Crafting flexible curriculum requires thinking beyond out-of-the-box approaches

Education Dive | January 23, 2019

California's Exeter Unified School District shifted its curriculum to buoy reading and math scores, hiring an outside consultant to help revamp reading intervention, add a 1:1 program, and integrate furniture that supported more collaborative learning, Superintendent Tim Hire wrote for eSchoolNews.Students were also given more autonomy in what they wanted to read, whether fiction or nonfiction, and educators can now more easily track student work and assess in real-time rather than once a quarter.This approach is also now used in math classes, encouraging students to locate multiple paths to get to their answer rather than one "correct" method, with scores rising 4.57% on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.Out-of-the-box curriculum models rarely work as written. Schools, after all, are hardly homogenized — they differ depending on the region they’re located, the students attending them, and the communities they serve. Curriculum instructors often play the role of tinkerers, finding what works for their schools and what needs to be changed for students to get the best outcomes.

Spotlight

Summer is nearly here, which means that students are eagerly awaiting long days of nice weather, relaxed schedules and time spent with friends instead of schoolwork. And while everyone can appreciate a good lazy day, the academic consequences of an entire summer off is not something to take lightly. In fact, ASCD reports that, on average, elementary students lose one month of learning over the summer.

Spotlight

Summer is nearly here, which means that students are eagerly awaiting long days of nice weather, relaxed schedules and time spent with friends instead of schoolwork. And while everyone can appreciate a good lazy day, the academic consequences of an entire summer off is not something to take lightly. In fact, ASCD reports that, on average, elementary students lose one month of learning over the summer.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Learning Pool Introduces Global AI-Based Skills Solution

Learning Pool | October 17, 2022

Learning Pool, the award-winning learning technologies company, has announced the launch of a major new product ahead of its 14th annual Learning Pool Live user conference.The release will leverage the know-how of People-Analytix, a Switzerland-based pioneer in AI-powered skills technology that was recently acquired by Learning Pool. The shift to put skills at the center of Learning Pool's technology offering is a wider reflection of the most profound change we've seen in learning technologies in recent times. "Every global enterprise is struggling to attract and retain skilled employees, and the widening skills gaps that are stopping businesses from growing at the pace they desire are apparent in every boardroom conversation,Learning Pool's acquisition of People-Analytix, and the subsequent advancements it will bring to our platform, means that we can now give customers the power to automatically address skills gaps as they appear. It is a tremendously exciting technology and a fundamental component in our wider mission to support talent development in creating extraordinary performers." Ben Betts, Learning Pool CEO Learning Pool notes that analysts and market commentators are keen to point out that the pivot to skills is not a temporary fad but rather a fundamental shift in the way we think about talent and development.According to Gartner, "Skills are fast becoming the main talent-related currency in terms of hiring, workforce planning and optimization, career development, talent marketplaces and learning." The World Economic Forum predicts that, by 2025, as many as 50% of all workers will need reskilling.[2] To address this global issue, skills development can no longer be satisfied by being simply reactive. Fosway research shows that skills are a critical strategic priority for organizations. However, only 20% of learning professionals say they are very effective at upskilling and reskilling," Fiona Leteney, senior analyst at Fosway Group, said. Both organizational agility and resilience are dependent on developing the right skills at pace, Learning Pool's acquisition of People-Analytix significantly strengthens its skills capabilities to address those needs. The latest release will form a key part of the Learning Pool platform; customers will use it to assess the current skills within their organization, plan for the future and close the gap through Learning Pool's platform and content libraries all in a single solution. Our latest release is powered by the incredible AI that People-Analytix and their partners have been developing over the better part of the past decade," Betts said. "The work the team have done has been lauded as one of the smartest 'skill cloud' executions available in the market today, and that's been backed up with real-world success stories. Taking a highly user-centric approach that is unique in the marketplace, the product announcement includes: A unique personal skills profile. From the outset, each user will have a unique and personal skills profile, fully capable of recommending the next best step for their development, based on up-to-date market data summarized into a seamless and automated experience. A market-leading skills ontology, providing a categorization of skills that creates a common language, defining the aspects of a specific job rather than relying on blanket terms and descriptions. Other providers in the industry use more limited methods of taxonomy, essentially hardcoding a hierarchy of jobs or competencies into their products, putting additional pressure on learning and development teams while inevitably becoming an outdated, poor reflection of how people do their jobs. External employment marketplace data updated daily to help both workers and administrators understand the skills that are in highest demand/shortest supply and to keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of global workplaces. A range of new learning experience types, including gig projects, internal mobility, mentorships and social learning opportunities, to broaden the methods by which employees can enhance their skill profiles. Updated and personalized learning recommendations, giving learners the best resources, social interactions and learning experiences to improve the most in-demand skills. Users can reskill or upskill using different pathways and different methods of learning. A comprehensive skills gap analysis tool, allowing managers to view the current skills within their team, plus the potential for staff members to upskill to fill new or emerging needs. In addition to benefiting from People-Analytix technology, Learning Pool will be strengthening its ranks of skills and data experts, led by Christoph Küffer, co-founder and CEO of People-Analytix, who joins the Learning Pool management team. We are excited to take our shared passion for innovation and customer centricity forward to build the future of enterprise learning, Küffer said. Current skills solutions in the market use relatively basic taxonomy not reflecting the current market developments. At the heart of our solution is a unique AI-powered ontology built over 10 years with human guidance. This sets us apart and is why it has the power to revolutionize how organizations manage their approach. Reporting around skills and skills progress can be used for organizational planning and developing and measuring learning and development strategies, making a powerful impact on business goals. Participants at Learning Pool Live will be able to share in the announcement, get hands-on with the technology and speak to the wider team. Last-minute tickets are available to join industry pioneers and hundreds of peers for a day of innovation, idea sharing and best practice. About Learning Pool Learning Pool creates learning experiences that deliver extraordinary outcomes for workplaces investing in the performance and skills of their people. Global organizations across dozens of industries choose Learning Pool for its innovative learning platform, which combines integrated technology and adaptive content to produce actionable insight into every learner's performance readiness. The company's passion for learning and commitment to data-driven outcomes is why they stay.Learning Pool is used in more than 40 languages by learners around the world. Its solutions easily integrate with the most used enterprise technology stacks. And its world-class customer experience ensures that L&D, HR and compliance teams can move beyond discussing learning as a cost center to harnessing its unique ability to produce a highly skilled workforce, new competitive advantages and an organization prepared for whatever the future might bring. Wherever you find ambitious workplaces investing in their people, you'll find Learning Pool.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY, ONLINE EDUCATION

Google for Education Partners with Instructure to Simplify Integration and Extend Digital Classroom Capabilities

Instructure | September 22, 2022

Instructure, the maker of Elevate Data Sync, has entered into an agreement with their partner, Google, that bridges the integration gap for Google Classroom users with a robust and comprehensive solution. With the integration, educational institutions can now keep course data and rosters synchronized between their student information systems (SIS or MIS) and Google Classroom. This means that educators no longer must set up their courses manually or have students use a join code. Teachers can now simply click "accept" when their course is automatically created.Instructure, the maker of Elevate Data Sync, has entered into an agreement with their partner, Google, that bridges the integration gap for Google Classroom users with a robust and comprehensive solution. With the integration, educational institutions can now keep course data and rosters synchronized between their student information systems (SIS or MIS) and Google Classroom. This means that educators no longer must set up their courses manually or have students use a join code. Teachers can now simply click "accept" when their course is automatically created. Elevate Data Sync, Instructure's standards-based interoperability solution that enables secure sharing of student, staff and learning data, will create classes with all the right students ahead of the first day of school and keep them updated if a student changes classes. This automated and adaptable integration can hopefully save teachers, students and the professionals who support them significant amounts of time. Through our partnership with Elevate Data Sync by Instructure, we have added the ability to sync the rosters from your student information system to Classroom, so classes can be automatically created and updated, launching in 15 countries," said Alisa Sommer, head of edtech partnerships at Google. "Education data integration is a complex problem, so we wanted an enterprise-class partner with deep expertise and a cloud-based platform that supports multiple standards and integration methods. "This partnership with Google Classroom is an ideal example of how Instructure's Learning Platform empowers partners and institutions to innovate and integrate faster,We're proud to be able to work with Google to find a solution that makes the job of educators easier while maintaining the highest level of privacy and security for student data." Kevin Turco, vice president of product management at Instructure Schools with Google Workspace for Education Plus that are interested in trying out the integration can sign up for the beta and can find onboarding help on Instructure's Community page. Schools can request more information about Google Workspace for Education Plus if they don't have a subscription already. Once signed up for the beta, admins will be able to integrate class lists and timetables (rosters) directly with most major student information systems or can opt to connect using OneRoster or CSV files. The solution is available and localized in Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. ABOUT INSTRUCTURE Instructure ( NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Thoma Bravo Completes Sale of Frontline Education to Roper Technologies

Frontline Education | October 06, 2022

Thoma Bravo, a leading software investment firm, today announced the completion of its sale of Frontline Education, a leading provider of administration software purpose-built for educators in K-12, to Roper Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ROP) in an all-cash transaction that values Frontline at approximately $3.725 billion. Frontline, which offers solutions for human capital management, student and special programs, and business operations with powerful analytics to increase productivity and improve overall performance for K-12 administrators, has been a trusted partner to K-12 leaders across all 50 states for decades. "We are grateful to Thoma Bravo for their invaluable partnership over the last five years which has allowed us to further expand the use of our critical solutions by educators across the country,As part of Roper, we are excited to bring enhanced innovation and value to our clients in alignment with our mission to empower K-12 schools with the technology capabilities they need to succeed." Mark Gruzin, Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Education We are extremely proud of our partnership with Frontline and what we have been able to achieve together," said Holden Spaht, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo. Applying our deep sector expertise, we worked with Mark and the Frontline team to make strategic acquisitions, increase revenue and expand product offerings and headcount in order to drive sustainable long-term growth. We look forward to following Frontline's continued success with Roper as their partner. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Jefferies LLC and Macquarie Capital served as financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Thoma Bravo and Frontline Education. Cooley LLP also served as legal advisor to Frontline Education. About Thoma Bravo Thoma Bravo is one of the largest private equity firms in the world, with more than $122 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2022. The firm invests in growth-oriented, innovative companies operating in the software and technology sectors. Leveraging the firm's deep sector expertise and proven strategic and operational capabilities, Thoma Bravo collaborates with its portfolio companies to implement operating best practices, drive growth initiatives and make accretive acquisitions intended to accelerate revenue and earnings. Over the past 20 years, the firm has acquired or invested in more than 400 companies representing over $220 billion in enterprise value. The firm has offices in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.

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