South Dakota received $6.8 million to assist the State students during COVID-19

washingtontimes | August 03, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded South Dakota $6.8 million to support the state’s efforts in serving students during the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath.While 39 states applied for funding, only 11 states, including South Dakota, were awarded grants.“During school closures in the spring, we saw that those schools providing competency-based instruction, or what’s often called ‘customized’ or ‘personalized’ learning, were better able to keep more of their students engaged in distance learning,” said Secretary of Education Ben Jones. “This three-year grant will help us build on those successes and further develop that kind of learning model across South Dakota.”

Spotlight

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been widely adopted by higher education institutions globally for over a decade. Institutions in sub-Saharan Africa now spend a significant proportion of their limited resources on installing and maintaining these systems. This expenditure continues to increase, raising questions as to whether LMS in these institutions are fulfilling their potential. The article investigates this question by analyzing the literature published on LMS usage from across the region. The article concludes by proposing strategies that can help institutions make more effective use of their LMS. The aim is to help institutions to identify effective strategies for supporting increased and cost-effective LMS usage.

Spotlight

Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been widely adopted by higher education institutions globally for over a decade. Institutions in sub-Saharan Africa now spend a significant proportion of their limited resources on installing and maintaining these systems. This expenditure continues to increase, raising questions as to whether LMS in these institutions are fulfilling their potential. The article investigates this question by analyzing the literature published on LMS usage from across the region. The article concludes by proposing strategies that can help institutions make more effective use of their LMS. The aim is to help institutions to identify effective strategies for supporting increased and cost-effective LMS usage.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Varo Bank Launches "SaveUp" Financial Education Course in Collaboration with EVERFI

EVERFI | September 17, 2022

Varo Bank, the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank, announced today the launch of SaveUp, a free middle school savings curriculum designed in strategic partnership with social impact education innovator, EVERFI. The SaveUp course is the largest initiative to date of the Varo Money Power program, which includes free online financial education lessons for adults and the Russ x Varo Money Power financial education workshops for high school students designed in partnership with NBA superstar Russell Westbrook.SaveUp empowers students by providing them with the tools they need to build a strong savings foundation and will be available to 4,500 middle schools nationwide by June 2024. The course is aligned with Jump$tart National Standards for Personal Finance Education and focuses on middle school students to provide them time to learn and practice savings habits before they start to deal with more pressing financial challenges in high school and beyond. "Everyone deserves the same access to opportunity, and that starts with financial education,Through this joint initiative, Varo and EVERFI continue to advance our shared mission of expanding financial inclusion and helping young people learn the fundamentals of what it takes to build wealth for themselves and their communities. We plan to leverage this program content in the future to broaden the reach of financial education and literacy to a wider audience going forward." Colin Walsh, Founder and CEO of Varo Bank Throughout the course, students will learn the importance of saving, how to budget, how savings can help reach financial goals, and how to open a savings account. This will be accomplished through an interactive learning experience that includes: Self-guided lessons to help students develop simple, actionable strategies. Real-world scenarios that prime students for long-term behavioral change using problem-solving and self- reflection activities. Detailed score reports and offline extension activities to help teachers maximize their impact across all students. Middle school is a time of financial socialization for students as they start to develop their own values and beliefs around money," said Ray Martinez, Co-Founder and President of EVERFI. "Developing the SaveUp curriculum and bringing it to middle schools around the country, is just part of our commitment to help students, especially those in low-to-moderate income populations, build the knowledge and skills they need to achieve financial wellness and stability while providing equal access to the financial services system. About Varo Bank, N.A. Varo Bank is the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank built from the ground up, designed to make financial inclusion and opportunity a reality for all. Varo Bank is reimagining the modern banking experience and providing customers with the tools they need to build financial resilience and realize their financial power – with offerings such as Varo Believe, a secured card to help build credit, Varo Advance to help stretch hard-earned dollars between paychecks, the ability to earn cashback at 1,000 merchant locations nationwide, and a newly launched high yield savings account option, more than 38x the national average. A different kind of financial institution – Varo Bank serves everyone striving to build a better future – from those with abundance to people struggling to make ends meet. Varo has been named one of Forbes' World's Best Banks in 2022, Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and is on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies for 2022. For more information on Varo Advance, Varo Believe, and other offerings such as Perks, visit www.varomoney.com, like Varo Bank on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @varobank. @2022 Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. About EVERFI, Inc. EVERFI from Blackbaud is an international technology company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to mental health to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI's Impact-as-a-Service™ solution and digital educational content have reached more than 45 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine's Impact 20 List. The company was also named to the 2021 GSV EdTech 150, a list of the most transformative growth companies in digital learning. Blackbaud, the world's leading cloud software company powering social good, acquired EVERFI in December of 2021.

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

AMAZON AND LEADING MUSIC EDUCATION PLATFORM YOUSICIAN COLLABORATE TO CREATE THE ULTIMATE BUNDLE FOR BEGINNER MUSICIANS

amazon | November 09, 2022

Amazon and Yousician, the world's leading music education service, are collaborating to help inspire the next generation of musicians. Beginning October 24th, consumers who purchase a qualifying musical instrument in Amazon stores will receive as an added gift-with-purchase, 30-days free access to Yousician Premium+, making it easy for any beginner to get started learning an instrument. Yousician has set a new standard in music education with its gamified approach to learning how to play an instrument. Its platform offers thousands of interactive guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and singing lessons to quickly learn to play your favorite songs from hundreds of artists across all musical spectrums: from Coldplay and Adele to Billie Eilish, Metallica, and many more. Amazon, whose Amazon's Alexa Fund invested in Yousician's $28 million Series B fund in April 2021, is collaborating for the first time with Yousician to create this special bundle. Yousician always offers new users the option to receive a 7-day free subscription, but with this collaboration, they will receive 30-days free. This is the first time Yousician has collaborated with another company for a consumer product bundle. Yousician's approach to music education uses innovative audio recognition technology that differentiates the platform from its competitors. The audio feature listens to the user play and provides real-time feedback. The gamified experience is that of an on-demand music school with world-class instructors at the helm to guide interactive learning for users at any level. "Through our collaboration with Amazon, we make it very easy for people to begin their musical hobby. Get the instrument delivered to your home, download the Yousician app and start playing. It's that simple. Customers trust Amazon's seamless retail experience, and millions trust Yousician to learn how to play an instrument. We're looking forward to being able to offer Yousician to Amazon customers and help them kickstart their musical journey." Chris Thür, Co-founder and CEO of Yousician Yousician recently partnered with Metallica, the multi-Grammy Award-winning and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band, to create 3 beginner-friendly courses with step-by-step tutorials directly from the band so users could learn the songs the way they're meant to be played directly from the band themselves. Amazon customers will receive a special code with their qualifying instrument purchase that gives them 30-days free access on Yousician Premium+. Premium+ access on Yousician includes unlimited lessons and thousands of songs to learn from. No credit card is required to redeem the offer. The promotion will kick off October 24th and run in the United States for a 1 year period. About Yousician: Yousician is the world's leading platform for learning and playing music, driven by the belief that the more people play music, the better this world will be. With a combined 20 million monthly users, the platform's groundbreaking products, Yousician and GuitarTuna, are the leaders in their field. Yousician has revolutionized how people learn and play music with innovative technology that gives players real-time feedback. It offers interactive learning for guitar, bass, ukulele, piano and singing with lessons, exercises and songs.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

LISC teams up with HBCUs on talent development program for students, expanded capacity for CDFIs

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) | November 25, 2022

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has launched a new internship program for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to help bridge the opportunity gap for students of color—offering community development mentorship and experience that gives young people a leg up when entering the workforce. Over the next two years, LISC's National HBCU Talent Development program is placing 40 students in part-time intern positions with local LISC offices and other community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Interns will support a range of initiatives, from marketing to finance to community engagement, while also participating in leadership and national networking events. The program is funded by the Citi Foundation and is specifically designed to address national disparities in internships, with White students significantly more likely to gain paid versus unpaid positions than Black students. The LISC internship pays $25/hour up to $15,000 for the academic year. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not," noted Denise Scott, LISC president, who held a virtual "fireside" chat with the initial cohort of interns last month. This program is part of our work to address systemic racial barriers that keep young people from gaining the experience and connections they need to compete for good jobs," she explained. "Through this program, students can earn a strong wage, gain hands-on experience, work with mentors and build a network of contacts and supporters all while supporting valuable community investment activity," she continued. "It's a win for all of us. At the outset, eight HBCUs are participating in the program, with young people from varied backgrounds and experiences applying to participate. Eryn Glover, for instance, is a sophomore marketing major at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, N.C., and one of LISC's first HBCU interns. She is working with the staff at LISC Charlotte to support fundraising, social media and community outreach, helping extend LISC's engagement with the region's philanthropic leaders and supporting valuable collaborations with local partners. I've always known that I wanted to do nonprofit work and put my skills to work to help people," said Glover, a South Jersey native who has spent recent summer breaks working at community-based organizations. She chose JCSU for her education because she wanted to attend an HBCU, benefit from a smaller university, and be close to family that had moved to North Carolina. I feel like I have opportunities here, like the LISC internship, that offer the chance to really get to know professors and mentors, and to also make a difference. I want to work in marketing within the nonprofit space, so this internship really aligns with that," she said. In Washington, D.C., Howard University senior Marsi Hailu is interning with the LISC policy team. Her early projects include mapping gaps in broadband access especially in rural communities and researching the disproportionate impact of climate events on low-income communities of color.I already knew that there is a lack of intergenerational wealth in Black and Brown communities because of historical discrimination," she said of her initial research. "But I guess I didn't realize how much that intersects with geography. It's a lot easier to recover from a disaster if you aren't already living paycheck to paycheck," she added. Hailu, a finance major from Northern Virginia, hopes to pursue a graduate degree in urban development after graduation, with a concentration in affordable housing. She said the LISC internship offers the opportunity to try her hand at different aspects of community development, going well beyond what she might learn in her finance classes. In a lot of places, housing is at the root of inequality," she said, explaining her passion for the work. "As someone who grew up in the area, I see the disparities facing low-income folks. I want to do something about that," she said. In addition to Howard and JCSU, initial HBCU supporters of the program include Edward Waters University (Florida), LeMoyne-Owen College (Tennessee), Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), Morehouse College (Georgia), Simmons College (Kentucky), and Virginia State University (Virginia). Additional HBCUs will be referring students in the months to come. LISC's Scott said the universities are eager to help students identify new opportunities for advancement—particularly given that many of the schools already have existing relationships with LISC, collaborating on local efforts related housing and economic development. "Here at Johnson C. Smith University, we strive to graduate global citizens who develop a compelling sense of social and civic responsibility for leadership and service,. "LISC's internship program is an excellent way for JCSU students to put this possibility into perspective outside of the classroom. Just as we strive to develop a better world by graduating the best and brightest, LISC does the same by investing in its community to make economic equality a reality," he said. JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister The National HBCU Talent Development program draws on the experience of LISC's nearly three decades of work with AmeriCorps, including the Economic Mobility Corps (EMC) launched in 2020. Through EMC, LISC places national service members in positions that help build the capacity of CDFIs. We have long seen the value in connecting people to community development positions in places that they know and care about," Scott said. "Our HBCU internship program takes that a step further, focusing on gaps in opportunity for students of color, injecting equity into CDFI recruitment efforts and building a community development workforce that reflects the people and places it serves. About LISC LISC is one of the country's largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances.

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