schools have taken great strides in personalizing learning for every child, making mastery the goal rather than seat time.

And, on the most important issue facing American education, little New Hampshire is showing the nation how to move beyond the bubble test to a meaningful assessment of each child’s real learning.

On Jan. 21, Deputy Education Commissioner Paul Leather testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee, as it rewrites the 13-year-old No Child Left Behind Act. The committee’s most important challenge is testing, and its most important proposal will be a new flexibility modeled on New Hampshire’s unique assessment strategy. Continue reading

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President Obama’s Budget Includes $200 M for EETT Program

Title II D, of No Child Left Behind (2001), sought to bring technology rich projects and professional development to schools and districts that needed it.

On February 2, the Obama Administration’s 2016 education budget request included $200M for a revised version of the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant program. As many of you know, the EETT program launched in 2001 with $675M, funding was reduced in increments over multiple years and was last funded in 2010 for $100M. Although this is a positive step for states and educational technology, the federal budget process is complicated and includes House and Senate appropriations bills that may or may not include this program, budget negotiations and then a final budget. The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is working on the national level to keep State Ed Tech Directors informed regarding this process and will provide opportunities for states to share successful educational technology programs. Continue reading

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White House Launches Nationwide Superintendent Summits

Back in the fall, U.S. district superintendents took big steps towards making their districts “future ready.” First, more than a thousand lent their signatures to the Future Ready Pledge, a list of blended learning stipulations that included transitioning to high-speed internet and providing all students with universal access to quality devices, among other top commitments. Then, 118 gathered on November 19 at a White House Future Ready Superintendents’ Summit, referred to as the “ConnectED to the Future” convening, to connect and discuss the use and implementation of educational technology in American schools.

But there are more than 13,000 school districts and superintendents through the US. To continue spreading the message of the Future Ready Pledge, the U.S. Office of Educational Technology and the Department of Education (DOE) have teamed up with the DC-based Alliance for Excellent Education to today announce the locations and logistics of 12 regional Summits, where superintendents can connect and share best practices in seven key areas, including curriculum, budgeting and use of time. Continue reading

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Obama’s Privacy Proposal: Who’s Game, and Who’s Crying ‘Foul’?

Student privacy is a front and center topic these days. Yesterday, in his January 12th address on American privacy, President Barack Obama highlighted the Student Privacy Pledge, calling for all edtech companies to join in on efforts to protect and use student data responsibly. Already, 75 organizations have signed it, from edtech kingpins like Microsoft and Houghton Mifflin, to startups like ClassDojo and Schoology.

The president also spoke to the need for a nationwide Student Digital Privacy Act, emphasizing the importance of student data privacy for all Americans and sharing that he would propose the legislation by the end of February.  Yet despite big names like Apple (who signed on the eve of POTUS’ speech) adding their John Hancock to the pledge, not everyone is pleased with the directions and efforts that Obama’s speech highlighted. We caught up with a number of organizations and stakeholders–both pledge signers and otherwise–to understand what has them both optimistic and a bit concerned. Continue reading

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Meet The Classroom Of The Future

A blended learning classroom at David Boody Jr. High School in New York City. Courtesy of New Classrooms

The classroom of the future probably won’t be led by a robot with arms and legs, but it may be guided by a digital brain.

It may look like this: one room, about the size of a basketball court; more than 100 students, all plugged into a laptop; and 15 teachers and teaching assistants.

This isn’t just the future, it’s the sixth grade math class at David Boody Jr. High School in Brooklyn, near Coney Island. Beneath all the human buzz, something other than humans is running the show: algorithms.

The kind of complex computer calculations that drive our Google searches or select what we see on our Facebook pages.

Algorithms choose which students sit together. Algorithms measure what the children know and how well they know it. They choose what problems the children should work on and provide teachers with the next lesson to teach.

A student checks the assignment screen to find where she is sitting today.

A student checks the assignment screen to find where she is sitting today. Courtesy of New Classrooms

This combination of human capital and technology is called “blended learning.” And regardless of whether it makes you uneasy, the program, Teach to One, seems to be serving Boody Jr. High well. A recent study of the 15 schools using Teach to One, had mixed results, but showed they are outperforming their peers nationally on average.

“It can be used as an effective tool, but so far it has had moderate and unstable effects on student performance,” said Justin Reich, a researcher at Harvard who has reviewed the study.

He believes Teach to One can mechanize some of the more mundane parts of teaching, like grading and assessing whether a student has mastered a topic. But, he added, it also ends up teaching to standardized tests and doesn’t work better than some non-digital interventions.

Watch on You Tube at

Read the entire article by William Huntsberry on NPR at

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