Report Finds More Than 5000 Charter Schools — That’s a Lotta Learnin’

Back to School Tallies: Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools, 2011-2012 | National Charter School Resource Center.

The complete report is posted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at  From their site, “As the public charter schools movement approaches the 20 year anniversary of the opening of the first charter school, the sector continues to grow. Over 500 new public charter schools opened their doors for the 2011-2012 school year. There are now approximately 5,600 public charter schools. The 7 percent growth in charter schools is a demonstration of parents’ demand for high quality educational options.”

Check it out at

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California Evaluating an “Education Bill of Rights”

Seal of California

An unbelievable statistic from, the recently relaunched blog by Tom Vander Ark;

“More than one million high school students in California – upwards of 50% — attend schools that do not offer sufficient courses for admission to [California] state schools”

There’s more about this at, which goes into depth about the movement in California to guarantee that every student has a level playing field. The story has me thinking about the need for tools that teachers and learners can use to get at the resources they need. It’s not just about enrichment, but about basic rights.

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PBS Launching Massive Educational Content Library Online

We’ve come a long way from Sesame Street.  PBS is placing a massive amount of educational content online with tie-ins to learning tools and standards.

From the press release:

Bringing together the best available high-quality media from 1500 public media producers and more than 350 local PBS stations, PBS LearningMedia is a next-generation digital media platform for PreK-16.

This is an awesome step forward from an entity that has shown a real commitment to new media.  Most recently, PBS launched an impressive iPad app with complete shows and previews.

P.S.  Credit to awesome guys at for bringing this to my attention.

Related articles

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Education Leaders: John King

NY Times provides a great profile on Dr. John B. King, Jr. on the occasion of his appointment as New York State Education Commissioner.

via New York Names New State Education Commissioner –

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Gershwin (and 10,000 More) on the National Jukebox

George Gershwin

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a link to George Gershwin’s 1924 recording of Rhapsody in Blue, along with 10,000 other historical recordings:

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives.

I’ve been listening to these all afternoon.  Great stuff…and a limitless resource for teaching and learning.

via Browse All Recordings | Rhapsody in blue, Take 2 1924-06-10 | National Jukebox

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Learning Analytics: Discovering What We’ve Known All Along

Ellen Wagner

Ellen Wagner Executive Director WCET

With all the talk about evaluation and metrics in education, WCET and the Gates Foundation are pursuing a new achievable approach.  Their work contrasts with typical “big iron” state education data systems, many of which never go live.

Ellen Wagner, WCET Executive Director, has announced an exciting multi-state initiative to tap existing educational data rather than create yet another study:

Just think about it – vast numbers of today’s online learning transactions are regularly captured in Content Management Systems, Learning Management Systems, Student Information Systems, and Enterprise Resource Planning Systems. We have a ton of data describing A LOT about what happens when students – and faculty – are online.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the participant list, which includes both public and for-profit institutions, including APUS.  Whoa!

The WCET project is right in line with some of the amazing work being led by Todd Park at HHS to free the health data that has been collected on patient health.

via Learning Analytics – Discovering What Students REALLY Need to Succeed « WCET Frontiers.

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Massive Eduventures Study Confirms Student Demand for Hybrid Learning

There is no lack of anecdotal information on the rising demand for — and value of — blended learning.  Eduventures has recently backed this up with solid research on the mismatch beween student demand and available programs:

[T]he Eduventures survey found a gap between supply and demand: 19 percent of respondents said they were enrolled in blended programs, while 33 percent of prospective students listed that format as their preference.

Over 20,000 adult students and prospective students were polled in the Eduventures study.  The full study is available to Eduventures subscribers, but there’s a video posted here with some highlights.

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3taps Creates API Marketplace for Buying/Selling

3taps Wants to Democratize the Exchange of Data.

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Google Cloud Connect Review

Google Docs

Image via Wikipedia

Howard Chan, an education technologist in San Diego, provides a “first look” review of Google Cloud Connect.  Cloud Connect plugs into your MS Office programs (Windows only), and allows you to instantly share versions with colleagues.  What isn’t clear is whether the product provides the “missing piece” to allow real-time collaboration in Office docs…or attempts to divert users into Google Docs.

It’s a promising piece of software, but it is definitely still in Beta stage.



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Localizing Video News for Blended Learning: Introducing FastCast

On this blog, I’ve been focused mostly on the aggregation and delivery of content for credit.  But in putting together a blended learning curriculum, non-credit materials can be as important.  Teachers and learners need simple ways to aggegrate high quality video content from bona fide sources.  YouTube and other video aggegrators simply have too much noise (e.g., dancing cats, sneezing pandas, kooky rants).

Into this arena, FastCast is offering a new model for content aggregation.  They envision a single website where anyone interested in bona fide news content can assemble a personalized channel on a specific topic or geographic location.

Here’s how FastCast describes its service:

FastCast offers an efficient and convenient way to watch a personalized, local newscast anywhere, anytime on your mobile device. With the app, you select topics of interest and touch one button that immediately launches a personalized newscast of short video segments summarizing the top stories. So in 3 minutes, you could get caught up on 12 stories in a variety of topics without a lot of effort. Instead of shifting (sic) through layers of information or multiple screens, users get the news headlines they care about in a way that is easy to access and digest.

In practical terms, a learner could put together a channel focusing on a specific area of study, such as immigration in western Massachusetts.  Each day, the student could visit the website and view a personalized news stream based on these topics.  But unlike YouTube, the content would be restricted to bona fide news sources.  Pretty cool.

Introducing Fast Cast |

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