A Personal Concierge

[In this article Edsurge explains how its trying to find the intersection between administrative needs and available products and companies. Edsurge has been a leader in this domain through its series of Edsurge Summits. I’m working with Edsurge to produce a Summit as part of the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference on November 3-4 in Pittsburgh. (www.tretc.org) ]

by Betsy Corcoran
Jun 23, 2015

ConciergeFor the past six months, EdSurge has been experimenting with developing a product. Our efforts are still at an exploratory stage. Even so, we want to share what we’ve been doing, what we’ve learned and our next steps.

Since we began, EdSurge has aimed to bridge the gap between the users and creators of education technology. We’ve done this through reporting and writing news, sharing your stories and hosting events across the country. We’ve also tried to make sense of this growing, intricate industry through our Edtech Index.

Even so, the challenge and cost of getting the most appropriate tools into the hands of the people who need them is still really high. Educators say that they spend hours sifting through research, emails and demos to find tools that meet their needs. Companies underwrite big sales and marketing pushes without being sure they’re reaching customers in the right time or manner.

Reports from Digital Promise and the John Hopkins School of Education have chronicled these inefficiencies, as have the Center for Reinventing Public Education. Or ask an educator or an edtech entrepreneur. Chances are, you’ll hear the same frustrations.

Whether measured by time or money, it’s still too hard to find the right tool for the right need.

After watching thousands of users find each other through our Index and at our Summits, we wanted to do more. We wanted to make it easier for educators to find the most appropriate products for their needs and for companies to find the customers who need them most.

What if finding the right tools and customers was more personalized? What would it be like if both companies and educators had their own personal advisor? Someone like a hotel concierge, who was knowledgeable about the territory? And yes, someone who was truly neutral about whether you wanted front-row symphony tickets or a late-night slice of pizza?

That’s how the idea for our Edtech Concierge was born.

Read more…

Winning in the Classroom with Your Personalized Learning Playbook

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Personalized learning means different things to different people. Visit different schools with different models, and chances are they will all tell you they are using some form of personalized learning.

But what does personalized learningmean, and how do schools follow in others’ footsteps in order to get in the game?

When it comes to sports, players turn to the playbook. Teams start by following a set of strategies that are tried and true, tested over decades of playing the game. (Take the play-action pass, or the pick-and-roll, for example!) But the greats—the players, coaches and innovators who are immortalized—achieve their goals by adding their own flair and philosophies to the game. They can assess and adapt to any situation.

So when it comes to personalized learning, where’s the playbook with those reliable, go-to plays to put into action?

For a field that’s so young and has yet to be solidly defined, these personalized learning plays are being invented as we go. And how they are tweaked and implemented by brave educators across the country is incredibly exciting. Schools are taking different definitions or frameworks for personalized learning that others have created and making them their own.

To define personalized learning for themselves and bring that vision to life, educators turn to a number of resources: frameworks and blueprints for personalized learning, networks of innovative schools and educators, and ultimately their own communities to co-create a vision for what it will all look like. To honor the players and the coaches of this personalized learning game, we’ve captured stories of:

We’ve also borrowed and shared a few of the tricks and toolsbeing used to build personalized learning in schools and classrooms (from frameworks to white papers to professional development activities), so that you can start assembling your own playbook, whether for a few kids in a classroom or a 50,000-student district.

Take these plays, practice them, share them and inspire more players to play along. Let the personalized learning games begin!

NOTE: Interested in joining in on the personalized learning conversation? Join EdSurge, the School Improvement Network, and writers from this guide in a Twitter chat next Tuesday, April 28, at 5 PM pst/8 PM est, using #PLChat. Hear about more resources, meet the “Twitterati” personalizing instruction, and add players to your team!