SIIA Honors Industry Veterans with Lifetime Achievement Award and Ed Tech Impact Award

Co-founder of SkillsBank Corporation and Impact Education, principal of CollinsConsults to be honored with prestigious industry awards at premiere education industry event

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 24, 2014) – The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announces that it will honor Dr. Leonard Hall, co-founder of education companies SkillsBank Corporation and Impact Education, with its prestigious Education Lifetime Achievement Award. SIIA will also present its Ed Tech Impact Award to Sue Collins, principal at CollinsConsults, during the upcoming Education Industry Summit held in San Francisco May 12-14.

During a special awards ceremony, Dr. Hall will be presented with the award by his son, Adam Hall, president of Nervanix, as SIIA highlights Dr. Hall’s accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry. When Dr. Hall joined two other colleagues to co-found SkillsBank Corporation, he did so from the foundation of an already remarkable career in Education and Health & Human Services. The SkillsBank series of basic skills software focused on “at-risk learners” and adults wanting to learn unattained skills. The series was introduced first as a beta for Timex Sinclair on cassette tape and piloted for IBM, then entering the infant stages of educational software on desktop computers. By the time it was acquired by The Learning Company in 1997, SkillsBank was among the most widely adopted educational software in the nation’s schools.

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Texas Technology Director Reflects on Classroom Audio Investment

 

(Tualatin Or) April 24, 2014 — Today, what was once a small pilot program in a few Harlingen schools is a district-wide success story.  Students are more engaged and attentive than ever, thanks to the speaker systems built directly into the ceiling of every elementary classroom.

 

After realizing the district needed a better way to connect with bilingual and early literacy students, director of technology James Pearcy launched the pilot program in 2010. He installed test units of a portable speaker from Lightspeed Technologies in just eight classrooms.

 

“To really understand their teachers, our students need to be able to hear the correct pronunciations and all the nuances of the English language,” said Pearcy. “I knew there were a lot of kids who were missing out on that.”

 

Teachers wore a small microphone around their necks, and their voices were projected throughout the room via a portable speaker. The test program was an immediate hit for both the teachers and students.

 

“Teachers were telling us that classroom management was easier, and their students were more engaged,” said Pearcy. “The kids on the fringe of the classrooms weren’t falling off and trying to find something else to occupy their time – they were finally able to hear and understand better.”

 

In fact, the pilot program was so successful that the district installed the built-in speaker systems in elementary classrooms today. Still, Pearcy said he wouldn’t be satisfied until all 18,500 students in the district have access to the technology.

 

“This technology has brought our kids into an arena of confidence – they know they’re not going to be left behind just because they have trouble hearing or understanding their teachers,” said Pearcy. “For me, that makes the investment well worth it.”

 

About Lightspeed Technologies

Established in 1990, Lightspeed Technologies is the trusted provider in classroom audio solutions. Our passion is to improve the listening and learning environment for every child. We believe strengthening the connection between teachers and students is at the heart of learning.

 

Lightspeed classroom audio systems allow teachers to speak in normal conversational tones while being assured every child has an equal opportunity to hear all of the instruction. From the traditional installed systems with ceiling speakers to the new Redcat all-in-one, no install system, Lightspeed is proud to offer the very finest in classroom audio technology. For more information about Lightspeed classroom audio products, visit Lightspeed’s website.

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High School District 214 Superintendent David R. Schuler Elected AASA President-Elect 
Will work to champion public education, innovation

Alexandria, Va., Arlington Heights, Ill. – (April 24, 2014) – David R. Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214, in Arlington Heights, Ill., was elected 2014-15 president-elect of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the nation’s premier organization that develops and supports school system leaders and those aspiring to become school system leaders.

“David is an outstanding leader with a steadfast commitment to excellence in public education,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “As we continue to reshape America’s education agenda, I am pleased to welcome David as our president-elect. He will serve as a champion for public education for our nation and most of all, for our nation’s students.”

A member of AASA’s governance structure for seven years, Schuler currently serves on the organization’s executive committee after serving on its governing board from 2007 to 2011. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. Prior to joining IASA, he was a member of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators for five years.

“I’m honored to be associated with AASA—the organization which serves as a standard-bearer when it comes to strengthening school district leadership on the national scale,” said Schuler. “Through this role, I look forward to engaging with superintendents and providing professional growth opportunities so our district leaders can excel on the job. My top priority will be serving them while championing the amazing achievements occurring in our schools across the country.”

(View video of Daniel A. Domenech and David R. Schuler)

Schuler is in his ninth year leading District 214—the second-largest high school system in Illinois. Recognized as a Blue Ribbon High School District by the U.S. Department of Education, his school system serves approximately 250,000 residents.

Schuler earned his bachelor’s degree at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wis.

Schuler, as well as all other newly elected AASA governance members, will begin their terms on July 1. David K. Pennington, superintendent of the Ponca City Public Schools, in Ponca City, Okla., will be installed as the 2014-15 AASA president and Schuler will be sworn in as the 2014-15 AASA president-elect during a ceremony at a summer meeting of the governing board in Washington, D.C. on July 9.

Additional members of AASA’s Executive Committee who will be sworn in include:

Lyle C. Ailshie
Superintendent
Kingsport City Schools
Kingsport, Tenn.

Deborah S. Akers
Superintendent
Mercer County Public Schools
Princeton, W. Va.

Alton L. Frailey
Superintendent
Katy Independent School District
Katy, Texas

Chris Gaines
Superintendent
Wright City R-II School District
Wright City, Mo.

Julie Walker
Superintendent
Plevna School District #55
Plevna, Mont.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visitwww.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

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Follett Introduces New Search Interface in Destiny 12.0 Release

 

 

Destiny Library Manager provides integrated solution

for schools’ print, digital management needs

 

 

 

Students can seamlessly read ebooks, complete research from one convenient solution

 

MCHENRY, Ill., April 24, 2014 –Follett this week released Destiny 12.0 with Universal Search, a new search interface that allows students to seamlessly search and access all print and digital content within the Destiny Library Manager platform. Whether reading ebooks or conducting research, students can now access the content they need from one system that offers a consistent, simplified user experience with single sign-on access.

 

“This powerful new search capability makes Destiny the solution of choice for librarians and schools moving from print to digital,” said Tom Schenck, president of Follett School Solutions. “Students and teachers can discover and access the best print and digital content directly through Destiny, eliminating the need to learn multiple interfaces and passwords. It’s one of the most comprehensive content solutions educators can put in front of their students.”

 

Rather than having to use a separate tool for digital content, Destiny is a universal solution that provides students and teachers access to multiple types of resources from multiple vendors, within the convenience of one system. In use at more than 50,000K-12 schools nationwide, Destiny offers powerful federated searching so a student can find a wide variety of high-quality relevant resources with minimal effort. “Follett’s goal is to help our districts ensure their investments in content are maximized to help support student learning,” Schenck said.

 

The new Universal Search interface is built to provide an optimal experience on virtually any size screen. Universal Search also takes advantage of Destiny’s deep integration with Follett ebooks, allowing usersto directly check out content, place titles on hold, and provide direct access from mobile devices.

 

Within the new release, librarians and teachers can now collaborate and connect to content using Follett’s exclusiveCurriculum Tags, which include tags for specific skills and Common Core-related terms such as “figurative language,” “point of view,” “primary sources,” and “cause and effect.”

 

“Universal Search allows teachers to use our Curriculum Tags to easily find relevant resources in Destiny to support and build their lesson plans to meet college and career readiness,” Schenck added.

 

With the introduction of Universal Search’s cloud-based functionality, Follett will add new, dynamic capabilities on an ongoing basis. Schools will have the flexibility to introduce the new features at their own pace.

 

For more information on Follett’s PreK-12 business, visit FollettLearning.com.

 

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About Follett’s K-12 Business follettlearning.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.

About Follett Corporationfollett.com

Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company.

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Cram.com Turns Students into ‘Stellar Spellers’

 

Battle alien ships and dodge asteroids to practice spelling,

languages and more in new online and mobile game

 

LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2014 – StudyMode, an ed-tech company dedicated to helping students succeed in school, today launched a new arcade-style online game, Stellar Speller. An extension of StudyMode’s flashcard site Cram.comStellar Speller is a free, entertaining way to learn languages, spelling, vocabulary and other topics. Players can work from any of the 75 million flashcards already created on Cram.com, or create their own unique sets.

 

“We all learn better when we’re having fun, so we created Cram.com’s Stellar Speller to put an exciting, fast-paced twist on flashcards,” said Blaine Vess, Co-founder and CEO of StudyMode. “We understand that time is of the essence for students and we are here to make studying easier and less stressful. Stellar Speller is a ton of fun to play, and since it’s available across devices, you can fit in a quick study session no matter where you are.”

 

Stellar Speller puts a new spin on flashcards with rapid-fire gameplay that puts each user in control of a spaceship. Players shoot enemy ships to spell out the answer while avoiding incoming asteroids, but watch out—if the wrong ship is attacked, it will shoot back.

Key Features:

  • Choose Your Subject: Players can challenge themselves to a variety of different topics including vocabulary, state capitals, spelling and more
  • Flip Your Cards: Start by spelling out answers, then spice things up by flipping your cards and spelling out the questions
  • Leaderboards: Compete against other learners with a leaderboard to track high scores; a great way to challenge an entire class to study a standard set of information
  • Share via Social Media: Share your high scores via Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • Easy to Play: Visit Cram.com, select a set of flashcards or create your own set, then just click the “Games” tab to launch your game

 

Stellar Speller is Cram.com’s second game, following Jewels of Wisdom which launched in November. It is available now, completely free, at Cram.com.

 

To experience Stellar Speller first-hand, click here to play a sample set.

 

About Cram.com

Cram.com, a part of the StudyMode network of online tools and apps, is a free online resource for parents, students and teachers to create, study and share flashcards. Free apps are available for Android and iOS. Cram.com also features options to generate competitive games from a user’s study material. Cram.com hosts more than 75 million flashcards and supports more than 1 million members.

 

About StudyMode

StudyMode provides a network of practical online learning tools and apps to help students succeed. The flagship site,StudyMode.com, allows students to share and review study materials such as research documents, book notes and AP notes. Other sites in the network include Cram.com, where students can create, share and study flashcards. Founded in 1999, StudyMode’s international network features more than 15 properties and reaches 90 million visitors per month.

 

 

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NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE ON COMMON CORE

NEW YORK, NY (April 24, 2014) – Today, the National Urban League – along with the Los Angeles Urban League, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee – announced the launch of an education campaign, Put Our Children 1st: Common Core for Common Goals, designed to inform parents about Common Core State Standards, what they are and what they mean for students.  The campaign will also provide parents with vital tools and resources they need to ensure that their children successfully transition to and receive the full benefits of these new, high-quality academic standards in English language arts and math.  By raising standards for everyone, the Common Core can help bridge the education achievement gap and create a level playing field for all students to excel regardless of family income, ethnicity or where they live.

The Put Our Children 1st  campaign includes several communications and engagement activities aimed at increasing understanding of the Common Core among parents so that they are empowered to become true partners in their children’s education and success.  Campaign activities include a series of facilitated local Parent Circles that will take place between April and September of this year.  During these events,  parents and concerned community members will learn and provide feedback about the Standards and how they are being implemented in their states and school districts; what they and their children can expect from the new standards; what resources and tools are available to them; and what parents can do to help ensure that the standards are equitably resourced and implemented.

“The National Urban League and our affiliate network have long advocated a leveling of the academic playing field accompanied by higher quality in education, and the Common Core State Standards represent historic milestones in American education to help our nation achieve this goal,” said Marc H. Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League.  “It does not serve our nation well when some children are systemically less prepared than others, nor does it serve our nation to have this issue tossed onto a political battlefield where it becomes a casualty of partisanship and deliberate misinformation.  When implemented responsibly and equitably, the Common Core can reach its promise of better preparing all students for college and the jobs of today and tomorrow.  The Put Our Children 1st campaign is a critical tool to arm parents with accurate information that will enable them to become powerful advocates for the Common Core – and most importantly, for their children and their children’s futures.”

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National Urban League Launches Put Our Children 1st Campaign – cont. p. 2

Put Our Children 1st will also include digital and social media components, public service announcements (PSAs), thought leadership and other content creation, and ongoing education-focused events across the identified cities, where participants will also have the opportunity for regular parent-to-parent engagement.  The campaign is scheduled to run through December 2014 and will be implemented locally in four Urban League affiliate markets:  Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Nashville.

Research commissioned by the National Urban League, and conducted by Dr. Silas Lee and Associates, in February and March 2014 in the campaign markets affirmed grassroots parental support for the Common Core, but it also confirmed that more must be done to increase public awareness of the standards.  Half of parents surveyed were not aware of Common Core State Standards – despite their current adoption in 44 states and the District of Columbia – with slightly more than half (56 percent) of those saying they understand the goals and requirements of the new learning standards.  However, the survey also showed that when parents have accurate information, they overwhelmingly support the Common Core State Standards – with 91 percent of African American parents surveyed agreeing that Common Core will better prepare their children for college and the workforce, and 75 percent of them anticipating that it will make American students more competitive with their peers in other countries.

“We owe it to our nation, our states, our cities – and all of our children – to ensure the success of Common Core State Standards and other critical education reforms and investments,” said Morial.  “Education is not only the civil rights issue of our times; it is increasingly the fault line that will determine winners and losers in the 21st Century economy.  It’s time to put down the politics and pick up a common agenda towards our common goal of better educating our children and youth.  It’s time to Put Our Children 1st.”

 

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Chicago Teachers Union Today’s Turnaround
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released the following statement upon news that the Chicago Board of Education voted to “turn around” three elementary schools on the city’s South and West sides. The move will transfer the schools’ authority to a politically connected business organization with ties to city hall:“Today’s hostile takeover of three of our neighborhood school communities by the mayor’s handpicked Board of Education makes it quite clear that there is a war on older, African-American teachers and administrators, as well as the school communities in which they serve,” said Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.“After being starved of resources for many consecutive years, Dvorak, Gresham and McNair, three promising elementary schools, were set up for failure by our school district. While we are proud of the members we have working in ‘turnaround schools’ operated by the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL), our issue is that this dubious, corporate reform model has proven to do little but take over schools discredited by CPS and then, after receiving millions of dollars in support, take credit for the sudden but short-lived academic success among students.“Nearly a year ago we witnessed thousands of parents, community leaders, clergy, educators and students begging to be heard as the Board destroyed nearly 50 schools. Today parents, administrators and teachers were forced to beg the Board of Ed for the right to a future, only to be slapped down and have their cries fall on deaf ears. Where are the leaders in our school district who are protecting the interests of these students and their constituents? This is why we stand strong in our call for a democratically elected, representative school board.”

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Vernier’s Connected Science System® and Graphical Analysis™ for iPad® Named 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards Finalists

Vernier’s science and STEM-based technologies recognized by industry-leading award for their software excellence

BEAVERTON, Oregon, April 24, 2014 – Vernier Software & Technology was recognized as a finalist in the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards for both its Connected Science System® and Graphical Analysis™ for iPad® app. The industry-leading awards program recognized the technologies for their software excellence in the Best Science/Heath Instructional Solution and Best Educational App for a Mobile Device category, respectively.

In its 29th year, the SIIA CODiE Awards are the premier awards for recognizing excellence in the software and information industries. The awards have more than 75 categories and are organized by industry, focusing on content, education, and software. The awards are the industry’s only peer-reviewed program as educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees and then select the finalists in the products’ respective categories. This year’s program features 31 education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models.

“Providing robust technologies to enhance the teaching and learning process, as well as to further scientific discovery for students, is at the heart of all we do,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “The recognition from the CODiE Awards for both the Connected Science System and Graphical Analysis for iPad app is a great honor that further reinforces the impact these technologies can have in engaging students in STEM education.”

The Connected Science System is a networked collection of technology – encompassing Graphical Analysis for iPad, Vernier Data Share web app, and LabQuest Viewer software – that expands the ability to use data collected with Vernier’s LabQuest 2 data-collection device to support hands-on, collaborative learning. With the Connected Science System and the built-in wireless connectivity of the LabQuest 2, STEM educators and students have new ways to share and analyze data using mobile devices.

The Graphical Analysis for iPad app allows students and teachers with iPads to wirelessly collect sensor data in real time from the LabQuest 2 and then intuitively analyze, annotate, and save that data on the iPad using the app’s multi-touch and advanced networking and exporting capabilities. The app is a direct descendant of a program first written for Apple II computers by Vernier in 1982.

Winners of the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards 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 13, 2014.

To learn more about the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2014/. To learn more about the Connected Science System and Graphical Analysis for iPad, visit www.vernier.com.

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.

About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 33 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With world-wide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college. Vernier’s technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students’ critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Vernier’s business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit www.vernier.com.

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