Tag: k-12 education

Baltimore’s Top 10 Emerging K-12 Enterprises

The Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner, Baltimore is a city that loves most things that afford a hat tip to the past but focus on the present and future, most things crustacean derived out of the Chesapeake Bay, most things that induce curiosity, and all things that catalyze and sustain learning innovation and opportunity. Baltimore is increasingly adapting to and becoming a 21st Century culture blended by an open-minded, innovative, and entrepreneurial citizenry. Baltimore is the charming, quirky, curious, gritty city I opined on in a previous post here. Bringing Solutions to K-12 Education’s Greatest Needs As The Baltimore...

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University-Community Partnerships: Supporting Education

Welcome to my new blog series all about university-community partnerships and relationships at Towson University! Back in October, I wrote a post about the Community Partnerships and Relationships 2015 Status Report. That report gave a snapshot of the current status of university-community partnerships and relationships at Towson University, including how many there are, where they’re happening, their outcomes, and their impacts. I wanted to build upon this report and take some time to highlight some of our biggest impact areas, as well as a few individual partnerships within each area. This month, I’m focusing on how our university-community partnerships...

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Mission-Driven Investing in Education

The Impact of a Portfolio Impact, mission-driven, or mission-related investing begins with discrete social goals and aims to yield tangible, scalable social + financial returns. To me, it is focusing on what you know, what you love, and where you know you can make a measurable difference. “Impact investing is actively placing capital in businesses and funds that generate social and/or environmental good and a range of returns, from principal to above market, to the investor.”  — The Monitor Institute Image Source: The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Santa Clara University I decided to disrupt myself, to incrementally transition from...

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LessonCast: A Lesson in Teacher ‘PD’

There are two root ways in which K-12 education can be wholly brought into the 21st Century: 1) Change the System or 2) Change the Effectiveness of the People in the System. Technology and web services will likely be a necessary tool in either case. I first met Nicole Tucker-Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Lessoncast Learning, at a Baltimore edtech meetup celebrating the early edtech ecosystem work we had begun in Maryland, what was a precursor to EdTech Maryland’s evolution. Prior to that, I had met another Lessoncast co-founder and Nicole’s husband, Khalid Rudo Smith, at an ETC Baltimore mentor meeting. Stating Nicole and Khalid as a dynamic duo does not do them justice. Below is a conversation I had with Nicole about Lessoncast, and how her approach to teacher professional development, moreover education is both different and lasting. Frank: Nicole, what drove you to leave a profession in which you were seemingly successful and found harmony? Nicole: I’ve left the traditional path for educators, but I don’t think that I will ever leave education. Whether I’m a teacher, a principal, a district leader, or founder of an edtech company, I’m still serving the education profession. I left my position with the school district because I believed that there were innovative ways to improve teaching and learning, and making those innovations a reality required going outside the bounds of...

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The Four Key Traits of an Education Entrepreneur

Dedication: Akin to my own journey, the following 9 stalwart founding education entrepreneurs evinced a self-disruption by leaving the formal education platform to tackle education’s toughest problems with scalable solutions. Effuse thanks — and keep doin’ it. Henry Blue of Alchemy Learning, Jess Gartner of Allovue, Alex Grodd of BetterLesson, Jen Medbery of Kickboard, Scott Messinger of Common Curriculum, Tom Murdock of Moodlerooms, Katie Palencsar of Unbound Concepts, Steve Silvius of Three Ring and Nicole Tucker-Smithof LessonCast Learning. While all great entrepreneurs share similar traits, the education entrepreneur is a special breed. This post imparts an overview of what it takes...

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Capture Learning in the Moment: An Overview of the Three Ring Teacher App

Since the beginning of formal education, humankind has struggled to measure authentic learning. Since the 1950s in the USA, K-12 education has grown to ~55 million students, ~5% growth 1997-2011 and projected 6% growth in the coming decade. Since A Nation at Risk was published (1983), in a standardized attempt to move the effectiveness needle, we have become self-adulating masters at measuring outcomes on summative, predictive or formative tests, but, other than being physically in the classroom, we have no way of capturing, congealing and sharing the magic that happens between learning peers, between teacher and student, between child and parent. There have been fits and starts with writing process, portfolios and rubric-driven assessments based on all manner of weightings and metrics, but nothing has really stuck — or scaled. Enter a pragmatic solution called Three Ring (product overview here and here). In 2011, three c0-founders set out to capture learning in the moment, to drive authentic assessment and instruction. There was a Startup Weekend Edu at Georgetown in late 2011, where Three Ring was conceived. There was an Education Hack Day in Baltimore not long thereafter where participants made connections for Three Ring into Maryland K-12 administrators and teachers, which ultimately turned into free and paid pilots. There was seed capital raised in 2013. In July of 2014, the Company is in early revenue, headlong in serving Maryland districts, thoughtfully...

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Presidential Scholar Signature Forums: Reign of Error

Towson University and Presidential Scholar, Dr. Nancy Grasmick, are excited to welcome to campus education historian and best-selling author Diane Ravitch as she discusses her new book Reign of Error. Join us on April 22nd in the West Village Commons ballrooms from 4-6 p.m. for her talk and book-signing. In her book, Diane examines the flaws with the current education reform direction being driven by the U.S. Department of Education including curriculum changes, common core standards, teacher evaluation, assessment, vouchers, online education, merit pay, and perhaps most importantly the involvement and leadership from the private sector. Excerpts from Reign...

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MSDE Educator Effectiveness Academies

Year One Reflection and Moving Forward Back in January we filled you in on our exciting new project with Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), where we were tasked to develop webinars for Maryland teachers that follow up on the content they were exposed to during the summer 2012 Educator Effectiveness Academy (EEA). We successfully launched the first four of these professional development webinars in January to a great response from MSDE staff and teachers statewide. At the end of April we launched our second set of webinars to complete the professional develop releases for the current school year. In the upcoming weeks, we will be partnering with some of the Master teachers to provide live Virtual Office hours facilitated through WebEx. This will allow other teachers who’ve viewed the webinars to ask questions and engage with these Master teachers regarding the webinar content. These webinars have already proven to be an excellent resource not only for the teachers who were able to attend the summer 2012 EEA, but also for teachers who were not able to attend and were interested in acquiring more information on Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Standards. What’s next? Because of the wide positive feedback from teachers across the state, MSDE has decided to expand our scope of work.  This year we will not just record a few selected EEA breakout sessions, but rather...

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Harnessing Digital Note-Passing

Those of us who still remember a world before digital communications may recall the thousands of notes that passed between students in class: “Hey! What’s new with you?” “Hi. Nothing much. How about you?” “Not much here either.” Not very enlightening. And of course, the horror of horrors, the shame of exposure: “Miss Smith, you’ve been very busy writing today while the rest of us were reading this chapter. Why don’t you share what you’ve written with the rest of the class?” Young people do have an urge to connect, to share experiences, to validate their feelings—preferably with others in their age group. Even if those moments of connection are nothing more than a verbal “ping,” the digital equivalent of “Hey! What’s new with you?” the urge is compelling. With cellphones and texting, satisfying the urge is now easier than ever. In most classrooms, there exists a tug of war between teacher and students about controlling the use of cellphones. Schools post “No Cellphones” warning signs, students sign “no phone use” behavior contracts, and instructional time is lost every day engaging in endless battles over cellphone infractions. Young people, on the other hand, have become absolute wizards at one-digit surreptitious “texting while learning.” There are no winners in this war. Why don’t we try a different approach? Why not welcome the cellphone and its technology into the classroom, and...

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TU Center for Professional Studies selected to support Maryland’s teachers in mastering the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum

As the largest producer of teachers and the go-to resource for teacher professional development and education, we are naturally involved in many aspects of the Race to the Top program. One new initiative is the Educator Effectiveness Academies (EEAs), which support teacher development in the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Standards and Framework, specifically in the STEM fields. 6300 Educators That’s the number of educators served by the first regional EEAs, which were held during the summer of 2011. The audience included four-person teams from schools across Maryland, including: School’s Principal Reading English/Language Arts specialist or teacher Mathematics teacher Teacher from a STEM area These highly successful EEAs were offered again last summer, but this time MSDE reached out to Towson University’s Center for Professional Studies to develop a series of webinars to reinforce and build upon the summer EEA as well further disseminate the content to ALL of Maryland’s public school teachers. By partnering with Towson University, MSDE is now able to convey vital educational information to thousands of teachers statewide in a productive, virtual session. Here are some specific s about the webinars: 16 total webinars will be produced; 8 for this school year and 8 for next school year Over 80 total hours captured from the EEAs will be used to produce the webinars Webinars will be disseminated to over 1500 Maryland public schools and their...

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