UPDATE: I really enjoyed this discussion with some of the leaders of the digital learning movement: Michael Horn, Christensen Institute’s Co-Founder and Executive Director; Dr. Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL; Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart; and John Bailey, Executive Director of Digital Learning Now.  The Google Hangout chat went very smoothly and not at all like this conference call making the rounds!

State of the Union address was last night.  Education-related recap is here.  In years past, the SOTU would have merited a special edition of The Harlow Report.  Anymore, not so much.  Suggestion: since 2014 SOTU sounded so much like 2013, the 2015 SOTU should be on Groundhog Day (February 2), which is a Monday.

In USA Today, EdSurge CEO: it’s 1st and 10 for tech in the classroom.  “And if our kids are going to flourish in a world in which data surrounds them like air, they will need every tool at their disposal to make sense of it. Just like football players are chucking three-ring binders for tablets, our schools will too.”

Competency-based grading gets delay in Nashua there is an ongoing pilot project where students receive traditional grades and also are evaluated with the new tools, to see how it would compare, and some elements of the skills-based grading will continue.  My father always said, after someone botched a job he hurried through, “never time to do it right, always time to do it over.” Good move, since it is, as Chairman of the BOE George Farrington put it, the biggest change to student grading in the past 100 years.

Some thoughts on developing personalized learning plans from CompetencyWorks

New England states showing off competency-based/proficiency-based/mastery-based learning at upcoming conference.  I remember reading Johnny Tremain in 5th or 6th grade (or probably during a car ride on vacation the summer between) and  learning about apprenticeships.  It seemed a great way to learn a trade.  Competency-based education has always seemed modeled on apprenticeship-style thinking, advancing as you learn and without seat-time mandates.

Empire State College joins the competency-based learning revolution 

Boston U moves for more MOOCs seeing it as the democratization of Western education

Snow Shuts South- because they don’t get much snow, they don’t carry salt and drive snow plows. Then, when the snow hits, the schools and most offices let out.  At the same time.  This (Atlanta) in a city that already has phenomenal traffic problems in good weather when commuters and kids aren’t sharing the road. Driving on ice leads to accidents.  Accidents lead to blocked traffic. Friends in Atlanta reported 8-10 hour drives home. Churches and even Home Depot put people up for the night. Some children had to remain at school because parents could not reach them.

Virginia school moves forward on 1-1 initiative. More on the state initiative can be found here.

Here in Ohio, rural Wauseon in the northwestern part of the state goes heavy digital next year with 1:1 tablets for students in grades 6-12 and carts for sharing tablets in the lower grades.

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost has presented his report on the data-scrubbing/ grade-changing/attendance-manipulation and (here’s his office’s bread and butter) subsequently improper amounts of state funding in the Columbus Public Schools.  It looks like now-former superintendent Gene Harris will escape much of the blame but a number of subordinates will be shown the door.

BONUS LINK: a shout-out of sorts to my southern friends experiencing the aggression of a northern winter…