It seems like it was just last week that I was heaping praises on ePals for providing high-quality content in its social learning platform through partnerships with National Geographic, among others. Oh wait...that was just last week. I'm afraid I don't have any choice, though, but to write another wow-look-what-ePals-has-done post.
ePals went down the partnership road again, but this time with Agilix Labs, maker of an advanced, standards-based learning management system (LMS) called BrainHoney. BrainHoney had already integrated Microsoft's Live@Edu, just as ePals did recently, so the partnership to layer secure, role-driven email and social learning with BrainHoney was a natural fit.
According to the ePals press release,
ePals is extending its award-winning LearningSpace product with the opportunity for schools to add components of Agilix’s BrainHoney LMS (learning management system). ePals' role- and policy-based controls will provide an end-to-end, safe and secure learning environment across this full suite of communication, collaboration and learning management capabilities
Dell will also obviously be capitalizing on its existing partnership with ePals in its Connected Classroom:
Following ePals’ recent partnership with Dell, ePals and Agilix will also provide an integrated solution as part of the Dell Connected Classroom.
While there are many outstanding learning management systems available today, ranging from the increasingly mature, powerful, open-source Moodle to student information systems that incorporate LMS features, BrainHoney's focus on creating curricula and assessments that visually align with state standards makes for a remarkably robust system. BrainHoney actually has the ability to launch a virtual school or, as will be the case for most of Dell's customers, highly blended environments with online learning actively supplementing in-class experiences.
Here's a brief video showing BrainHoney in action.
When the ePals-BrainHoney partnership goes live later this year, an extra layer of social communication and collaboration will bring a set of tools to education that, as far as I know, has never been offered as an end-to-end solution. In a post-NCLB world, this is what data-driven, collaborative, 21st century education is supposed to look like.
In related news, ePals also announced a new professional development initiative through their In2Books application:
...in collaboration with International Reading Association (IRA)...In2Books delivers an end-to-end, highly scalable digital mentoring program that helps teachers learn and teach the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards to improve reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Targeting 300 classrooms for back-to-school 2011, In2Books is bringing together businesses, schools, and the broader community to create a collaborative, sustainable system of change that will impact the literacy skills of one million students over the next five years.
Can you say standards-based education? Good! I knew you could!