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District-Vendor Partnerships

PRIVATE SCHOOL STRIVES FOR 1-TO-1 TABLET PC ENVIRONMENT

Saint Mary’s all-girls college-prep school in Raleigh, NC, is the first institution to deploy Lenovo’s (www.lenovo.com) ThinkPad X41 tablet PCs to its students and faculty. The writable slate and unique functions of the tablet PCs will help students and teachers discover new, innovative ways to work, learn, and interact in the classroom and around campus. For example, instead of sketching a costume design for dance class using a pen and paper, students can now use graphical software and the tablet PC’s stylus to quickly create, review, and modify images. Music teachers can e-mail handwritten lessons in musical notation to student tablets, and a biology student’s molecular diagram can be instantly distributed to the rest of the class electronically. A one-button recovery system also helps students recover from any software crash caused by a virus or worm. Officials at the 268-student school expect to have a complete 1-to-1 tablet PC environment by fall 2007.

ETS, TaskStream Deliver Online PD Management System

The nonprofit Educational Testing Service (www.ets.org) and TaskStream (www.taskstream.com), a provider of Web-based tools to organize, assess, and showcase learning, have announced a strategic alliance to give educators an enhanced, Web-based professional development (PD) management system. The partnership joins ETS’s professional development content, instructional intervention, and data-management platform with TaskStream’s technological ingenuity, to create a single online solution for implementing, managing, and tracking professional development within schools and districts.

The alliance extends the capabilities of ETS’s System 5 suite (which offers five solutions for K-12 school improvement, professional development, data-driven decision-making, instruction, and assessment), thereby creating a seamless, comprehensive school-improvement program. Educators will continue to receive in-person training and standards-based content, while the online platform will help enhance the original service by enabling educators to organize and share professional development materials, reports, and resources; manage online teacher portfolios and assessments; and facilitate collaboration between teachers, mentors, and administrators.

Beginning this spring, three ETS professional development programs will be available via the online platform: the Framework Induction Program, Framework Observation Program, and School Leadership Workshop Series. For more information visit www.ets.org/Media/Products/k12learn2/professionaldevelopment.html

KANSAS OFFERS EDUCATORS ONLINE TEST-CREATION TOOL

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) is working with Learning Station (www.learningstation.com) to deliver an online application that allows teachers to create standards-based, formative practice tests in reading and math for grades 3-12. The KSDE Formative Test Builder is delivered through the Empowered Desktop, a customized Web portal that is available for free to all Kansas schools through a partnership with LearningStation and Kan-ed (www.kan-ed.org). The practice tests assess student mastery of specific indicators in the Kansas curriculum standards, and draw from a bank of items approved by the KSDE. In addition to the KSDE Formative Test Builder, the Empowered Desktop affords Kansas students and educators access to a variety of resources and applications, including an Education Backpack, a safe, accessible online file storage system; P.E.T. Learning Styles Solution, an innovative teaching and learning style assessment and management tool; and netTrekker (www.nettrekker.com), a powerful academic search engine.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.

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