In the T+L² exhibit hall, hundreds of educational technology companies were on hand to demonstrate the latest products and services for use in schools. Here’s a look at some of the innovations on display in the professional development category this year:

Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc., known primarily for its line of servers and switches, announced several new educational initiatives, including Connected Learning for Schools, a four-step blueprint that guides educators in the intelligent and effective use of technology. “For schools to provide students with a 21st-century education, they need to transform the way they operate,” said the company’s Charles Fadel. “By utilizing an IP network to the fullest, schools can achieve efficiencies on the administrative side with improved communications and processes. Simultaneously, they can offer new resources, like distance learning and video streaming, to students and teachers, helping them achieve the goal of academic excellence.” Part of a $40 million investment in education, Cisco’s Connected Learning program includes (1) connecting all school buildings and providing information to make more efficient use of personnel and enhance safety and security; (2) implementing network-based applications to improve administrative efficiency; (3) putting teacher productivity first to ensure that teachers’ needs are placed at the top of the IT priority list; and (4) creating student-centered learning environments. As part of the investment, the company also announced “21S,” a three-year initiative in the Gulf Coast to aid in post-hurricane rebuilding activities. With this effort, Cisco intends to bring together a coalition of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to help build 21st-century learning environments in storm-ravaged communities.

CLEARVUE & SVE, a provider of educational and streaming video for schools, previewed the upcoming release of more than 100 professional development videos through distribution partner In addition, the company continues to add new titles from top educational producers, bringing the number of curriculum-based videos on the system to more than 2,400, CLEARVUE said. The company’s collection also includes 4,000 audio files, 25,000 still images, and 5,000 print resources, reportedly making it one of the largest compilations of educational multimedia available on the web today. The latest materials are produced in part by Kentucky Educational Television.

For a comprehensive look at education products and services debuted at major technology conferences throughout the year, visit “Product News Update” at eSchool News Online.

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