Getting Started with K20alt

Getting Started with K20alt

K20alt allows educators from around the country the opportunity to collaborate, dialogue, engage in lesson study and creation, and acquire content-specific PD all at the touch of a button through Virtual Communities of Practice. These groups are meant to engage and empower educators by providing a means by which they can share expertise, create content, and improve pedagogy. The free services that are provided within these Virtual Communities of Practice are outlined below.

Authentic Lessons and Lesson Groups

K20alt offers model authentic lessons intended to inform pedagogy and impact students. Both K20alt Content Specialists and members of the K20alt Community design these lessons utilizing the research-based components of authentic instruction.          
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Professional Development

K20alt provides content-specific Professional Development, in-depth lesson study, and opportunities for educators to connect in order to dialogue about best practices. Through Virtual Communities of Practice, K20alt Content Specialists can facilitate meaningful conversations centered on impacting the classroom.
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K20alt provides mentoring support for a wide range of teachers through Virtual Communities of Practice. Residency year teachers, teachers on a Plan of Improvement, and many other teachers can benefit from K20alt’s free mentoring program.
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Innovation around Common Core

It isn’t just lifting the lowest 30 state standards to real college and career readiness levels, but the tie with OER, that will be the legacy of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Tom Vander Ark on says that the new standards unleashed a timely wave of investment in digital content.

He goes on to list a small group of updating going on and although he mushes the updates driven by Technology in and doesn’t include current leaders in OER, it is a fun list to at least ponder along with each of our own content providers and tools.

EdWeeks’s Catherine Gewetrz wrote a good summary of the wave of new Core-aligned content.  She mentioned McGraw-Hill but left out Pearson’s substantial across the board investment in Common Core resources.

The Core has provided the impetus for providers like Apex Learning, American Virtual Academy, and Compass Learning to update their curriculum.  Compass is shifting from courses to objects and Flash to HTML5 to enable anywhere & any device learning.

MIND Research Institute just launched a touch version of its visual ST Math.  The program has posted great results with twice weekly lab use.  Now that it is available on tablets it opens up a world of possibilities for expanded use—and impact.

Learn Capital portfolio companies leading the shift to the Common Core include:

  • Mastery Connect provides a platform to connect Common Core goals with classroom practice through the innovative use of on-­‐demand micro-­assessments sourced from a nationwide network of educators.
  • Mangahigh makes compelling middle grade math games with embedded Core-aligned assessment and achievement analytics.
  • Bloomboard (formerly Formative Learning) provides online professional development.
  • LearnZillion launched a highly flexible, ultra low cost production model for generating Common Core digital curricula that rapidly iterates and improves through use.
  • StudySync models the deeper learning and rich discourse incorporated in Core standards.

Core standards are also the basis for next generation assessments in development by the Race to the Top funded testing consortia—PARCC and SBAC.  These online assessments provide a useful timeline for the shift from print to digital instructional materials.

Common Core State Standards provide a national platform for innovation.  For the first time, content developers can invest for a national market.  As illustrated above, the Core has triggered a wave of investment in engaging, personalized learning content and tools.

Open Education Resources in Washington State

OER K-12 Bill Passes in U.S. Washington State

From the Creative Commons Blog and I think it is about time someone actually addressed key issues in Education and this is indeed one of them.

There was exciting open policy news from U.S. Washington State (WA) last evening.

HB 2337 “Regarding open educational resources in K-12 education” passed the Senate (47 to 1) and is on its way back to the House for final concurrence. It already passed the House 88 to 7 before moving to the Senate.

The bill directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to support the 295 WA K-12 school districts in learning about and adopting existing open educational resources (OER) aligned with WA and common core curricular standards (e.g., CK-12 textbooks & Curriki). The bill also directs OSPI to “provide professional development programs that offer support, guidance, and instruction regarding the creation, use, and continuous improvement of open courseware.”

The opening section of the bill reads:

  • “The legislature finds the state’s recent adoption of common core K-12 standards provides an opportunity to develop high-quality, openly licensed K-12 courseware that is aligned with these standards. By developing this library of openly licensed courseware and making it available to school districts free of charge, the state and school districts will be able to provide students with curricula and texts while substantially reducing the expenses that districts would otherwise incur in purchasing these materials. In addition, this library of openly licensed courseware will provide districts and students with a broader selection of materials, and materials that are more up-to-date.”

While focus of this bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license.”

This legislature has declared that the status quo — $130M / year for expensive, paper-only textbooks that are, on average, 7-11 years out of date — is unacceptable. WA policy makers instead decided their 1 million+ elementary students deserve better and they have acted.