RISE 2019: DeVos calls $5B school choice proposal 'critical' for nation's students

educationdive | April 12, 2019

Nearly two months after U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos unveiled her latest school choice-centered proposal, she addressed an audience of hundreds Thursday on why its companion legislation needs to pass in Congress.Speaking at the 2019 Reagan Institute Summit on Education (RISE) and sitting alongside Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz — who introduced Senate Bill 634 at the end of February — DeVos said Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) "will ultimately mean a better education for more kids." "We’ve encouraged people to think very broadly about what school choice can mean," she said, calling the initiative "critical in continuing to ... boost the momentum to offer more choice for more kids."Under the proposal, taxpayers can choose to contribute to the program in exchange for dollar-for-dollar federal tax credits, meant to foster choice, that are capped at $5 billion annually. The credits would be for private donations to scholarship-granting organizations, and states could use the funds for dual enrollment, private schools, homeschooling and more.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

ViewSonic to Build World’s First Citywide Education Metaverse in New Tapei

ViewSonic | June 30, 2022

The New Taipei City Government in Taiwan and ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solutions, have partnered to promote UNIVERSE by ViewSonic, an immersive 3D virtual environment designed for education, to schools at all levels in the city. This initiative will benefit about 400,000 K–12 students. The two organizations inked an agreement of collaboration to help schools become digital learning environments following a successful pilot program at Long Pu Elementary School in New Taipei City. Additionally, this week, ViewSonic showcased UNIVERSE in New Orleans, USA, at the ISTE Live 22 Conference & Expo. "New Taipei City has been devoted to digital learning for years. We have observed that current online learning faces numerous challenges, such as a lack of interaction and sense of participation. UNIVERSE by ViewSonic simulates real-world interactions. Teachers and students can create personalized avatars to further engage with each other in this 3D space. Moreover, UNIVERSE can also be applied to cross-school teaching, thereby bridging the resource gap between schools. We look forward to having New Taipei City as the world's first city to adopt Metaverse for all levels of education, leading the way for schools all over the world in transforming how we teach and learn digitally." - Chang Ming-Wen, New Taipei City Education Department Commissioner "Current online education platforms still focus on unidirectional communication. It not only limits the development of interactive courses for educators but also makes it difficult to evaluate studentengagement during classes. Students cannot easily interact with peers and are prone to feel isolated. UNIVERSE by ViewSonic is the strongest solution to resolve these issues by making online learning feel as if it were in-person. Through the cooperation with New Taipei City, all teachers and students will benefit from the most innovative learning pedagogies. - James Chu, Chairman and CEO of ViewSonic Immersive virtual learning environments, including classrooms, lecture halls, and collaborative areas, are offered by UNIVERSE by ViewSonic. Emojis, chat messages, and realistic spatialized audio are just a few of the simple and user-friendly alternatives available to participants for various forms of communication. Teachers can project content, design pop quizzes, and separate students into breakout rooms for group discussions thanks to digital teaching aids. Teachers can also connect to ViewSonic's myViewBoard platform and use its cutting-edge teaching capabilities through the built-in browser.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Fullstack Academy Joins AWS Authorized Training Partner Program

Fullstack Academy | September 15, 2022

Fullstack Academy, a national tech education provider, announced today it has joined the Amazon Web Services Authorized Training Partner program. AWS Training Partners (ATP) are the only organizations that can deliver or offer official AWS Training through their AWS Authorized Instructors (AAI). As an ATP, Fullstack Academy will integrate AWS Training and Certification into several of its existing bootcamp programs. Starting in 2022, students enrolled in the Data Analytics Training Accelerator (DATA), a no-cost training program offered in partnership with NYC’s Tech Talent Pipeline, will receive the training needed to earn the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification. The certification validates an individual’s cloud fluency and foundational AWS knowledge, establishing credibility within their organization or qualifying for new career opportunities. Training for this certification will be rolled out to additional Fullstack Academy bootcamps later this year. The organization also plans to offer this training standalone to new students and alumni. Cloud computing skills are in high demand, with 85% of organizations reporting the need for employees with cloud expertise, according to a 2020 report from 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Adoption of cloud computing services grew 25% in 2021 alone, and we’re seeing companies using AWS to become more agile, improve scalability and innovate more quickly,For many tech professionals, cloud computing skills are essential to landing a job and advancing their career. By becoming an AWS Authorized Training Partner, Fullstack Academy is better able to support our students and alumni looking to develop the in-demand skills needed to implement cloud solutions.” Jerrad Tausz, CEO of Fullstack Academy. Before Fullstack became an ATP, its students and graduates were seeking AWS Certifications outside of the bootcamp to complement their credentials. As I was preparing for a job search in the information technology field, I wanted to set myself up for success and demonstrate my knowledge of cloud computing to potential employers,said Sean Borry, a Fullstack Academy graduate now working as a Consultant at Deloitte. The technical knowledge and professional confidence I gained as a student at Fullstack Academy, combined with becoming an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, played a huge part in me being able to secure a job in the industry. Borry graduated from the Fullstack Academy Cybersecurity Bootcamp in May 2022. “In today’s increasingly cloud-driven world, many of our students and alumni are looking to bolster their cloud expertise with AWS Certifications,” Tausz added. “We’re thrilled to incorporate the training into our offerings.” According to a 2022 report from Enterprise Strategy Group, 83% of learners reported increased job security as a result of AWS Certifications, and 74% reported higher earnings. Employers also report benefitting from AWS Certifications. Among IT leaders that employ staff with AWS certifications, 90% say productivity improved, 89% report faster troubleshooting, and 86% report improved cloud security. Professionals with cloud skills are fundamentally key to helping organizations transform their business and thrive which is why these skills are in such high demand, said Maureen Lonergan, Vice President, AWS Training and Certification. “AWS Training and Certification, along with ATPs like Fullstack Academy, aim to equip the builders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge to tap into the power of the cloud. About Fullstack Academy Fullstack Academy is a national tech education provider based in New York City. Founded in 2012, it offers web development, cybersecurity, data analytics, DevOps, and product management bootcamps. Fullstack Academy also offers the Grace Hopper Program, an immersive software engineering course for women and non-binary students, in addition to partnerships with leading universities nationwide, including Virginia Tech, Caltech CTME, and Louisiana State University. Graduates have been hired by Google, Facebook, Fortune 100 firms, and startups

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Outschool Selects Promoted to Optimize Marketplace and Increase Profitability

Outschool | July 26, 2022

Promoted, which is the only company to unify search, feed, ads, and promotions for top marketplaces, announced today that Outschool has selected Promoted to optimize the performance and profitability of its education marketplace. Outschool wanted to better match its classes with learners to increase search conversion rates, total GMV (gross merchandise value), and profitability. Outschool chose Promoted after weighing the costs and risks of building an order-of-magnitude greater infrastructure investment versus working with the experienced Promoted team to get a proven, real-time streaming data service with ML in place. Within a quarter, Promoted optimized Outschool search to increase conversion by about +11%, with more improvements planned for H2 2022. “Promoted is able to measure and report on data in real-time on search for us and use machine learning to better match teachers and students so we can very effectively increase conversion rates and make our customers and users happy. “The founders have deep experience in search optimization as ad engineers from Facebook, Pinterest and Google, and we have found the technology extends and compounds our existing engineering investments in search and discovery to directly increase profitability at a reasonable cost.” Kejia Zhu, Lead Product Manager, from Outschool Promoted and Marketplaces Right now, most large marketplaces have separate teams for ads, merchandising, search, and recommendations. They all work in separate departments and information is siloed. Even with expensive tech savvy engineers, these businesses do not have a unified data infrastructure that is measuring performance of everything in search feed, merchandising, and ads across the marketplace. When ads, listings, promotions, and search aren’t optimized together, conversions are low, revenues decrease, and it becomes a death spiral as more ads and promotions are shown to compensate, further driving away users. Promoted is the only provider that offers a complete and comprehensive solution to fix this problem for e-commerce apps and marketplaces. Promoted’s secret sauce is its ability to provide an entire measurement solution with a data service that measures and optimizes user engagement in real-time. Other ad tech or search vendors are measuring pieces with siloed data and/or only measuring ads, not giving marketplaces the complete picture. How it Works First, Promoted measures everything in its client’s app or marketplace, then they aggregate and join the data in real-time with reporting. Next, using AI-based data optimization, Promoted creates a complete picture of the data so they can predict conversion and clicks for the client’s search and feed. Once Promoted has this complete picture of performance on a marketplace, it creates a “unified currency” for optimizing trade-offs between the optimal user experience in search and feed, seller experience using ads and promotions, and marketplace profitability versus growth. “We are very excited to be working with Outschool and to so quickly increase conversions for its business,” said Andrew Yates, Co-Founder and CEO of Promoted. “Promoted gives top marketplaces and e-commerce companies one complete picture of how search, feed, ads and promotions are performing by measuring in real-time and then optimizing them using machine learning to increase conversions. By unifying this information, the entire marketplace works properly, and CFOs and COOs can set achievable goals for revenue and profitability.” About Outschool Outschool offers live online education experiences that connect real-life teachers with learners in small-group settings to explore everything from Minecraft, Pokemon and Cooking to Chemistry, Algebra and Literature. With over 100,000 online classes offered by teachers to learners around the globe, Outschool helps supplement what is often missing from a more traditional education. Outschool’s mission is to inspire kids to love learning by making education fun, social and self-directed. Classes on Outschool range from one-time enrichment lessons to semester-long core courses and weekly social clubs. Classes are offered across all subjects, and learners range from age 3 to 18. About Promoted Promoted is the only company to unify search, feed, ads, and promotions for top marketplaces like Outschool, Hipcamp, Teachers Pay Teachers, Snackpass, and other e-commerce unicorns. Promoted works by measuring everything in the marketplace using its real-time streaming data infrastructure. Then, Promoted maximizes conversions in search and feed through machine learning. Backed by Y Combinator, the company was founded by former ad engineers from Pinterest, Facebook, and Google.

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