CoSN Enshrines Private Sector and Volunteer Champions
At 2014 Annual Conference, Association Honors Vicki Bigham, John Vaille and 50 Volunteers Across America for Supporting CoSN

Washington, DC (March 26, 2014) – At the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN’s) 2014 Annual Conference last week in Washington, CoSN recognized stalwart K-12 education technology champions both in the private and public sectors. CoSN honored Bigham Technology Solutions’ Vicki Bigham as the 2014 Private Sector Champion, Puget Sound ESD Chief Technology Officer (CTO) John Vaille as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year, and 50 volunteers for accomplishing CoSN’s mission.
“Since CoSN’s founding more than 20 years ago, we’ve been fortunate to have an incredible groundswell of support from our members, partners and many others across the K-12 education technology landscape. Their efforts are the pulse of what CoSN strives to accomplish,” remarked Keith Kreuger, CEO of CoSN. “We are privileged to honor Vicki and John with these well-deserving awards, and formally recognize those whose volunteerism over the years has enabled CoSN to make an impact and amplify the importance of technology to transform teaching and learning.”
Vicki Bigham, 2014 Private Sector Champion
Recognized for her impact on the ed tech community, Bigham has volunteered her time and talent to a range of CoSN efforts. She connects companies to the association’s work, lends a hand in CoSN’s Annual Conference, and supports CETL certification preparation. In addition, Bigham plays a key role in developing the annual CoSN Horizon Report K-12 Toolkit, which helps education leaders leverage emerging technologies for learning.
John Vaille, 2014 Volunteer of the Year
Vaille is one of the leading, most dedicated champions of CoSN’s aspirational CETL certification program. As co-chair of the Certification Governing Committee, the body that oversees the program, he offers informed recommendations and works to ensure that the certification is rigorous, fair, and up-to-date. He has also built a community among CTOs in the Northwest by organizing and managing CETL study groups, including an online-based certification. His efforts have resulted in at least 10 CETLs in the past year.
Volunteer Hall of Fame
CoSN also inducted 50 private and public sector leaders from 21 states for their volunteerism in driving the association’s efforts. Honorees and attendees were presented with the book, “A Rich Seam: How Need Pedagogies Find Deep Learning,” authored by Michael Fullan, compliments of the Pearson Foundation. Guests also engaged in a private meeting with David Pogue, Yahoo! Technology columnist and CBS Newscorrespondent. Inductees were commemorated for their continuous commitment enabling the CoSN mission. The full list of honorees is available at: http://cosn.org/volunteer-hall-fame.
For more information, please visit: http://cosn.org/awards
About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) 
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visitwww.cosn.org or call 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areasannual conference and events,  advocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.

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Tales2Go Partners with MetaMetrics to Add Lexile Measures to its Award-Winning Audio Book Service    

Individual Titles on Tales2Go Will Now Have Lexile Measures to Assist Educators When Selecting Just-Right Titles for their Students

Bethesda, MD – March 26, 2014 – Tales2Go Inc., a leading provider of audio books for early childhood programs and primary schools, announces today a new partnership with MetaMetrics® to add Lexile® measures to the Tales2Go service.  In the same way that Lexile measures help educators find the right book for a student to read, the measure can also be used as an important reference point to help find the right book for a student to listen to, in that audio books are an effective scaffold to allow students to ‘read’ above their actual level.

Tales2Go is a Netflix-like subscription service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from popular publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access. For the first time, a teacher can assign the same audio book to an entire class or grade.

“Adding Lexile measures to Tales2Go is a great step forward for us,” said Tales2Go Co-Founder and CEO, William Weil.  “The Common Core State Standards requires students to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school.  By unburdening students from having to decode, students can access complex text up to two full grade levels above their current reading level.  Literacy experts have long understood that students need to be good listeners in order to become good readers; various research has shown there is a link between listening, vocabulary acquisition and retention and proficient reading.”

“We’re delighted to make Lexile measures available on the Tales2Go service,” said Eleanor E. Sanford-Moore, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development.  “Listening is a critical skill for 21st century college and career-ready students. Listening comprehension is critical to reading comprehension, since listening comprehension is language ability (i.e., vocabulary and fluency) and background knowledge. To become proficient readers, children need to be exposed to a rich vocabulary of words, with multiple repetitions and exposures.  We’re excited to partner with Tales2Go on expanding the use of Lexile measures to inform audio book selection and improve student reading ability through listening and scaffolded support. ”

Tales2Go supports the development of literacy skills during the most critical early childhood and elementary years, when students acquire a foundation of vocabulary and fluency necessary for academic success. Listening skills are given special emphasis within the Common Core State Standards, and are put on equal footing with reading, writing and speaking. The Tales2Go service is used differently across ages and grade levels, ranging from individual to group use with or without physical books in hand.

For more information on Tales2Go, please visit: www.tales2go.com

About Tales2Go:

Tales2Go is a Netflix­‐like service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from leading publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond. The Company has innovated on both the delivery and business model of distributing audio books to schools, early childhood programs and parents, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access to its full catalog. Literacy experts have long understood that children need to be good listeners in order to become good readers since proficient reading is a combination of listening comprehension (i.e. vocabulary and fluency) and decoding skills. Tales2Go offers piloting opportunities as well as monthly and annual subscription plans, including bulk pricing for schools. More information at www.tales2go.com.

 

About MetaMetrics

MetaMetrics is focused on improving education for learners of all ages and ability levels. The organization develops scientific measures of academic achievement and complementary technologies that link assessment results with real-world instruction. MetaMetrics’ products and services for reading (The Lexile® Framework for ReadingEl Sistema Lexile® para Leer), mathematics (The Quantile® Framework for Mathematics) and writing (The Lexile® Framework for Writing) provide unique insights about academic ability and the potential for growth, enabling individuals to achieve their goals at every stage of development. Connect with the organization at: http://blog.lexile.com

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New Listening First™ Headphone and Headsets from Califone
Expanded line provides more options for student listening activities

San Fernando, Calif. (March 25, 2014) –Califone International, Inc., a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual (AV) and supplemental curriculum products for use in education, announces updates to its award-winning line of Listening First Headphones and Headsets. The line now includes three black models with a variety of features to enhance the evolving instruction of today’s classrooms.

The 2800BKP Headphone features a right-angled 3.5 mm plug to connect with computers, tablets and smartphones. Two new headsets offer different plug connections. The 2800BK-USB Headset utilizes a 2.0 USB plug, and the 2800TBK comes with the 3.5 mm Califone To-Go™ plug, which enables students to listen and reply to audio content for an adjoining device. Students can also use the new headsets’ noise-cancelling microphones for assessments that require verbal responses, such as language learning tests or during Facetime or Hangout sessions. All three versions enable users to connect with iOS and Android-based tablets (including Chromebooks, iPads, Galaxy, Nexus 7, Surface, Kindle Fire HD and others) and smartphones (including iPhones, Galaxy, HTC One, Lumia & others).

Technology is extending where and how student learning can occur,” said Tim Ridgway, vice president of marketing for Califone. “Our growing line of Listening First Headphones and Headsets continues to provide schools and educators with the right tools to deliver learning resources to students.”

The new light-weight headphone and headsets come with adjustable headbands to accommodate learners of all ages, and are made with durable ABS plastic to withstand classroom use. The cords feature a reinforced connection and slotted baffles to prevent accidental puncturing of the internal speakers.

Califone is committed to providing products that support the speaking and listening portion of the Common Core English Language Arts anchor standards. For more information on the full line of Califone products, and to view and download the entire Califone catalog, visit www.califone.com.

About Califone
Califone was founded in 1947 and continues to be a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual and supplemental curriculum products for use in education. The company’s products enable educators to incorporate rich audiovisual resources into lessons that help students build speaking and listening skills, critical to the English Language Arts portion of the Common Core State Standards. Califone offers a complete line of audio solutions, wireless systems and multimedia products for small, medium and large presentation needs, and serves millions of educators and students in the PreK through higher education school environments.

 

 

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Six industry-leading companies join the PR with Panache! client family

 

(MINNEAPOLIS) March 26, 2014 – PR with Panache! (PRP) is thrilled to announce that its client family is continuing to grow. In the last quarter, The PRP team has welcomed six innovative companies to PR with Panache!: ThesysSocosJunyo, Learning UpgradeHooda Math and the Coughlan Community Giving Fund.

 

As modern-day storytellers in education, the Minnesota-based public relations firm helps entrepreneurs, innovators and education heroes communicate the right message to the right audience at the right time.

 

“Each of our new clients are driving progress in their respective education niche and PR with Panache! is privileged to build their brands and tell their stories,” said Sue Hanson, the founder of PR with Panache!  “Our experienced team has the breadth and expertise to provide award-winning public relations campaigns and value to the companies we support — and we do it with panache!”

 

The firm’s new clients include:

 

Thesys, a curriculum provider with a blended online/classroom approach to education. The company’s unique learning model meets the needs of every student and has been incredibly successful for at-risk populations like English Language Learners.

 

Socosan educational technology & data mining company based in San Francisco. In addition to offering consulting services for educational data mining research, the company develops web applications for individuals, students, educators, companies and academic institutions.

 

Junyo, a technology company that develops tools and platforms to leverage the power of big-data analytics. The company is developing a broad foundational database that supports multiple applications within education for both B2B and B2C markets.

 

Learning Upgrade, an online reading and math curriculum that uses songs, videos and games to engage digital natives. Each course is created to help students master skills tested by the Common Core State Standards, making the curriculum truly Common Core-aligned.

 

Hooda Matha free online math website. Founded by a former middle school math teacher, the site features engaging games and helpful learning tools to teach students math skills.

 

Coughlan Companies Community Fundwhich has invested more than $3 million since 2000 to improve the communities where Capstone employees work and live. The Fund has also donated more than one million books through its Wonder of Reading program to local, state, national and international nonprofit organizations

 

For more information about PR with Panache! or to see the firm’s full client family, visit prwithpanache.com.

 

About PR with Panache!

panache (p nash’) n. [Fr.]. style; flair; verve; confident; dashing!

PR with Panache! is a bold, fast-moving public relations and media marketing agency for the education marketplace with a national reputation for smart, entrepreneurial communications, content marketing, product publicity and brand awareness.

We consistently deliver explosive results for companies and organizations that previously had low-to-zero awareness and presence in the education marketplace. We leverage PR, marketing and business development to build positive awareness to ensure our clients rise above the noise in the physical and online worlds. We speak the right language, with long-established education media relationships…so our panache is polished!

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Typical Graduate Student Debt is $58k, Growing at 8 Percent a Year

Washington – A new report from the Education Policy Program at New America reveals that much of America’s student debt problem may be a result of expensive graduate and professional degrees – not unaffordable undergraduate educations. The report, The Graduate Student Debt Review, shows that the amount of debt graduate students leave school with is growing at nearly 8 percent a year – after inflation – and that typical graduate student borrowers in 2012 finished school with around $57,600 in debts, up from nearly $44,000 in 2008.

The report suggests that debt for graduate students in a range of master’s and professional degree programs accounts for some of the most dramatic increases in student borrowing between 2004 and 2012. Moreover, this trend is not limited to what many already know are high-cost credentials, like those in medicine and law. According to the data the median level of indebtedness in 2004 for a borrower who earned a Master of Arts degree was $38,000. In 2012, that figured jumped to $59,000, after adjusting for inflation. Debt levels for other master’s degrees, such as a Master of Science or a Master of Education, show similar trends. For borrowers at the 75th percentile of indebtedness, the increases are even larger in absolute terms. For most master’s degrees, debt at the 75th percentile jumps from about $54,000 for degree recipients in 2004 to $85,000 in 2012, after adjusting for inflation.

The research findings do not necessarily entail that today’s students will pay more than their peers graduating a decade ago. Substantial new debt relief and assistance programs exist, in the form of income-based repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which transfer large portions of graduate debt burdens from students to taxpayers. The report nevertheless shows that the net cost of graduate education in the economy has surged in recent years. It also raises questions about the possible role of federal policies in encouraging cost escalation – a topic we will consider in future research.

“The paper suggests that policymakers and news media should shift their understanding of student debt as primarily an undergraduate problem,” says Jason Delisle, lead author of the report, and Director of New America’s Federal Education Budget Project. “Most of the borrowers covered in newspaper stories — who typically have huge loan balances upwards of $50,000 — attended graduate school.”

The distinction is important because the American higher education system aims to underwrite the cost – and risk – that students take on when they pay for an undergraduate education, especially for students from families with fewer means. Market failures therefore provide a strong rationale for federal aid at the undergraduate level. “Arguments for high levels of subsidy for students who attend graduate and professional school are on shakier ground,” says Delisle. “Students pursuing graduate degrees should be far more informed consumers – they shouldn’t need a lot of public support to finance their next credential. That’s why there are no Pell Grants for master’s degrees, and it’s why the huge increase in graduate borrowing should worry policymakers.”

The spike in debt for graduate degrees should focus attention on an impending wave of loan forgiveness for graduate students and the lack of loan limits for students pursuing graduate degrees, says Delisle. “The debt statistics in the Graduate Student Debt Review offer a new picture of the student debt problem. But the data pose many more questions about the graduate school industry, as well.”

The Graduate Student Debt Review can be viewed on the New America website.

Television and radio studio availability: A studio feed is available for television or radio reporters. The New America Foundation operates a ReadyCam remote studio unit via videolink in Washington, DC, with the capacity to connect for live or recorded interviews. For further details about booking studio time, or any other media-related matters, please contact Ross van der Linde on (202) 596-3602(609) 937-9876, or vanderlinde@newamerica.net.

 

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Mobento Launches Private School Accounts and Learning Management System Integrations

School Accounts give academic institutions the ability to manage and distribute engaging video content to students

           

New York, March 25, 2014 –  Mobento, provider of the free, curated library of video learning resources, announced optional paidSchool Accounts for academic institutions with premium features to supercharge their classrooms. School Accounts are the private side of Mobento. With School Accounts, academic institutions can easily manage, centralize, and distribute their digital learning resources. School Accounts also offer powerful tools to help educators engage their classroom such as: the ability to create courses, analytics, mobile apps, plus Student Information System (SIS) and Learning Management System (LMS) integrations.

 

School Accounts can be used as a stand-alone platform or for institutions that have already invested into educational technology such as a LMS platform, Mobento’s integrations make it easy for both platforms to work together. Mobento’s Canvas by Instructure integration, allows teachers and administrators to easily import learning resources and track student and course programs. The industry standard Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) integrations allows teachers to manage and distribute their video and audio resources through the other major learning management systems such as Moodle, Blackboard, Schoology, Sakai, Desire2Learn, Haiku Learning and OpenClass.

 

“Mobento’s mission is to facilitate the use of video in education. We started with the public library and now our School Accounts make teaching with video more personal. School Accounts deliver premium features for schools that want to leverage videos to their full potential in education.” said Sumner Murphy, Mobento Founder. “The LMS integrations are simple to set up and use. Once a multimedia course is built in Mobento, moving it over to the LMS system only takes a few clicks.”

 

Mobento.com now features over 4,300 free-to-use educational videos, and is rapidly growing. The videos are only derived from exceptional sources, such as Stanford, Yale, NASA, Khan Academy, and many more academic sources. Mobento’s selection of videos brings the knowledge of real-world subject experts to students in sessions that they can view in class or at their own pace.

 

School Account Feature Highlights

 

Mobento Search

Mobento’s search engine not only searches through text around digital content such as title and description, BUT it also searchesinside the audio or video files. It searches the words that were spoken and then shows in the scrub bar exactly where the word was said. This new search technology is one of Mobento’s most powerful tools to help teachers and students find the content they need quickly and then jump to the exact point in the audio or video file that they need.

 

Courses, notes and classroom discussions

Instructors can build courses, enroll students and create assignments within their School Accounts.  All multimedia content is stored in one place.  Teachers can attach documents and useful links to audio recordings, videos and courses to provide easy access for students. Mobento handles all formats including:  PDF, PowerPoint, JPEG, Word documents and more. Documents, such as work sheets or activities and hyperlinks, can easily be embedded within a course to help create a well-rounded learning experience.

 

Students can also take notes from alongside the video player as they work on their assigned course viewing. Their online notes will now be associated with that lecture when they want to go back and review. Courses also offer a classroom discussion feature so students can discuss their current tasks and ask questions as they progress through a topic.

 

Mobile Apps

The Mobento School Account allows controlled and measureable access through web browsers and Mobento’s mobile apps (iOS and Android). Simple, well-designed interfaces ensure the content and tasks remain front and center.

 

Mobile apps also allow students to download resources to a device (such as a mobile phone or a tablet—either Android or iOS) and watch offline so lack of Internet connectivity does not keep students from their work. Students that may not have Internet access at home or on a long commute can now take advantage of completing their assignments without worrying about losing their progress when they are offline. When they are back online, all their work gets synchronized back to the School Account. Mobento’s mobile applications also make is simple to implement a bring-your-own-device policy at an institution and flip a classrooms.

 

Analytics

Below are some examples of the metrics Mobento offers educators to help them pinpoint student progress so that they can create a more engaging course:

 

User analytics: Videos watched, areas of interest, pages visited, content interactions, courses enrolled in, progress on courses, videos or audios that they’ve liked, commented on and taken notes alongside.

 

Video and audio analytics:  Plays over time, how many completed views, number of aggregate interactions with video or audio files, likes and dislikes, comment threads, notes taken and course use.

 

Course analytics:  Course engagement, student progress, class progress, individual student overview, class video discussion, most and least engaged students and content ranking.

 

System analytics: Upload monitoring, system highlights, usage data and downloadable reports.

 

Customizing

Mobento’s administrative dashboard allows administrators and teachers to customize the look and feel of their School Account to make it feel like their campus. Mobento allows for custom logos, color scheme, time zone settings, disabling comments and discussions, allowing access to the public library and setting up a custom URL.

 

 

Availability


           Educators can access Mobento’s free library of videos at www.Mobento.com. Mobento School Accounts are available to teachers, schools and districts as an annual subscription. For pricing information contact sales@mobento.com or fill out our contact form on the School Accounts page. The content is accessible 24-hours a day from any computer, tablet or smartphone with Internet access and videos that have been downloaded can be viewed offline using Mobento’s mobile apps. Links to these apps are on Mobento’s mobile apps page.

 

 

About Mobento            Mobento is an online video learning platform that combines the best educational content with innovative technology to deliver a more personalized and effective learning environment for students while empowering educators. Founder Sumner Murphy started Mobento to address the challenges of struggling learners to succeed in school and life, after overcoming his own reading disability. At just 23 years old, Murphy’s concept and product impressed investors enough to make history, granting him the largest seed round for an educational start up in the UK.

 

Useful Links:About Mobento: www.mobento.com/aboutus/

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MASSACHUSETTS FAILS TO LIFT CHARTER SCHOOL CAP
Politics Overcome Demand to Create Quality Schools

WASHINGTON, DC –Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform, released the following statement on the failure to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts:“It is extremely disappointing to see efforts to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts come up short, and access to in-demand schools statewide fell victim to political interests.“The fact that lawmakers could not reach a consensus on expanding a category of schools for which over 13,600 students are on waiting lists for should be very troubling to Massachusetts parents and students.“Honoring a tired and unproductive system of reimbursement that actually enhances funding disparities overcame the need to foster quality schools for Massachusetts students most in need of educational choices.“Strong charter school laws feature independent, multiple authorizers, few limits on expansion, equitable funding, and high levels of school autonomy. Currently, Massachusetts ranks 25th out of the nation’s 43 charter school laws, earning a grade of a “C.”

“Lifting the charter school cap in Massachusetts is integral in generating positive outcomes for students. It’s unacceptable that lawmakers continue to fail to acknowledge the positive effects of charters on student learning and today’s failure to address the demand for better schools is proof positive that the politics of it all trump what’s best for kids in the Bay State.”

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Founded in 1993, to bridge the gap between policy and practice, The Center for Education Reform is the pioneer and leading voice for substantive change that transforms learning opportunities and outcomes for America’s children. Additional information about CER and its activities can be found at www.edreform.com.

The Center for Education Reform

(tel) 800-521-2118 • 301-986-8088 • (fax) 301-986-1826
cer@edreform.com • www.edreform.com

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