No Friday News Dump here- I *WANT* You to Read These Awesome #EdTech Stories

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope everyone is having a good time at the Foundation for Excellence in Education conference.  Follow along on Twitter with the #EIE14 hashtag if you want to see what’s going on.  Or, you know, you can watch the dinosaur media try and keep up. (Sorry, Washington Post.)

Making news today, Michael Horn writes in Forbes that KIPP is catching up in online and blended learning.  US News has more on KIPP’s bet on blended here.

Rocketship Education’s President and Co-Founder Preston Smith says about blended: it’s not the tech it’s how the tech is used. That’s from the Huffington Post today , but Eric Clapton had that figured out for us a long time ago.  

Closer to home, more on the White House’s “pep talk” to tech-savvy superintendents here from NPR.

Evergreen’s Keeping Pace report, released earlier in November, has some good news and some bad news.  As the pace picks up, it’s harder for some places to keep up.  Hence, I suppose, the theme of the report.  Report is here.

BONUS LINK: here’s another hit from the 80s that always comes back to mind this time of year when the weather gets cold for the first time.  They probably aren’t playing this song much in Buffalo right now, unless they have a really strong sense of humor.


Ed Reform from the comfort of your own home #EIE14

Yes, that will be me today and tomorrow, as the National Summit on Education Reform takes place in Washington DC.  The good folks at the Foundation for Excellence in Education will be streaming the conference and offering a downloadable app.  It will be almost like being there.  Here is the link.

Nice of them to hold this in DC, as opposed to Florida, so none of us tuning in from home will suffer from weather envy… unless you live in Buffalo

Meanwhile… while in DC, some of the nation’s most tech-savvy superintendents participated in a White House event.  This included two from Ohio, Mentor’s Matt Miller and Reynoldsburg’s Tina Thomas-Manning. President Obama gave them a pep talk, though it seems like it should have been directed at the 99% of other school leaders.  This wasn’t preaching to the choir, it was preaching to a convention of choir directors.

Still, attention to the structural issues that are holding back blended learning and other education changes needed to bring our system into the modern age are much appreciated.  More can be found here.

Coming back to the real (redder) world

Welcome back! I had to take a hiatus from blogging due to an intensive focus on a professional client project slightly outside the policy arena.  For the next three days I will be at the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference.  I will be attending in my capacity as a board member and so my workshop decisions will be made with the best interests of the district in mind.  My duties also include serving as the district’s representative to the OSBA Delegate Assembly. However, there should be plenty of tech and plenty of policy on my twitter feed.

More on the Core

Good morning sports fans,

Thank you to my readers.  I just noticed you made September the third-best month ever and the best 30-day month in Harlow Report history.

Common Core: Arizona school among the first to implement, sees big gains (Arizona Republic)  I think there’s more to the story here and I’ve always cast a wary eye on dramatic gains in one year.  Done right, improvement would take place over several years.

And here’s a story about how Common Core united left and right, something I foresaw very early (Salon)

As a reminder, the Core standards are here.

Teachers are struggling to implement and stories about mind-boggling math problems abound.  I’ve not seen anything like those in my own third-grader’s math book (HMH publishes it) but I am getting antsy, that, one month in to the year, we are still working on place value and not multiplication and division.

No heading will do this story justice #CCSS #Blended Just Read This.

No topical heading is going to do this justice.  Just read this. At a local superintendents’ gathering to discuss blended learning and Common Core, an author and motivational speaker presents about leaving behind his life of crime and the role the education system played in fostering it in the first place (The Saratogan)

Innovation: EdSurge lets us know where it’s happening globally

Digital: Xenia OH getting off to a great start with a new superintendent and tech is leading the way. (Xenia Gazette)

Digital Promise: South Carolina district joins League of Innovative Schools (GoUpState)

Campaign 2014: in case my readers outside Ohio are wondering why they are hearing so little about a governor’s race in a key swing state.  Take it away, Mr. Lightfoot. The “gales of November came early” for this Ed FitzGerald too.

Campaign 2016: La Gov Bobby Jindal makes education-related stops in New Hampshire with Gov candidate (AP)

BONUS LINK:  I’ve taken you to Ohio, Michigan, upstate New York, South Carolina and New Hampshire by way of Louisiana.  I don’t know about you but after that gloomy number I linked to earlier, I feel the need to rock out this morning and what better way than with a state we “flew over” this morning. 

#blendedlearning along the OH-PA line & more

Good morning sports fans.  

The Bengals are 3-0 and have gone from national civic joke (leading the league in both arrests and Darwin Award recipients) to a classy franchise on and off the field.

Oil and Gas: Blended Learning helping train for jobs in the industry along the Ohio-PA line. OK, it’s not quite as cool as Florida Georgia Line, but very important to the development of blended learning and the regional economy.

Hey, Washington: digital learning pioneer, advocate and parent of 4 students calls for DC to stop restricting the marketplace and let innovation flourish. Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter, a technology executive and former senior federal government national security official, leads a coalition of technology companies/stakeholders dedicated to increasing investment and innovation in the burgeoning U.S. wireless sector.

Speaking of Washington, here’s a piece on learning about disruptive innovation from… Tip O’Neill?  Read it.  Yes, you really can learn about 21st century innovation from a hard-drinking pol who grew up during the Great Depression and has been dead longer than Kurt Cobain.

#FF the #blended “cool kids” linked here

Rather than confine my #FF to 140 characters and just their twitter handles I will expound on each I’d otherwise include and put their Twitter handles here for easy linkage.

Let’s start with Michael B. Horn Co-founder and Executive Director of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a non-profit think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation– including blended.  He writes frewuently for Forbes with his latest here.

Since Michael gave them a shout-out in his last piece, let’s move on to Education Elements, an organization dedicated to creating classrooms that inspire teaching and learning, based (I never let them forget it) in San Francisco. 

I’ve come to know EE from my work with the Ohio Blended Learning Network, a unique statewide organization of public school districts and charter schools looking to support each other and expand the reach of blended learning here in the Buckeye State.  The Ohio Blended Learning network is chaired by Mentor Public Schools Superintendent Matt Miller.  Another leading district is Hilliard, with John Marschhausen at the helm.  Andy Benson is the executive director.

Ohio is making some strides in developing blended learning across the state but one of the leading states involved in blended right now is Rhode Island.  Rhode Island got off to a slow start in its early history, becoming the last of the original colonies to sign on.  However, it is up near the head of the pack now after some assistance from The Learning Accelerator.  My former colleague Lisa Duty is doing some great work there.

Finally, how can I forget the very smart folks at Getting Smart.  Getting Smart supports innovations in learning, education & technology. Our mission is to help more young people get smart & connect to the idea economy.  Led by Tom Vander Ark, this impressive organization is guiding the thought leadership for so many of us in blended, from the front lines down to the policy level.  Carri Schneider, another former colleague, carries so much of the policy and research work, pulling what would be double duty in so many other places.

Thank you for reading.  Admit it, this is so much better than just seeing a bunch of Twitter handles in random #FF tweets.

This is what the smart kids are reading these days #blendedlearning

Good morning sports fans,

Let’s jump right into it, and out of the Common Core frying pan for a bit.

This is what the smart kids are reading these days, compiled by the very smart folks at Getting Smart.  Reading 50 blogs a day can be a bit much, so you can just read mine instead, OK?

Who in Ohio is getting their blended on? There is Edison Local, over near Steubenville.  A Medina teacher earned an award for her class design.  Marlington is getting tech-savvy. National Trail, near the Indiana Border, is going to laptops for their high school students, finding that tablets aren’t robust enough.

“The Real Teachers of Blended Learning” would make a good reality show.  I’ll get to work with the folks at A&E and Discovery, but in the meantime please be sure to read this recap of rookie mistakes from a real teacher in a real classroom. 

BONUS LINKS If Common Core does get repealed in Ohio, however, I do want credit for any use of the CSNY-like “Core Dead in O-Hi-O.”  I’d still like to think I was the first blogger to compare the Democratic nominee for Governor to a shipwreck, and almost certainly am the first ed-blogger to do so.

9/17 Common Core Update- Ohio Edition

Good morning sports fans,

What is going on with Common Core in Ohio?

9-17 addition- poll shows Ohioans opposing Common Core by a fairly wide margin. Grain of Salt Alert: while CCSS opposition did take out a sitting Republican legislator in the primary, it appears unlikely to make a difference in the legislature in the general.  Potentially, some state board of education races will turn on the issue. In my own district, Republican Zac Haines is making Common Core opposition a central focus.

Quick update:  the House is moving ahead with repeal but the current Senate Education Committee Chairman is throwing cold water on repeal efforts.  The Governor doesn’t expect it to land on his desk this year.

If it passes the House, which seems likely, the Senate would not even discuss it until after the November elections.  At that time, it will be interesting to see what happens. Will the Senate leadership steer the bill to another committee, a la the House? (Rules or even Reference, for example)?  I don’t see a lot of repealers on Rules or Reference.

If the repeal effort passes the House and dies in the Senate in 2014, it will certainly come up again once the next GA is seated in January 2015.  If it dies in the House this term, it’s unlikely to be brought up again.

Will repeal efforts help or hinder the Gov if he decides to run for President in 2016.  If Jeb Bush, an ardent supporter of the Common Core, is running, Kasich will have to find another way to win over conservatives if he continues to support the Common Core.

So much to consider, so little time.  I’ll do my best to keep all of you updated.

The Lowdown on Youngstown #blendedlearning

Youngstown: With turmoil plaguing Youngstown City Schools, the President of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education issues a call for the district to begin personalized blended learning. 

Youngstown is certainly a failing school district with all kinds of problems.  A recent editorial casts some light here.  The schools are, academically, a “parent’s nightmare,” according to the local newspaper.  Overseen by a state panel called the Academic Distress Commission, the locally-elected school board members seem to be confused as to their role.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a huge proponent of blended learning, but it has to be done right.  This guide is very helpful for schools considering blended learning.  If blended can make it in Youngstown, it can make it anywhere.