Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blackboard Expands Content Play into K-12: Adds The Learning Company

Blackboard is in the run up to their annual user conference next month so expect more announcements to come but this one is significant.  Blackboard and The Learning Company have announced a partnership to integrate TLC content within the Blackboard platform which will, they hope, enable K-12 teachers to create high quality content for their courses quickly and easily within the Blackboard Learn platform.  This partnership should bolster the Blackboard presence in the K-12 space and the agreement could be interpreted as a major play into the K-12 segment. More about the integration is explained on their website here.

From their press release:
The integration, which is currently being piloted by a number of K-12 institutions and will be generally available soon, lets teachers and administrators find, use and manage more than 200,000 digital learning resources from the Learning.com catalog seamlessly in the course platform, rather than having to move between systems. The Learning.com catalog includes both free and fee-based resources from leading education publishers and individual educators that are aligned to academic standards.
With access to the rich collection of material from Learning.com—including curriculum and textbook content, multimedia, assignments, quizzes and more—teachers can design a more engaging and intuitive learning experience. For example, teachers would build a lesson plan with material from Learning.com, and make it available to students through Blackboard Learn with a "single sign on," eliminating the time and access barriers from multiple Web sites, logins and passwords. Assignments would appear directly in the Blackboard Learn gradebook so teachers can easily track student progress.
"Students are demanding new types of content to support personalized learning and, as a result, teachers need smart ways to locate and manage rich material," said Matthew Small, Blackboard's Chief Business Officer. "By partnering with Learning.com, we plan to provide our clients with access to high-quality learning tools that help students succeed – whether a district curriculum, an innovative learning tool from a trusted provider or a unique activity designed by a peer."
"Our teachers love to incorporate third party content into coursework; however, up until now, materials were dispersed across multiple sites requiring a tremendous amount of time to find appropriate resources," said Alisa Jones, supervisor of instructional resources at Clay Virtual Academy. "The Learning.com and Blackboard partnership would allow our teachers to focus on leveraging the content in their classrooms rather than figuring out access issues."
The Learning.com catalog includes a growing collection of content from premier providers like USA Today, NASA, the Smithsonian, Waterford Institute, Adaptive Curriculum, and over 10,000 learning objects created and peer-reviewed by educators. Available content covers critical educational areas including language arts, library media, math, science, technology and professional development for teachers. All of the content can be searched by subject, grade level, academic standard, and keyword.

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