Edtech Business

EdSurge’s 2017 Year in Review: The Top 10 K-12 Stories, as Chosen by You

By Stephen Noonoo     Dec 25, 2017

EdSurge’s 2017 Year in Review: The Top 10 K-12 Stories, as Chosen by You

As we wind down another year of chronicling education technology, we wondered: Which stories made the biggest impact? One way to answer that question is to track what readers read, shared and “Liked” most.

This year, you looked to trendsetting districts, thought leaders, tech giants and one very sage high school student to help make sense of rapid changes in education technology. Here are EdSurge’s top stories of 2017 in chronological order—a healthy dose of optimism and skepticism, words of encouragement and caution for the year ahead.

Battle of the Classrooms: Apple, Google, Microsoft Vie for K-12 Market

The word “Classroom” has never been more loaded as it is now, with all three blue-chip technology giants each releasing a tool with the same name. From Google and Microsoft’s LMS-like collaboration system to Apple’s device manager, here’s a handy guide to all things Classroom.

Kids Don’t Fail, Schools Fail Kids: Sir Ken Robinson on the ‘Learning Revolution’

In a keynote presentation earlier this year, Sir Ken Robinson praised kids’ passion for learning but slammed a school system that beats this love out of students. Harsh words, but perhaps unsurprising from Robinson, whose TED Talk on whether schools kill creativity is the most viewed in the TED canon. Taking aim at standardized testing in particular, Robinson advocates for a “revolution” in learning—and praises several schools that are realigning priorities to put the focus back on inspiring students.

Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California

Khan Academy videos have long been used in K-12 classrooms of all grade levels, even though it was never expressly marketed to them. This April, the company released its first tool built for school: a teacher’s aid that allows users to create lesson plans corresponding to Khan videos and track student progress via a data dashboard. According to founder Sal Khan: “Students will have the study resources and teachers get a clear read of where students are at so they can choose what to go over again in class.”

Goodbye ABCs: How One State Is Moving Beyond Grade Levels and Graded Assessments

What happens when you take away grades and grade levels? Seven elementary schools in New Hampshire found out when they switched to a competency-meets-project-based approach that frees students up to work on mastering specific standards, instead of a standard curriculum. With copious data collection baked into the process, schools—and students—are already seeing results.

GRAPH: Where Do US Teacher Salaries Really Go the Furthest?

EdSurge paired cost-of-living data in all 50 states, along with stats from the National Center for Education Statistics, to discover where teaching salaries stretch the furthest. The result is an adjusted average salary that better represents how much purchasing power teachers really have in any given state. One tip: stay far, far away from Hawaii.

Why I’m Optimistic About the Next Wave of Education Technology

Jason Palmer, a general partner at New Markets Venture Partners, has weathered through more than 25 years of running education businesses and investing in edtech startups. From early attempts at building learning management systems in the 1990s to today’s explosion of infrastructure and software in classrooms, Palmer charts the success and failures of edtech—and why he’s bullish about the future.

Students Say They Are Not as Tech Savvy as Educators Assume

It’s become an allegory of our times: kids are way more tech proficient than adults—especially their teachers. What’s often missing from that narrative is that most students are underprepared to use technology in professional or academic settings. Three students share how they’re still learning, and how schools can help.

Tired Edtech Trends That Teachers Wish Would Retire: From the Floor of ISTE 2017

“I feel like everyone talks about blended learning, and no one really knows what it means.” So said former Chicago administrator Jennie Magiera on the show floor at ISTE, a conference she keynoted. Magiera’s frustrations were felt by others who shared their own hangups on the buzzwords, hardware and apps that really ought to be put out to pasture.

From a Rising Senior to Her Teachers: Things to Never Say or Ask About College

As the college admission process has gotten steadily more competitive—and stressful—over the years, one high school senior has a message for the adults: Stop with all the questions! It turns out that well-meaning inquiries into standardized test scores and eventual career goals don’t make the process any easier for applicants. Here are her top four topics to steer clear of.

How to Build Community Leaders of Today—and Tomorrow—Through Student Genius Hours

When one teacher implemented Google’s famed 20 percent time—which lets employees spend a fifth of their time on passion projects—she watched her classroom transform into a community. As students picked projects and began the hard work of implementing them, they began to appreciate, and even rely on, one on another for encouragement, feedback and support. The projects helped bring students closer to their school, families and the community at large.

Honorable Mentions

Edtech Business

EdSurge’s 2017 Year in Review: The Top 10 K-12 Stories, as Chosen by You

By Stephen Noonoo     Dec 25, 2017

EdSurge’s 2017 Year in Review: The Top 10 K-12 Stories, as Chosen by You

As we wind down another year of chronicling education technology, we wondered: Which stories made the biggest impact? One way to answer that question is to track what readers read, shared and “Liked” most.

This year, you looked to trendsetting districts, thought leaders, tech giants and one very sage high school student to help make sense of rapid changes in education technology. Here are EdSurge’s top stories of 2017 in chronological order—a healthy dose of optimism and skepticism, words of encouragement and caution for the year ahead.

Battle of the Classrooms: Apple, Google, Microsoft Vie for K-12 Market

The word “Classroom” has never been more loaded as it is now, with all three blue-chip technology giants each releasing a tool with the same name. From Google and Microsoft’s LMS-like collaboration system to Apple’s device manager, here’s a handy guide to all things Classroom.

Kids Don’t Fail, Schools Fail Kids: Sir Ken Robinson on the ‘Learning Revolution’

In a keynote presentation earlier this year, Sir Ken Robinson praised kids’ passion for learning but slammed a school system that beats this love out of students. Harsh words, but perhaps unsurprising from Robinson, whose TED Talk on whether schools kill creativity is the most viewed in the TED canon. Taking aim at standardized testing in particular, Robinson advocates for a “revolution” in learning—and praises several schools that are realigning priorities to put the focus back on inspiring students.

Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California

Khan Academy videos have long been used in K-12 classrooms of all grade levels, even though it was never expressly marketed to them. This April, the company released its first tool built for school: a teacher’s aid that allows users to create lesson plans corresponding to Khan videos and track student progress via a data dashboard. According to founder Sal Khan: “Students will have the study resources and teachers get a clear read of where students are at so they can choose what to go over again in class.”

Goodbye ABCs: How One State Is Moving Beyond Grade Levels and Graded Assessments

What happens when you take away grades and grade levels? Seven elementary schools in New Hampshire found out when they switched to a competency-meets-project-based approach that frees students up to work on mastering specific standards, instead of a standard curriculum. With copious data collection baked into the process, schools—and students—are already seeing results.

GRAPH: Where Do US Teacher Salaries Really Go the Furthest?

EdSurge paired cost-of-living data in all 50 states, along with stats from the National Center for Education Statistics, to discover where teaching salaries stretch the furthest. The result is an adjusted average salary that better represents how much purchasing power teachers really have in any given state. One tip: stay far, far away from Hawaii.

Why I’m Optimistic About the Next Wave of Education Technology

Jason Palmer, a general partner at New Markets Venture Partners, has weathered through more than 25 years of running education businesses and investing in edtech startups. From early attempts at building learning management systems in the 1990s to today’s explosion of infrastructure and software in classrooms, Palmer charts the success and failures of edtech—and why he’s bullish about the future.

Students Say They Are Not as Tech Savvy as Educators Assume

It’s become an allegory of our times: kids are way more tech proficient than adults—especially their teachers. What’s often missing from that narrative is that most students are underprepared to use technology in professional or academic settings. Three students share how they’re still learning, and how schools can help.

Tired Edtech Trends That Teachers Wish Would Retire: From the Floor of ISTE 2017

“I feel like everyone talks about blended learning, and no one really knows what it means.” So said former Chicago administrator Jennie Magiera on the show floor at ISTE, a conference she keynoted. Magiera’s frustrations were felt by others who shared their own hangups on the buzzwords, hardware and apps that really ought to be put out to pasture.

From a Rising Senior to Her Teachers: Things to Never Say or Ask About College

As the college admission process has gotten steadily more competitive—and stressful—over the years, one high school senior has a message for the adults: Stop with all the questions! It turns out that well-meaning inquiries into standardized test scores and eventual career goals don’t make the process any easier for applicants. Here are her top four topics to steer clear of.

How to Build Community Leaders of Today—and Tomorrow—Through Student Genius Hours

When one teacher implemented Google’s famed 20 percent time—which lets employees spend a fifth of their time on passion projects—she watched her classroom transform into a community. As students picked projects and began the hard work of implementing them, they began to appreciate, and even rely on, one on another for encouragement, feedback and support. The projects helped bring students closer to their school, families and the community at large.

Honorable Mentions

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