T&L News(136)

Printing money (sort of); Give the people what they want; NECC News: HARDWARE; NECC News: ONLINE; NECC News: TECH NEWS
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Week of: July 7, 2008

  • Printing money (sort of)
    Sure, OKI Data wants you to buy printers. But the multi-national printer company also wants you to save money while you do it.
  • Give the people what they want
    According to a poll results released by The Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA), the US public is strongly in favor of government funding of science and technology.
  • NECC News: HARDWARE
    Safe listening continues to get attention as more studies are released that link hearing loss to unsafe listening practices. Califone has long been an advocate for safe listening, and their latest products reflect their continued commitment to that mission. The new Sound Alert Monaural Headphone, the Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox, and 8-Position Sound Alert Listening Center all help combat unsafe listening practices. The Sound Alert Monaural Headphone can be used with personal playback devices (CD and MP3 players), in group listening centers, and in ELL, ELD, and other language learning activities. The headphone can also be used as a normal headphone without charging the battery. The 10-position Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox lets educators monitor the volume level of up to ten attached headphones and to set the sound level to under the ASHA-recommended 85 decibel level. The 8-Position Sound Alert Listening Center includes the Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox with the company's new monaural (2924AVG) headphone.
  • NECC News: ONLINE
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology and Microsoft Corp. announced the release of the new Learning Village. This teaching and learning portal is a single sign-on solution where educators, students, and parents can access and organize their schools' instructional content. Learning Village delivers curricula, content, and resources in a unified environment—providing a central point for communication, collaboration, teaching, and professional development.
  • NECC News: TECH NEWS
    CDW-G introduces the School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool, allowing parents, teachers, and administrators to take part in the national School Safety Index.They can receive instant scores to see how their school or district compares to the national survey average CDW-G released in May. Based on 12 elements of cyber and physical security, the tool focuses on indicators of strong safety programs, as well as barriers and breaches. School leaders may access the tool at www.schoolsafetyindex.com. The tool highlights security areas that need improvement, enabling school leaders to leverage support for safety and security initiatives.

Printing money (sort of)

Sure, OKI Data wants you to buy printers. But the multi-national printer company also wants you to save money while you do it. Its managed services division recently performed an audit on Westbury School District's (NY) technology resources—more than 1,600 computers scattered throughout six schools from the pre-K to high school levels. Before the makeover, the district spent about $498,000 annually on print document output. It now expects to save more than half of that each year by following these tips from Oki Data consultants:

1. Migrate away from expensive inkjet printers that expend a significant portion of the technology budget towards a centralized and consolidated fleet of color and mono workgroup laser printers, ensuring increased productivity and a low total cost of ownership.

2. Redeploy technology resources more equitably and effectively by placing lower-cost, mono workgroup laser printers in areas that require heavy printing volumes, and affordable color laser printers in shared computer labs and individual classrooms to aid students' learning.

3. Utilize Color Access Policy Manager to place comprehensive print controls on classroom printers, helping manage the expanded color capabilities and keeping a handle on printing costs.

4. Consolidate devices with all-in-one document management solutions that prove invaluable to administrators by saving time, space and money.

5. Employ a long-term print management strategy that includes annual assessments and technology refreshes, ensuring continuous technology improvements and maintaining a low total cost of ownership.

Source: http://www.okidata.com

Give the people what they want

According to a poll results released by The Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA), the US public is strongly in favor of government funding of science and technology. Eighty-six percent of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who is committed to preparing students with the skills they need for the 21st Century through public investments in science and technology education. Here's how it broke down by party:

Democratic voters
92% more likely overall (65% much more likely)

Independent voters
81% more likely overall (46% much more likely)

Republican voters
80% more likely overall (38% much more likely)

Source: http://sefora.org/

NECC News: HARDWARE

Safe listening continues to get attention as more studies are released that link hearing loss to unsafe listening practices. Califone has long been an advocate for safe listening, and their latest products reflect their continued commitment to that mission. The new Sound Alert Monaural Headphone, the Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox, and 8-Position Sound Alert Listening Center all help combat unsafe listening practices. The Sound Alert Monaural Headphone can be used with personal playback devices (CD and MP3 players), in group listening centers, and in ELL, ELD, and other language learning activities. The headphone can also be used as a normal headphone without charging the battery. The 10-position Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox lets educators monitor the volume level of up to ten attached headphones and to set the sound level to under the ASHA-recommended 85 decibel level. The 8-Position Sound Alert Listening Center includes the Sound Alert Monaural Jackbox with the company's new monaural (2924AVG) headphone.

NECC News: SOFTWARE

Spectrum K12 School Solutions launched EXCEED/RTI.EXCEED uses a clean, easy-to-use interface to manage daily activities, meetings, interventions, and outcomes used to help all maximize student achievement. The tools within EXCEED include: student-centric progress monitoring, differentiated instruction, return on intervention, and fidelity assurance.

Carnegie Learning has added the Cognitive Tutor software for the complete suite of solutions including Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Integrated Math. The software provides flexible sequencing that allows administrators to build a custom curriculum. Units can be re-ordered, added, and deleted, and new sequences named and published for use in the classroom. The software also includes enhanced administrative reports that enable administrators to monitor and analyze progress and efficacy of the program at multiple levels including class, building, and district.

The new Destiny Library Manager provides an extensive list of classic titles in the middle- and high-school ranges. Once downloaded, the eBooks are searchable and available through Destiny Library Manager. The new Destiny Library Manager includes Destiny Quest, the new online searching interface. Destiny Quest combines a visually engaging interface, broad-based integrated searching power, and social networking components. The interface offers new functions, such as the ability to post ratings and reviews—including audio and video reviews—and a function that lets users virtually browse library shelves. The new Destiny Library Manager also provides guided reading support, fast access to digital content as well other numerous new features.

LanSchool Technologies introduces LanSchool v7.1 software adds two new features—USB Drive blocking and keystroke/application monitoring—to help teachers better control the classroom by keeping kids focused. Teachers can turn off access to student USB drives without affecting other USB devices. Application and keystroke monitoring saves a history of application usage and gives teachers access to everything students type on their keyboards. Several other new performance enhancements include wireless reliability, installation, voting, limiting the Internet, and student questions.

The new Wimba Classroom 5.2 software includes Presenter-on-the-Fly, which lets students lead discussions, presentations, and demonstrations and provides teachers more ways to tailor instruction. Students and teachers can now resize the chat area and participant window to focus their attention on lesson content and the specific communication. This new feature also allows students who use closed captioning to expand the chat interface to support accessibility. The Usage Insight gives administrators a quick view of attendance, duration, and participation. The Analytics API tool shows how virtual classrooms are being used by students, including how frequently students log in and how often they speak and raise their hand.

The new Serif Design Suite includes Serif's PagePlus X3, WebPlus X2, PhotoPlus X2, and DrawPlus X2. PagePlus X3 is the latest version of Serif's desktop publishing software, and offers a combination of editing features that let students create brochures, newsletters, and catalogs. WebPlus X2 enables students and educators to build high-end, full-featured Web sites without having to learn to use HTML code. PhotoPlus X2 is perfect for students working with photo effects, Web graphics, textile patterns, design projects, and file management. Students can use DrawPlus X2 to create everything from natural-looking painted artwork and vector-drawn logos to screensavers. Serif also offers free teacher resources like lesson plans, how-to guides, handout sheets, presentation ideas, and more instruction on how to create certain effects and other materials to support educators working with the Serif Design Suite. Teachers have the freedom to use each support unit in its entirety as part of their classroom instruction or to incorporate some of the ideas into their existing lesson plans.

AutoSkill International has launched its RtI (Response to Intervention) Package for the Academy of READING. With the Academy of READING, at-risk students build fluency in the foundation skills of reading to achieve rapid, permanent gains. This new plug-in includes the RtI Toolkit and the RtIWORKS program. The RtI Toolkit gives teachers Web-based tools for the effective management of RtI. From an RtI dashboard, they have access to interactive progress-monitoring graphs, school- and district-monitoring reports, and a student case management tool. The toolkit's Web-based Oral Reading Fluency Benchmark Assessment allows teachers to assess student fluency. Teachers can use the Academy of READING Diagnostic Test Package to further pinpoint areas of weakness, identify specific skill deficits, and create IEPs.

Many educators are familiar with SuccessMaker, but Pearson launched a next generation of this tool that provides standards-based, digital supplemental instruction. All SuccessMaker instructional content is now aligned with state standards and offers a Lexile®-leveled reading curriculum as outlined by the National Reading Panel. The math lessons in the new SuccessMaker incorporate practice tutorials and assessments based on the best practices for math instruction outlined by NCTM.

Follett Digital Resources has unveiled the Follett Digital Classroom, an instructional content delivery system designed specifically for K-12 educators. Follett Digital Classroom helps teachers share resources and best practices, empower students to take responsibility for their education, and increase classroom productivity while engaging parents as active members of the learning team. The interface gives teachers a simple portal for sharing content, creating assignments, and exchanging information with peers, parents, and students. Teachers can create lesson plans in advance and save them for re-use in the future.

NECC News: ONLINE

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology and Microsoft Corp. announced the release of the new Learning Village. This teaching and learning portal is a single sign-on solution where educators, students, and parents can access and organize their schools' instructional content. Learning Village delivers curricula, content, and resources in a unified environment—providing a central point for communication, collaboration, teaching, and professional development.

Microsoft announced Live@edu, a suite of no-cost, innovative online communication and collaboration tools for schools. Microsoft Live@edu allows students, parents, and the entire school community to access documents from Internet-connected computers, collaborate with a group on projects in a password-protected workspace, store large numbers of documents, photos and videos online, and share Microsoft Office applications via the Web.

Vernier Software & Technology is offering free activities that showcase the company's Solar Panel Dashboard on their new green building. A live web cam shows the solar panels and a view of Mt. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon, including cloud layers and air clarity. Students can check the current electrical energy production from the panels, and see graphs of historical production during the last days or weeks. Weather data are also available, so students can investigate the relationship between temperature and solar radiation and energy production.

Vernier Software & Technology is also offering its Logger Lite software free for Intel-powered classmate PCs, as well as other small, low-cost computer options. Logger Lite provides fundamental graphing and analysis tools for K-12 science students and gives students the ability to explore the world around them, draw predictions, collect real-world data and make conclusions based on their analyses. Both a Windows and a Linux version of the software will be available from www.vernier.com/netbooks.

Funds For Learning announces a new resource to their E-rate Manager for Applicants designed to facilitate audit preparation. This audit process is key to the prevention and detection of waste, fraud, and abuse of E-rate funding, but being selected for an audit does not necessarily indicate that a problem exists. This new resource will guide applicants through an audit from start to finish, providing information on exactly what documentation is required. The online suite of tools enables school districts to stay current with fluctuating deadlines and paperwork, track remaining E-rate funding, monitor sites where funding is used, and respond to E-rate program auditors. For more information about Funds For Learning, visit or phone 405-341-4140.

The Perspective online remediation and enrichment tool for students now includes online access to teacher professional development materials from Allyn & Bacon/Merrill. Now educators using Perspective can access online professional development resources on topics such as the latest in literacy; English language acquisition; effective science, math and reading teaching methodologies; early childhood education; classroom management; leadership; and special education.

The Education Development Center (EDC) has collaborated with Curriki, an online community for creating and sharing open source K-12 curricula,to provide teachers with curricula. Curriki has made available EDC's standards-based middle-grades algebra course, allowing teachers to not only access the free curricula, but to add to it or adapt it for use in their classrooms. Educators will also be able to use EDC's online mathematics course Building Algebraic Thinking in the Middle Grades on the Curriki site. The course, specifically designed to build the expertise of teachers at the middle level, focuses on the algebraic concepts of patterns and functions.

PBS has launched PBS Teachers Connect, an online community for preK-12 educators, that provides educators with opportunities to share ideas, collaborate, and support the effective use of instructional technology. The new online community is built around PBS Teachers, the Web portal to the wide-ranging multimedia instructional resources and professional development services PBS offers preK-12 educators. Educators can search more than 3,000 standards-based classroom activities, lesson plans, interactive resources and other materials on the PBS Teachers Web site—all for free. Additional online components, such as private messaging, community feeds, friend feeds, online events, and a digital media gallery, will be available this fall.

STI introduces five online professional development courses that cover formative assessment and data analysis. These new courses are offered as a part of STI Achievement Services, a professional development and consulting service offering that helps schools and districts address student achievement shortfalls. Each course is eight weeks, and requires approximately two hours per week of instruction, discussion participation, and weekly assignments. The graduate-level courses provide 1.5 continuing education units or 15 professional development hours for course certification. The cost is $199 per log-in per course. Courses start August 4, 2008.

LearningStation has integrated netTrekker d.i.'s educational database of over 180,000 educator-selected resources with LS Test Builder, an e-learning tool that lets educators create, deliver, and assess standards-based formative practice tests. Through the partnership, teachers can link directly from LS Test Builder assessment data to specific remediation material tailored to students' individual needs using resources found through netTrekker d.i.

Aventa Learning, a provider of online curriculum and instruction for schools and districts, has expanded its online credit recovery program for high school schools. This online credit recovery program adapts to students' learning needs, supports English language learners, and provides schools with flexible implementation options. Schools can opt for different levels of online teacher support, ELL support, and testing and reinforcement of standards mastery.

NECC News: TECH NEWS

CDW-G introduces the School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool, allowing parents, teachers, and administrators to take part in the national School Safety Index.They can receive instant scores to see how their school or district compares to the national survey average CDW-G released in May. Based on 12 elements of cyber and physical security, the tool focuses on indicators of strong safety programs, as well as barriers and breaches. School leaders may access the tool at www.schoolsafetyindex.com. The tool highlights security areas that need improvement, enabling school leaders to leverage support for safety and security initiatives.

ePals has developed a set of six essential questions educators can ask when assessing how teachers can move beyond technology integration and authentically embed NETS into curricula. These questions are: How do you help students become global citizens in the global marketplace? How do you enable collaboration, teamwork and problem solving in the classroom? How do you address the needs of all students? How do you foster real-life learning experiences and independent exploration across the curricula? How do you create a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning? How do you provide professional development that encourages teachers to collaborate, share expertise and maximize student achievement? Visit www.ePals.com to share your opinion.

Dell is enhancing its Dell TechKnow program that combines technology training in the classroom with hands-on experience troubleshooting and resolving common IT problems. Students participating in the enhanced Dell TechKnow program will gain skills such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication and collaboration, and technology operation and concepts. The enhanced curriculum is now applicable to middle school, high school and college students, and available to Dell's education and state and local government customers.

Visual media publisher and distributor AIM Education has acquired Sunburst Visual Media, Learn360, and Teacher's Media Company, from School Specialty. AIM Education is a new division of the international AIM Learning Group that will focus on producing and delivering visual media to the US education market.

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