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Common Core Launches Avalanche of Innovation

Ohanian Comment: Warning: Vomit Index in this content is very high. I realize that is not exactly a sophisticated or even informative comment, but. . . . It was my first thought.

My second thought was "And NCTE thinks it can compete with this Common Core resource onslaught. I remember back when the old NCTE Standards were adopted amidst considerable controversy. NCTE thought it would make money selling books.

I wonder how that worked out for them.

Remember when Tom Vander Ark was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Executive Director of Education? Since then, he has had more titles, all to do with the venture capital possibilities in education, i.e., cashing in on education.

And right now the Common Core is where the money is. Big time.

The Common Core State [sic] Standards are of corporate America, by corporate America, and for corporate America.

That's how it's been from the start, is for now and forever more.

Big Time.


by Tom Vander Ark

Lifting the lowest 30 state standards to real college and career readiness levels isnât the only benefit of the Common Core. The new standards unleashed a timely wave of investment in digital content.

In addition to the passing of textbooks, weâre watching the end of the first generation of flat and sequential digital content. The timely introduction of the Core is accelerating the introduction of engaging and standards-aligned adaptive content.

Yesterday, EdWeeks's Catherine Gewetrz wrote a good summary of the wave of new Core-aligned content. She mentioned McGraw-Hill but left out Pearson's substantial across the board investment in Common Core resources.

The Core has provided the impetus for providers like Apex Learning, American Virtual Academy, and Compass Learning to update their curriculum. Compass is shifting from courses to objects and Flash to HTML5 to enable anywhere & any device learning.

MIND Research Institute just launched a touch version of its visual ST Math. The program has posted great results with twice weekly lab use. Now that it is available on tablets it opens up a world of possibilities for expanded useâand impact.

Learn Capital portfolio companies leading the shift to the Common Core include:

Mastery Connect provides a platform to connect Common Core goals with classroom practice through the innovative use of on-­âdemand micro-­assessments sourced from a nationwide network of educators.

Mangahigh makes compelling middle grade math games with embedded Core-aligned assessment and achievement analytics.

Bloomboard (formerly Formative Learning) provides online professional development.

LearnZillion launched a highly flexible, ultra low cost production model for generating Common Core digital curricula that rapidly iterates and improves through use.

StudySync models the deeper learning and rich discourse incorporated in Core standards.

Core standards are also the basis for next generation assessments in development by the Race to the Top funded testing consortiaâPARCC and SBAC. These online assessments provide a useful timeline for the shift from print to digital instructional materials.

Common Core State Standards provide a national platform for innovation. For the first time, content developers can invest for a national market. As illustrated above, the Core has triggered a wave of investment in engaging, personalized learning content and tools.

Disclosures: Pearson is an investor in Learn Capital where Tom is a partner. MIND Research Institute is advocacy partner.

About The Author: Tom is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and founder of GettingSmart.com. Tom is also CEO of Open Education Solutions and a partner in Learn Capital, a venture capital firm investing in learning content, platforms, and services with the goal of transforming educational engagement, access, and effectiveness.

— Tom Vander Ark
Getting Smart Blog





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