Apr 23

English Language Learners Suffer School Turnaround Neglect

THE FORGOTTEN: Are English Language Learners (ELLs) being neglected in school turnarounds? According to a new “Study of School Turnaround” report, the answer is typically yes, especially when it comes to instructional tech. Out of 11 School Improvement Grantee schools observed for the survey, only one included tech in its instructional ELL reform efforts, and four of the schools paid no attention to ELL’s in data-driven decision-making. More here from THEjournal.

Apr 23

2U Will Offer an Ed.D. in Education

Online education program, 2U said today at the ongoing ASU-GSV conference that it will work with the USC Rossier School of Education to offer a Ed.D. in education, beginnning in January 2015. Rossier, led by Dean Karen Symms Gallagher, was 2U's first partner in offering online Masters degrees. 

USC already offers two doctorate degree programs: one for working professionals with at least 3 years experience who aim to become superintendents or other school leaders and a second for global executives who have more than 10 years experience and work anywhere in the world. The new program with 2U will focus on "organizational change and leadership," says Gallagher. The program will last three to four years (depending on whether incoming students already have masters degrees) and is aimed at working professions. Students will convene virtually using the 2U platform and then attend a live one-week summer program at USC. "We want people to be learning things that they will go into their current work environments and try out," Gallagher says. 

Earning the degree program will cost $75K; Gallagher expects to enroll between 70 to 100 students at three times during the course of the year. 

Editor's note: Give EdSurge a "D" on degrees: we originally called this a Ph.D. It's an Ed.D. 

Apr 23

Declara Raises $16M For Personalized PD

DECLARA: $16 million to Palo Alto, CA-based Declara in a Series A round led by GSV Capital; Data Collective, Founders Fund and Catamount Ventures also chipped in. Mark Flynn, co-managing partner of GSV Asset Management, will join the Declara board. Founded in 2012, Declara offers an online platform that uses "semantic search, predictive analytics and machine learning" to learners find the right content. Currently it's used to help teachers in Australia, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, as Declara co-founder, Nelson Gonzalez, shared with EdSurge here. The company has now raised $21 million. Here's the press release.

Apr 23

General Assembly Announces Program for Minorities in Tech

GENERAL OPPORTUNITY: Who's your favorite general? Ours this week is General Assembly, which announced a partnership with Microsoft, Google, Hirepurpose and Nas (the rapper) to create the Opportunity Fund to "help veterans, women, and minorities become less underrepresented in the tech industry. Fellows will get a $8,500 tuition subsidy to a 3-month Web Development Immersive course (which costs $11,500) and access to GA's job placement network and other programs. Apply by May 1.

Apr 23

Anonymous Social Messaging App, Yik Yak, Raises $1.5M

YIK YAK: $1.5 million to Atlanta, GA-based Yik Yak in a seed round from Vaizra Investment, DCM, Azure Capital Partners and angel investors. Founded in December 2013, Yik Yak offers a "hyper-local" anonymous messaging app originally designed for college students, but which was quickly adopted by middle and high schoolers. The app was soon tied to cyberbullying, leading the founders to use "geofencing" to prevent students from using the app on campuses. The app is now used in over 100 U.S. universities, says the press release.

Apr 22
Apr 22

Don Graham Talks New Scholarship Fund for Undocumented Students

LIVE THE DREAM: Don Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, who celebrates his 69th birthday today, talked about his new scholarship program, TheDream.US, at the ASU+GSV Summit. The program is aimed at supporting college tuition at specific schools or programs for undocumented students who grew up in the US, registered under the DACA program.

Graham co-founded the program a year ago with Henry Muñoz, who chairs the national finance committee for the Democratic Party and Carlos Gutierrez, who served as Secretary of Commerce under the Bush administration. The program fills an aching need that people on all sides of the political divide are embracing. Students who discover that they’re undocumented--typically in high school--have virtually no financial resources to pay for higher education as they are not eligible for Pell grants, loans from banks or other typical lending programs. TheDream partners with schools and learning organizations that will enable students to get a bachelor’s degree for $25,000 in tuition. These programs include Long Beach City College, Miami Dade College, the University of Texas in El Paso and Kaplan (which is making its education available on a nonprofit basis).

Graham says they’ve raised $31 million for the program and hopes to reach $100 million over the next year, and is also seeking advisors and other support for the program. He promised to answer anyone’s email who wants to help.

Apr 22

Digital Promise Tackles Micro-Credentialing

BADGEWORTHY: The support for teacher badging grows! Yesterday, nonprofit Digital Promise (DP) announced its movement into the world of micro-credentialing with an infographic representation of "competency-based professional development." Co-authored by GettingSmart, the infographic identifies central issues of personalizing PD, and includes a competency-based development system that includes three focal points:

  • A competency map, or what teachers can/should learn;
  • Multiple ways by which teachers learn, or the how;
  • Demonstrations of competency, or recognition that a teacher has learned something.

Later in the infographic, DP identifies the steps by which one gains badges as micro-credentials--including submission and review of artifacts as demonstrations of competency.

Digital Promise Professional Development Manager Krista Moroder explains that the shift to micro-credentialing comes from the recognition that, "it's easier to personalize learning than ever before." She adds: "There are so many different ways to learn now, that it doesn't make sense to only credential on-seat time."

Along with other members of the Badge Alliance (a group that includes Mozilla and the MacArthur Foundation), Digital Promise plans to release a white paper (“Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning") with more information next Monday, and launch a full-scale micro-credentialing program in a few months, while working with teachers in the interim to refine the micro-credentialing process.

Apr 22
Apr 22

Gates Report: Teachers Want More High School Tech Tools

TEACHER KNOWS BEST: Today, the Gates Foundation released a report surveying 3,100+ teachers (and 1,250+ students) on what they want from digital instructional tools. The report, entitled "Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want From Digital Instructional Tools," suggests that while many teachers support tech, only 55% of teachers reported available resources sufficient in helping students meet college- and career-ready standards. Educators also spoke to four instructional areas that lack usable digital tools: 

  • High school math and ELA tools
  • Grades 3–8 products that cover two or three subjects
  • Grades 3–8 science products
  • Content-agnostic platforms that host or aggregate content (which currently make up only 26% of available products).
Interested in learning more? Get the full report here.