Learning Bird Names Industry Veteran as Head of Sales, Marketing

Michael Campbell Brings Ability to Connect With Customers to New Position

 

MONTREAL, May 22, 2014 – Michael Campbell, an accomplished sales and marketing leader with more than 20 years of experience in the education industry, has been named head of sales and marketing for Learning Bird Inc.

Campbell will lead sales and product marketing, branding, advertising, e-commerce, events, and public relations for the company, which is a web-based personalized learning solution that makes it easy for students to access individualized lessons on any topic that are aligned to their curriculum, grade and textbook.

“Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and proven ability to connect with our customers in the digital space that will help us build brand equity and results,” said Henry Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Learning Bird. “Michael’s strengths, which include his ability to develop business building relationships with educators and parents using a broad range of marketing vehicles, will be of importance to us as we grow.”

Most recently, Campbell led Forward Thinking EDU, a Fox River Grove, Ill.-based strategic education consulting firm, where his firm partnered with educational technology solution providers to plan and implement sales and marketing strategies for the K-20 education market. Prior to that, he was vice president of marketing for ETA hand2mind; director of marketing for Follett Software Company; and vice president and director of marketing for Pearson Canada. He  also served in senior marketing positions with Pearson-Prentice Hall, Thomson Learning, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, and Irwin Publishing.

Campbell, 48, received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark., where he majored in marketing. He has pursued additional post-graduate study at Duke University.

For more information about Learning Bird, visit www.learningbird.com.

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About Learning Bird | www.learningbird.com

Learning Bird is an innovative online learning tool for K-12 student success, enabling students to learn their own way. Its proprietary learning algorithm matches digital lessons from teachers to the local curriculum, textbooks and the individual learning profile of each student. Learning Bird’s new cross-curriculum alignment engine allows students grades 7-12 to access a wider range of lesson perspectives in order to find that “A-ha” moment. When a lesson helps students understand, Learning Bird’s algorithm learns more about how they learn and also shares revenue directly with the teachers who added the lesson. With Learning Bird, students drive their own success, struggle less and understand more.

 

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Odysseyware hires new Arizona sales representative

CHANDLER, Ariz. (May 22, 2014) — Odysseyware, a leading provider of online learning curriculum, assessment and solutions, has hired Colleen Miller as its Arizona educational consultant.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Ms. Miller attended public school in the Mesa Public and Scottsdale Unified school systems and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arizona.

“Colleen’s diverse background and passion for EdTech make her a valuable addition to the Odysseyware team,” said Barry Swihart, the Western region vice president of sales for Odysseyware’s parent company, Glynlyon, Inc. “She has a unique understanding of the territory in her home state of Arizona, and I’m confident that will serve her well in her new position.”

Prior to joining Odysseyware, Miller was an Adjacent Markets account executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where she worked with the company’s entire suite of pre-kindergarten through adult curriculum offerings.

She also spent several years with Pearson Digital Learning, developing partnerships with schools and districts through the utilization of digital product awareness and innovative learning models.

Before venturing into the EdTech world, Miller developed her love for travel by teaching English in San Sebastian and Barcelona, Spain. For seven years, she worked with CEA Study Abroad, where she helped foster opportunities for students worldwide to pursue credit and intercultural competency.

About Odysseyware

Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Odysseyware is an innovative, multimedia-enriched online curriculum. Completely web-based, Odysseyware provides 21st century educational solutions by offering the core subjects of history and geography, math, language arts, and science along with enriching electives, CTE, placement testing, diagnostics and professional development. This curriculum is sold directly through regional education specialists. To learn more, visit http://odysseyware.com/ or call 877-795-8904.

 

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Dr. Jennifer House Joins Board of Directors of Listen for Life

Education technology veteran latest addition to world-class team

 

Oakland, California – May 8, 2014 – Listen for Life™, a global nonprofit music-media organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of music culture worldwide, has tapped Jennifer House, Ph.D., founder and president of RedRock Reports and an education technology industry veteran, as the latest member of its Board of Directors. House will help guide the organization by serving as its educational business development and legislative liaison. Also joining the Board of Directors are Mark Mallardi, appointed CEO of Listen for Life in January, and Carol Castelli, who will serve as chief advisor for live events and product marketing/branding.

 

A veteran of Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Tenth Planet, and Classroom Connect, and an avid patron of the arts, Dr. House has served on the Boards of Directors of: The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), and the Association of Education Publishers (AEP). House has received many awards, including Apple’s Golden Apple Award for Marketing Excellence.

 

Mallardi has amassed a great deal of expertise in the K-12 education, entertainment, and game industries, having served as VP of marketing for Educational Insights, VP of marketing communications for Classroom Connect, and general manager of education for Scope Seven. Additionally, he spent nearly a decade consulting with Fortune 500 consumer goods companies on behalf of Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), where he served as SVP & western regional manager. Mallardi is a regular speaker at industry conferences and has been published in industry journals.

 

Castelli joins the board with 20+ years of experience providing strategic planning, brand development, and financial management for global brands such as Disney and ConAgra, as well as facilitating partnerships and sponsorships with Fortune 500 companies. In 2001, she was instrumental in Disney’s $1.4 billion resort expansion.

 

“We extend our warmest welcome to our newest Board members. They each bring a great deal of expertise, a unique perspective, and a passion for our mission,” said Donna Stoering, Listen for Life founder, artistic director, CVO, and Board president. “They complement an existing team whose backgrounds include the BBC, NBC, CNN Asia, MTV, A&E, History Channel, Nickelodeon, and Apple.

 

Listen for Life brings under-represented music genres and undiscovered musicians and instruments to light for numerous populations. Its latest endeavor, Travels With Music, is a K-12 multimedia program that uses music to explore world cultures.

 

To learn more about Listen for Life™, visit http://www.listenforlife.org/.

 

About Listen for Life™ and Travels With Music™

 

Listen for Life is a global non-profit music-media organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of music culture worldwide. Headquartered in Oakland, California, Listen for Life has affiliate studios/production facilities in 45 countries worldwide, and owns over 400 hours of proprietary, fully rights-cleared video content of Master Musicians from around the globe performing original music compositions on instruments native to their cultures, and being interviewed in their native languages about their culture, their customs, their inspiration, and their way of life.

 

Travels With Music, a production of Listen for Life, leads K12 classrooms and homeschoolers on an interactive exploration of 15 world cultures, with Master Musicians as their guides. Students experience the richness and diversity of our world’s cultures through 300 video and audio segments, arranged in 30 Units (two Units per culture), comprising a total of six hours of course content. For more information about Travels With Music, visitwww.travelswithmusic.com. You can also connect with Travels With Music on Facebook and BuzcastTV.

 

 

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MindPlay Launches New Web-Based Reading Program for Schools Backed With Guarantee of Student Success in Reading

 

 Aligned to Common Core Standards MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach® improves reading performance through direct instruction

Tucson, AZ, May 21, 2014 – Literacy publisher MindPlay, Inc. introduced a new upgraded version of its reading curriculum for grades K-12, MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach® (MVRC). All stories within the Web-based MVRC are now assigned Lexile® ratings by MetaMetrics®. MindPlay’s Lexile text complexity ratings are consistent with Common Core State Standards. MVRC helps students improve their reading skills measurably in 40 hours or less by differentiating instruction for each student. Using explicit and direct instruction by reading specialists and speech pathologists, students work at their own pace. The program helps all students improve their reading, and is appropriate for special needs, dyslexic, struggling readers, and intermediate to advanced English language learners.
Based on years of research and successful case studies, MindPlay guarantees schools that 90 percent of students will gain at least two grade-levels of improvement in reading when using MVRC four days a week for 30 minutes each day, or MindPlay will refund their purchase.  The program is now completely cloud-based and works on all computer platforms. Two important new reading instruction modules were added for Comprehension and Grammar as an aid to reading and writing. All other modules were enhanced. Additionally, there are new and improved real-time reports. Students are engaged by seven reading coach instructors instead of four who provide direct instruction, face to face, through photos and videos. An award-winning publisher, MindPlay has helped over 6 million people learn to read in its 30-year history.

MVRC helps teachers provide direct instruction to all students.  It provides virtual reading specialists and speech pathologists, who students can see and hear onscreen through video. MVRC provides instruction in six essential reading components:  Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Grammar for Meaning, Comprehension, and Fluency.

“For the last 30 years, I have been training special education teachers to help students who struggle to learn to read,” said Nancy Mather, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education at the University of Arizona. “Ideally, every child who struggles to learn to read would have individualized daily reading instruction by these highly trained teachers, but that isn’t possible. When I was introduced to MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC), I saw the quality and depth of this online reading program and was awestruck. I’d never considered that a computer application could deliver the quality individualized, evidence-based reading instruction needed to turn struggling readers into fluent readers; now I know it can!”

“Last summer a doctoral student from the University of Arizona conducted a research study with middle school students using MVRC, during which the students made significant gains in reading. I believe that using this reading program in schools will considerably reduce the number of children who may be retained because they are not reading at a third-grade level.”

MVRC automates for teachers the process of assessing reading skills and differentiating instruction. It enables all students to receive direct instruction that targets their specific and unique barriers to build accuracy and achieve fluent reading. The research-based program applies expert teaching methods. Students receive feedback targeted to help them understand and fix each error.

Each student’s reading abilities are first assessed with MindPlay’s complete diagnostic RAPS 360 test, and then the program instantly creates a prescriptive reading plan for them. Students are automatically assigned to their prescribed sequences of reading lessons and activities to begin immediately. While this diagnostic is now fully automated, teachers will know exactly where students need instruction. The test adapts to each student’s performance. This helps keep struggling readers comfortable and avoids unnecessary stress. In addition to the basic six reading components, the diagnostic mode also tests the effective tracking ability of students’ eyes, which is a necessary skill for reading fluency.

 

Features

Assessment and progress monitoring are embedded into MVRC. In addition, the program requires students to master each skill at 100 percent before they move to the next lesson, to ensure they do not miss any building blocks. This builds the concrete foundation students need for learning additional concepts and becoming fluent readers. The program addresses students’ different styles by presenting each concept multiple ways. When students are not successful in learning a skill, MVRC teaches it again in a different way. MVRC includes more than 20 levels of instruction on many lessons, when needed, and over 40 practice activities support their learning process.

Seven different virtual coaches and three certified speech pathologists guide students through the program and provide individualized feedback based on student performance.  There are 44 phonemic awareness lessons, 62 phonics lessons, 40 comprehension skill lessons, and 60 grammar, meaning and writing lessons. Two additional modules provide students with practice in fluency and vocabulary with 30,000 vocabulary words. Students practice fluency and comprehension with a library of more than 1,000 different Lexiled® passages.

Several major enhancements were made to MVRC’s reporting system. Two new types of reports, an Achievement Report and Parent Report, are new additions. MVRC collects and records all data into a central reporting system in real time. With the update, teachers can now see what students are doing instantly as it happens from the report pages. The program provides reports at district, school, classroom, and student levels. Student data can now be exported to a .CSV file, which can be imported into Excel. Teachers and administrators can customize and export the reports they need to evaluate student progress.

 

Instructional Modules
MVRC’s six instructional reading modules provide interactive, multiple learning style activities that help students stay focused and accelerate their progress. Four of these modules are updated and two are new:

 

1. Phonemic Awareness includes explicit and systematic instruction on the blending of sounds into words and segmentation of words into their individual sounds, essential steps in learning to read, write, and spell.

2. Phonics instruction is systematic, explicit and differentiated for sound-symbol relationships, long and short vowels, consonant digraphs, diphthongs, blends, syllable types, Latin and Greek roots. Students learn how to easily decode new words. Students learn the spelling pattern and practice each assigned lesson with mastery-based activities.  Students are only assigned lessons that they need as determined by the placement test. Students experience a variety of different modalities as four of 12 activities are assigned based on lesson content.

3. The Vocabulary module includes over 30,000 words.  Seven learning activities help students work on listening vocabulary skills. Students learn five related words at a time to expand their knowledge of words, roots, and affixes to derive word meaning from context.

4. Grammar for Meaning uses parts of speech to teach students how sentences are constructed for meaning. Students learn not to skip words when reading and to understand the function of each word, by encouraging them to form pictures in their minds. Pre and post testing of grammar skills from this module is also new and now active. The review test will assess the skills only in that set and will reassign lessons in that set only if needed.

5. Fluency systematically increases silent reading speed while ensuring proficient reading comprehension. With over 1,000 original stories in the Fluency library, the questions were completely revised to meet the Common Core Standards. Each story grades 2 to 12 has been assigned a text Lexile® as determined by MetaMetrics®. The text genre is selected randomly between expository and narrative.  Each student begins the module with text slightly below their diagnosed reading grade level to comfortably ease into the program. Speed and practice is adapted to meet the needs of the learners. The words per minute rate will increase by 10 wpm from story to story based on successful comprehension. The speed will not increase unless the student comprehends the text. This module now uses the Dolch List of high-frequency words for the Word Match activity.  This activity enables students to recognize these words with automaticity.

6. The Comprehension module, the second of the two new instructional modules added to MVRC, directly teaches almost 40 different reading comprehension skills and strategies. Comprehension questions are triggered by the questions a student misses in the Fluency stories. So a student only gets lessons that are needed. This is a mastery-based component that uses a new and dedicated virtual coach to teach a single objective. Instruction is scaffolded and differentiated as needed by each student. Questioning aligns with the Common Core State Standards reading skills. Some of the skills addressed include:  summarizing and paraphrasing, author’s purpose, main idea, and comparing and contrasting.

 

Pricing and Availability
           MVRC is available online now. For information and ordering, schools and districts can visit MindPlay at www.mindplay.com, or education resellers. The program is available from any computer with Internet access. Schools can purchase for $299 per student per year. More purchase options are available.

 

MindPlay, Inc.
           More than 30 years ago, Founder Judith Bliss started the MindPlay Company to create a solution to overcome the challenges of learning to read.  Her goal was to help struggling learners succeed in school and life, after overcoming her own reading disabilities. MindPlay’s mission is to develop, publish, and distribute cost-effective learning tools that support individual growth and skill development. The curriculum includes clear objectives, inviting graphics and modern technological innovations. MindPlay educational software programs appeal to multiple learning styles, identify individual student needs and differentiate instruction. For more information, please go to www.mindplay.com.
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