K-12 Privacy Legislation Should Be Balanced With Strong Protections 
for Students
Washington, DC (March 23, 2015) – Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), today issued the following statement on the privacy bill introduced by U.S. House of Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO):
“Serving school system technology leaders from small and large districts nationwide, we support a deep, well-measured approach to protecting student privacy. This commitment requires a privacy vision in education that is student-centered to support teaching and learning at all levels. 
“We appreciate the leadership Representatives Messer and Polis are taking to address this critical priority. We look forward to working with them to ensure all students benefit from modern safeguards and confidentially protections.”    
CoSN and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) earlier this month released 10 principles for protecting and guiding the use of the personal information of America’s students. The principles have been endorsed by 34 other leading national education organizations representing parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, state boards of education, chief technology officers, and many others.
To learn more, please visit: www.studentdataprinciples.org.
Click here for more about CoSN’s policy agenda for maximizing the potential of technology to improve teaching and learning.

About CoSN 
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visitcosn.org or call 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and eventsadvocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam.


MA Teachers Find PARCC Outperforms MCAS; Teach Plus Policy Fellows Report Presents Key Findings from 351 MA Teachers Who Engaged in Deep Study of PARCC

BOSTON, MA, March 24, 2015 — In a newly-released report, a diverse group of 23 teachers from high-needs schools and districts across the Commonwealth who are participating in the Teach Plus Massachusetts Policy Fellowship are recommending statewide adoption of the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment.  The Fellows’ report presents findings from the feedback of 351 classroom teachers in 74 districts who studied the PARCC assessment.  Overall, teachers rated the test favorably, with 72 percent of teachers finding it to be a higher-quality assessment than the MCAS. Massachusetts teachers also found clear alignment between PARCC and the standards they teach.

Teach Plus, a national non-profit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in policy and practice, held two events in Massachusetts to offer local public school teachers the opportunity to delve deeply into the PARCC test.  During an intensive day of professional development, the teachers learned more about PARCC questions and analyzed their alignment to the Common Core State Standards and the characteristics of high-quality assessments. The teachers reviewed PARCC sample test items, discussed them with fellow teachers, and provided feedback about the quality of the test through a survey.

“The findings tell an important story about the quality of the PARCC test and its significance to teaching and learning in the Commonwealth,” said Lindsay Sobel, Executive Director of Teach Plus Massachusetts.  “The Teach Plus Massachusetts Policy Fellows offer thoughtful recommendations that will help us ensure that teachers and students benefit from the transition to this measure of essential skills.”

Teach Plus held seven “Testing the Test” events in the fall of 2014 in Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C.  Over 1,000 teachers participated and extensively analyzed the PARCC assessment.  The Teach Plus report, “1,000 Teachers Examine PARCC: Perspectives on the Quality of New Assessments,” presents key findings based on the teachers’ feedback.  The feedback of Massachusetts teachers is consistent with that of other teachers who took part in the events.

Key findings specific to Massachusetts are:

1.Teachers believe that PARCC is a better assessment then their prior state tests.  72 percent of Massachusetts teachers rated PARCC a higher-quality test than MCAS.

2. Teachers find clear alignment between PARCC and what they are teaching. 

3.While the majority believe PARCC measures skills needed to be college- and career-ready, teachers were mixed on whether the test was grade-appropriate or too challenging.  Forty-eight percent of Massachusetts teachers said that the test did “extremely well” or “very well” in measuring college- and career-ready skills of students, with just 11 percent of teachers responding “not very well” or “not well at all.”

“I owe it to my students to use a rigorous test that measures real-world skills,” said Lisa Nguyen, an elementary school teacher in Boston Public Schools, who presented at the events and is one of the co-authors of the report. “These findings indicate that PARCC is a better test than MCAS.  I want to see it adopted statewide so we can focus on teaching our students to be college- and career-ready.”

The Teaching Policy Fellows offered recommendations for next steps that policymakers can take to help teachers as they continue to teach the Common Core. Specifically, teachers have pinpointed the following as being most useful:

  • The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education should adopt PARCC statewide.
  • Provide teachers with more professional development and knowledge of PARCC before the full-scale implementation of the new assessment system.
  • In order to help ensure adequate alignment of these initiatives to the new assessment system, PARCC should release a larger sample of questions.
  • The state of Massachusetts should create a diverse teacher council to address implementation challenges, interface directly with test and policy makers, and create a continuous dialogue and refinement process throughout the PARCC transition.
  • Massachusetts should encourage districts to eliminate unnecessary tests that were used before PARCC, taking advantage of the fact that PARCC is rigorous and aligned to the Common Core — and protecting essential time for instruction.

“Preparing our students for a test of critical thinking like PARCC is hard work, but I believe that educators and students can rise to the occasion,” said Jeff Cipriani, an elementary school teacher in Boston Public Schools who is a co-author of the report. “If Massachusetts focuses on a strong roll out of the Common Core and PARCC, we will be focusing on the right things to get our students ready to succeed.”

About Teach Plus

Teach Plus aims to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of reform: Teaching Policy Fellows, the Core Collaborative (C2) Initiative, and T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in district, state and national policy.  Since its inception in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 20,000 solutions-oriented teachers in six major cities across the country.  www.teachplus.org



Edsby Wins EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award in LMS Category

Set apart by modern technologies and social learning features, Edsby takes top honors in crowded field

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This recognition highlights the value of district-wide solutions like Edsby that improve the quality of K-12 instruction and engage every student, teacher, administrator and parent.

Ontario, Canada (PRWEB) March 24, 2015

Edsby, an innovative cloud-based software platform that connects K-12 students, teachers and parents using modern technologies, is the 2015 EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award winner for best learning management system (LMS). Judges selected Edsby over other finalists, such as Schoology, OpenEd, EduSystem and My Big Campus.

EdTech Digest describes winners as being “part of a greater story of 21st-century education transformation.” Winners and nominees are recognized for reshaping the education space by creating new and innovative ways that will affect the future of education for students and teachers.

“This recognition highlights the value of district-wide solutions like Edsby that improve the quality of K-12 instruction and engage every student, teacher, administrator and parent,” said John Myers, Edsby President. “School districts are ready for a more modern experience, and Edsby’s innovative synchronization with districts’ existing systems and high degree of customization to each district’s policies and standards are crucial to delivering this.”

Edsby provides features for social learning, school news, group collaboration, assessment and class management, course planning, report cards, attendance and more. The platform offers deep customization specific to the individual needs of a school district and enables them to implement educational policies consistently through their own assessment and reporting standards. By integrating tightly with districts’ existing data and application infrastructure, Edsby also quickens implementation and eases administration.

EdTech Digest, an online publication serving the education community as a resource for education technology, interviews and trends, sponsors the Cool Tool Awards. The awards program is in its fifth year and honors outstanding contributions to people and companies working to transform education through technology for all learners. All entries undergo thorough evaluation from a panel of educators, entrepreneurs, journalists and technology professionals who are leaders in their respective fields.

For a full list of 2015 winners, click here. For more information on Edsby, visit http://www.edsby.com.

About Edsby
Edsby is a modern, purpose-built learning management system (LMS) for K-12 that enables school districts and private schools to connect their teachers, students and parents using the technologies that have become pervasive in people’s lives. Edsby is developed by CoreFour, a team that has been building scalable, reliable software systems for education organizations around the world for almost 30 years using the latest technology and standards. Edsby is a registered trademark of CoreFour Inc. Learn more at http://www.edsby.com.


netTrekker Named Best Content Provider Solution by EdTech Digest

All-in-one learning solution from Knovation wins EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award

netTrekker uses content to create meaningful learning experiences and engage all learners, teachers and parents.

Cincinnati, OH (PRWEB) March 23, 2015

Knovation, the leader in advanced personalized learning solutions, earned a 2015 EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award for its flagship solution, netTrekker. Honored as the best Content Provider Solution, netTrekker delivers the industry-leading library of open educational resources (OER) including more than 360,000 digital resources that are curated, contextualized, tagged and standards-aligned to support personalized learning.

Chosen from a group of ten finalists, netTrekker provides easy access to high-quality, educator-vetted OER, tagged according to grade level, content type, readability, subject and educational theme, among other characteristics. The all-in-one content solution for personalized learning aids in the transition to digital resources by integrating with districts’ current assessment and management systems, and enables teachers and students to instantly find resources they need for in-class instruction, homework and research.

“netTrekker uses content to create meaningful learning experiences and engage all learners, teachers and parents,” said Randy Wilhelm, CEO of Knovation. “We’re honored to be recognized by EdTech Digest alongside other companies and individuals paving the way in education technology.”

Since 2000, Knovation’s solutions have helped more than 1.3 million teachers and 33 million students find high-quality standards-aligned digital resources to address different learning styles and academic needs.

The EdTech Digest Awards program recognizes organizations and individuals reshaping education and creating a better learning environment for students. In its fifth year, the awards program honors outstanding contributions by the people and companies working to transform education through technology for all learners. To learn more about the EdTech Digest awards, visit https://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/2015-finalists-winners.

About Knovation
Knovation is committed to igniting the hope of knowing by nurturing every child’s innate desire to learn. The company’s suite of advanced personalized learning solutions supports districts undergoing digital transformations by curating Open Educational Resources (OER) to save teachers time, and providing tools to build and deliver student-centered instruction. Solutions include a digital content library built from more than 360,000 certified learning ready resources, netTrekker OER curation and management tool, icurio learning engagement solution, and professional learning services. Since 1999, the company has impacted more than 32 million students and over 1.2 million teachers nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.knovationlearning.com.


International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

REMINDER: The deadline for submitting presentation and workshop proposals for the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium is this Thursday, March 26, 2015.


iNACOL is pleased to announce the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium 2015 Program Committee’s Request for Presentation Proposals (RFP) is now open and can be accessed through the conference website.

This is the formal call for speakers and presentation proposals for the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium on November 8-11, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The theme is: Connecting Powerful Innovators.

Each year, the iNACOL Symposium brings together more than 2,500 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of next generation learning in K-12 education from across the United States and around the world. iNACOL’s annual conference is the leading event for K-12 online, blended and competency-based learning and gathers leading practitioners and educators, policymakers, researchers and innovators from throughout the field.

Based on feedback from last year’s conference, priority will be given to sessions that provide an interactive format for attendees to engage in deeper learning on best practices, draw in participant experiences, and promote meaningful dialogue. iNACOL is also seeking breakout sessions and design workshops that model creative, innovative, personalized, blended, online, and competency-based approaches to meet the needs of the education innovators attending the event. A special webinar to offer guidance from top-rated Symposium 2014 presenters was produced and can be accessed on the conference website as well as on the RFP site.

The 2015 Symposium will feature focused tracks for attendees, including Online Learning, Blended Learning, Competency Education, Empowering Educators, Career Pathways/Human Capital, Policy & Advocacy, Digital Content, and Emerging Technologies, to name a few.

The deadline for submitting presentation and workshop proposals is this Thursday, March 26, 2015.

If you have questions regarding the RFP, please contact Ally Swensen, Chair of the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium Program Committee, atsymposium@inacol.org.

About iNACOL
The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality blended and online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focusing on research, developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended, and competency-based education, and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school, and district leaders for new learning models. To learn more, please visit http://inacol.org.


Skyward Earns 2015 EdTech Digest Cool Tool Award