Push to close homework gap grows as coronavirus necessitates virtual learning

educationdive | March 13, 2020

When Seattle Public Schools announced it was closing schools for a minimum of two weeks, after a staff member became infected with COVID-19, students were sent home with no distance learning option. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal advised districts it was better to close schools rather than continue inequitable e-learning.  But now that closures in Washington's King, Pierce and Snohomish counties will stretch for six weeks or more, concerns over families' access to the internet have increased. On the heels of the decision to shut down Washington’s biggest districts came more closures. Statewide closures in several districts have been announced, along with Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta and other major metro districts. Nationally, approximately 12 million students fall into the homework gap because they don’t have internet access at home, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Spotlight

The goals of schooling have changed radically in the past 150 years. Consider the notion of literacy. The ability to sign your name made you literate in colonial times; in the 1800s, you’d reach the same designation if you could recite a few memorized lines of the Declaration of Independence. Around the time of World War I, a new demand for literacy from the US Army shifted the definition of literacy to focus on the ability to make sense of technical manuals in new contexts.

Spotlight

The goals of schooling have changed radically in the past 150 years. Consider the notion of literacy. The ability to sign your name made you literate in colonial times; in the 1800s, you’d reach the same designation if you could recite a few memorized lines of the Declaration of Independence. Around the time of World War I, a new demand for literacy from the US Army shifted the definition of literacy to focus on the ability to make sense of technical manuals in new contexts.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Imagine Learning Acquires Robotify, Innovative New Platform Designed To Teach Coding Through Virtual Robotics Simulation

Imagine Learning | November 11, 2021

Imagine Learning, the leading provider of digital curriculum solutions in the U.S., today announced the acquisition of Robotify, a digital curriculum start-up with a mission to empower students to learn coding in an inspiring, engaging, and playful way. The Dublin, Ireland based company was founded by Adam Dalton and Evan Darcy, and offers a user-friendly curriculum aligned to CSTA and ISTE standards, with easy implementation and the resources schools need to help students develop computer science and coding skills. The acquisition, the company's first since being rebranded as Imagine Learning, reinforces the focus on its mission: to ignite learning breakthroughs and support each student's unique learning journey. "We are excited to welcome Robotify to the Imagine Learning family. Coding is the new literacy and Imagine Learning is a literacy leader. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) has become critical to prepare today's learners for jobs of the future—with coding in particular quickly becoming a prerequisite. We also know that too many schools across the U.S. lack the resources to properly staff or equip a robotics program. Robotify solves this with a digital-first approach to provide greater opportunity to students by using virtual robots to make coding accessible to all. Driving equity is at the heart of our commitment to students, educators, and families, and this acquisition is a meaningful step for us." Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Imagine Learning "As the barriers between core and supplemental curriculum blur, impacted by data-driven digital education and assessment, we believe that Robotify will become an important element of a K-12 education offering students valuable gamified science and coding content. Through the power of digital education, we are making learning more equitable, more collaborative and personalized, always advancing with students at the center," said Grayer. Robotify offers courses that include over 800 different coding activities and games, and even a multi-player platform that allows kids to showcase their coding skills in virtual robotics competition against teams worldwide. The platform offers 24/7 access to the most innovative robots, with no hardware purchase required, ever. "When we founded Robotify, our mission was simple—to empower all kids to learn coding in an inspiring, engaging and playful way. We are proud of the phenomenal journey we have been on thanks to our incredible team, and this is only just the beginning," said co-founder, Adam Dalton. "Joining Imagine Learning helps bring us closer to our goal of making programming more accessible to young minds around the globe, and we're elated to be part of the Imagine Learning family." The acquisition of Robotify, coming on the heels of the acquisition of Twig Education earlier this year, highlights Imagine Learning's commitment to bring STEM forward in service of their mission, and prepare learners for the future. About Imagine Learning Imagine Learning is a PreK–12 digital learning solutions company that ignites learning breakthroughs by designing forward-thinking solutions at the intersection of people, curricula, and technology to drive student growth. Imagine Learning serves more than 10 million students and partners with more than 7,500 school districts nationwide. Imagine Learning's flagship brands include Imagine Edgenuity, provider of online courseware and intervention solutions; Imagine Learning, provider of digital supplemental and intervention solutions for literacy, language, and mathematics; and LearnZillion, StudySync, and Twig Education, providers of high-quality, digital-first core curriculum.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Thought Industries Integrates Bongo Video Assessments for Richer Customer Learning Experiences

Thought | August 08, 2021

Thought Industries, the world's #1 platform for customer learning management (CLM), today announced interactive video assessments from Bongo are now available through the Thought Industries CLM platform. The video assessments build on the platform's scalable education tools, offering experiential learning and soft skill development training within a real-world context to increase confidence and enhance learning outcomes for customers, partners and professionals. The native Bongo integration reflects the growing demand for customer-centric learning technology to help businesses drive loyalty and revenue growth, and the need to assess skills and progress along the way. Users of the Thought Industries CLM platform can now practice, self-assess, or record and demonstrate competency to an accrediting body or community of peers for feedback and coaching using three modes of video learning: Individual Assignment: Learners record or upload a video of themselves presenting on a topic or specific skill. Prior to submission, learners incorporate automated machine-driven feedback and insights into the delivery and content of their videos, providing an opportunity for self-assessment, improvement and continuous learning. Innovate. Coach. Consult (ICC), a technology based, leadership development and outplacement solution firm with 225 offices in 28 countries, is a Thought Industries client taking advantage of the Bongo video assessment integration. The firm, which trains leadership in industries ranging from financial services and manufacturing to healthcare and oil and gas, is using the assessments for role-play scenarios and practice, as well as interview simulations. "We're constantly searching for the best modalities to keep the learner engaged. The ability to have interactive videos and evaluated videos will be a true selling point for us," said Susan Ruhl, President and CFO of ICC. "Bongo will improve the learner experience through AI features such as filler words and grading against a transcription. The ability for the learner to quickly review their submission with feedback sets our solution apart from those who simply have the ability to record and submit." "Customer learning can take many shapes and forms, but in the end, it's all about meeting customers where they are so they can get more out of their learning efforts. Increasingly, that means video, and Bongo's video assessments are yet another way for us to provide vital multimodal capabilities for exceptional learning experiences," said Todd Boes, chief product officer, Thought Industries. "Whether they're selecting blended, synchronous and asynchronous options, or employing interactive video assignments and assessments, customers now have another way to measure competency and subject matter understanding." "Video assessments are a powerful way to measure learning outcomes, but they're only effective if organizations properly incorporate them into their customer learning efforts. Thought Industries provides the scalable learning platform that makes this possible," said Josh Kamrath, chief executive officer, Bongo. "From professional training companies to product companies, organizations of all kinds stand to benefit from enhanced learning experiences. Bongo's interactive video assessments, coupled with the Thought Industries customer learning platform, empower organizations to turn knowledge into action—and to track learner progress at every step." About Bongo Bongo is an embedded solution that drives meaningful assessment, experiential learning and skill development at scale through video-based engagement and personalized feedback. Organizations use our video workflows to create opportunities for practice, demonstration, analysis, and collaboration. When individuals show what they can do within a real-world learning environment, evaluators get an authentic representation of their competency. About Thought Industries Thought Industries provides the world's #1 software platform for customer learning management (CLM). CLM empowers businesses to create compelling learning experiences for customers, partners and professionals. These experiences help businesses grow revenue, increase customer loyalty, and ensure customer success across technology, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries with complex products and training requirements. Thought Industries was founded in 2014 around the core belief that online learning experiences should be modern, intuitive, engaging, and scalable. Headquartered in Boston, Thought Industries has offices across North America and Europe.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Tutor.com Announces Partnership With StraighterLine: Collaboration Will Enhance Pathway providing online tutoring services for thousands of students

Tutor.com | November 10, 2021

Tutor.com, one of the world's largest online tutoring services, announced that StraighterLine, a pioneering online higher education course provider, has selected Tutor.com to provide online tutoring services for the thousands of students StraighterLine serves each year. Through the partnership, students gain 24/7 no-cost access to 1-to-1 expert tutoring and drop-off review services for StraighterLine courses. The goal: Help higher education students earn affordable college credits—and graduate from one of the 1,500+ colleges and universities that have accepted StraighterLine courses. The synergy of the two companies' missions—Tutor.com helps students persist and graduate; StraighterLine ensures they can earn college degrees affordably—promises to broaden access to higher education. Tutor.com, which has delivered more than 21 million tutoring sessions in its 21 years, has been shown in independent efficacy studies to increase student pass and persistence rates. StraighterLine, a pioneer in non-traditional pathways to college credit since 2008, has been shown to help colleges increase yield and persistence while helping students lower the cost and risk of starting a degree. "We have proven that higher education can be affordable for everyone," said Burck Smith, co-founder of StraighterLine and other education technology companies. "In partnering with Tutor.com, we want ensure that students have the resources they need to thrive in their courses so they can achieve their higher education goals." Many of StraighterLine's partner colleges are also partners of Tutor.com. For instance, StraighterLine partner American Public University System has been a partner of Tutor.com for nearly a decade. The mutual collaboration streamlines academic support for students. One APUS student who recently utilized the service wrote in a post-session survey: "Other sites give answers. This service gives a solution for working through to the answer." "We share an ethos with StraighterLine—we are both dedicated to meeting students where they are. At Tutor.com, we have built a resilient academic support model geared toward making higher education accessible for all students, and we are thrilled to partner with StraighterLine to deliver student-centered support." Sandi White, Senior Vice President, Institutional, Tutor.com The partnership also enables staff at StraighterLine to access real-time data and analytics through Tutor.com's Client Portal, a dashboard providing information about tutoring session activity. There, they can get actionable data to address curricular challenges and provide just-in-time support for students who need it—ensuring the momentum of the StraighterLine–Tutor.com student success cycle. About StraighterLine StraighterLine is a student success company and the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials. The StraighterLine platform supports over 40,000 new students a year, including directly through the straighterline.com website as well as through the company's growing network of university and employer relationships. About Tutor.com Since its incorporation in 2000, Tutor.com has delivered more than 21 million one-to-one online tutoring and homework help sessions to students. The company's more than 3,000 vetted and qualified tutors provide learning assistance that is available 24/7 in a wide variety of subjects. The company's mission is to instill hope, advance equity, and catalyze achievement in schools and communities. Tutor.com powers tutoring and homework help programs for the U.S. Department of Defense, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program, colleges and universities, K–12 school districts, state and local libraries, and companies offering employee benefit programs. Headquartered in New York City, Tutor.com is an affiliate of The Princeton Review, an education services company not affiliated with Princeton University.

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