2014 Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series Presents “Urban Waterways”


Conference Will Encourage Students to Become Environmental Stewards

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is hosting a free online education conference for teachers and studentsApril 9. An expert from the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum will discuss the “Citizen Science: A Watershed Study” program, in which Washington, D.C., high school students explore the Anacostia Watershed. As a project-based educational immersion experience, this Citizen Science program guides students’ understanding of the definition and features of a watershed, the importance of rivers, the effects of pollution on water quality and the impact water quality has on the health of the community.

Tony Thomas, education program coordinator at the Anacostia Community Museum, will present “Urban Waterways: Thinking about Environmental Stewardship,” Wednesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. EDT. Thomas will encourage students to take an active role in environmental stewardship and environmental justice issues. Students who participated in the summer 2013 exploration of the Anacostia Watershed are scheduled to share their experiences and present their findings. Educators and students will be inspired to embrace responsibility for the waterways in their regions and learn about ways to take action in their own communities.

The conference is part of the monthly 2014 Smithsonian Online Education Conference Series, which provides an online space for teachers and students to engage with Smithsonian experts and make connections from textbooks to today’s world. Each online conference features a live Q&A, and includes free digital-learning resources and teaching strategies that educators can use to explore cross-curricular lessons with their students.

The “Urban Waterways” session also will introduce the “Waterways Watcher” badge. This is the newest digital badging opportunity available to students through Smithsonian Quests, a program that invites anywhere, anytime exploration in support of self-directed, project-based learning.

About Smithsonian Institution

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,500 volunteers. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visited the Smithsonian in 2013. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.




The Kajeet SmartSpot was all the “buzz” at the CoSN 2014 Annual Conference last month. Designed for education leaders to better understand the changing landscape of education technology and the new face of learning, COSN provided a unique opportunity for Kajeet to introduce the solution for keeping students connected after the school day ends.


School districts came from all across the globe to explore how digital learning ecosystems challenge and inspire students, encourage innovation, and deepen the learning initiatives. And staying connected was a large part of the discussions. Kajeet participated in spotlight presentations and showcased its Kajeet SmartSpot solution to more than 350 education leaders.

Hall of Fame

In recognition of the his unique commitment to CoSN, Michael Flood, Vice President of Education at Kajeet, was inducted into CoSN’s 2014 Volunteer Hall of Fame. At this special event on, the CoSN Board honored volunteers, new Certified Education Technology Leaders and companies with unique vision and participation among the elite CoSN community.

Equity in the Digital Age

By far, one of the more popular spotlight sessions of the event, was presented by Michael Flood of Kajeet. His session– Equity in the Digital Age–examined the critical issues surrounding student equity in this new era including device equity, access equity and digital cultural equity.

Detroit Schools Project Always Keeps Virtual Classroom Open
Detroit Public Schools educates the largest number of children in the state — nearly 50,000 — yet outside school, its students are among the most disconnected, with 70 percent lacking Internet access at home. A pilot project is attempting to narrow the digital divide outside school and create an infinite classroom for DPS students. Kajeet deployed 500 of its Kajeet SmartSpot Wi-Fi hotspot devices into the homes of DPS students last fall. Read more »

National School Board Association Recognizes Kajeet for Innovation
Kajeet is one of six companies selected to present at the National School Boards Association Technology Innovation Showcase during the NSBA Annual Conference in New Orleans, April 5-7, 2014.  Kajeet will be showcasing the Kajeet SmartSpot Wi-Fi device that provides safe, affordable and intelligent mobile broadband to students in school districts around the country.  Read more »

Bandwidth for All
With more and more students using mobile devices for learning, districts are finding creative ways to provide enough bandwidth for everyone to do their work outside of school. Forsyth County Schools talks about how Kajeet is helping provide disadvantage students with equal access to connectivity.  Read more »


Florida Virtual Schools Symposium
April 2, 2014
Lake Mary, FL

Technology Innovation Showcase
April 5, 2014
New Orleans, LA

Council of Great City Schools
June 10, 2014
Denver, CO

June 28-July 1, 2014
Atlanta, GA

QUICK KEY IS PILOTED IN TURKEY, BRUNEI AND THE UNITED KINGDOM, WHERE SCHOOLS ARE PUTTING TEACHER CREATED TECHNOLOGY TO GOOD USE.APRIL 1st, 2014, TURKEY, BRUNEI AND THE UNITED KINGDOM. Schools in Turkey, Brunei, and the United Kingdom have started to pilot the Quick Key Mobile App.  Quick Key Mobile turns a smartphone or tablet into a mobile scanner to grade paper quizzes and surveys in a flash.Quick Key is free for teachers, and anybody can sign up for an account by visiting the Company’s Web page www.quickkeyapp.com. Quick Key Mobile – the mobile companion application that scans paper quizzes and surveys – is available on Apple’s iPhone App Store at tinyURL.com/QuickKeyMobile.

Before Quick Key it would take me at least a week to grade 400 exams, now with Quick Key it takes me an hour. Quick Key is amazing, perfect, and super!”, said Younis Aydin the Computer Instructor at Omangazi Middle School, in Istanbul, Turkey.

According to Simon Renshaw, Geography Department head in the Leicester Education Authority, in the United Kingdom “I have found Quick Key to be a spectacularly useful tool. Not only does the app allow me to save time marking, I can quickly analyze whole class assessment data to make immediate and appropriate adjustments to my instruction, live in class. Essentially, Quick Key is the education app I have been waiting for!”

“I’ve cross-checked two classes’ answers and it came out perfect”, said Lim Kok Wei, a teacher in Brunei.

More than 180,000 quizzes have been graded with Quick Key. Teachers are grading more than 2,500 quizzes and tests every weekday with Quick Key Mobile. Now schools around the world are leveraging the power of the free teacher created app.

Quick Key was created by a career teacher-turned-entrepreneur named Walter Duncan. According to Duncan, “Teachers are under increasing pressure for their students to perform on standardized tests. Quick Key puts the power in their hands to do something about it, without resorting to teaching to the test. As a teacher myself, our #1 goal is helping teachers succeed. Teachers are Quick Key’s heart and soul.”

# # #
Quick Key first made a splash last March when a video (http://youtu.be/UUqZYcAnUlw) of an early prototype was viewed more than 460,000 times. Working teachers supported bringing the app to market through a successful Kickstarter campaign last June. Since then, thousands of teachers on six continents have begun using the app.  To date, more than 180,000 quizzes have been scanned with Quick Key.
Wildlife Acoustics Launches iOS-Powered Bat Detector App at NSTA

Echo Meter Touch App allows students to identify species of flying bats in real time

(BOSTON, MASS) April 1, 2014 — Wildlife Acoustics, worldwide provider of bioacoustics recording and analytical technology, introduced its new Echo Meter Touch bat detector/recorder/analyzer at the National Science Teachers’ Association Conference (NSTA) in Boston.

The Echo Meter Touch is a key-fob-sized ultrasonic module that plugs into an iPhone or iPad that accompanies a free Echo Meter touch app. The module-app combination provides teachers and students with a fully functional spectrogram viewer, allowing budding biologists to listen to and record bats in real time.

“Echo Meter Touch has student discovery stamped all over it,” says Wildlife Acoustics’ product manager, Sherwood Snyder.  “It’s an innovative way for teachers in 1:1 and flipped learning classroom environments to get students excited about biology. Wildlife Acoustics is committed to providing science educators with engaging tools to further awareness around the value of including bioacoustics and environmental awareness solutions in their curriculum.”

The app accurately identifies a bat’s species by capturing ultrasonic sounds in seconds, giving students an opportunity to learn more about the bats they’re monitoring within the app. A GPS tracking feature automatically tags all recordings with location information.

Live bats will be on hand at the company’s NSTA exhibitor booth (#425) to help demonstrate the app’s capabilities for attendees.

To complement the Echo Meter Touch, teachers and students have access to Bat Conservation International‘s comprehensive bat biology studies curriculum guide to create in-class activities, field work and at-home projects.

“Science teachers are constrained when it comes to class time, so it’s vital that class material is both relevant in terms of 21st century skills and easily integrates into existing lesson plans,” said Andrew Walker, CEO of Bat Conservation International. “Not only is our guide designed with creative and engaging classroom content, it allows students to explore the world of bats even further after hours.”

For both Bat Conservation International and Wildlife Acoustics, that is the ultimate goal.

“Our work is dedicated not only to biologists and researchers around the world, but to our planet’s future biologists and bioacousticians—the K-12 students of today,” echoed Wildlife Acoustics’ founder and CEO, Ian Agranat. “With the Echo Meter Touch, ultrasonic is now ‘ultra cool,’ and we hope students will see that too.”

About Wildlife Acoustics

Wildlife Acoustics is the leading provider of bioacoustics monitoring systems for researchers, scientists, conservationists and government agencies worldwide.  Its mission is to serve the needs of biologists and conservationists around the globe and create tools that enable them to better understand the changes in the global environment

Our innovative and affordable hardware, software, and curriculum increase teacher effectiveness and student engagement and promote the cause of the Citizen Scientist in K-12 classrooms. For more information, visit wildlifeacoustics.com.

Follow Wildlife Acoustics on Twitter @WildlifeAcoust and “Like” us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WildlifeAcoustics.

SIIA Announces Education Finalists for 2014 CODiE Awards
146 Education Technology and Service Products Recognized in Peer-Reviewed Awards Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2014) – The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today announced the 146 finalists in Education categories for the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards. These finalists represent applications, products, and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

This year’s program features 31 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models. Winners will be announced during a special awards dinner at the nation’s leading education technology conference, the Education Industry Summit, in San Francisco on May 12.

“This year’s finalists are breaking ground with new business models and innovative products. We are pleased to recognize the best in educational technology with these 119 products,” said Karen Billings, vice president of the SIIA Education Division. “I look forward to honoring them all in May at the Education Industry Summit.”

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program. Educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. The judges are responsible for selecting the CODiE Awards finalists, and SIIA members then vote on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners.

Details about each finalist are listed at siia.net/codies/2014/finalists.asp. For more information on the Education Industry Summit, attending the CODiE Awards dinner, and to see a full schedule of events, visit siia.net/eis.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content.  Information technology (IT) and software security are critical issues to SIIA’s members, many of whom strive to develop safe, secure and state-of the-art products that effectively serve their commercial and government customers alike, while protecting their intellectual property. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide software, digital content, and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities, and critical market information. For more information, visit www.siia.net/education.




Promethean ActivEngage2 Receives 2014 EdTech Digest Award for Best Mobile App


Solution Delivers Immediate Results to Assess and Address Student Needs


Atlanta, Georgia (April 1, 2014) Promethean, a leading provider of educational technology & training, announces that ActivEngage2 has been named the 2014 EdTech “Digest Award COOL TOOL winner for Best Mobile App for Middle and High School.”


The distinguished EdTech Digest Awards Recognition Program honors tools, trendsetters and leaders in the education and technology sector. The Cool Tool awards recognize new, emerging and established technology solutions for education.


“There is a lot of talent and quality out there, and we’re excited to recognize these cool tools, leaders and trendsetters in the education technology space,” said Victor Rivero, who oversees the program as Editor in Chief of EdTech Digest. “There are now thousands of startups, apps, and companies working in edtech, more than ever before. Shining a spotlight on the best and brightest, we intend to generate even more activity in this sector to continue pushing forward a slow revolution for the benefit of future generations.”


Gauging student progress while promoting engagement and participation throughout a lesson can be challenging, even when each student has a mobile device in hand. ActivEngage2, Promethean’s virtual assessment and student response solution, puts those devices to work, offering educators and students feedback and data that drive differentiated and personalized instruction.


“We are pleased to have ActivEngage2 recognized by EdTech Digest for allowing districts to leverage their existing technology and BYOD initiatives with native client apps,” said Jim Marshall, CEO of Promethean. “This award underscores the importance Promethean places on differentiated and personalized instruction along with ourdisciplined investment in education.”


About the EdTech Digest Awards Program

Recognizing cool tools, trendsetters and leaders in the education and technology sector, the mission of the annual awards program is to get workable technology solutions for education widely known about and well thought of with the purpose of reshaping the education culture and creating a new and better future for students. Over the years, the best products and brightest minds have been featured helping millions of students, teachers, parents, administrators and others in and around education. For more information, please visithttp://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/2014-finalists-winners



About Promethean

Promethean is a global education company that improves learning productivity by developing, integrating and implementing innovative 21st century learning environments that make everyone more engaged, empowered, and successful. The company is headquartered in Blackburn in Lancashire, England, with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit www.prometheanworld.com




Teaching Channel Features New Tech Network

in Video Series on Deeper Learning


Napa, CA April 1, 2014– New Tech Network (NTN) was recently featured in a Teaching Channel Series on Deeper Learning.  The series focused on students and teachers in classrooms around the country who exemplify what can happen when the Common Core is approached with innovative teaching models that emphasize real-world experience, character development, academic mindsets, and collaborative work.

The five videos were:

·        The Building Blocks of Project-Based Learning

·        Critical Friends – Looking at Student Work

·        Group Contracts for Collaborative Work

·        Student Profile – A Self-Directed Learner,

·        Collaborative Teaching for Interdisciplinary Learning

The videos were filmed at Tech Valley High School in Rensselaer, New York. Just last year, Tech Valley High School and the State University of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) joined forces in an innovative partnership announced by NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The partnership will build on the deeper learning taking place at TVHS. Featured in the videos, this learning style better prepares students for the growing nanotechnology industry and creates a world-class workforce in upstate New York.

Tech Valley High School, founded in 2007, was designed as a regional training center with the intent of bringing project-based, student-centered learning to the greater Albany region. The school’s creation was based in part on the strong concern expressed by business leaders in the region of a lack of a skilled workforce for the dynamically growing high tech economy.

According to Tech Valley Director Dan Liebert, “This type of partnership, between educators, local businesses and the community-at-large is a critical component of the path we must take to assure our students have access to the type of high school education they need to succeed.  We also believe a focus on Deeper Learning is critical to assure student success.”

According to Tim Presiado, NTN acting President, “We were pleased to be  part of the Teaching Channel’s focus on Deeper Learning.  At NTN, we provide our students with the an education that enables them to graduate high school college and career ready.  We emphasize the tenets of Deeper Learning — which means they are using their knowledge and skills in a way that prepares them for real life.”

When using Deeper Learning skills, students are mastering core academic content like reading, writing, math, and science, while learning how to think critically, collaborate, communicate effectively, direct their own learning, and believe in themselves (known as an “academic mindset”).

“Deeper Learning enables our students to graduate from school ready to successfully join the workforce or attend an institution of higher learning,” continued Presiado.

In discussing Deeper Learning skills, Paul Curtis, NTN’s Director of District Development, recently authored a blog entitled:Easing the Pain of Student Collaboration.

“One of the most valued skills employers are looking for in an employee is the ability to collaborate.  This doesn’t just mean being ‘nice,’ it means being able to be part of a productive and efficient team that gets the job done,” said Curtis.

About the New Tech Network
The New Tech design is a blueprint, accompanied by a set of core beliefs, tools, and strategies to help each school fulfill its purpose. New Tech design principles provide for an instructional approach centered on project-based learning, a culture that empowers students and teachers, and integrated use of technology in the classroom. Through extensive professional development, personalized coaching and access to Echo, a learning management system, NTN empowers principals, teachers, and students to develop compelling, relevant and meaningful learning communities.
NTN is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, a social enterprise focused on ensuring that every student experiences meaningful personalized learning that allows him or her to thrive in college, career and civic life.






Fundamental Flaws in State’s Charter School Law Must Be Addressed to Ensure Equity; Politics Do Not Trump Good Policy

WASHINGTON, DC – The New York Legislature, together with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, crafted a budget passing lateMonday night that financially favors a select few charter schools in New York City rather than giving charter schools – and the students they serve – statewide equitable treatment.“Claims that the New York budget is exceedingly friendly to charter schools is little more than political spin,” said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform. “Some charters have been granted protections from opponents they surely deserve, and this is a good thing. But overall this budget creates a tiered system in its treatments of charter schools, and the fundamental funding inequity flaw in the state’s charter school law remains intact.”The new state budget provides facility support  that is limited to new and growing charter schools in New York City only. City schools in private facilities and all charter school students outside of New York City get nothing. This means that more than half of all public charter schools in New York state will receive absolutely no school facilities aid.Additionally, the budget agreement contains an extension of a freeze in base per pupil aid for charter schools for another three years while spending on other public school students goes up, representing a distinct funding disparity for charter school students across the state.“State policy needs to enact what’s best for all children, and the budget agreement passed Monday favors a select number of charter schools at the expense of many others,” said Kerwin. “Playing politics with schoolchildren as pawns like this is downright wrong and unacceptable.”

“An equitable budget treats a student in Brooklyn the same as a student in Utica or a student in Buffalo, regardless of whether they attend a charter or traditional public school,” said Kerwin. “To truly improve the quality of education in New York for ALL students, fundamental flaws in the state’s charter school law must be addressed rather than looking for band-aid solutions year after year. Ignoring funding inequities means more and better opportunities for underserved students will continue to fall prey to the whims of politicians.”


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.