Lady Mady McFluffyFace
In this episode, Ricky and Kristy discuss the ed tech news of the week including how comparison shopping is so important in ed tech. Oh yeah… and Ricky has a new super fluffy puppy!!!
Ed Tech News RunDown
Good Deals on Ed Tech
The Hechinger Report brings us a story on school districts uphill battle to get good deals on ed tech. The problem really comes down to public data regarding purchases being difficult, or too time consuming, to obtain for districts. The prices can vary wildly from district to district and Apple is one of the worst offenders. A Hechinger Report analysis of Apple purchases found Five districts received double-digit percentage discounts, while dozens of others got no money off at all, even when making large purchases. And when a $50 price difference on a laptop can mean 100’s of thousands of dollars in bulk purchases, this is clearly a big deal. If you are a ed tech purchaser you definitely need to check out this article. Transparency seems to be the key here so you know exactly what deals others have gotten. The problem with that, some say though, is big companies may stop doing deals all together other districts use that against them.
Ed Tech Renaissance
A Tech Crunch article asserts that edtech is having a renaissance which is being powered by the emerging world. The “Next Billion Edtech Prize,” launched at the Global Education & Skills Forum by the Varkey Foundation to recognize the most innovative technology startups destined to have a radical impact on education in low income and emerging world countries. Some of the concerns of these emerging countries might also be applicable for rural and/or poor school districts. One example is DotLearn which allows videos to be accessible on slow internet connections. Another highlight was the winning startup, Chatterbox, which is an online language school powered by refugees that have been displaced. These emerging countries, like Ethiopia, have some of the largest populations under 25 on the globe so these startups are not only useful but necessary as well.
Sana Labs Wants to Revolutionize Ed Tech
A business insider article explains that Sana labs wants to revolutionize the $5 Trillion education industry. Sana labs founder, Joel Hellermark (who is just 21 BTW) , has an aggressive philosophy… “We want any education company in the world to be able to implement adaptivity in just a few days,”. There are tremendous hurdles to cross in order to scale AI personalized learning at this level. He also says, “We are expecting improvements in orders of magnitude, Based on studies, students should be able to work through the exact same content in half the time, or be 25-30% more engaged.” For those of you who are super techy… the reason this is so different and disruptive is that it claims it isn’t just an AI tutor but an intelligent AI layer applicable through a universal API. This basically means ed tech software companies could more easily deploy this AI in their own ecosphere.
Billion Dollar Professional Development Grant
According to Ed Week Market Brief, a $1.1 Billion federal block grant makes ed tech training a higher priority over software and devices. “A nearly three-fold increase in appropriations for the Title IV-A block grant in the new federal budget means that many districts across the country can dedicate more funds to helping teachers learn how to use technology for instruction. “ One of the priority areas is “Supporting the effective use of technology with professional development, blended and personalized learning, and devices.” Professional development definitely needs to be funded more completely and these priority areas ensure that a percentage of the grants are used to help train faculty. This show has always encouraged more professional development and this sounds great.
Check out Episode 81 Where we talk more about Assessments done right.
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