Thursday, November 21, 2013

EDEVATE Joins Sibling Group!

I spoked with the EDEVATE team yesterday and they are incredible - glad to be working with them. Spoke with the Blendedschools group today and we can really push the envelope with Sibling very soon.  Blended schools, competency based learning, badges, incremental certifications - they have the products now to take learning to the next level!


Press Release -
ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - Nov 21, 2013) - Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQBSIBE), (www.siblinggroup.com) (the "Company"), whose business strategy is focused on the development and acquisition of 21st century educational management services and education technology, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets and operations of EDEVATE (www.edevate.us andwww.edevate.com), an Atlanta based company with offerings aimed at the burgeoning market for career assessment at all levels, and a testing and credentialing service that transforms all of life's experiences into valuable credentials. The transaction is subject to final approval of both Boards, and other conditions. Upon completion, the operations and management will join Sibling and its management, along with the recently announced business combination with Blendedschools.net, which will make up the senior management team.
"We see this as a paradigm shift for the Company, allowing us to span from Pre-K through K-12, and now career development and professional degrees. EDEVATE's approach is complementary to the development we already brought together, and will leverage both the professional development libraries and the delivery systems that Blendedschools.net contributes," said Amy Lance, Sibling's Chairman of the Board. She continued, "We are impressed by the work that has gone into EDEVATE and expect to use that as a cornerstone of a much larger marketing plan across the entire educational marketplace. We will leverage the experience base of their management team to accelerate our growth dramatically."
EDEVATE is a recent startup whose management includes experience in both education and business development. Edevate was founded by its CEO, College Chancellor, Gareth N. Genner with backing from Frank Hanna of Hanna Capital. Gordon Rogers, the President of Edevate is a 25 year veteran of start-ups in the field of digital education and learning management, having founded an e-learning software company (Meliora Systems), and has been a part of Asymetrix Learning, which is now part of SumTotal Systems, a leading LMS provider. He spent the last decade working with early stage ventures in the ed-tech sector, including both K-12 and higher-ed markets, as well as start-ups developing innovative offerings in the digital publishing, virtual worlds/MMO games for kids, and mobile learning areas.
There are in excess of 22 million unemployed or underemployed work-eligible adults in the United States while 4 million skilled jobs remain unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be over 9 million such openings and a comparable number of unemployed candidates without requisite skills. There are forecast to be 100 million active MOOC students by 2020.
The EDEVATE platform is proprietary. The company holds numerous Trademarks for the trading style and associated terms as well as URL registrations. The concept of "Incremental Credentialing" is a fruit of the experience of the founders and is the subject of a Patent. Edevate has an agreement with Excelsior College (http://www.excelsior.edu/) allowing Edevate users to earn ACE transfer credit and accredited college degrees. Edevate's strategic partnership with Expert Rating (http://expertrating.com) provides immediate access to 600 skill credentials that have been used by 2,000,000 test takers in 10,000 enterprises and 60 countries together with capacity to develop custom assessments for high volume MOOCS. Edevate's exclusive relationship with Saint Charles College offers a unique opportunity to develop into a nationally accredited degree granting institution.
Edevate credentials learning experiences gained through free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and offers users a central repository for their credentials and learning experiences. Edevate users build a comprehensive transcript of their learning experiences and skills. Edevate also allows users to complete customized assessments of prior learning, thereby converting un-assessed learning experiences into accredited and transferable credentials.
Traditional higher education is increasingly beyond the financial reach of both high school graduates and working adults. US student loans exceed one trillion dollars and the legacy system is not providing skilled workers required by the US and other economies. Time commitments make it difficult for working adults to attend brick & mortar institutions and online career colleges have high dropout rates and prohibitive tuition. MOOCS alone offer only a partial solution as they are typically un-assessed and hence do not provide evidence of competence. By offering accredited assessments of prior learning, including options for transferable college credit, Edevate offers an alternative that is tuition free with minimal testing costs, allowing students to acquire career focused skills and qualifications at their own pace and schedule without incurring student loans.
ABOUT:
Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQBSIBE), (www.siblinggroup.com andhttp://www.specialedmatters.com/) intends to acquire, on a global basis, advanced technology and education management operations in order to enhance and accelerate the delivery of 21st century learning. By accessing funding from the public capital markets and melding them into a unified strategy, Sibling seeks to accelerate the improvement of education across the globe. The results: better educated children and adults, a sustainable and cost effective instructional model and reduced dependence on governmental funding. Our current operations include professional development for the teaching profession and educational technology offerings including classroom management tools. We are investing in specialized curriculum such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), ESL (english as a second language), SEL (social and emotional learning) and Special Ed aimed at supporting students and teachers with special needs. The Company's educational operations are based in Columbus, Ohio, and the executive offices are in Atlanta, Georgia.
Safe Harbor:
This press release may contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. is subject to risks detailed from time to time in its publicly filed documents available at www.sec.gov. Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that it may make to conform to actual results. All current and potential shareholders are asked to read all filings for the Company at the Securities and Exchange Commission web site,www.SEC.gov.
Contact:
CONTACT:
Alexandra Langheinrich
Email: Alexandra@wallstreetnewscast.com
PHONE : (201) 355-6946

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Silbing Group

I recently joined Sibling Group Holdings as an advisor and it has already been an incredible two days of exploring some of the great companies that are in the education space looking to do great things for students.  A lot more to come but this is some amazing work with some of the smartest people putting their talents towards the problems facing education - from Pre-K well into careers.  

Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: SIBE), (www.siblinggroup.com and http://www.specialedmatters.com/) intends to acquire, on a global basis, advanced technology and education management operations in order to enhance and accelerate the delivery of 21st century learning. By accessing funding from the public capital markets and melding them into a unified strategy, Sibling seeks to accelerate the improvement of education across the globe. The results: better educated children and adults, a sustainable and cost effective instructional model and reduced dependence on governmental funding. Our current operations include professional development for the teaching profession and educational technology offerings including classroom management tools. We are investing in specialized curriculum such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), ESL (english as a second language), SEL (social and emotional learning) and Special Ed aimed at supporting students and teachers with special needs. The Company's educational operations are based in Columbus, Ohio, and the executive offices are in Atlanta, Georgia.

Monday, November 18, 2013

MOOC for K12

Interesting things going on in Florida in the world of MOOC's. Governor Scott signed a bill this year "allowing MOOCs in subject areas with end-of-course exams, including algebra, geometry and biology. The new law requires MOOC providers to use Florida-certified teachers and win approval from the state Department of Education."

The requirement to use Florida certified teachers kind of puts a damper on it - but it does open up the possibilities to courses requiring extensive expertise to teach. Students would have access to complex computer science courses, gaming and physics.  If students move forward faster than the expertise of educators in K-12 schools, wouldn't we want to challenge them with much harder content?  

As MOOC's find their way in the education space, this is one great way to ensure that we continue to challenge our high school students with the best possible courses available.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/07/3738068/more-high-school-students-in-florida.html#.UoIvV0iNhvo.twitter#storylink=cpy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Common Core Teams with National Education Leader for Expansion


WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 11, 2013) – In response to increasing demand for its rigorous, content-rich curriculum and professional development services, Washington, D.C. based non-profit Common Core, Inc. announced today that Dave Saba, formerly with the National Math Science Initiative (NMSI), has joined the team to provide advice and counsel as the organization begins to roll out a suite of professional development services in early 2014, made possible through its Teachers Guild.
“We are delighted that Dave has chosen to apply his considerable talents to this vital and important work,” said Lynne Munson, Common Core’s President and Executive Director.  “We are committed to making our resources, and the talents of our extraordinarily accomplished team of teacher-writers, widely available.  To do so means we need to look at a variety of delivery systems and partnership opportunities.  Dave’s experience—at ABCTE, Laying the Foundation, and NMSI—gives him a unique perspective and a much needed set of skills to lend to Common Core at this time.”
Common Core has been working in partnership with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and with master teachers and math scholars for more than two years to craft a comprehensive pre-kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics curriculum.  Known as Eureka Math (also called “the EngageNY math curriculum”), the curriculum can be found on Common Core’s website (commoncore.org ).  Saba, who will apply his skills and experience in building national programs, will serve as an advisor through the launch of a suite of professional development offers, including regional trainings and webinars accessible to teachers from across the country.
“We have to give teachers and students the resources and training they need to succeed, which is why I am so excited to work with the team at Common Core,” said Saba, who is principal and founder of the education consulting group, AcceleratingED.  “The response to Eureka Math is just incredible and it is absolutely crucial that we meet that demand to move the needle on student achievement.”
About Common Core
Common Core is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that creates curriculum tools and promotes programs, policies, and initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that provide students with challenging, rigorous instruction in the full range of liberal arts and sciences.  Common Core was established in 2007 and is not affiliated with the Common Core State Standards.

Follow Common Core at commoncore.org, on Facebook, or on Twitter: @common_core.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Louisiana 50th and 48th in NAEP Math

While Louisiana has made some progress, when the NAEP scores were released, they are still at the bottom - tied with Mississippi for the very bottom in 4th grade math and 48th for 8th grade math.

But there is hope in the way of Common Core and Eureka Math.  I spent the last three days in Baton Rouge working the team that helped develop the curriculum and watching teachers and administrators talk about the implementation of this robust curriculum.

Make no mistake - this is extremely hard work but seeing the scores - this is the best work we could be doing for students.  Teachers are already telling us that they content and strategies are helping students master fractions like never before.

But there is a lot of work we still have to do including training teachers like never before - and they are demanding that training in both content and pedagogy so that their students will succeed. When we reach these teachers over the next two years, we will see that number move in Louisiana.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Louisiana Implementing Common Core

Tomorrow I head to Louisiana with the team from Common Core (yes the company that produces amazing content for common core).  They are running sold out training sessions for educators on their Eureka Math Curriculum.  The Louisiana Office of the State Superintendent announced that the P-12 CCSS mathematics curriculum developed by Common Core is a recommended resource for Louisiana math teachers.

Here is a great interview with Superintendent John White on Common Core - where he makes it clear that in Louisiana, this about helping students achieve their goals with improved content and assessments and nothing else matters.  He says that some schools will be ready and others will be slower - as with any roll out this massive.  But it is a great step in the right direction.

When you get to the training and see the engagement and excitement of teachers around this curriculum it is easy to forget the politics and remember that with increased rigor, improved engagement and great teaching, the students really win.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Education Success

I recently found EdSurge and subscribed to their newsletter in an attempt to keep up with the incredible numbers of new companies coming into the education sector.  As a consultant team that works to help these companies succeed, I was exceptionally pleased to see this first article by James Byers and Adam Frey from Wikispaces entitled OPINION: How to Succeed in Education Technology -

From the article -
"Yet they are still doomed to fail. While any young company faces risk, most of today's edtech companies will fail because:
  • They're chasing a trendy space without true, lasting passion for education;
  • They lack a business model that works in education and are afraid to charge their customers;
  • Their investors have consumer Internet expectations in a market with completely different dynamics;
  • It's easier to build novel technology than to deeply engage with students and teachers to understand their fundamental needs."
Nailed it. But I would add a few more things that cause failure - 
  • They don't fully understand what it takes to sell in the education market;
  • They underestimate the need for support and implementation at the school/teacher level;
  • They underestimate the cynicism in education - that teachers will wait for it all to blow over. 
Clayton Christenen recently said that education innovation is outstripping teacher and student ability to absorb that innovation.  

Byers and Frey tell aspiring edtech entrepreneurs that they need to first define success.  In their eyes this means sustainability by serving teachers, students and expanding the reach of the institution. I would get a little more granular and also know which critical metric you "own" that is causing educators pain.

To succeed you have to have passion for serving this market which is incredibly difficult to serve (see the list of obstacles they provide), you have to have a real business model and value that creates revenue, great marketing - that reaches through the clutter to this market, a deep connection to your customer that builds a community that cannot live without our product and value.

There are so many new ed tech companies and products that educators are overloaded. I saw at least three new LMS's last week that I had not heard about - each was supposedly the absolute best.  Educators are in overload mode and are basically shutting down because they hear so many pitches each week. 

Read this - and email us when you want to get it done.