Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebrate Digital Learining Day


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JOIN US FOR DIGITAL LEARNING ON DIGITAL LEARNING DAY
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February 5th is Digital Learning Day! To celebrate, we are hosting free live sessions on a variety of blended and online learning topics. Check out the webinars we're offering below, and register to watch them live or as an archived recording.
Five Key Administrative Decisions for Successful Online Programs
At the Blended Schools Network, we have over a decade of experience with implementing online learning programs. Whether you call your program enriched virtual, flex, cyber school or an online academy, administrative decision making is key to the early success of new programs. 
 
In this session we will talk about five key decisions that must be made and clearly communicated to all program stakeholders to ensure a successful program.
 
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Open Educational Resources from the Blended Schools Network
Our award winning courses provide robust online and blended learning experiences. We trust our content so much that we've decided to give away unit one of all our new courses for free!
 
In this session we will talk about how you can get free access to these great open educational resources through the Blended Schools Network market place.
 
REGISTER
 
 
Five Habits of Successful Online Teachers
 
At the Blended Schools Network, we work with online teachers a lot, and we've found that the most successful teachers tend to share the same habits.
 
In this session we will talk about effective strategies that online teachers use to keep their students engaged, stay in control of their work load and also provide a great learning environment
 
REGISTER


 
Using iPads in the Blended Classroom
 
At the Blended Schools Network, we have over a decade of experience with implementing blended learning programs. During that time, we've seen many schools embrace mobile devices in the classroom as part of rotation and flipped classroom implementations. Devices such as smart phones and tablets help drive adoption due to lower costs and increased portability.
 
In this session we will talk about tools, tips and ideas about using iPads as part of a rotation classroom. Many of these concepts could also be applied to any tablet device.

REGISTER

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Apprenticeships and Higher Ed Ratings

I have not faith that anything ever really happens from State of the Union Speeches due to the gridlock that is DC. But some ideas seem to have some merit from President Obama's speech last night - from Inside Higher Ed - education is always the key to social mobility and that seems to be a prevailing theme in DC
  • President Obama called for expanded access to apprenticeships and improved job training programs at community colleges that are better-aligned with the skills that employers demand. 
  • The fact sheet released by the White House does refer specifically to the “new system of college ratings” to prod colleges to focus on affordability and value but notes that the administration’s agenda also includes partnering with colleges to promote innovation.
No mention of for-profit universities just lots of talk about community colleges.  It will be interesting to see if this plays out at all or if it just ends up with more convenings that lead to reports that sit on a shelf.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Annual Report on Online Learning


The 2013 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 7.1 million. The 6.1 percent growth rate, although the lowest for a decade, still represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course
Key report findings include:
  • Over 7.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2012 term, an increase of 411,000 students over the previous year.
  • The online enrollment growth rate of 6.1 percent is the lowest recorded for this report series.
  • Thirty-three percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face grew from 57.2 in 2003 to 77.0 percent last year, but fell back to 74.1 percent this year.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders that say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy dropped from 69.1 percent to 65.9 percent.
  • Ninety percent of academic leaders believe that it is likely or very likely that a majority of all higher education students will be taking at least one online course in five year's time.
  • Only 5.0 percent of higher education institutions currently offer a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), another 9.3 percent report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • Less than one-quarter of academic leaders believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses.

Flex and blended high school!

My good friend Robyn Bagley is now principal as well as founding board member of Career Path High in Utah. She is just simply amazing and this program will be offer a flexible, blended, competency based learning for students.

Check out the school here - http://careerpathhigh.org/ and her article in Getting Smart on leading a Career Focused high school

Sibling Group Hodlings has been working with Blended Schools Network to expand course offerings so it is great to see this taking off!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Web Resources that Teachers Can Use

West Virginia just included our own ClassChatter.com resources on their recommended blended learning resource page!  ClassChatter.com was the first purchase by Sibling Group Holdings and is really starting to grow as a free resource for teachers for blogging and web tools with over 20,000 users.

From the West Virginia site -

ClassChatter offers free blogging and web tools for teachers at all levels.  It provides a private place for students and teachers to collaborate online.  It is the only blogging site that I've found that doesn't require students to have an email address to have access. They do have a unique username and password assigned by the teacher.  It is free and has no advertising. There are 3 types of blogs available. The first is a personal blog where kids log in and write their thoughts. They can be private or available for the class to read.  In Topic blogs, the teacher posts a topic and students respond to it and each other.  All students can see every posting.  The teacher has the option of scrambling the student names so the children don't know who made which posting.  The final type is an assignment blog.  Students enter their response to the question or prompt and only the teacher can see it.  The teacher can grade the assignment online and provide feedback to the student privately.  ClassChatter also provides an email system that allows the teacher and student to communicate with each other.  Students cannot email each other.
Student can log into this site from any computer with internet access.  I often use it to extend discussions that we have started in class.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sugata Mitra


Just took a look at Sugat Mitra's Tedtalk based on his work with the computer in a hole in the wall in India and was pretty impressed.  Loved the quotes as shown below:

  • “The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it's still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists."
  • “It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken — it's not broken, it's wonderfully constructed. It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated.”


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What is an Education Roll-up?

Since AcceleratingED joined Sibling Group Holdings, people have asked me describe what Sibling is - simply put we are focused on:

Lifelong learning for a lifetime of success! 

Sounds great but what does it mean. Sibling Group Holdings, Inc is a publicly traded company (OTB: SIBE) that is an educaiton roll-up. Ziad Abdelnour,President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners described it in his blog on roll ups:

"A rollup is a technique used by investors where multiple small companies in the same market are acquired and merged. The principal aim of a rollup is to reduce costs through economies of scale. Rollups also have the effect of increasing the valuation multiples the business can command as it acquires greater scale."

He further went on to saay:
"Rollups of complementary or unrelated companies are also done to:
  • Build a full-capability company, when it would be too costly or time consuming to develop the missing pieces through internal expansion. 
  • Blending companies have different financial metrics, often to make the combined company attractive for investment, mergers and acquisitions, or an initial public offering."
So we are creating an education company - not as a start-up but as a way to accelerate the impact and reach of smaller education companies looking to compete in today's market. Stay tuned - we are really going to get things done. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

SIBLING ACQUIRES CONSULTING GROUP, EXPANDS BOARD


ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwired – January 13, 2013) – Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTC:SIBE),  (the “Company”) announced today that it is acquiring AcceleratingED, LLC, a consulting operation with a focus on business development and scaling for educational services and educational technology providers, and is naming its founder, Dave Saba, as President of Sibling. The transaction is only subject to final documentation, and has already been approved by the Board of Directors, and should be completed by month end.
Mr. Saba, age 53, is a 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy who, after serving with distinction in the Navy has run highly successful operations in manufacturing, health-care and education. “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to dramatically improve educational outcomes for students across the country by bringing together some of the best organizations in the education space.” said Saba. The Company is expected to finalize the purchase of Blendedschools.net shortly, with its current blended learning technology and services, complemented by new additions in professional development curriculum, including special education, as well as a child development associate (CDA) program in the spring.
Saba, a 25 year veteran in the education space, will assume the role as President with direct responsibility for the growth strategy utilizing both organic sales growth and strategic acquisitions for additional growth. Saba will also be joining Sibling’s Board of Directors. He assumes the President’s position from Mack Leath, a business executive who also sits on the Sibling Board of Directors. Leath will remain on staff during a transition period, as well as in his Board assignment.
Also joining the Board of Directors at the end of January will be Frank Lightmas, age 62, who was a founder of Newco4education, LLC which was acquired by Sibling in 2010. Lightmas is a securities and arbitration attorney, who graduated from Harvard University in 1973 with an A.B. in government, and received his J.D. From Vanderbilt University in 1976. He is an experienced business executive, and for 23 years was a partner with Glenn Delk, who has an education related practice, and had recently been named General Counsel for Sibling. Delk has asked to step away from his recent appointment to pursue a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative. The Company expects to work closely with Delk as he seeks to bring improved STEM programs to the K-12 education system in Georgia.
To make room for the new directors, the Board recently accepted the resignations of Michael Hanlon and Peirce Sullivan, who had served for the last year. The Company had no disagreements with either, and their retirement had been contemplated for several months as the Company sought to add more education and public company experience to the organization. Further additions to the organization are expected in the near term as the Company ramps up its business activity, and adds other education related business to its current capabilities.
About Sibling Group, Inc.:
Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: SIBE), (www.siblinggroup.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:
Alexandra Langheinrich
Email: Alexandra@wallstreetnewscast.com
Phone: (201) 355-6946

Friday, January 10, 2014

Education Market Grows



Great segment over at Edweek entitled "Report Identifies Opportunities and Challenges for Ed. Technology Market" based on work from the Software Industry Association.

"Citing the increased sophistication of education leaders, the report's authors say district officials are "not looking for companies to sell them technology products, but are instead looking for partners who understand their challenges" and can help provide matching solutions."

"Increasingly, local decisionmakers are looking at technology not as a distinct budget item, but as a means to more efficiently and effectively address core goals and needs throughout their budget," the report indicates in the executive summary.

So true - as AcceleratingED is working with Sibling Holdings to identify more education companies to take to scale, we are sadly blown away by the number of technology companies who develop whiz-bang stuff that really isn't relieving a pain point for educators or does not work well with other systems. So while there is growth in the education segment, there is also a very limited number of successful edtech companies.

Other findings of the study:
  • Content revenue grew almost 20 percent, with increases in every area except reading and English/language arts, which is the largest segment of the content market.
  • Revenues for special education products were the highest in a special category that included products for English-language learners, Advanced Placement students, online courses, special education, and instructional improvement systems.
  • Online course revenues grew 200 percent
So do your homework and really make sure your product can work with others and is truly a solution that is needed in education. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Dismal State of Computer Science

I was going to crunch the numbers on the latest AP CS exams but Barbara Ericson beat me to the punch with much more detail. From her guest post on the Computer Science Education Blog - this has got to change and with the results from Exploring Computer Science, and using blended learning, we know we can change things.


  • No females took the exam in Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • For states that had some females take the exam the percentage female ranged from 3.88% in Utah to 29% in Tennessee.
  • 11 states had no Black students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Black students taking the exam: 1) Maryland with 170, 2) Texas with 132, 3) Georgia with 129, 4) Florida with 83, 5) Virginia with 78, 6) California with 74, 7) New York with 68, 8) New Jersey with 34 9) Mass with 34 and 10) North Carolina with 28. The pass rates for Black student in these states: Maryland 27.06%, Texas 48.48%, Georgia 21.7%, Florida 19.28%, Virginia 28.21%, California 56.76%, New York 33.82%, New Jersey 47.06%, Mass 38.24%, and North Carolina 21.43%.
  • The pass rate for Black students in states that had at least 5 Black students take the exam ranged from 19% (Florida) to 75% (Alabama) with 6 of 8 passing.
  • 8 states had no Hispanic students take the exam: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
  • The following states had the most Hispanic students taking the exam: 1) Texas with 751, 2) California with 392, 3) Florida with 269 , 4) New York with 150, 5) Illinois with 142, 6) New Jersey with 96, 7) Virginia with 90, 8) Maryland with 88, 9) Georgia with 71, and 10) Mass with 56. In report the Hispanic numbers I cam combining the College Board categories of Mexican American, Other Hispanic, and Puerto Rican. The pass rate for Hispanic students in these states: Texas 44.47%, California 47.45%, Florida 44.61%, New York 35.33%, Illinois 39.44%, New Jersey 52.08%, Virginia 46.67%, Maryland 44.32%, Georgia 40.85%, and Mass 39.29%

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Million Women Mentors Launches TODAY!


 
JANUARY 8, 2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C.
Million Women Mentors (MWM), a ground-breaking collaborative effort designed to engage one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors, launches today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The initiative aims to educate and empower girls and young women to actively pursue STEM education and careers. In conjunction with National Mentoring Month, MWM has constructed a vast network of 13 corporate sponsors, and more than 40 partner organizations that are dedicated to cultivating multiple pathways of mentoring to bolster girls' confidence and increase access to professionals working in the STEM field. Collectively, these public-private entities represent more than 18 million women and girls.
 
Inasmuch, young girls and women are less likely than their male counterparts to work in STEM fields. In fact, just 24 percent of women work in STEM fields. The good news is that women in STEM careers earn 92 cents for every dollar male-STEM counterparts earn versus 75 cents in other fields. What's more, 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills.

MWM is an initiative of STEMconnector®, the national organization that works closely with corporations and thousands of entities to assist in STEM best practices and smart STEM investments.

"We have the responsibility as a country to move the needle on girls and young women in STEM careers from 24 percent of our current workforce to 50 percent," said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector® and Co-Founder of Million Women Mentors.

Today's launch includes the debut of the website (www.millionwomenmentors.org) that will be developed in phases with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The first phase will include a nationwide call to action to capture and pledge commitments from individuals, organizations and companies that have an interest in mentoring. In the second and third phases, the website will be enhanced with matching capabilities to pair mentors with mentees in STEM fields. Additionally, the site will recognize those with model mentoring programs and learning resources.

Friday, January 3, 2014

GED Test Change = panic

One thing you knew at Kaplan Test Prep was that a test change always meant panic. Test anxiety comes from fear of the unknown and the new GED is definitelyl going to cause some problems - from the Fritzwire

GED Test Changes -- AP Education Writer Kimberly Hefling: "The revamped test [out today] is intended to be more rigorous and better aligned with the skills needed for college and today's workplaces. The new test will only be offered on a computer, and it will cost more. What consumers pay for the test varies widely and depends on state assistance and other factors. Even before its launch, officials in many states have balked at the cost increase and at doing away with paper-and-pencil testing. At least nine states ... severed ties with the GED test and adopted one of the two new tests that are entering the market." http://goo.gl/9Z3c0I

However - I had a demo from the guys at Eduss which has an pretty cool adaptive learning program and a full GED online program for the new GED which got some pretty stunning results in NYC.  So if you have a group of students that needs to get ready for the GED, let me know and we can get you some help.