There were a couple of great stories in Education technology that we thought were worth sharing with everyone. Cloud computing is really coming to the fore front and more and more educational institutions are moving away from legacy software installed on the PC to using applications usable over the internet such as web email and other web collaboration tools. Please enjoy this week”s top edu picks from Socrato.

1. Another Major University Enrolls in Microsoft”s Cloud

Spotlight: Education Technology
Author: Audrey Waters of ReadWrite Web

Last week Microsoft announced that the University of Georgia selected it”s Live@edu cloud computing service. The 85,000 students and faculty at the University of Georgia join an existing 11 million students to benefit from additional email storage, integrated calendaring and additional online collaboration tools. In addition to saving money, schools are under pressure to choosing systems that are secure enough to handle private student data (including CIPA requirements at the K-12 level), support multiple devices for both student and faculty, and fulfill the demand to support collaborative work in an educational environment.

Takeaway: There is growing confidence in cloud computing solutions and more and more educational institutions are comfortable moving their private data and computing solutions into the cloud.

2. Thoughts on the Blackboard acquisition of Wimba and Elluminate

Author: Mitch Weisburgh of Academic Business Advisors
Spotlight: Education Management Industry

Technology in the Education space is evolving pretty rapidly and Blackboard is positioning itself as the platform leader used by educational organizations for managing educational course work and classroom management. This article compared Blackboard”s acquisitions of Wimba and Elluminate to Microsoft”s acquisition of PowerPoint in the 90″s to establish itself as the leader in Office applications. While we agree in theory with the analogy we believe it would be more appropriate to compare Blackboard to SAP or Oracle in that sense.

Takeaway: Through acquisitions and organic growth Blackboard is vying for a dominant position in managing the end-to-end value chain for educational organizations.

Spotlight: Education Policy
Author: of the Wall Street Journal

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the finalists who will compete for a piece of $ 3.4 billion in funding to improve education standards. Around 10 to 15 states will be awarded up to $250 million to push innovation and reward states that promote charter schools (NGO public schools) and tie student performance to teachers. Previous awardees include the states of Delaware and Tennessee who shared $600 million in funding.

Takeaway: The high-stakes contest for millions of dollars is forcing states to experiment with education reform which includes adopting the common core standards for testing students.

Spotlight: Standardized Testing
Author: Mary Vorsino, of the Honolulu Star Advertiser on EdWeek

Public schools in Hawaii will roll out online testing for reading and math for the first time this fall and students will be able to take the assessment up to three times. The highest score will be used to assess what they are learning in the classroom.

Takeaway: Education officials in Hawaii believe shifting from paper-and-pencil exams to online testing will improve scores.

Spotlight: K-12 Education
Author: Kevin Prentiss of

Last but not least we would like to turn your attention to this riveting speech by Valedictorian Erica Goldson who graduated last month from Coxsackie-Athens High School. Thanks to Kevin Prentiss from Swift Kick for grabbing the entire text of the speech and posting it on his company”s blog.

Takeaway: I”ll let you be the judge of her speech. It is powerful and definitely worth a read.


Photo credit: Reini68


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