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ASU+GSV Summit: 16 Ways We Can Get Equal Access to Education

At ASU-GSV,the past week, Brett Baker shared that a small education team on Twitter has begun collecting stories about how educators are using the social network to see if there are ways Twitter can support educators more. Out of the 1/2 billion tweets that users post every day, 4.2 million are related to education. If you want to jump onto the train and you have a suggestion or story to share about using Twitter in your school, tweet to @bbaker and use the hashtag #twitteredu.

The ASU-GSV Summit, brought 2,000 entrepreneurs, investors and educators together at the Phoenician hotel, in Scottsdale, AZ. Betsy Corcoran on Edsurge wrap it up with a cheatsheet of what she heard and overheard at the Summit.

Since 76% of users have access to Twitter via smartphone, some educators are begining to realize the power of the social network in their classrooms. Take for example how one San Francisco history teacher uses Twitter in his classroom to teach World War I or how principal Steve Williams is changing the culture of Sunlake High School through Twitter.

According to Corcoran, Tom Vander Ark, founder of Getting Smart, was one of the top presenters at the Summit with an impressive 132 meetings, and moderated a panel on how to deliver equal access to education which we want to share here:

- States should fund universal access to pre-school (like Oklahoma where 70% of students attend public pre-k programs).
- States should encourage better competency-based preparation and development for preschool teachers.
- Expanding access to high quality early learning experiences (city or state sponsored access to resources including mobile applications).
- Enacting the ‘good school promise’ – accountability is key to ensuring that every family in every state has access to good neighborhood schools, like Julie Jackson is supporting in Newark, as Managing Director of Uncommon Schools , who is always thinking about ways to improve the school model and support services to increase college completion rates.
- Supporting improved middle grade STEM preparation to boost low income/minority participation in rigorous college preparatory courses and exposure to STEM careers so they can gain the interest and training.
- Proactive authorizing of contract & charter schools targeting underserved geographies and student groups. School districts and civic leaders should consider the transported options available to each zip code in an urban area.
- Expanding access to full and part time online learning, blended with good face to face experiences, as well according to Lynda Weinman, CEO of Lynda.com (See Online Learning: Myths, Reality & Promise).
- Weighted, portable, flexible funding (See Funding Options, Students, and Achievement) would pay for extended learning time and higher pay for teachers in high challenge schools.
- Regular demonstrations of learning on competency-based progressions will make it easier for students to learn in many ways in formal and informal settings. (See From Cohorts to Competency.)
- Universal access to college credit opportunities in high school, on college campuses, and online. Also, knowing about and tapping into financial support opportunities to keep students enrolled. Andrea Zapp, CEO of Chicago Urban League, described early college high schools sponsored Microsoft, Verizon, Motorola, IBM that provide the opportunity to gain an associates degree and a corporate job.
- Early college and career awareness, guidance and support services as John Katzman, founder and CEO of Noodle, believes the tools are out there but the key is to marry really good advice with really deep data to provide the kind of support students need to find the right path.
Post secondary
- Free or means-tested state support for Associate degree programs.
- State partnerships with inexpensive accelerated competency-based degree pathways (e.g., WGU)
Job training
- Means-tested state support for job-training programs (could target skill gap occupations) eg micro-credentialing (as described here).
Community. The explosion of free and open learning resources is a global asset but for low income families it can be a challenge getting online to access.
Expanding broadband access in community hotspots and access devices at libraries.
Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com, would like to see a little less test-prep and broader access to joy-filled learning experiences inside and outside of school.
Now you now why Common Core has being exposed. Educators like to tweet!

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