More than 450 companies were at this year’s NECC displaying their technology solutions for educators. Here are some of the highlights of companies’ products related to professional development:

Adobe Systems announced its new Adobe Acrobat for Educators program, which offers expert advice, training, and curriculum ideas, as well as a community to share best practices. The program aims to help educators integrate the Portable Document Format (PDF) into their curriculum. Adobe says it already has signed up more than 300 teachers to participate in the program, which includes a 30-day free trial version, a $30 rebate off Acrobat Professional 6.0, free online training, and curriculum materials. Adobe also has expanded its Master Teachers and Digital Kids Club programs. The company said Adobe Master Teachers and other experts provided in-depth training on Adobe software to 600 teachers at NECC.

News from the exhibit hall

  • NECC roundup: CEOs get behind ed-tech
  • Assessment and instructional management
  • Communications and audio
  • Curriculum and software
  • Digital imaging and creativity
  • Hardware and peripherals
  • Library systems and technologies
  • Online learning and research
  • Presentation solutions
  • School administrative solutions
  • Security and network management
  • A rapidly growing provider of web-based software training and tutorials for schools and colleges, Atomic Learning turned the NECC spotlight on its new-look web site and additional offerings, which include 31 tutorial movies for netTrekker, a leading online search engine for schools. The netTrekker tutorials, aimed at both teachers and students, join Atomic Learning’s award-winning library of online training products for the entire Microsoft Office 2003 suite, Adobe GoLive CS and InDesign CS for Windows, Inspiration 7.5 for Windows, and many other software products commonly used by schools. Company spokesman Dan Meyer noted that the tutorials help teachers address many of the software-related questions students raise in the classroom. Atomic Learning also released 325 additional Spanish-language tutorials and now offers more than 2,000 of its 9,000-plus tutorials in Spanish. With access licensed on a per-year basis, the Atomic Learning site gives schools the ability to offer increased learning opportunities as well as professional development for as little as $1.25 per user, depending on the size of the school. Four years after its founding, Atomic Learning now serves more than 550,000 users in the Iowa public school system, as well as more than 300,000 users in Broward County, Fla. The company also is part of Sprint’s new Empowered Education Desktop program.

    Campus K12 was chosen by ISTE to be the online professional development management system for ISTE’s national program, The ISTE Institute: Leading with NETS (National Educational Technology Standards). Teachers will use the Campus K12 system to work online with their principal and an ISTE Institute mentor, implementing individual and team professional development plans based on NETS for Administrators and NETS for Teachers. “Having Campus K12 be an integral part of the online experience for the ISTE Institute is what we are all about,” said Phil Camillo, CEO of Campus K12. “Since our system is standards- and goals-based, participants will be able to assess their skills regarding NETS, set their individual and team goals appropriately, and find matching resources that meet their specific development needs.” Campus K12 chairman and founder Phil Camillo was also among the company leaders in New Orleans.

    A web-based courseware development and delivery company founded at the University of Virginia, CaseNEX announced the addition of a new course to its catalog of online professional development through the use of case methods. The course, called “Equity and Diversity in Education,” is offered online through Aug. 26. Participants examine education through an equity and diversity lens, using critical cultural studies and multicultural education as theoretical frameworks. The course explores ways in which racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and other forms of discrimination permeate educational policy and practice. CaseNEX also announced the expansion of its two-year strategic relationship with iAssessment. “Our partnership with iAssessment is powerful because it allows us to implement a comprehensive, fully-integrated professional development solution that is both flexible and efficient,” said CaseNEX CEO Marsha Gartland. CaseNEX is also a strategic partner of eSchool News.

    Co-nect came announced its strategic partnership with TetraData Corp. as part of a nationwide project aimed at improving professional development and identifying its role in student achievement. TetraData and Co-nect will spend three years building and deploying a web-based decision support tool for 60 test and control schools in 14 districts and eight states. Co-nect, which received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education last fall, is a provider of data-driven, K-12 professional development solutions focused on improving the quality of classroom instruction district-wide. The company delivers training, tools, and resources to solve issues such as whole-school improvement, early reading failure, and technology integration. Its research-based programs are delivered through a national network of educational consultants who provide face-to-face training supported by an integrated suite of online professional development, assessment tools, and curricular resources. Co-nect also produces the Co-nect Exchange, a proprietary web site offering professional development training and tracking, as well as curricular tools for teachers.

    At the request of teachers who have completed Intel’s 40-hour Teach to the Future training course, Intel Corp. is expanding its free offerings with a shorter online workshop series. “Seeing Reason” and “Visual Ranking” are two new editions to the Intel Teach to the Future Essentials Course. Seeing Reason teaches educators how to use a mapping and visual thinking tool, and Visual Ranking looks at how to prioritize ideas. Each class lasts approximately six hours.

    Macromedia Inc. announced the formation of its Macromedia Education Leaders program, which recognizes educational technology innovators who have demonstrated exemplary uses of Macromedia technology in K-12 education. These uses include a variety of educational applications, including classroom instruction, school administration, professional development, and online education. The first 11 program participants were on hand at NECC to describe how they use well-known Macromedia products such as Flash, Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Breeze, and Contribute, a web-based, user-friendly program that enables educators and students to update, create, and publish content to any HTML-based web site. Macromedia Education Leader Tod Tapola, the director of instructional technology at Anthony Wayne Local Schools in Whitehouse, Ohio, described Contribute as a program students embrace and said it has done much to improve the quality of school web sites in his district. Megan Stewart, director of Macromedia’s Global School Division, said members of the Education Leaders program serve as an advisory board to the company. The program is accepting applications through September, and Macromedia will be announcing new Education Leaders later this fall.

    PBS TeacherLine launched a national professional development program with 80 courses that aim to enhance teacher quality and address the competency requirements spelled out under NCLB. The PBS TeacherLine program, funded by a Ready to Teach grant from the U.S. Department of Education, was piloted and refined over a four-year period. Courses cover instructional technology, mathematics, reading, science, curriculum mapping, and instructional strategies. All PBS TeacherLine courses are available nationwide. The online courses, led by facilitators who are trained and certified by PBS TeacherLine, cost $150 per course.

    Course Technology, a part of The Thomson Corp., provides numerous professional development solutions for educators. The company offers more than 1,600 print and technology-based products for technology training courses. Course Technology’s teaching and learning solutions are available for almost every popular software application–from operating systems, word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation programs to internet, networking, programming, web design, and development topics.

    This eSchool News Online report on the 2004 NECC is made possible with financial support of Dell.