Learn about Birdbrain Technologies:

Burdbrain Technologies is reaching out to discuss their  newest technology, engineering, robotics and programming educational product. It’s called the “Hummingbird Duo,” you can check it out at our KickStarter campaign page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/938274194/1457231733?token=067de212
The Hummingbird Duo may be the first electronics kit that is fun and educational for a fourth grader, a high school student, a college engineering student, or an adult maker. With the Duo; learners go up a staircase where each step increases skills and where mastering each step allows one to use the Hummingbird in a new and more interesting way.
We are a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company and the Hummingbird originated with the Arts and Bots project in the CREATE Lab. Our original version Hummingbird kit is already in a few hundred schools and is unleashing students’ creativity and imagination in classrooms world-wide. In 2012 Fast Company declared it one of “3 gifts to get Girls Interested in Engineering” and in 2014 we received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and were also recognized by the National School Board Association Technology Innovation Showcase. 
  • We are focused on education: The Hummingbird Duo is an excellent kit for introducing electronics, robotics, engineering and programming in any environment: at home, in the classroom, in summer camp, or in a club.
  • We are socially responsible: Our goal is for all students to learn some computer and engineering as part of the regular school day. In addition to our products, we directly support this goal in two ways:
    • In 2013 we donated 350 of our Finch robots to schools around the USA to introduce coding and computer science to over ten thousand elementary, middle and high school students.
    • Since 2012, we have pledged 1% or our profits to the Computer Science Teacher’s Association. We believe in the work of the CSTA, which supports and promotes the teaching of computer science.

Carnegie Mellon University Spinoff BirdBrain Technologies is Excited to Announce the Launch of the Hummingbird Duo, Engineering, Technology and Robotics Education Kickstarter Project

Electronics kit is equally challenging and fun to 4th graders, high school students, and adult makers. Very low floor, shoot for the moon ceiling

May 19, 2014 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BirdBrain Technologies is excited to announce that Hummingbird Duo is launching on Kickstarter today. The Hummingbird Duo may be the first electronics kit that is fun and educational for a fourth grader, a high school student, a college engineering student, or an adult maker. The Hummingbird Duo provides several levels of engineering and technology learning. Instead of a steep learning curve, learners go up a staircase where each step increases skills and where mastering each step allows one to use the Hummingbird in a new and more interesting way. For more information on the Hummingbird Duo KickStarter project visit, www.kickstarter.com/projects/938274194/1457231733?token=067de212.

“The Hummingbird Duo is an excellent kit for introducing electronics, robotics, engineering, and programming in any environment: at home, in the classroom, in summer camp, or in a club.”

The Hummingbird Duo includes many of the features requested by BirdBrain Technologies’ core community of teachers: Tetherless operation, Arduino mode, and more minor improvements like wheels for motors, solid-ended leads, improved sound sensing, and color-coding of the connectors by function. “We are extremely excited about the Hummingbird Duo potential’s to empower positive classroom experiences and to grow with students as they learn.” Said Tom Lauwers, BirdBrain Technologies founder and co-creator of the Hummingbird. “The Hummingbird Duo is an excellent kit for introducing electronics, robotics, engineering, and programming in any environment: at home, in the classroom, in summer camp, or in a club.”

The Hummingbird Duo controller will be the core of all new Hummingbird Robotics kits. Hummingbird Duo supports programming environments that range from very easy to get started with to advanced and powerful. Everything is free, open source, and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Hummingbird supports CREATE Lab Visual Programmer, Scratch, Snap!, Arduino, Python, Java, and more.

To inquire about ordering for your school, set up a workshop in your region or read testimonials from those using the product today, visitwww.hummingbirdkit.com or call us at (888)371-6161.

The Hummingbird Robotics Kit was developed as part of Art & Bots, an ongoing research project at Carnegie Mellon University. Compatible with popular maker tools and software like Raspberry Pi, MaKey MaKey, Arduino, and Scratch, Hummingbird introduces students to engineering design, electronics, and programming through an innovative, arts & crafts-based approach that integrates well with the core subjects.

About BirdBrain Technologies

At BirdBrain Technologies, we are committed to technological excellence to students and educators. Our passion is to instill an innovative maker mentality in students and to foster a project-based learning approach in everyday classrooms. We are devoted to integrating engineering and computer science with traditional core subjects by creating robots and electronics that can foster natural interdisciplinary projects. To learn more about BirdBrain Technologies, visitwww.BirdBrainTechnologies.com


BirdBrain Technologies
R. Morris, 888-371-6161
Managing Director


Insight Education Group Wins SIIA EdTech CODiE Award for Best Professional Learning Solution in K12 Education


Lesson planning and professional development platform myCoreTM earns top honors

SAN FRANCISCO (May 19, 2014) — Insight Education Group today announced that its Common Core planning and sharing platform, myCoreTM, won an SIIA CODiE Award for “Best Professional Learning Solution for Education.”

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, announced Insight Education Group as one of 31 CODiE Award winners in the education technology category. An SIIA CODiE Award win for ed tech companies is an especially prestigious honor, as each award winner has been selected by a combination of educators, who act as initial judges by selecting finalists from among all nominees, and SIIA members-company peers, who vote to select the winners from among the finalists.

Built on a backwards-lesson design model called Strategic DesignmyCoreTM offers on-demand support in creating and customizing rigorous, engaging, and standards-aligned units and lessons. In addition to providing coaching and support, myCoreTM offers educators access to a rich library of hundreds of Common Core-aligned lessons with the ability for users to pull the lessons into their myCoreTM dashboards and customize them for their classrooms. The platform also gives teachers and administrators the ability to track and manage what standards have been planned and taught.

“All of us at Insight Education Group are honored to see myCoreTM recognized as the year’s best professional learning solution in K12 education by SIIA.  We strive to provide teachers with the tools and support they need to ensure each student is successful,” said Dr. Michael Moody, CEO of Insight Education Group.  “This is a great testament to our team’s dedication to that end.  We would like to thank all of the educators that supported the development of myCoreTM and to SIIA for this award.

In addition to being named the best professional learning tool in K12 education, myCoreTM earned top honors in the same category by EdTech Digest earlier this year.

“SIIA’s 2014 Education CODiE Award winners’ are some of the most innovative, high-impact education products out there,” said SIIA Vice President for the Education Division Karen Billings. “We congratulate all of this year’s CODiE Award winners, and thank them for the contributions they have made to the education industry.”

For more information about the CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2014/

About SIIA

SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 700 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 the SIIA CODiE™ Awards

The SIIA CODiE™ Awards, originally called the Excellence in Software Awards, were established in 1986 by the Software Publishers Association (SPA), now the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), so that pioneers of the then-nascent software industry could evaluate and honor each other’s work. Since then, the CODiE Awards program has carried out the same purpose – to showcase the software and information industry’s finest products and services and to honor excellence in corporate achievement.

About Insight Education Group
Insight Education Group is an educational consulting firm that supports the growth of teachers and school leaders. Since 2000, we have partnered with schools, districts, charters, states, and education organizations across the country to understand their challenges and provide matching solutions that get results. Our ultimate goal is to ensure all students get a great education. For more information, visit http://www.insighteducationgroup.com.



InRoad Toys Rolls Out PlayTape® to the Education Market

Repositionable tape designed to look like roads provides young children hours of creative play and motor development


CROFTON, Maryland, May 19, 2014 – InRoad Toys has launched PlayTape, rolls of repositionable tape designed to look like roads, providing young children hours of play opportunities. PlayTape can be used to introduce creative play and collaboration, as well as math concepts such as shapes, angles, length, and symmetry.


PlayTape is the quickest, easiest way to create roads for playing with toy cars and trucks. Available in multiple colors and widths, PlayTape sticks to any flat surface, tears easily to any length, and leaves no residue when removed. The tape is durable so a scene can be in position for multple days of play.


With PlayTape, children can take advantage of other manipulatives found in early childhood classrooms such as blocks, animals, and figurines to create cities, towns, and villages with which to interact and explore.


“As a parent, I was struck by my son’s interest in toy cars, but tracks for the cars were just too cumbersome and limiting to allow him to really engage in imaginative play,” said Andy Musliner, founder and CEO of InRoad Toys. “I created PlayTape so children can strengthen their creativity, teamwork, and spatial awareness as they play.”


PlayTape has won a Tillywig Award for Best Creative Fun. It is sold in retailers nationwide and can be purchased online at www.InRoadToys.com. PlayTape is available in multiple length and width rolls, as well as various colors. MSRP ranges from $1.99 to $12.99 per roll.  Special education volume discount pricing is available. For ages 3 and up. PlayTape is 100% Made in the USA.



About InRoad Toys


InRoad Toys develops groundbreaking, enduring, high-play value toys with broad applicability across age groups. The company’s premier product, PlayTape®: Fun That Sticks!(TM) is revolutionizing the way the world plays with toy vehicles. Appropriate for children ages 3 and up, PlayTape is the fastest, best way to creatively build roads for playing with toy cars. PlayTape sticks to any flat surface, is easy-tear, repositionable, easily removed with no residue, easily stored & transported, disposable, and recyclable. For more information, visitwww.InRoadToys.com.



myON and IRA announce winner of first “Legends in Literacy” Award

1st annual award honors educators making great strides to promote literacy


(MINNEAPOLIS) May 10, 2014 — The International Reading Association’s (IRA) annual conference has begun with an exciting focus on 21st-century literacy. At an awards ceremony last night, elementary school teacher Janice Gowdy was honored as the 2014 “Literacy Legend”.  The national contest, sponsored by myON and IRA, was created to honor educators that are promoting literacy in their classrooms, schools and beyond.

Independent judges were asked to review submissions based on a number of criteria, including how these educators are impacting and furthering literacy in their classroom, school and community as a whole; the uniqueness of their literacy initiatives; and the results and achievement their students have realized.  The quality of the entries was overwhelming, making the judging process that much more difficult.

2014 “Legends in Literacy” winner:

  • Janice Gowdy, reading teacher at West Stafford Elementary School (Stafford, Conn.) – Through Gowdy’s student-run bookstore, more than 20,000 books have been put in the hands of West Stafford students. In collaboration with West Stafford’s librarian and a reading colleague, Gowdy also began a program to promote reading at home called “HurRAH”. In 2011-2012, she was one of three to receive the Connecticut Reading Association’s Outstanding Reading Educator award.

This award was borne out of myON’s strategic alliance with the International Reading Association. Winners were announced at the “Legends in Literacy” reception held Friday May 9th, as part of the conference kick-off.

“We’re thrilled to honor Janice for her efforts to encourage children to read. We would also like to recognize the many other educators that submitted for the contest.  They are invaluable in fostering a national community of readers and learners,” said Todd Brekhus, president of myON.  “Janice is an outstanding leader and we were impressed by her creativity and dedication to making reading fun. She truly is a Legend in Literacy.”

“We loved hearing the stories of educators nationwide who are doing their part to get kids reading, and we look forward to honoring more Legends in Literacy for years to come,” said Brekhus.

For more information, visit legendsinliteracy.com.

About myON™

myON, a business unit of Capstone, develops personalized learning environments for students. myON provides access to the largest library of enhanced digital books with multimedia scaffolds to support student reading at all levels. In turn, myON empowers teachers with real-time, actionable data—number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more—based on embedded Lexile assessments that measure student reading growth. With myON, every student can have access to more than 7,000 diverse titles, which allows students to take ownership of their reading interests and literacy growth.

For more information, please visit myON.com

About Legends in Literacy

The Legends in Literacy program recognizes individual and/or team achievements in the advancement of literacy initiatives in schools, districts, and communities.

Winners are selected for their work and commitment to literacy by demonstrating leadership in reading improvement, providing ideas for implementations and best practices, involving the community and encouraging widespread reading within the school and community.

For more information, visit LegendsinLiteracy.com.


Illinois High School Earns Grand Prize in National Education Contest

Belleville West singled out for its innovative ‘Community of Readers’ program


McHENRY, Ill., May 16, 2014 – Belleville West High School, in southern Illinois, has been named the grand prize winner of the third annual Follett Challenge, a competition to identify, reward and promote the most innovative teaching and learning programs. The high school won for its cutting-edge “Community of Readers” program, which challenges students in each grade level to become avid and engaged pleasure readers.


The program, in its fourth year, was the brainchild of the school’s English department as it explored ways to encourage students to read for sheer pleasure, in addition to reading for assignments. “We saw too many students who were apathetic about reading, and we watched as our own classes sometimes settled into ruts,” said John Lodle, Belleville West’s English department chair. “We wanted to share our personal passion for books as well as spark new enthusiasm for reading in our students.”


Each grade level at Belleville West is challenged to read one million pages for fun. In its first year, the school’s freshmen read an average of 2,430 pages each, translating to more than 1.4 million pages total for the class.


“The program has resulted in a change in the whole culture of our school, and it also resulted in some impressive gains on our school’s standardized test scores,” Lodle said. “When we heard about the Follett Challenge, we saw a way to share our excitement about what we are doing at our school.”


The $200,000 Follett Challenge annually provides a forum for K-12 schools to share inspiring stories of how their innovative programs are preparing students for the demands of the 21st century.


“Belleville West’s program is helping create literate, confident readers who are ready to tackle college and career challenges,” said Tom Schenck, president, Follett School Solutions. “We salute them for their impressive program, and all the schools that showed off their effective approaches to 21st century learning in this year’s Follett Challenge.”


Belleville West, which last month was announced as one of the contest’s four semifinalists, will earn a total of $65,000 in Follettproducts and services.

“We plan to add new books, ebooks, and subscriptions from Follett to our school’s library,” Lodle said. “As we see more and more of our students reading on tablets, laptops and cell phones, we’re especially excited about the opportunity to add new ebooks to our library’s collection.”


Belleville West’s video submission has been viewed on the Follett Challenge website more than 2,800 times, which has contributed to the English department’s goal of helping to share the “Community of Readers” program concept with other schools across the country.


“Knowing teachers in other districts have learned about what we’re doing through the Follett Challenge is very gratifying,” Lodle said. “And we’d like to use our success in this contest to work with other schools in our district to develop similar programs.”


According to Sue Adelmann, one of six Follett Challenge judges, Belleville West clearly stood out in this year’s competition.


“What touched us all is the amount of outreach the school had with the program in the context of the million books,” said Adelmann, senior director/market intelligence, Follett School Solutions. “You could clearly see that the school has successfully moved the needle and changed kids’ lives.”


The other three semifinalists were: Albert P. Terhune Elementary School in Wayne, N.J.; Memorial and Thomas Jefferson middle schools in Fair Lawn, N.J.; and Wayland Union Schools in Wayland, Mich. Each earned $35,000 in Follett products and services. An additional six $5,000 prizes (in products and services) were awarded to the “People’s Choice” winners – those schools whose video submissions received the highest number of online votes from the public. All four semifinalist schools also won People’s Choice honors.


For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit www.follettchallenge.com.



Video: Watch as Belleville West High School learned it was the grand prize winner.


Case Study: Going in-depth about Belleville West’s ‘Community of Readers’ program.




About Follett’s PreK-12 Business www.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. For more information, visitwww.FollettLearning.com.

About Follett Corporation www.Follett.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 River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company.


Collaboration will result in new tools and resources to improve literacy skills 


MINNEAPOLIS, MN and Islip, NY May 15, 2014– Teachers at 25 schools throughout the state of New York are participating in an 18-month literacy pilot designed to improve college and career-readiness for all students.


myONTM, the award-winning web-based literacy environment for PreK-Grade 12 — which is built upon the Lexile® Framework for Reading and includes metrics that track and predict student reading growth — is at the core of a new professional development model for New York educators that will be built by the myON team, in partnership with the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), the NY State Teacher Centers, and their associated BOCES.


Participating districts include Chateaugay Central School District, Elba Central School District, Geneseo Central School District, Gowanda Central School District, Islip Union Free School District, Lake Placid Central School District, Lynbrook Public Schools, Wheatland-Chili Central School District, Wyandanch Union Free School District, York Central School District, and Yonkers Public Schools, along with the Diocese of Buffalo Education Office.  More than 400 teachers and over 5,000 students will participate in the pilot.


“At the core of preparing New York students to be college and career ready is ensuring that students are able to handle text materials found in those environments,” explained Stan Silverman, director of NYIT’s Technology Based Learning Systems Department and co-chair of the New York State Teacher Centers Technology Committee. “This private-public project will bring together the expertise in the classroom with the experts from the private sector to help create a set of learning and teaching strategies that will support the acquisition of these skills for all students.  NYIT, the New York State Teachers Centers and their associated BOCES are pleased to be part of this critical activity.”


Educators at pilot sites are beginning to implement the myON personalized literacy environment within their classrooms, and students are being encouraged to read in and out of school, over the weekends and during school breaks. As new content-rich curriculum and instructional practices are developed during the pilot period, they will be incorporated into these existing implementations, enabling educators to provide input and feedback.


“The myON team is eager to work with our partners in New York on this pilot project,” said Todd Brekhus, president of myON.  “We developed myON as a break-through literacy environment that challenges conventional thinking about student access and engagement with text. This state pilot project is the next logical step: providing New York’s teachers with just-right tools and support while using myON to achieve their instructional goals and help them to meet the challenges of their state standards.”


Key components of the pilot include:


  • Development of relevant wrap-around resources for the myON personalized literacy environment, with a focus on text complexity, close reading of texts, and data driven instructional practices, that are targeted to address all learners within any classroom setting.
  • Creation of capacity-building professional development that provides concrete and ongoing support for teachers, leverages the existing PD infrastructure in NY, and promotes family and community engagement.
  • A comprehensive deployment strategy that will ensure statewide availability and access to the new resources and professional development strategies, scheduled to launch in time for the 2015-16 school year.


For more information about the New York Institute of Technology, please visit http://nyit.edu/


For more information about the New York State Teacher Centers, please visit http://www.nysteachercenters.org


For more information about myON, a business unit of Capstone, leading publisher of classroom and library books, please visit www.myON.com


Luca Lashes Adds More Interactivity/Chinese to its Free App Focused on Helping Children through ‘Fearful Firsts’


Multilingual story, now in five languages, introduces children to Luca and his magic lashes as he prepares to conquer his fears


Chandler, AZ, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 – Multilingual eBook and app creator, Luca Lashes® LLC announces an upgraded version of its introductory app, Luca Lashes®, the Brown-Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes.With stories geared for children ages 0 to 6 and older children with special needs, the award-winning series helps turn children’s “fearful firsts” into educational experiences.


In this app, readers are introduced to main character and young boy, Luca, whose magical eyelashes help make him brave.  A few of the upgrades to this app include:


  • Readers can toggle between five languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. With the number of languages available, the book helps introduce new languages to children, as well as promotes English for children where English is a second language.
  • More interactivity has been added to pages, enhancing a child’s interaction with the story. In addition, cover art and illustrations within the book have been enhanced.
  • New narration offers a ‘’read to me” option.


“Our Luca Lashes series helps children overcome their fear around new experiences such as dentist appointments and first haircuts, and it provides tips for parents to introduce these new experiences to their child. Our first app in the series is free so readers can meet Luca and get a feel for his approach to overcoming fears,” said Nicole Fonovich, Luca Lashes cofounder of Luca Lashes LLC. “Our team has given extensive thought to all of the upgrades in this app in order to create the best interactive learning experience.”


Created by long-time educators Nicole and Damir Fonovich, the Luca Lashes® eBook and app series were inspired by their little boy, Lucas, and their desire to help him be brave in all his childhood discoveries. Many children fear the unknown, but with the help of a good story, and Luca’s magic lashes, they too can overcome their fears and learn from the world around them. The Luca Lashes® series makes first experiences, from hospital visits to swim lessons, a more positive experience for children and parents. In fact, parental sections accompany every story and assist parents with making the “first” experience more comfortable.


Check out the free, upgraded app, Luca Lashes®, the Brown-Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes on iTunes,Google play, the Amazon App Store, NOOK, or the Educational App Store (EAS). 


Luca Lashes readers can also anticipate upgrades to the following apps: Luca Lashes Learns to Brush His TeethLuca Lashes and His First Trip to the DentistLuca Lashes and His First HaircutLuca Lashes Has His First Swimming LessonLuca Lashes Visits the Doctor, and Luca Lashes and his Trip to the Nursing Home. App recipients that have previously downloaded these apps will receive notifications when upgrades are available. To learn more or to view the entire Luca Lashes series today, visit www.LucaLashes.com.


About Luca Lashes® LLC
Luca Lashes® is an award-winning series of interactive apps and eBooks helping children to be brave when confronting new, unexpected and sometimes fearful, experiences. Parents and caregivers can use these apps and eBooks to help children deal with their “fearful firsts,” including first visits to the doctor or dentist, first trip to the nursing home, first haircut, among other firsts. To stay up to date on Luca Lashes, visitwww.LucaLashes.com and sign up for the e-newsletter. You can also connect with Luca Lashes® on Facebook,TwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterestGoogle+, or its blog. View the electronic press kit here.


Vernier Software & Technology’s Graphical Analysis™ for iPad® Wins 2014 SIIA CODiE Award 

App for science and STEM education honored in Best Educational App for a Mobile Device category

BEAVERTON, Oregon, May 16, 2014 – Vernier Software & Technology was named the winner of the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards for its Graphical Analysis™ app for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch®. The industry-leading awards program recognized the technology in the Best Educational App for a Mobile Device category, whichlooks at the best curriculum or administrative native app designed for the PreK–12 or postsecondary market.

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 focusing on content, education, and software.They are especially prestigious as educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees and then select the finalists in the products’ respective categories. SIIA members then select the winners – 31 in total in the education categories this year – from among the finalists.

“We work diligently to provide our customers with the most robust technologies that enhance the teaching and learning process and help students truly engage in scientific discovery,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “The recognition from the CODiE Awards for the Graphical Analysis for iPad app is a tremendous honor and a great recognition of Vernier’s ongoing commitment to science and STEM education.”

The Graphical Analysis for iPad app allows students and teachers with iPads to wirelessly collect sensor data in real time from Vernier’s LabQuest 2 data-collection device, and then intuitively analyze, annotate, and save that data on the iPad using the app’s multi-touch and advanced networking and exporting capabilities. Go Wireless Temp, the first in a series of sensors that transmit data directly to mobile devices, is also compatible with Graphical Analysis for iPad.

To learn more about the SIIA CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2014/. To learn more about Graphical Analysis for iPad, visit http://www.vernier.com/ga-ipad.

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, visithttp://www.siia.net/education.

About the SIIA CODiE™ Awards

The SIIA CODiE™ Awards, originally called the Excellence in Software Awards, were established in 1986 by the Software Publishers Association (SPA), now the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), so that pioneers of the then-nascent software industry could evaluate and honor each other’s work. Since then, the CODiE Awards program has carried out the same purpose – to showcase the software and information industry’s finest products and services and to honor excellence in corporate achievement.

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 http://www.vernier.com.


CoSN Expands Premiere K-12 Tech Leader Certification Program
Comprehensive Professional Development Course to Prep CTOs Now Available for
Online Collaboration
Washington, DC (May 16, 2014) – CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) today announced that its CETL exam preparation and professional development materials are now available at the association’sonline collaborative learning site. Titled “CoSN’s CETL Exam Preparation: Become a Highly Capable School System Technology Leader,” the educational program prepares interested CETL candidates by providing an in-depth exploration of each of the 10 essential skill areas identified in CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO. The skill areas include: Leadership & Vision, Strategic Planning; Ethics & Policies; Instructional Focus & Professional Development Team Building & Staffing; Stakeholder Focus; Information Technology Management; Communication Systems Management; Business Management; and Data Management.
Accompanying the launch of the new online collaborative suite is CoSN’s new CETL Ambassadors program, featuring CETL certified district technology leaders who can attest to and share with peers nationwide how such designation advances the role of tech leadership in our schools.
“Preparation for the rigorous CETL exam is critical, so we wanted to give practicing and aspiring education technology leaders better access to the necessary learning resources,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Our new online platform will allow CETL students to examine key issues, work with peers, and better gauge and strengthen their knowledge of the skills needed to earn CETL distinction. With this aspirational credential, school district technology leaders are demonstrating to their staff, their superintendent, and other peers that they have mastered the knowledge and skills to build innovative and inspiring learning environments.”
Each phase of the 11-module online course includes “To Do” exercises, “Reflection Questions” to help participants measure their understanding of the specific skill area, and an “Extending Your Study” section with suggestions for additional information on the module’s topic. In addition, study groups of potential test takers, organized through CoSN state chapters, help candidates stay on a schedule and provide colleague expertise and other support to prepare for the exam. A student must meet the eligibility requirements to successfully apply for the CETL examination.
“The CETL study group is an ongoing professional learning experience, not a one shot deal. It is an example of a quality professional learning community where you learn from your colleagues and provide each other support along the way,” said Alice Owen, Ph.D., CETL, Executive Director, Texas K-12 CTO Council. “The ‘essential skills,’ which the CETL exam measures, are competencies that all chief technology officers should possess. Having achieved your CETL certification gives you pride in being part of such a nationally recognized group.”
“When I first became a CTO, I searched for professional certification to authenticate that I had mastery of key concepts and competencies that were integral to my position,” said Patricia Haughney, CETL, Director of Information Services / CIO, Barrington CUSD 220 (IL). “My husband earned that type of designation in the health care field and proudly displayed those initials after his signature. The CoSN framework, CETL study materials, and CETL exam provide ed tech professionals with a national recognition of their skills, hard work, and value to the organization. Those initials will always be part of my signature as well.”
To learn more about the online collaborative suite and the ambassadors program, as well as full details regarding the CETL certification exam, please visit: www.cosn.org/certification.
About 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 eventsadvocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.


ASCD Releases Data Reports for Student Success in All 50 States

Alexandria, VA (5/14/2014)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, released new ASCD Whole Child Snapshots highlighting how well each state—and the nation—is meeting the comprehensive needs of its children. The snapshots feature data aligned with the five tenets of ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Together, the data provide a fuller picture of child well-being that extends beyond standardized test scores. The snapshots also suggest initial ideas for how communities can make targeted and innovative improvements to support the whole child and help their students become college, career, and citizenship ready. To see each indicator and the full Whole Child Snapshot for each state, visit www.ascd.org/wholechildsnapshots.

In addition to individualized state data, the ASCD Whole Child Snapshots also provide notable national data highlights

  • 68 percent of U.S. children had both medical and dental preventive care visits in the past year.
  • 20 percent of high school students were bullied in the past year and 16 percent were victims of cyberbullying. Girls were cyberbullied at twice the rate of boys.
  • 41 percent of 18- to24-year-old citizens voted in the November 2012 elections, compared to 62 percent of all voting-age citizens.
  • The national student-to-counselor ratio is 471 to 1, with only three states doing better than the recommended ratio of 250 to 1.
  • The nation’s high school graduation rate is the highest since the 1970s.

“Adequately preparing students for the future requires a more comprehensive approach to education that recognizes the crucial in-school factors and out-of-school influences that affect teaching and learning,” said ASCD CEO and Executive Director Dr. Gene R. Carter. “We believe that families, educators, and communities must be dedicated to raising learners who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, and these snapshots and the accompanying action steps will bring us closer to reaching that goal.

ASCD’s policy team designed the snapshots to feature two important data points for each of the five Whole Child Tenets. The data expand on typical achievement data used to gauge student progress; represent various stages of development, from pre-K to beyond postsecondary education; and reflect the collaboration and shared responsibility of families, schools, communities, and policymakers in supporting the whole child. Some examples of the data indicators are

  • The percentage of students who have received preventive medical and dental care in the past year (used as an indicator for the healthy tenet).
  • The percentage of students who were bullied at school or who were victims of cyberbullying (measures used as indicators for the safe tenet).
  • The percentage of 18- to 24-year-old citizens who voted in the November 2012 elections (indicator for the engaged tenet).
  • The student-to-counselor ratio (indicator for the supported tenet).

The snapshots promote a broader perspective of education reform that prepares students for lifelong learning, career success, and active citizenship. The data give a sense of the nation’s progress in supporting the full potential of its students and should spur collaboration and coordination beyond school doors.

“The Whole Child Snapshots are meant to not only connect the whole child approach to existing data already measured across the states, but also provide specific recommendations to support the whole child,” said David Griffith, ASCD’s director of public policy. “The action steps will help state leaders, educators, and citizens identify opportunities and priorities for improving the well-being and educational achievement of their students.”

ASCD will continue to help educators and policymakers implement the whole child approach through ongoing projects. Such efforts include supporting ASCD affiliates’ work on state-level whole child policies and collaborating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model, which encourages greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between education and health organizations to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. More about ASCD’s commitment to learning and health can be found at www.ascd.org/learningandhealth.

ASCD Professional Learning Services works with school districts to implement sustainable whole child support through customized professional development programs for educators. These programs are customizable based on the unique needs of a district or school and are available as on-site, virtual, or blended solutions. More information on ASCD Professional Learning Services can be found at www.ascd.org/pls.

To view the Whole Child Snapshots for all 50 states, visit www.ascd.org/wholechildsnapshots. To learn more about ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, visitwww.wholechildeducation.org. For more information on ASCD’s 2014 public policy priorities and legislative agenda, visit www.ascd.org/policy. You can also find out more about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships at www.ascd.org.

ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Comprising 140,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 56 affiliate organizations. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators as they learn, teach, and lead, visit www.ascd.org.



On 5/17 The NY Times published  an article by James Stewart about the growing national divestment movement.  While students at Swarthmore College were the first to advance the idea (Swarthmore’s administration has continually refused to divest), Unity College was the first institution of higher learning to actually make the concept real by divesting from investments in fossil fuels, a process it had begun to pursue in 2007 and formally announced in November of 2012.

Key Concept: Unity College was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, touching off the growing national movement in collaboration with 350.org founder Bill McKibben.

For Immediate Release
Big Win for Divestment Movement as Stanford University Dumps Coal-Mining Shares, Stephen Mulkey to Offer Vision for Reframing Higher Education
Unity, Maine – May, 2014
–  The movement began just two years ago by environmental activist Bill McKibben and Unity College, an environmental college in Maine with the tag line America’s Environmental College, seems unstoppable.
In early May, as President Barack Obama crisscrossed the United States revealing details of a dire National Climate Assessment, Stanford University joined the movement that began on November 13, 2012, at a 350.org event during which Unity College President Stephen Mulkey announced that his institution had divested from investments in fossil fuels.
Stanford will now comb through its $18.7 billion endowment, divesting from its shares in coal-mining companies.  The move comes just weeks after Pitzer College of Claremont, California, announced its intention to divest from investments in fossil fuels and improve campus sustainability efforts.
If the immediate goal of the divestment movement is to strip fossil fuel companies of their social contract to pursue a business model that is inconsistent with the long-term sustainability of human habitation on earth, then the objective of education reform as proposed by Mulkey is to reframe higher education to produce graduates with the real-world skills necessary to save humanity.
Sustainability Science and Education Reform
“Now that Stanford University has taken this important step, it is not improbable to think that Harvard University will seriously reconsider its continued resistance to calls by its faculty students to divest,” noted Mulkey, an internationally regarded scientist.
Mulkey and McKibben have been among the most recognizable and ardent champions of the growing divestment movement, speaking at events across the United States and advising college Presidents who are considering following their lead.
For Mulkey, climate leadership includes both divestment and proposing broad changes that will make higher education more efficient, relevant to real-world problems, and collaborative.  Just as Microsoft Corporation began with a series of ideas worked through on a garage work bench, so too is Unity College.  Unity is a college of fewer than 1,000 students located in Maine’s mid-coastal farm country, that is modeling the most transformative initiative since the G.I. Bill opened higher education to the masses.
When Mulkey announced Unity’s divestment to cheers ringing from the audience at the State Theater in Portland, Maine, what he did not mention is sustainability science, the second part of an equation to reframe higher education.  Sustainability science is the second of the one-two punch in President Mulkey’s philosophy and passionate call to action.  Mulkey says that sustainability science has the capability to comprehensively address a plethora of issues related to the survivability of the planet.  It challenges silos between the disciplines, threatens outdated modes of thinking, and requires faculty to learn new, collaborative ways of thinking and teaching.
While the Board of Trustees unanimously supported Unity College’s divestment, its faculty adopted Mulkey’s broad vision for education reform.  The faculty voted to adopt sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century transdisciplinary (collaborative) environmental problem solving, including the mitigation of climate change, as its framework for teaching and learning.
There are two planks in Mulkey’s platform: sustainability and education reform.
Essentially, the growing divestment movement that Stanford University joined is one part of a multi-layered strategy.  Mulkey’s comprehensive vision includes reframing of higher education for greater real world relevance.  He is now holding up the college he leads as a template for others to follow and a call to action for radical change.
Prophet at the Dawn of a New Movement
Like the recent National Climate Assessment, Mulkey’s message to educators is stark and pulls no punches about the threat of global climate change.  What he has done is take the next step in a comprehensive strategy for sustainability and offer a pro-active vision action. It is a vision that has the potential to transform higher education in ways that offer humanity its best chance for long-term viability.
Mulkey first presented his vision for the reframing of higher education in light of global climate change on October 7, 2013, as a featured speaker at the American Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  Many in the capacity crowd of environmental professionals blogged about the presentation and quality of his ideas.  He has since offered versions of his AASHE presentation, entitled “Crisis and Opportunity in the Environmental Century: Inspiring a Generation to Greatness,” to groups across the United States.
In June, Mulkey will release a 10 minute video that is the distillation of his core messages about the threat of climate change, need for broad action, and role of sustainability science in giving humanity a fighting chance to ensure its long-term viability.
His uplifting call to change is not only the remedy for an antiquated higher education system in need of a post-industrial retrofit, but serves as a vision for new prosperity and economic innovation through the expansion of the “green” economy.
Through the framework of sustainability science, Unity College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources.  Through experiential and collaborative learning, our graduates emerge as responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders.