The Rearview Mirror: The NGLC Blog in December

Happy New Year! NGLC welcomes 2014 with renewed hope that the hard work of creating breakthrough change in education will continue. Can you picture yet what the future of education looks like? At NGLC, our new year’s resolution is to continue to learn how technology can best be used by educators to help each student learn and reach their full potential—so that we will have many pictures of a new future that are sharp, in focus, and illustrative.

Last month, as we closed out 2013, we blogged a bunch about schools that offer a vision of the future. These schools are bringing the next generation of learning to today’s students. We released 27 profiles of K-12 breakthrough model schools and introduced them in the post, NGLC Updates Profiles of 27 Breakthrough Schools. The profiles identify the key features that distinguish each school’s model; the tech tools the schools are using to make their models work; their yearly revenue and expenses as they ramp up implementation; demographics of the students the schools serve; graphics that depict classroom space, student pathways, or instructional staffing models; and a brief narrative describing the vision, the academic model, and the organizational model of the school.

How can you use these profiles of models that are operating right now, in 2014, to understand what the future of education looks like? In Breakthrough Schools Profiles: A Guide to Next Gen Learning, Sarah Luchs navigates the landscape highlighting what you’ll learn from the eight brand new profiles of NGLC’s most recent grantees and ways that you might make use of the profiles to talk with others—district leaders, community members, parents—about personalization, quality blended learning, and competency-based learning.

NGLC teamed up with CEE-Trust to host a “Detroit Study Tour” in November to see some of these models in action. Staff from Getting Smart who joined us on that trip reflected on the ways in which the schools they visited (Cornerstone Charter Schools, Education Achievement Authority’s Southeastern High School, Matchbook Learning’s Burns Elementary) put NGLC’s seven design principles into action. Next Gen Schools Thriving in Detroit even includes a video clip of a station rotation blended learning classroom where you can see students working at computers, in small groups, and in one small group with the teacher. Incredibly inspiring!

But let’s not stop with K-12. The future of higher education will be shaped by agents of change in colleges and universities across the country, and NGLC launched the Breakthrough Models Academy to enlist and inspire those change agents to extend what we are learning about new ways to provide high quality but affordable, personalized degree programs. In the post, NGLC’s Breakthrough Models Academy: A Recap and an Invitation, Nancy Millichap shared what participants in the 2013 program did (not only what they learned from the amazing lineup of speakers and presenters, but also what they themselves contributed) and issued an invitation for applicants to the 2014 program. Applications are due by January 17.

Any change agent will need to keep on top of the latest trends and news in higher education transformation. Our monthly blog series, Trending Now: Postsecondary, is a great way to do just that. In December’s edition, Nancy Millichap recounted a nationally telecast meeting about competency-based education in community colleges that was hosted in November by the New America Foundation and others. She also dove into a report on declining tuition revenues in public and private colleges.


Keep track of NGLC blog posts via twitter (@NextGenLC) or the blog’s RSS feed. If you have suggestions for blog topics or would like to contribute a post on the NGLC blog, please contact Kristen Vogt at

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