Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

T+L Conference to Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary

An expected 2,000 educators will sample new technology tools at the annual show.

Ray Kurzweil

SPEAKER Inventor Ray Kurzweil will
deliver one of the three keynote
addresses at this year’s T+L conference.

THE NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION is returning to its original venue of Dallas, TX, this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Technology + Learning (T+L) Conference. From Nov. 8 to 10, the expected 2,000 attending school district leaders, principals, and educators will explore the latest technology tools on the market and discover how they’re used in administration offices, parental engagement and community outreach, and most importantly, studentachievement in the classroom.

Three keynote speakers will bring a variety of viewpoints to the conference:

  • Inventor Ray Kurzweil, who developed the first text-to-speech reading machine for the blind and the first charge-coupled device (CCD) flatbed scanner. He is best known for his views on the future of consciousness and intelligence as we move toward revolutionary new technology.
  • James Paul Gee, the Tashia Morgridge professor of reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who is also a writer and cultural analyst. He will share the results of his studies on the effect of video games on language learning, and the capacity of these games to boost learning.
  • Founder and president of the Economic Strategy Institute Clyde Prestowitz, a noted expert on global change and economic policy. He will offer his insights on how to prepare students to compete in the new world economy.

Throughout the event, sessions and programming strands will address technology planning and management needs, with an additional focus on implementation. Nov. 7 will feature a site visit to Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, where a technology training and integration model called the Beyond Hardware Initiative is being implemented. The visit will allow attendees a close-up view of how schools can benefit from the presence of technology in the learning environment.

On the exhibit hall floor, more than 350 vendors will showcase their newest education solutions. Many conference mainstays will be in attendance, such as Palm, Discovery Education, and Promethean, as well as niche companies such as Central Xchange and SchoolDude.com.

Digication offers software solution for cash-strapped schools

DigicationSchools short on money but long on software needs should check out Digication, which offers a simple webbased content management system as an alternative to pricey and complex learning management systems. The online suite provides ePortfolio and secure file-sharing tools, and it enables teachers to create internet communities for their students. The software is educator-created and free to a school’s first 1,000 users (including students, teachers, and staff). Additional users cost $20 a year. Alumni are free and don’t count against the first1,000 users.

Modeled after popular webmail providers such as Yahoo! and Hotmail, Digication was designed to be easy to use. The suite is made up of two components: Digication Campus, an online collaboration solution intended for classrooms and internet school communities, and Digication Spotlight, an online digital portfolio and secure social network for teachers, students, and alumni. Features include dynamic posting of course materials, chat, grade recording, and separate teacher and student access.

:: Industry News

FOLLETT ACQUIRES TETRADATA. Follett Software Company, a division of educational services provider Follett, has acquired TetraData, a provider of data warehousing, analysis, and reporting solutions. FSC hopes the move will expand its ability to help K-12 districts maximize the effectiveness of theireducational resources.

TetraData will continue to operate under the same name, as a subsidiary of FSC. Martin Brutosky, CEO of TetraData, will become COO, reporting to FSC President Tom Schenck.

A second Follett acquisition was made by another of its divisions, Follett Digital Resources (FDR), which acquired the Medford, MA-based Interactive Constructs. ICI, a developer and provider of custom eLearning and web publishing solutions, will remain in Medford and operate as a subsidiary of FDR. Kevin Polk, ICI’s co-founder and president, will become FDR’s vice president of educational technology.

PANASONIC LAUNCHES BUYER PROGRAM. A new buyer-points program for educators is available through Panasonic. With the Panasonic K-12 Educator Points Program, school districts can earn points from purchases of Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems products and redeem them for free professional and video equipment for use in the classroom, including professional video cameras, video monitors and plasma displays, recorders, and AV mixers. Superintendents can register their districts by downloading the registration forms from the program’s website, which also offers an easy-to-use points-tracking system. Districts that enroll before Nov. 30 will receive 50 free points.

MICROBOARDS ADDS MAC SUPPORT. Microboards Technology has added support for Macintosh users to its GX-1 Disc Publisher. The company’s new software package is designed to improve disc printing and recording on the Mac. One feature allows users to choose virtually any file type from the included recording software to use as a label. Microboards co-developed the Mac solution with Hewlett-Packard, which also provides the print engine to the GX-1 publisher. More information, including system requirements, is available on the Microboards website.

AVERMEDIA PARTNERS WITH TROXELL. AverMedia Technologies, a provider of digital multimedia and presentation technologies, is partnering with Troxell Communications, a provider of audiovisual solutions, to offer reduced pricing on document cameras to schools located in counties affected by Hurricane Katrina. The discounts will be in effect until the end of 2006. The two companies will each donate 50 cents to the American Library Association for every AverVision document camera sold by Troxell nationwide. The ALA will use 100 percent of these donations to aid in the rebuilding of libraries destroyed or damaged by Katrina.

A NUMB3RS Game

NUMB3RS

DO THE MATH Texas Instruments and CBS
have teamed up to create an educational website.

The popular math-based CBS television series has been translated into a source for online educational fun. Returning for a second year is “We All Use Math Every Day”, a program developed by Texas Instruments and the CBS television network in association with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “We All Use Math Every Day” offers educational resources based on the CBS show NUMB3RS, which features the use ofmath in solving complex criminal cases.

Last year, the program attracted an estimated 32,000 registered users to its website, representing about 16,800 high school educators, 12,200 middle school educators, and an additional 3,000parents, students, and other interested parties.

A few new features have been added to the website, including Spanish-language activities and a complete library of offerings related to the second season of NUMB3RS. Texas Instruments also plans to develop new activities based on the show’s first season, which preceded the creation of the program. Although there will be activities for middleschoolers, this year’s focus is on high school math.

“We All Use Math Every Day” provides free classroom activities that correspond not only to each episode of NUMB3RS, but also to the learning standards in virtually every US state (with the exception of Iowa) and every Canadian province. Each activity is drawn up by a team of classroom teachers, reviewed by a university professor, and checked by the NCTM to make sure it meets the council’s standards. Teachers may register on the website for a free Teacher Kit and to learn the terms for taping the show for viewing in the classroom.

:: People

PLATO ELECTS BOARD MEMBER. Educational software provider Plato Learning has announced that Robert Peterkin, the Francis Keppel senior lecturer on educational policy and administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has been elected to the company’s board of directors. The director of HGSE’s Urban Superintendents Program, Peterkin is one of the United States’ leading advocates for urbaneducation reform.

:: Awards and Contests

CHAMPION LEADERSHIP AWARDS PRESENTED. The 2006 Education Technology Think Tank Technology to Empower Community Champion Leadership Awards were presented last month at the Congressional Black Caucus’ Education Braintrust Symposium in Washington, DC. The awards recognize individuals who use technology to accelerate student achievement and empower underserved kids. Chosen to be a nominator for the awards, Promethean, a provider of interactive classroom solutions, selected four of the night’s honorees: Joe Huttlin, Roberta Ingram, Jerome Oberlton, and PhillipJackson.

Joe Huttlin, director of technology operations for the School District of Philadelphia, serves more than 200,000 students in the nation’s seventh-largest school district. The average age of the district’s 273 schools is 75, which makes all the more impressive the nine-month effort Huttlin’s team put in modernizing district classrooms by installing 650 interactive whiteboards and training teachers to use them.

Roberta Ingram is the technology director at Chicago’s Betty Shabazz International Charter School. She was honored for her efforts to directly involve her students in the setup and implementation of new technology in the classroom.

Jerome Oberlton, the CIO of Atlanta Public Schools, has led the city’s drive to bring 21st-century technology into its classrooms, and developed a team that researched and created a detailed technology plan for the school district.

Phillip Jackson is the founder and executive director of the Black Star Project in Chicago. He has devoted his work to the elimination of racial gaps in academic achievement. Founded in 1996, the Black Star Project advocates for community involvement in education and the importance of parental development in ensuring that children are properly educated.

Share your success! We want to know about recent promotions, changes, and hires in your education technology community. Forward the individual’s name; title; institution and location information; and any relevant educational and occupational background to cschaller@1105media.com. Please write “In Brief” in thesubject line of your e-mail.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.

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