More on Alliances...

Many firms are partnering with other firms to provide educators with new tools and opportunities.  Generally, such efforts build on the respective strengths of each company, to produce a sum larger than its parts. And generally, the results are very beneficial.  Some late-breaking news not found in our September 97 issue follows below.

IBM & Turner Learning

IBM K-12 Education and Turner Learning will collaborate on the development of multimedia educational software for delivery to K-12 schools via CD ROM and the Internet.

The project combines educational software from IBM with original video programming and archival news footage from CNN. The latter includes CNN Newsroom, the free, commercial-free news and feature broadcast for schools.

The resulting software from the IBM/Turner Learning alliance is aimed at upper-elementary and middle-school students, and will focus on exploring and understanding multi-cultural diversity, history and current events. It intends for students to "experience" the events and activities they are studying.

For example, a student learning about Nelson Mandela will have access to information on his life and the history of South Africa; and she will be able to see and hear video clips of key events, such as his release from prison.

"Through this collaboration, we will blend IBM's technology, the rich visual and creative resources of Turner, and our joint knowledge of K- 12 education to develop educational content that is engaging and informative for students and teachers," said William E. Rodrigues, general manager, IBM Education.
"Both Turner and IBM have a long history of serving the K- 12 education community through our products and services. This alliance will increase the educational value and contribution of those offerings."

"Interdisciplinary project-centered curriculum -- combining video with computer technology alongside written materials -- provides teachers and students with new ways of teaching and learning," said Dr. John Richards, senior vice president and general manager of Turner Learning, the educational arm of Turner Broadcasting. "Multimedia provides flexibility to reach students who learn in different ways. In addition, the CNN resources provide authentic contexts for students by relating curricular materials to current events."

In addition to delivering software from this collaboration via CD ROM, IBM will also deliver related educational content via the Internet -- in plans for later this year. Through a Web site, students and teachers would be able to access these resources, which could be used with or without the CD ROM program. Also, teachers would be able to order this and other educational products through the site.

Turner Learning, Inc., Atlanta, GA, (800) 344-6219, learning.turner.com
IBM K-12 Education, Atlanta, GA, (800) IBM-4EDU, www.solutions.ibm.com/k12

Compaq & Microsoft

In July, Compaq Computer Corp. opened the Compaq Competency and Development Center in Redmond, Washington. The Center houses additional engineering resources to support the integration of Compaq and Microsoft products. The goal is to develop "best-in-class products" with the lowest total cost of ownership.

This new 12,000-square foot center will enhance Compaq's ability to partner with Microsoft to provide industry-leading, fully integrated and optimally tested solutions that can be confidently deployed and managed by the companies' customers -- including their education customers.

"Compaq is dedicating this facility to the pursuit of excellence on behalf of our joint customers, while reinforcing our commitment to work with Microsoft to provide comprehensive, robust and broad-ranging solutions, from the consumer market to the enterprise," said John T. Rose, Senior Vice President and Group General Manager, Enterprise Computing Group. "This center exemplifies 15 years of successfully working together with our colleagues at Microsoft," Rose added.

Located in close proximity to the Microsoft campus, the Compaq Competency and Development Center will serve as a focal point for the Compaq employees dedicated to the Compaq/Microsoft relationship and product development efforts. The Center has dedicated lab space to facilitate ongoing engineering efforts.

Compaq and Microsoft have a long history of providing leadership. The two companies have been working together on development, industry standards and optimization initiatives since 1982. In April of 1993, Compaq and Microsoft created the Frontline Partnership aimed at making computers and software easier to use, and to further development of new products, technologies, markets and services.

Compaq became the first computer company to fully support and distribute Microsoft Windows NT, and has held the number one NT Server position since it started shipping.

In addition, Compaq was the Lead Systems Partner for Windows 95, working closely with Microsoft throughout its development. Compaq invested the equivalent of nearly 50 person-years in joint testing and development to ensure industry quality standards and requirements. As a result, Compaq was one of the first major corporations to provide both its employees and customers with seamless integration of its hardware with Windows 95 software.

Compaq Enterprise Computing Group engineers, based in Redmond, were directly responsible for the one billion trsnsactions-per-day demonstrated by Microsoft during Scalability Day this past May. This same team is heavily involved in the testing, development, deployment and on-going support of Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) software, code-named "Wolfpack." As a result of their longstanding development efforts and compatibility testing initiatives, Compaq and Microsoft engineers have continuously worked toward performance improvements in standards-based computing, as evidenced by new benchmark achievements year after year.

The Compaq Competency and Development Center continues the evolution of the Compaq-Microsoft relationship, representing the next logical step to further enhance their relationship. Compaq Computer Corp. Houston, TX, (800) OK-COMPAQ, www.compaq.com.

Trio Partners in International Structured Audio Team

The Productivity Works formed a joint partnership with Plextor of Japan and Labyrinten Data of Sweden to create the International Structured Audio Team (ISAT). The partnering firms will focus their joint skills in hardware and software design and development to work on the building of structured digital audio information production and delivery systems.

The International Structured Audio Team is employing principles of Universal Accessibility so that all user communities can use structured audio content effectively. This means that visually impaired, dyslexic, and even people with literacy problems can use the content simply and easily.

Structured audio, along with mixed-mode information -- such as synchronized text, images & video -- provides an ideal mechanism for production and delivery of information in education business and instructional settings.

Labyrinten Data are the original designers and implementers of structured audio solutions and bring years of design and development experience to the partnership. The Productivity Works are the developers of the award-winning pwWeb Speak non-visual browser and bring their significant expertise in Universal Access design and Web-based solutions to the partnership. Plextor designs portable players for structured digital audio CDs as well as devices used to assist in the production of structured digital audio. Their hardware design and manufacturing skills add a required dirnension to the team's expertise and capability.

Ray Ingram, executive vice president of The Productivity Works, notes that "structured audio is an incredibly flexible medium and allows us to deliver information via CD, locally on a PC, via Intranet, or over the Internet itself. Providing for multiple modalities of delivery, and for multiple layers of information content, it allows for low-cost portable devices as well as full-function PCs to be used as playback devices."

The Productivity Works, Inc., Trenton, NJ, www.prodworks.com
Labyrinten Data AB, Falkoping, Sweden, www.labyrinten.se
Plextor, c/o Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., Nagano-Ken, Japan, www.plextor.com

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.

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