So this is pretty exciting: Ohio Blended Learning Network launches, provides training and advice to maximize teacher effectiveness. Led by an innovative superintendent out of Mentor whose district just won four awards at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference, the consortium represents a strong cross-section of district, large and small, urban, suburban, rural, and even a couple charter schools.  Related: STEM app helps strengthen STEM education in a collaboration between the Partnership for Innovation in Education and Smarter Schools.

From EdSurge: Blended Learning Sparks in South Africa ” When SPARK Academy, South Africa’s first blended learning school network opened its doors in January 2013, it got a brutal awakening. Of its 100 K-2nd graders, only seven could read at a Kindergarten level.  A year later, 96% of SPARK’s 150 students have jumped 1.5 grades in reading, scoring above 65% of the country’s average 3rd graders.”

Southern New Hampshire University: DOE right to let schools innovate on competency “Competency-based education is the hot new innovation, at least in its latest incarnation…  In truth, CBE has been around for decades and pioneered by accredited nonprofits like Excelsior, Charter Oaks, and Western Governors University.”  I’d say competency-based learning has been around at least since Colonial times, if you read my take on Johnny Tremain yesterday.  Related: the secret of Southern New Hampshire U’s success. Related II: Competency-based education opens new doors

KQED MindShift: teachers cool to latest ed-reform trends undoubtedly it gets to get old after a while.

West Virginia panned by StudentsFirst one has to read to the end to find out what StudentsFirst says is wrong and what the legislature might be interested in doing.

BONUS LINK: we continue with our “great moments in seat-time instruction” series.  Note the bored students and the equally-bored teacher.