50 States of Ed Policy: Education bills under consideration in 2020

Education Dive | December 23, 2019

In the past week, Congress managed to pass a federal spending bill to avert a government shutdown, provide a $1.3 billion in education spending for 2020, and pass legislation mandating $255 million in funding for historically black colleges and universities next year. But legislation directly affecting K-12 is much more slow-moving and often gets bogged down by politics. Still, a few bills impacting K-12 might finally see the spotlight in the coming year. Whether they will be passed and signed into law is a tossup, but some are more likely than others to be voted on. Here are those bills, and more, that bring educators' concerns — on everything from trauma-informed care to STEM funding and teacher pay — to Washington.

Spotlight

Localization of eLearning is as important as translation, especially when you are designing online learning solutions for learners in diverse geographical locations. You can choose to make your eLearning course culture-neutral. But in cases where it’s not possible and you need to give specific examples, be very careful to localize the content so that it does not offend learners from any particular culture.

Spotlight

Localization of eLearning is as important as translation, especially when you are designing online learning solutions for learners in diverse geographical locations. You can choose to make your eLearning course culture-neutral. But in cases where it’s not possible and you need to give specific examples, be very careful to localize the content so that it does not offend learners from any particular culture.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Skilldora partners with D-ID, launches first e-Learning platform & app to use A.I. Instructors in the U.S.

D-ID | September 09, 2022

Skilldora, an Ed-Tech startup based in Fort Mill, S.C., known for its modernized app-based eLearning community, today announced a partnership with D-ID, using its Creative Reality™ technology to deliver courses exclusively by A.I. Instructors, also referred to as digitally created humans. With the global eLearning market on track to reach 1.72 trillion by 2026 according to Yahoo Finance, evolving Ed-Tech enhancements give the academic sector a boost in growth, and online-learning is now the largest and fastest growing method for modern learners. Skilldora’s mission is to use the power of A.I. to deliver a new world of eLearning and is pleased to be the first online-learning platform in the U.S. to be a front-runner in pioneering the use of all A.I. Instructors on its platform, as a nod to the future of eLearning. The recent growth in the eLearning market also comes with its usual growing pains of high course drop-out rates, and astronomical refund costs creating significant challenges for e-Learners, course creators and platform owners. Research shows much of this is due to antiquated outdated online-course platforms and an influx of new course creators producing courses at varying levels of skill, leading to inconsistent and unpredictable user experiences. Skilldora's new e-Learning platform & app, seeks to solve this problem using its A.I. Instructed Courses™ to deliver consistently structured, high quality courses, perfectly presented in under an hour. Set up as a free-to-download membership site, with an in-app, pay-per-course, a la carte model, Skilldora is designed to appeal to the modern learner, offering advanced engagement functionality, collaborative learning features such as its ‘learn with friends capabilities,’ allowing for real time sharing and invites, social learning groups, community news feeds, etc. “We believe the world of eLearning is rapidly changing and learners want more interactive learning experiences, consistency in content quality and compact courses they can take over a lunch break. And Skilldora is answering the call by offering A.I. Instructed Courses™ across a bevy of professional development categories, interactive Personal Discovery Assessments with instant A.I. Coach feedback, and a ‘done-for-you’ B2B solution, which produces eLearning products on demand. DeMario and Dawn Nicole McIlwain, Skilldora's Co-Founders. Skilldora's vision is to be the A.I. eLearning solution leader for modern learners, and future-forward companies, and now through its partnership with D-ID, is one step closer. Behind the vision of Skilldora, are Husband and Wife Co-founders, DeMario and Dawn Nicole McIlwain. DeMario McIlwain, the brainchild behind Skilldora’s innovative platform and sleek functionality, brings deep technical expertise in UI/UX design with proven experience running tech ventures, while Dawn Nicole, the heartbeat of Skilldora’s course products, brings design-thinking as a certified Agile coach and globally accredited training program creator. With this perfect marriage of skills and background, the powerful duo merges their expertise to make something magical in Skilldora. About Skilldora Skilldora is a modernized e-Learning company specializing in A.I. Instructed Courses™ by using digitally created humans to deliver course content. Skilldora’s products and services span from its A.I. Instructed Courses™, to Personal Discovery Assessments with interactive A.I. Coach feedback, and a ‘done-for-you’ Corporate Training solution which produces eLearning products on demand, and to spec. Through collaborative strategic partnerships, and its competitive advantage of being first to the U.S. market, Skilldora is on track to virtually disrupt the eLearning industry, improve the user experience, and offer corporations more diversification options in eLearning, with advanced features that drastically increase the speed to market. To find out more, visit myskilldora.com. About D-ID D-ID is a Creative Reality™ company specializing in patented video reenactment technology using AI and deep learning. D-ID's products range from animating still photos, to facilitating high-quality video productions, and creating viral user experiences. With funding from tier 1 VCs, D-ID aims to radically disrupt the time, hassle and costs involved in video production, allowing for the creation of highly personalized media using AI, specifically in e-learning, corporate training, marcoms, AI assistants, history and the Metaverse. With international customers, D-ID's core competencies in the human face and deep learning technology enable its partners to create exciting and engaging content that was until now unimaginable. To find out more, visit D-ID.com

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Orenda Education Merges With Think Together to Create Scalable School Improvement Nonprofit

Think Together | September 13, 2022

Think Together, one of California's largest nonprofits serving K-12 schools today announced it has completed the merger with Orenda Education, a top school improvement and professional development consultancy. Upon the close, the combined organization will serve more than 200,000 students across the state with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Moreover, the organization will be better positioned to rapidly scale their impact. "We're thrilled to bring our two organizations together in our combined efforts to improve student success and close the achievement gap,This merger is the natural evolution of Orenda's existing relationship with Think Together and solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring that the more than 2 million California students that are performing far below grade level have the support they need during the school day and beyond to succeed academically." Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth Over the past seven years, Think Together and Orenda have had an affiliate agreement in place while the full acquisition builds the long-term financial and operational capacities for Orenda to continue to scale. Orenda's work focuses on transformingeducation systems, either across a school district or by cohorts of schools, providing professional development to all levels of district staff, around a specific data-driven but people-centric school improvement model. Think Together partners with over 60 school districts and charter management organizations to provide more than 900 direct-to-student academic and enrichment programs at more than 450 school sites across California, serving more than 100,000 youth. Orenda Education works behind-the-scenes with school district leaders and educators to identify inequities in schools and then transform their systems to ensure all students have access to a premium education. "Think Together has always been an incredible partner, infusing the infrastructure needed to provide an efficient model for changing the odds for kids," said Orenda Education Founder and CEO Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle. "Our two models have always complemented each other but now, we can efficiently scale our vision for all students to receive the premium education they deserve." The acquisition comes as both organizations experience tremendous growth due in large part to new and renewed state investments in education to accelerate learning recovery efforts and provide educators with needed support amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, teachers, school leaders and administrators need to think outside the box to address the issues impacting students including socio-economic biases, social emotional learning, and more," added Barth. "Providing these much-needed supports to educators means districts and schools can provide the skills they need to teach, lead and counsel during and following a period of great disruption during the pandemic. Recently the U.S. Department of Education reported a dramatic decline in scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) known as the nation's scorecard. Two decades of growth for American students in reading and math were wiped away by just two years of pandemic-disrupted learning, according to national test scores released last week. And, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country's high- and low-achievers. Orenda's approach to school improvement has proven to accelerate student outcomes, such as mastery of grade-level standards (measured by math and English language SBAC scores), improved A-G class completion rates, and improved graduation rates. They also provide administrative coaching, teaching strategies, and leadership clinics. To expand these services, Orenda was recently awarded a $4 million Education Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education to digitize and distribute their school improvement approach through an online platform that is effective and highly scalable to schools and districts in any geography, and to those who require less in-person support. Think Together adds Orenda to their growing list of services that support student education in and around the school day. Think Together's flagship afterschool programs support students in underserved communities with homework help, enrichment, social-emotional learning and physical well-being, all to enable students to strive for college or a fulfilling career. To provide high-quality programs, Think Together partners with philanthropic organizations like the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Breaking down the barriers to opportunity, equity and access in education by keeping students and their success as the centered focus is one of the most meaningful investments for our future generations" said Alyssa Santino, Program Director of the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Ensuring the educators, leaders and structures around students are supported and inspired and effectively trained with research-based, proven and engaging strategies is imperative for thriving students and communities. We are pleased to partner with Think Together and Orenda Education as they excel in this space and continue to transform the trajectory of students and the schools they attend." Barth sees the combination of direct services to students through expanded and early learning, coupled with equity-based professional development, as an effective combination to supporting student achievement alongside their school district and charter partners. Dr. Paul Gothold, Superintendent of County Office of Education in San Diego agrees. His former district, Lynwood Unified School District, realized astonishing improvements when partnering with both Think Together and Orenda, including increasing graduation rates from 56% to 90.8%, and A-G college eligible rates from 18% to 53%. Orenda provides the technical expertise for true district turn-around. The systems approach and professional development modules to build staff capacity ensures all leaders have the tools and resources to provide a premium education for all students, said Gothold. "With Think Together's financial and operational support, Orenda is well positioned to continue providing much-needed education innovation to schools throughout the state and beyond. About Think Together For over 25 years Think Together has partnered with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators.

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

North-West University Partners with Anthology to Create Digital-First Experiences for Students and Staff

Anthology | October 13, 2022

Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire student lifecycle, announced today that North-West University (NWU) has selected Anthology Student to optimize the student administrative lifecycle and deliver a more seamless experience for students and staff. NWU also will implement Anthology's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution to enhance recruitment processes and enable more strategic engagements with prospective students, current students and alumni. Acting as a cornerstone in the institution's technology ecosystem, Anthology solutions will give momentum to NWU's digital business strategy and long-term goals for enrollment, retention and the overall growth of the institution. The pandemic brought new dimensions to our thinking around how we enable learner success and create more intentional experiences for students using technology," said Professor Marlene Verhoef, Registrar at North-West University. With Anthology, we are not just replacing our existing system in pursuit of this objective. We are truly transforming the way we serve students and creating a digital environment that supports our future vision for NWU. Anthology Student and Anthology CRM will integrate critical data into a unified solution and deliver insights to support astute decision-making among NWU administrators, which will permit the identification of new and improved ways of connecting with students to drive outcomes. The cloud-based system will also automate manual processes to increase the efficiency of university staff and reduce the lift for internal information technology teams. For learners, Anthology Student will create a holistic digital-first experience spanning everything from degree planning to accessing career services, helping NWU meet the needs of today's students while also attracting new enrolments in the institution. We chose to partner with Anthology not just because of the product roadmap, but because they have a history in the market and a deep understanding of what students are looking for," said Professor Verhoef. The merger with Blackboard only reaffirmed our decision because it shows that Anthology is focused on delivering a holistic set of solutions to meet all of our needs and a way to future proof our investments. "We are committed to partnering with NWU and supporting the South African education community to deliver technology that opens up new possibilities for education.NWU is experiencing staggering increases in enrolment and establishing core systems that can grow with the institution. These developments are crucial to effectively scale services for students while also equipping administrators and faculty with the technology they need to work more efficiently." Oleg Figlin, Vice President of Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Anthology NWU is a public university with multiple campuses across two South African provinces serving nearly 53,000 active students. Read more about how Anthology solutions are creating dynamic, data-driven experiences for institutions like NWU. About Anthology Anthology offers the largest EdTech ecosystem on a global scale for education, supporting more than 150 million users in 80 countries. With a mission to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community through Anthology Intelligent Experiences™, we help learners, leaders and educators achieve their goals by offering over 60 SaaS products and services designed to advance learning.

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