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From Innovation Clusters to Datapalooza

“By accelerating the pace of innovation in educational technology, we will have the opportunity to close the achievement gap, improve national competitiveness, and drive economic growth,” according to Richard Culatta, deputy director of the Office of Educational Technology, in the November/December 2012 issue of EDUCAUSEreview. Find out how innovations from fields outside of education — innovation clusters from bioscience and open data initiatives from the health care industry, for example — can point the way to the desired acceleration. Click here to read “From Innovation Clusters to Datapalooza: Accelerating Innovation in Educational Technology.”

Transmedia Approach to Early Math Launches Outreach Phase

“They’ve successfully hidden the peas in the mashed potatoes.” That’s how Andy Ackerman of the Manhattan Children’s Museum describes the creative way that UMIGO—yoU Make It GO—successfully combines entertaining media with the concepts and practices of math for elementary-aged children. Parliament Funkadelic music legend Bootsy Collins joined children and their parents on Oct. 4, at the Manhattan Children’s Museum to introduce this first-of-its-kind transmedia (using multiple media platforms to advance a fictional story with characters and events) venture and to announce its national outreach launch in 10 cities.

Panel Shows What’s Possible in Education Technology

Last Monday, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and committee member Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado co-sponsored a briefing on innovation in public education through the use of learning technologies. More than 50 Senate staff members came to hear from a panel I moderated that featured leaders in the ed tech field. 

The panelists, Dr. Stephen Elliott (founding director of the Learning Sciences Institute at Arizona State University), Jennie Niles (founder of the DC-based E.L. Haynes Public Charter School), and Jeremy Roberts (director of technology for PBS Kids Interactive), all concurred that the promise of technology to transform education has fallen short of expectations for the past two to three decades. However, they also all agree that we are finally at a time where many factors are converging to overcome historic barriers: increasingly ubiquitous broadband, cheaper devices, digital content, cloud computing, big data, and generally higher levels of comfort with technology among the general population.   

Feature: What Role Can Online COPs – Communities of Practice – Play in Achieving Teacher Excellence?

As 2012 unfolds, the Department of Education continues to pursue an important question for closing the achievement gap: How can online communities of practice (COPs) best address some of the most pressing challenges in P-12 education? For the past year, a multi-pronged effort by the Department's Offices of Innovation and Improvement (OII) and Educational Technology (OET) has pursued several critical issues associated with that question.

Following the 2010 release of the National Education Technology Plan, "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," the OET outlined best practices for managing online communities of practice in a report entitled "Connect and Inspire." The report employed both research literature and observations of mature communities of practice to describe ways that online COPs can help educators access, share, and create knowledge, as well as build a professional identity that goes beyond what is possible face-to-face.

Keeping the Promise of a World-Class Education Through the Power of Technology

“We are rallying the full forces of the federal government, academia, entrepreneurs, the technology sector, and researchers … to fundamentally re-imagine learning,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as he announced the launch of Digital Promise at the White House on September 16.   “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education,” observed President Obama on the occasion of the launch, “but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help to make the most of it.”

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