Signing Back On With Tech Counts, Look at Innovators

By Ian Quillen — February 28, 2012 1 min read
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Hey everyone. Remember us?

We here at the Digital Education blog would like to apologize for letting this space lie dormant for far too long. We promise that respite will be worth it: There’s a special report on business and innovation in education coming next week, to be followed by our annual Technology Counts report, which this year takes an in-depth look at the world of virtual schools.

But in order to whet your appetite a little bit, we thought you might like to take a look at a dozen profiles of postsecondary education innovators published by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Included among them are Salman Khan of the Khan Academy (who is also profiled in a Q&A feature of our upcoming special report) and Pearson’s Adrian Sannier, the lead developer of its OpenClass cloud computing application, which is available at the Google Apps Marketplace.

What’s interesting from to us—and frankly what reinforces what we see in our own reporting—is the potential for many of these innovators’ innovations (I tried to think of a better term, I really tried) to crossover into the K-12 realm.

The Khan Academy’s tutorials on algebra, geometry, physics, and other subjects actually arose out of Khan’s desire to help his school-aged cousins. Jim Groom’s course that shuns his university’s prescribed learning management system in favor of free web resources, Sannier and his OpenClass app, and John P. Wilkin’s super-library project that combines digital resources from more than 60 partner institutions all have implications for the K-12 world, in what seems to be a growing trend of trying to connect K-12 and higher education resources.

We’ve shown you how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also contributes funding to Education Week‘s parent, nonprofit corporation, has pushed for more innovations that link secondary school with postsecondary education in its Next Generation Learning Challenges program, and others in the ed-tech space have also noted how the two worlds are becoming more linked than ever. This is, perhaps, just the latest sign.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.