Baltimore: Ed-Tech Hub

Baltimore is an ed-tech hub. Pearson’s K-12 virtual learning company Connections Education is based here.  And Tom Vander Ark says so.

Towson University, a former state teachers’ college, which still provides Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) with the majority of its teachers, hosts Maryland’s only business incubator specializing in ed-tech, the TU Incubator. The University’s first Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation is Dr. Nancy Grasmick, the former Superintendent of Maryland public schools. The 2012 creation of this teacher-prep program — the seed money for which came from Grasmick’s friend, Baltimore developer Edward St. John, and from PayPal exec Vince Talbert — made Michelle Rhee very happy.

Baltimore is apparently becoming the hotspot for ed-tech conferences. We reported on two of them here and here.

Now another is scheduled for later this week. On September 28, Baltimore (City) will host the 3rd Annual Education Technology Innovation Summit (ETIS2016) at Mindgrub Technologies. The keynote speaker is Frank Bonsal, leader of the above-noted TU Incubator and self-described EdTech Investor and Edupreneur.

Topics include:

  • Building the Cyber Generation: Connecting the Dots from the Classroom to Employment
  • The Rising Interest in Alternative Credentialing
  • Why the Resistance to Innovative Technology in Schools? Let’s Solve it:  A Panel Discussion
  • Create Blended Learning Tools That Bridge Learning Across the Digital Divide
  • How EdFinTech Supports Financial Analysis for Schools and Equity for Students
  • Multi-Dimensional Learning: The Power of Game-Based Learning
  • VR, AR, and the Internet of Things are Changing Classrooms for the Better(Note:  VR=Virtual Reality, AR=Augmented Reality)
  • Case Studies in Mobile Gaming

Depressing, isn’t it?

But it gets worse!

Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools Fall 2016 Meeting will be held in Baltimore in early November. The meeting’s co-host is Baltimore County Public Schools.  We’re an LIS District, after all, and our Superintendent was:

a 2014 DILA Walk the Walk Award winner

(The write-up notes that Dr. Dance “leads the S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) initiative and reinforces this focus through his personal Twitter account, as well as with BCPS outreach on Facebook,, a blog, RSS feeds and more. When visiting all 173 schools, programs and centers each school year, he is rarely seen without at least one device, pushing the importance of technology as a useful communication tool.”)

and 2015 DILA Open Door Policy winner 

(Because we have so many corporate visitors, including many from BCPS partner Discovery Education, as seen in this video.  When you read the project overview, keep in mind that STAT only launched in 2014.).

In keeping with our open-door policy, the LIS Fall Meeting will feature two days of BCPS school visits — this was a feature of last November’s Mid-Atlantic Conference on Personalized Learning (linked above).  BCPS loves to showcase certain BCPS schools (the shiny new ones, not the decrepit ones) full of “engaged” young explorers in the STAT digital eco-system.


New Video: One-Way Ticket on STAT; Part 1 of 4

Another great truth-telling video has come our way.  This follows the “Bullseye” video reposted a couple of weeks ago.  A separate page to curate the expanding STAT-us BCPS Video Collection may be in order …

One-Way Ticket on STAT: Part 1 of 4 of The Truth About STAT and Why Parents (and Politicians) Should Be Paying Attention

Previous videos:

Highlights of a High-Tech Takeover of a Public School System (in 5 steps, 7 mins. and 30 secs.)

Full-Length Version:  Anatomy of a High-Tech Takeover of a Public School System (in 5 simple steps and 25 minutes) 

In Search of the Competency-Based Ed Reform Wizard

STAT or CHAOS? : The global significance of the STAT experiment

Understanding STAT: New Key Links and Resources Page

Personalized Learning.  Blended Learning.  Competency-Based (or Mastery-Based) Education.  It’s complex and confusing.  Rapid and bewildering changes are happening in our school system and across the country.  Public education is undergoing a massive transformation to digital learning and there are MANY concerns.

To capture some of the main issues, key questions to ask, and best research, we’ve created a new Key Links and Resources Page.  It’s actually an expansion of our existing “About Us” Page.  Check it out.  Be informed.  Share what you’ve learned here (and experienced first-hand in your schools and at home) with others.


STAT-us BCPS received an abridged version of the video originally posted by retired BCPS teacher and education blogger Anne Groth.  Both videos harken back to some of the original posts on this blog, when other BCPS watchers were trying to figure out what the heck was happening in our school system.

Abridged Version: Highlights of a High-Tech Takeover of a Public School System (in 5 steps, 7 mins. and 30 secs.)

Original Post containing the full video:

September 5, 2016:  School’s Out … by Anne Groth: Bullseye!

A video was sent to me from an anonymous sender about the Baltimore County Public Schools and our superintendent, Dallas Dance.  After I watched it, I cannot help but wonder if far greater forces were involved in the transformation of our school district.  Was Dr. Dance just part of a larger mission when he arrived on the scene in 2012?

When all of the evidence in the video is viewed as a body of work, my question is simply this: Was Baltimore County targeted in a big way, and was Dr. Dance sent here to facilitate the transformation?

That may or may not be true, but what is true is that the mission to bring personalized (computerized) learning to our children is undermining the role of teaching,  demoralizing teachers, and marginalizing the role of parents, students, former employees, and yes, even taxpayers.

Please don’t take my word for it.  Judge for yourself: