From the start, access has been the defining achievement of online learning. Or so I thought. For a couple of decades, I championed online learning for its ability to uproot entrenched ideas in education, especially by engaging students in active learning, a pedagogical style rarely practiced on campus. But I was even more taken with digital learning’s ability to let underrepresented students leap virtually over high campus gates to earn college degrees as never before. Then came several new studies concluding that low-income students at U.S. community colleges may not be as well served online as their residential peers. One headline in The New York Times summed-up the findings: “Online Courses Fail Those Who Need Help.” Reading initial coverage of the research, I worried that virtual access may not be accomplishing all that was it promised. Is online the educational and economic game changer I thought it was? So I decided to take a close look at a handful of … [Read more...] about Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?
Caroline Hill is a firecracker. She keynoted the Blended Learning Conference in Rhode Island and iNACOL in Florida. At both events, she asked educators to challenge their notions of the use of technology in the classrooms and their conversations around equity. Hill has been a DC educator for years, but she is now embarking on a new venture, creating an accelerator with the goal of scaling equity. She hopes to combine the start-up mentality of the edtech world with social justice issues in a unique way. Listen to the podcast for the full interview below or on your favorite podcast app (like iTunes or Stitcher). Or read highlights from the conversation (which have been edited and condensed for clarity). EdSurge: I got an email, and I opened it up to see that you were starting a new accelerator. And I was like, this sounds like something I've not heard before, and I was interested in having you tell our audience about what you're doing. Hill: The new venture is called the 228 … [Read more...] about This Accelerator Seeks To Scale Equity in Schools By Mixing the Start-Up Mentality With Social Justice
Finding the right candidate is not only important in order to get the job done but it is also essential for building a healthy company culture. So how do you find the perfect hire? A big part of that strategy is knowing where to look to find the kind of high-quality candidates you want to add to your roster. We decided to sit down with the EdSurge Job’s team to talk specifically about how to locate “hidden” edtech talent. Here are their suggestions on where to find your perfect candidate. Hiding in plain sight You may well be surprised by the talent you find lying directly within your reach already. In the interest of time, money, and resources, it’s always best to start by tapping into your own network first. internal referrals - Happy employees often make great references. Building a quality referral program not only incentivizes your current workforce to take a personal interest in cultivating company culture, it also functions as a de facto screening … [Read more...] about Hiring? The Secret to Finding Hidden Edtech Talent
Do your school’s students submit their school assignments by uploading PDFs or other files within a learning management system? If so, a new tool from Google is looking to upend that practice—by connecting the LMS directly to Google Drive. Called Course Kit, the new tool, announced today, lets students upload their work by tapping into their Google Drive account. Instructors can then use Drive and Google Docs to grade assignments and share course materials. As of now it integrates with many learning management systems, specifically, ones that support the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, such as Blackboard. This is Google’s latest update to its education product suite. In June at ISTE, the annual K-12 education technology expo, Google unveiled 12 updates to education tools, including Google Classroom. Google is not the only major tech company that has pushed updates in the education space these past few months. Last week, Microsoft launched the Surface … [Read more...] about Google Launches New Feedback Tool ‘Course Kit’ to Eliminate Assignment Uploads
When coding bootcamps first arrived on the (predominantly coastal) scene, they pitched themselves as alternatives to the college experience. But a series of closures have raised questions about whether these short-term skills-training programs are can be financially sustainable—or deliver results for students and investors. Now Kenzie Academy, a tech training and apprenticeship program, wants to usher in a new era of skills training programs—and has raised a $4.2 million seed round to attempt to do so. Founded in 2017, Kenzie Academy is two-year program that currently focuses on software engineering skills, and plans to soon offer curriculum around user design and digital marketing with money from the seed round. The program costs $24,000 per year, and students can choose an income-share agreement, which allows students to delay tuition payments until they complete the program and land a job that pays at least a $40,000 salary. Like many startup entrepreneurs, … [Read more...] about Tech Training and Apprenticeship Startup Kenzie Academy Raises $4.2M
So far, there have been fewer home-run funding deals than last year. But for the U.S. edtech industry, that’s no big deal: In the first six months of 2018, 62 companies raised $739 million in venture capital. This year’s first-half funding total marks a lull from the same period in 2017, which totaled $887 million spread across 58 deals. That number was fueled largely by three gargantuan deals—EverFi ($190 million), Hero K12 ($150 million) and Grammarly ($110 million)—that accounted for more than half of that total. (The full-year tally for 2017 reached $1.2 billion.) By contrast, just one U.S. edtech company has hit the nine-figure mark in 2018: a $110 million round for Connexeo, a provider of administrative payment software for schools and community institutions. The next biggest fundraise is a $55 million round for CampusLogic, a college financial aid platform. That’s followed by a trio of companies: tutoring marketplace Varsity Tutors, student loan … [Read more...] about 2018 Halftime Ka’Ching Report: U.S. Edtech Raises $739M in Venture Funding
At the end of next school year, thousands of high school students will sit down at individual workstations, laptops in hand, for an end-of-course exam. But in a rather novel twist this one’s not just about what you know—but also what you can figure out. That’s the idea at least behind the latest summative assessments from Project Lead the Way, a project-based STEM curriculum, which is introducing new tech-based question types to measure a raft of noncognitive skills from collaboration to general problem solving (in addition to subject-specific questions about engineering or coding concepts). “We reflected and determined we had an opportunity to change the way we assess students to look and feel more like the in-classroom experience,” says Michelle Gough, a senior vice president for Project Lead the Way and its chief legal and assessment officer. Project Lead the Way, or PLTW as it’s known for short, is a K-12 STEM curriculum that’s big on … [Read more...] about Can Individual Tests Really Measure Collaboration?
For many of today’s students, the biggest obstacles to finishing college are logistical and emotional, not academic. According to a new survey released by Civitas Learning in partnership with the Center for Generational Kinetics, students view the top challenges to completing their degrees are anxiety (35 percent of respondents) and time management (36 percent of respondents). Other factors included working too many hours (24 percent of respondents) and feeling overwhelmed with managing responsibilities (31 percent of respondents). The survey was administered to 1,545 U.S. undergraduate college students ages 18 and older who are currently enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year institution. Mark Milliron, the co-founder and chief learning officer of Civitas Learning, tells EdSurge he was surprised to learn that almost a quarter of respondents believed it would be difficult for them to finish their studies. “Of course academics are an issue,” he adds. But students felt that … [Read more...] about Students See Anxiety and Time Management Among Top Challenges to Finishing Degrees
In his latest EdSurge column, Michael Horn laid out how Google Maps offers an aspirational metaphor for what the future of educational tools could look like. But as he also noted, locating where people are geographically is one thing; pinpointing where they are educationally is another. Today, Google Maps is an open ecosystem for accurate, real-time geospatial and navigation data. Unfortunately, current learner navigation systems more closely resemble the early, self-contained GPS devices with incomplete and inaccurate maps. To bridge the gulf, it will take a similar open-data ecosystem to support learner navigation. But in the field of education, we don’t even have a complete set of static competency frameworks for digital data that are openly accessible and interoperable—to say nothing of dynamic data that support real-time pathway optimization. Yet there are several initiatives, some of which I’ve had the privilege of working on, that aim to support the … [Read more...] about Turning ‘Google Maps for Education’ From Metaphor to Reality
Last September, a friend from graduate school forwarded me a Brookings Institute article written by David M. Quinn and Morgan Polikoff. The article begins with a series of disappointing—but unsurprising—statistics about the summer slide, a term used to describe the academic regression experienced by students over the summer. In their overview of the summer slide, Quinn and Polikoff offer a few keys facts: Learning and achievement is perishable. The average student loses a month of academic-calendar learning each summer. The impact of the summer slide contributes to a more pronounced achievement gap. Research has found a link between socioeconomic status and the loss of reading skills experienced over the summer. Studies show older students lose more over the summer than younger ones. Students see greater academic dips in math than in reading. All this academic data correlates with my experience as a teacher. My colleagues and I budgeted substantial amounts of time to … [Read more...] about What Summer Slide Actually Means—and 5 Ways to Fight it