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January 22-28

National School Choice Week


January 23

The Center for Education Reform Lunchtime Lessons on School Choice 


January 25



February 1

Digital Learning Day 


February 11

Rhode Island Innovation Powered by Technology Conference


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Smart Update
2012 Trends & Predictions

Dear Friends,  


We hope that you have had a fantastic start to the New Year! As we wave goodbye to 2011 and look ahead to 2012, we've compiled a list of trends and predictions that we feel will be the staple of education in the new year.


Online and blended learning is growing significantly. This year we'll see increased traffic among startups in webcasting, online teaching, online learning networks, interactive video courses, tablet content bundles, and data-driven assessments.


Common Core-aligned content is taking off. We believe there's emerging markets in Common Core-aligned badge or "merit badge" systems with multiple modalities, assessments, dashboard planning, and monitoring tools. "Big Data," certification, self-management, and college preparedness complement badge systems. Khan Academy is pioneering this space with a decent badge structure.


These new systems will be rooted in competency- and project-based learning, moving away from courses and credits. Project Foundry, New Tech Network, and the Edvisions network are pretty good examples of this growing trend.


Social learning or socialization is emerging quickly in many learning management systems (LMS), like Edmodo and Moodle, to develop learning ecosystems for students, educators, and parents. These companies are beginning to develop Big Data, the ability to assess, monitor, customize and adapt learning for each student.


Lastly, free and open content will continue to gain traction in schools as we see an increase in the use of deeper learning assessments, analytics, tutoring, professional development, implementation support, and school improvement.


In 2012, we expect to see more playlists, BYOD, personal digital learning, and private-sector investments. For more, read "5 Things You'll See More of In 2012."


Also, digital learning is changing. We're going to see more model differentiation, increased collaborative team-based teaching, new staffing models, greater interactive learning, and decreased localized teaching. For more, read "6 Ways Digital Learning is Changing."


Today Apple annouced a suite of products that will likely help shift how textbooks are created, published and consumed. Their enchancements and additions of iBooks 2, iBooks Autor and iTunes U will likely increase iPad use in classrooms. Read more... 


We're on the horizon of an exciting year ahead in education and personal digital learning. Increasingly, the market is ready for a shift toward student-centered and competency-based learning. The discussion now will be around policy, strategy, implementation, and best practices.

Read Tom On HuffPo

"Is Online Learning One-Third Cheaper?"

Blended learning can save some money; online learning can save a lot. That's the conclusion of a working paper -- The Cost of Online Learning--from Fordham's Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series. A talented team from Parthenon lead by Tammy Battaglino wrote the report. They estimate "that full-time virtual schools cost, on average, $6,400 per pupil, compared with $8,900 for blended schools and $10,000 for traditional brick-and-mortar public schools." Read more...


"How Intelligent Scoring Will Create an Intelligent System"

I want kids to write a lot every day. But, many high school classes only require three writing assignments in a semester. With a big class load, it's extremely time consuming for a teacher to grade hundreds of paper each week. Read more...  


"Math Game Gets Big Results in Big Trials"

MIND Research Institute, an southern California nonprofit, developed an innovative way to teach math -- and it works. Trials involving almost 60,000 students indicate that it typically doubles math gains. Read more...


"How Digital Learning Will Benefit Low Income Students"

Digital learning will benefit all students -- particularly students from low-income families where education leaders are proactive. In light of the 'OER exacerbates the gap' flap this week, I thought it would be worth expanding on the ways in which EdTech, blended learning, and open education resources (OER) will benefit low-income kids. Read more...

How Can We Better Serve You?
The Getting Smart Team works to deliver interesting articles around innovations in learning daily to its readers on Getting Smart. We appreciate the contributions and feedback of our readers in order to continue to improve our approach and focus. Tell us, how can we better serve you? Email us at
We look forward to continuing the conversation around innovations in learning with you.

Getting Smart Team