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Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

K-12 Leaders Call for an EnterprisingApproach to Data Management

In a new survey, district officials voice a desire to cross overto data systems traditionally exclusive to business.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS NATIONWIDE are leaning toward an enterprise-based approach to data management, indicates a report releasedby education consulting firm Eduventures.

In Brief

PERCEIVED ADVANTAGES: A majority
of district staff called these three factors
"important" benefits of an enterprise-based
data services platform.

The Eduventures study, “Trends in K-12 Enterprise Management: Are Districts Ready to Cross the Chasm?” surveyed district officials—whose primary responsibilities are curriculum, instruction, and assessment—to learn their data management perceptions. Of those surveyed, 91 percent said they consider it important to “integrate academic and administrative data from various district technology systems.” And 90 percent said an enterprise management approach would enable their district to be“more effective on behalf of its students.”

District personnel also cited several perceived benefits of adopting enterprise-based data systems (see chart, right). Ninety-two percent said that “stakeholder access” was an important benefit. And 87 percent called“reporting” and “time savings” important.

“In a school district setting, a K-12 enterprise management platform enables district leaders and others to access, analyze, and report against a broad array of academic and administrative data and technology applications,” explains Adam Newman, managing vice president of Eduventures’ Industry Solutions program, “including, but not limited to, financial, human resources, facilities management, school and student characteristics, instructional practices, assessment strategies, professional development, and student achievement results.”

Overall, the survey results show that district leaders are taking data management seriously. Their efforts are no doubt fueled by the prescriptions of No Child Left Behind, which requires states and districts to measure individual student improvement. To comply, schools are turning to traditional business solutions to data management, including business intelligence technologies and data warehousing services (see “Magnum B.I.,” April). Critics say work-world tools do not apply to education, but proponents argue that in light of the demands of today’s legislation, in the areas of data collection, storage, retrieval, and analysis, schools have to run like businesses.

STUDENTS FETED FORMULTIMEDIA PROJECTS

TEN TEAMS OF K-12 STUDENTS and teachers from across New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have been named the winners of JPMorgan Chase’s second annual “Multimedia in the Classroom” competition. The teams will receive $1,000 cash prizes for innovating multimedia projects toenhance curriculum.

The winning teams will also receive full access to the two-day Celebration of Teaching and Learning conference for educators being held in New York City, March 23-24. Prize winners include:

  • The Elisabeth Morrow School, Englewood, NJ. “EMS World Music Humanity in Harmony” podcasts, produced by the school’s seventhgraders, explore Middle Eastern, Asian, and African music and cultures.
  • PS 108Q, South Ozone Park, NY. The school’s “Killer Puffs” website was created by fifth-graders to educate teens about the dangers of smoking. The site includes a student interview with a New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene official.
  • Branch Brook Elementary School, Smithtown, NY. “Cell-ebration of Science,” a television show produced by fourth-graders, explores science curriculum. The show features students playing Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton, in period costume.

The Celebration of Teaching and Learning conference will include a presentation by former Vice President Al Gore and a town hall meeting,“Preparing Our Students for the21st Century,” moderated by NBCnewsman Tim Russert.

:: Industry News

SECURITY FIRM RAISES SPYWARE AWARENESS. Apparently infected with spyware, substitute teacher Julie Amero’s school computer was invaded by pornographic pop-ups, displaying inappropriate material to students. Subsequently, Amero was arrested andfound guilty of four felony counts.

In response to Amero’s conviction, Max Secure Software, a provider of privacy and security software, has announced that it will offer its flagship product, Max Spyware Detector 2.0, free for the next six months to K-12 schools to protect teachers, administrators, volunteers, and students from similar experiences.

ISKME LAUNCHES OPEN INTERNET RESOURCE. The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) has announced OER Commons, a comprehensive source of free education resources. Using web 2.0 features, educators and students mark the content—including 8,000 classroom materials such as primary documents and lesson plans— with tags, ratings, reviews, and other comments to help others quickly findwhat they are looking for.

Content providers include Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, MIT, NASA’s Kids Science News Network, the UK’s Open University, the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College, and WGBH-TV in Boston.

PROSPECTIVE COLLEGE STUDENTS GET LOWDOWN ONLINE. College Prowler provides information on about 200 colleges and universities, but unlike other guides, it is written by students attending those schools. Its content includes rankings of academics, housing, dining, security, local atmosphere, and nightlife. The site features tools for comparing up to five schools at a time, asking questions of staff counselors, and searching schools by size, region, or competitiveness.

:: Partnerships

FRIDAY INSTITUTE HELPS NC SCHOOLS ACQUIRE BROADBAND. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, a public-private partnership to integrate research, technology, and cross-sector collaboration to enhance education, is leading a state-funded initiative to provide high-speed network connectivity to all K-12 schools in North Carolina. The $6 million project may receive far more financial backing if legislation requesting $24 million a year to support full statewide implementation ispassed, and if federal funding is available.

The plan also provides for regional technical support and would free up resources, allowing local school systems to purchase technology equipment and reserve support staff for helping teachers use technology in the classroom.

DEEPNINES AND SURFCONTROL PARTNER IN ONLINE SECURITY TOOL. DeepNines Technologies and SurfControl, providers of IT security solutions, have announced a K-12 online security tool that joins the capabilities of the two companies.

The solution complies with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act and combines DeepNines’ detection methods, which stop attempted web proxy connections and other types of traffic that cannot be detected by filters, with SurfControl’s URL filtering technology, which blocks access to both known and unknown unwanted online content and web proxies.

SOLIDWORKS AND TEN80 EDUCATION LAUNCH STEM COMPETITION. SolidWorks and Ten80 Education, which both sell technologies to boost science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, joined forces to create the FastTrack National Challenge League, a contest in which high school teams will design and race 1:10 scale model remote-control cars. The competition is designed to help students apply STEM fundamentals as they model, design, and test their cars to drive farther and faster. SolidWorks will provide entrants with free 3-D CAD software and online resources.

:: Awards

HP MAKES CALL FOR VIDEO ENTRIES. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in the handheld calculator business, Hewlett-Packard is holding a nationwide contest inviting entrants to submit short videos about their use of HP calculators. The “HP Calculator Casting Call” competition runs through May 31.

Entries will be judged in four categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Technical Film. Finalists for each award will win an allexpenses- paid trip to Hollywood, CA, to participate in the HP Golden Calculator Awards ceremony on July 12. In addition, a Voters’ Choice award will be selected from the category finalists by an online popular vote, and the winner will receive an HP 50-inch, high-definition plasma TV. Additional details about the contest and rules are available here.

ERIE SD AWARDED $15 MILLION. The School District of the City of Erie has won a $15 million grant from the GE Foundation’s College Bound District program. The fiveyear grant is intended to improve student achievement in math, science, and technology and to increase students’ college readiness. School officials and GE leaders worked together to outline a detailed five-year enhancement plan with means of measuring progress and success.

The College Bound District program provides a total of $100 million in grants to targeted school districts in the United States.

COMPTIA HOLDS ESSAY CONTEST FOR TECH STUDENTS. Marking its 25th anniversary, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will award $25,000 in scholarships this year to students pursuing careers in the technology industry. The scholarships will go to the winners of an essay contest on “the coolest new technology of the next 25 years.”

The essays will be judged on creativity, comprehension, organization, conclusion, and writing quality. The scholarship winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony during Breakaway, CompTIA’s annual member conference, held July 31-Aug. 2 in Las Vegas.

Complete contest rules are available at here.

In BriefANGEL LEARNING TOPS IN EDUCATOR SATISFACTION. Angel Learning, maker of enterprise eLearning software and services, earned the top Learning Satisfaction (LearnSat) rating from educators who use learning technology for the Angel Learning Management Suite. LearnSat ratings are determined from research conducted by the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

The Angel LMS provides visibility into student involvement, course activities, and performance. It also supplies automated options for intervention and remediation.

:: People

TEACHERS NAMED TO SPACE EXPLORATION BOARD. Two science teachers—Crystal Bloemen of Fort Collins, CO, and Penny Glackman of Ardmore, PA—became the first-ever educators to join the board of advisersfor the Coalition for Space Exploration.

In Brief

SPACE MATES: Science teacher Penny
Glackman has joined astronaut Buzz Aldrin
on the board of advisersof the Coalition for
Space Exploration. Glackman is one of the
first two educators ever named to the board.

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups whose mission is to educate the public on the benefits of space exploration, and to help ensure that the United States will remain a leader in space, science, and technology.

The organization’s board includes astronaut Buzz Aldrin, filmmaker James Cameron, and cardiovascular surgeon Michael DeBakey.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2007 issue of THE Journal.

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