LEARN TO GET MUSIC, MOVIES, AND TRAINING ON YOUR IPOD

Orem, UT–January 30, 2007–Today, Makau Corporation, your next-generation training partner and your iPod training expert, announced the launch of its much anticipated Level 2 of the iPod e-learning which instructs users on how to use their Video iPod now available and FREE to the public on www.makaucorp.com.

Earlier this month, thousands of people logged on to the Makau website to participate in Level 1 iPod training. As promised, today, Makau has released Level 2 of its well-received free iPod training course. Makau´s second iPod course module covers how to get music, movies, photos, and training onto your iPod. It also covers iPod menus and settings, how to customize them, how to locate and enjoy your media clips, and how the iPod can improve your effectiveness and productivity through the extras menu built into your iPod.

According to Geoff Power, iPod mentor and host who is the face and voice that instructs users how to use their iPods, he has received feedback from users across the nation thanking him and Makau for coming up with instructions that actually help them be able to use their iPod.

"Other than the cotton swab, the iPod is the best thing you can stick in your ear," said Power. "Thanks to Makau, and John Jacob, everyone from grandfathers to my niece can now easily solve the mystery of how to use the iPod."
John Jacob, chairman of Makau Corporation, says he not only came up with the idea for creating a resource for frustrated iPod users, but he also had the idea to offer free sample courses on PowerPoint and Word 2003 scheduled to be launched next week.
According to Dan Smith, CEO of Makau Corporation, Makau has had an overwhelmingly positive response from iPod users all over the world.

"When John Jacob thought of the idea to provide this free training on how to use your iPod we wondered how many people out there would use it," said Smith. "The response
to Level 1 was so significant that were excited to see the response to Level 2."
To get your free Level 1 and Level 2 iPod training courses free from Makau, go to www.makaucorp.com and click on free iPod training at the bottom of the page. The training is also available as part of the Makau Learning Appliance, a learning management system and library loaded on a server that resides behind an organization´s firewall.

ABOUT MAKAU

Makau, your Training Partner, offers enterprise-wide, 24/7 delivery of next-generation and custom courses in partnership with training professionals, converting cost centers into revenue streams.

By partnering with Makau, organizations bridge the gap from:
*Training the top few to enterprise-wide learning
*Classroom-only instruction to customized, blended delivery
*Trainer limitations to unlimited e-learning delivery
*Mandated schedule to 24/7 availability
*High capital investment to flexible cost-sharing

Makau combines advanced e-learning with traditional on-site workshops. We employ rapid-development tools to create media-enhanced custom content. Using our SCORM-compliant LMS, Makau improves IT and professional skills course delivery over networks and the internet.

Makau Corporation is a private company established in 2002.
For more information please visit www.makaucorp.com or contact 801-224-9449 or pr@makaucorp.com.

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Maryland Public TV Names FableVision as Interactive Game Development Partner – Part of 15 Million Dollar US DOE Effort

BOSTON, MA – January 28, 2007 – Maryland Public Television (MPT) has selected FableVision, Inc., an internationally- acclaimed educational media producer and publisher, as the new development team for a groundbreaking online math and literacy game. FableVision is collaborating with MPT and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to produce the online software game. The game, focused on pre-Algebra skills, will serve students in upper elementary and middle school grades and support state and national standards. "We are thrilled to work with such an outstanding group whose mission in creating innovative educational media aligns so closely to ours," said Gail Porter Long, Senior Vice President, Chief Education Officer, MPT. "FableVision´s award-winning team will help make this innovative game a cutting- edge tool both in and out of the classroom."

The game is part of MPT´s Learning Games To Go initiative, the centerpiece of a $15 million grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools program. Tasked with using games as a gateway to improving math and literacy skills, MPT and FableVision are joined in this project by game designers and theorists from MIT´s renowned Education Arcade, which includes director of MIT´s Comparative Media Studies Program, Professor Henry Jenkins, III, and Creative Director Scot Osterweil (of Zoombini´s software fame).

MPT´s dynamic K-12 educational supersite Thinkport.org will serve as the online entry point to the game, which will invite students on an interactive quest. Students will embark on an interactive journey through a challenging maze full of mythical creatures, adventures and puzzles. Leveraging the best in game theory research, the online software is being designed to engage today´s digital-native youth with rich graphics, storytelling, and compelling interactivity. Plans also include adaptations of the game for the most popular mobile technology and gaming devices.

Teachers from several Maryland school districts and a distinguished advisory board of education experts will provide active participation throughout the production and testing process. A rigorous longitudinal research study is also being conducted by independent research group ORC Macro International to measure the efficacy of this gaming-meet-classroom approach. Additional production under MPT´s Learning Games to Go initiative are the creation of simulations using virtual reality technology created in partnership with Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education and the Applied Physics Lab.

MPT and its partners will support this project by providing research, training, technical facilities and expert consultation, the delivery of digital resources on Thinkport.org and broadcast of reading and math programs totaling $9,073,353 thereby contributing 38% to the total project cost with the U.S. Department of Education contributing 62% to the total project cost.

FableVision (www.fablevision.com) is a on a 200-year mission to bring the world to a better place through media, storytelling and technology. With new headquarters at The Boston Children´s Museum in Boston, and offices in Portland, Oregon and London, the FableVision team enjoys an international reputation for its unique brand of innovative, technology-delivered storytelling and learning, which include K12 software product offerings (Stationery Studio, BrainCogs, Essay Express, Get A Clue) distributed around the globe. FableVision´s partners and clients include PBS, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, Nickelodeon/Noggin, the Jim Henson Company, KCET, Carnegie Hall, National Academy of Sciences, WGBH, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pearson Education, the Research Institute for Learning & Development, and Boston University.

Follow the progress of the Learning Games to Go initiative at the project website Got Game? http://www.thinkport.org/technology/gotgame/default.tp Catch podcasts with creators from MIT and FableVision at http://www.thinkport.org/technology/gotgame/doandview/podcast.tp

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Are Students Learning "Media Smarts"?

Washington, DC–More than 60 percent of educators said that their schools are not putting enough emphasis on media literacy, and 80 percent said they have to learn about how to teach media literacy on their own, according to a survey conducted by Grunwald Associates.

The survey, commissioned by Cable in the Classroom (CIC), clearly shows that media literacy is an urgent–and unmet–priority among educators in schools today. While young people spend more and more time using all forms of media in and out of the classroom, teaching them how to be thoughtful about their media use, to recognize the overt and hidden messages in media and to consider the consequences of their own actions online is simply not a priority in most schools.

"We explicitly teach children how to understand, analyze and communicate using words on paper, and rightly so. Yet we get our news and information more from TV and the internet than from the newspaper. We communicate through email and text messaging and social networking more than writing letters. We should be teaching children how to ´read´ and ´write´ in all forms of media," said Frank Gallagher, director of Education and Media Literacy at CIC.

The results of the CIC Educator Survey, Media Literacy: A Vital and Underserved Need in Schools, can be found online at http://i.ciconline.org/docs/CICmedialitreport11-2006.pdf

Media literacy is a key 21st Century skill because it provides a framework and method to think critically about the media and technologies students and adults use for information and entertainment. Media literacy means knowing how to access, understand, analyze, evaluate and create media messages on television, the Internet and other outlets. It also means knowing how to use these and other technologies safely, productively and ethically.

"Young people are immersed in technology, and the tools that help them create web sites, blogs, videos and podcasts also allow them to be authors and publishers. They can reach a worldwide audience, so we have to teach them to do this thoughtfully," said Gallagher. "With a small but committed effort, schools could take steps to incorporate media literacy into their school-wide curricula."

The survey also found:

* Educators estimate that students use technology and media (including TV, radio, iPods, video games, computers and the Internet) outside of school between four and five hours per day.

* Teaching media literacy is a shared task across the school, with teachers reporting having a bit more responsibility (59 percent) than library-media specialists (48 percent) and technology coordinators (31 percent).

* Teachers learn about media literacy on their own (78 percent), through workshops (56 percent), and from other teachers (58 percent), district personnel or resources (33 percent), library-media specialists (38 percent) and other organizations (14 percent).

A related Harris Interactive poll, commissioned by CIC, found that 71 percent of parents think a major portion of the responsibility for ensuring children´s safety on the Internet falls to schools. More than 40 percent said they had sought advice on how to keep their children safe online from their child´s school.

"It is obvious from both surveys that parents and teachers believe it is imperative that young people learn the skills necessary to safely and thoughtfully use the media and technology they find so compelling. Both agree that schools are key to that education," added Gallagher.

Cable in the Classroom (CIC), the cable industry´s education foundation, works to expand and enhance learning for children and youth. Created in 1989 to help schools take advantage of educational cable programming and technology, CIC has become a leading national advocate for media literacy education and for the use of technology and media for learning, as well as a valuable resource of educational cable content and services for policymakers, educators and industry leaders.

For more information about Cable in the Classroom please visit:
www.ciconline.org.

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New York City Schools Utilize Soliloquy Reading Assistant to Improve Reading Skills

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2007–Soliloquy Learning, Inc., announced today that now over 100 New York City schools are using the Soliloquy Reading Assistant to improve student reading skills. Thousands of students in New York City´s Public, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran and Islamic schools are using the reading program, which combines advanced speech recognition technology with scientifically-based interventions to help elementary and secondary students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Students in New York City and across the U.S. use Soliloquy Reading Assistant by reading e-books into a computer using a standard headset and microphone. Through Soliloquy Reading Assistant´s proprietary speech-recognition technology, the program "listens" and recognizes when readers stumble or make mistakes on specific words. As they read along, students can have Soliloquy Reading Assistant read the story to them, or record and play back their own readings. When a student struggles, the program assists him/her by reading the word clearly, meanwhile making records in the background for teacher review. When they do not know a word´s meaning, students can simply click it to gain access to a context-sensitive definition, pronunciation and photographic memory aid.

In the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese, twelve schools are now using the Soliloquy Reading Assistant with much success. "Any time you can improve a student´s reading ability you are greatly enhancing their chances of a successful educational career," said Michael Pizzingrillo, Associate Superintendent for Instruction, Government Programs, and Public Policy for the Brooklyn Diocese. "With the changing needs of today´s learners, the one-on-one reading instruction needed to foster fluency and comprehension is getting harder and harder to facilitate. The Soliloquy Reading Assistant provides that supportive, patient listener for each student, greatly supplementing the excellent reading instruction our teachers already provide."

"Soliloquy Reading Assistant merges technology and research-based practices to deliver the future of reading instruction," said Jon Bower, CEO of Soliloquy Learning. "It´s been proven that fluency is best achieved through the provision of a supportive listener for each student reader. It´s interesting to see how public, private and parochial schools all find the same benefits. As schools in New York City continue to adopt the Reading Assistant, we´ll continue to innovate and provide more content to foster reading fluency and academic success for every student in the City, and across the U.S."

Soliloquy Reading Assistant is available for students in grades 1-12, plus adult remedial reading programs. For elementary students (grades 1-5), reading content is drawn from children´s stories, poems and expository passages to build literature appreciation. For secondary students (5-12), content is drawn from science and social studies subjects required by many state standards. Since its launch in 2000, various versions of Soliloquy Reading Assistant have been used by over 5,000 schools across the country. For more information visit http://www.soliloquylearning.com or call 1-877-235-6036.

About Soliloquy Learning, Inc.

Founded in 2000, Soliloquy Learning has pioneered new and highly effective methods for dramatically improving reading and language skills. The company´s flagship product, Soliloquy Reading Assistant, provides one-on-one reading support, using proprietary speech recognition technology to listen to students as they read aloud. Based on the research of renowned literacy expert, Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams, Soliloquy Reading Assistant has been proven to foster fluency, comprehension and vocabulary acquisition through Guided Oral Reading, proven in research studies to be the best approach for fostering reading progress beyond the basics. Soliloquy Learning is a privately held company based in Waltham, Mass. For more information visit: http://www.soliloquylearning.com.

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uPortal Consortium Expands Membership Outreach and Benefits to Institutions & Commercial Partners

PRINCETON, NJ — January 24, 2007 — JA-SIG, the non-profit organization focusing on the sharing of open technology in higher education, today announced a new membership program and benefits designed to attract worldwide educational institutions and commercial supporters of its enterprise open source applications, including: uPortal, CAS (Centralized Authentication Service), and HyperContent (the full-featured web content management application). The uPortal Project has reached new levels of maturity as adoption continues and technology contributions are received from institutions and commercial partners. With this increasing market penetration, JA-SIG is expanding its membership outreach and program benefits to support additional organizational growth, increased institutional participation, and broader commercial support. Membership information can be found at: http://www.JA-SIG.org/membership.html and the uPortal software can be downloaded at: http://uportal.org/release/allReleases.html.

"As the uPortal community expands globally, it is important that the JA-SIG organization also grows and evolves in order to best serve the community, our institutional members, and commercial affiliates," said Jonathan Markow, Chairman of the JA-SIG Board of Directors. "The success of our new membership program will allow us to provide the product development planning and organizational structure needed to maintain uPortal, and our other applications, as robust open source alternatives to proprietary software. And, our members will now be able to actively participate in the organization by nominating and voting on board members and by serving on project steering committees."

"JA-SIG continues to be a valuable asset for higher education and serves as a community focal point for key technologies like uPortal," said David W. Koehler, Director of Information Systems, Cornell Information Technologies, Cornell University. "uPortal has been very successful in our institution and we continue to take advantage of its impressive and growing functionality."
"Unicon has been involved with uPortal and JA-SIG from the beginning and we´re proud to be one of their oldest supporters and strongest commercial affiliate partners," said John C. Blakley, CEO of Unicon, Inc. "The stage is now being set by the new uPortal 3 and the JA-SIG organization to achieve even greater levels of product functionality and market penetration."

uPortal is one of the most widely deployed open source enterprise portal frameworks, having been developed by and for higher education and adopted by hundreds of institutions and the eResearch community in over twenty countries (see partial list here: http://www.uportal.org/who-prod.html). The uPortal Project has reached new levels of maturity as adoption continues to grow and a new wave of institutions search for campus portal technology. In addition to maintaining the current production versions and working on future releases, the community has recently formalized development plans and a product release strategy. uPortal is also the core of several commercial enterprise portal products, reaching colleges and universities in a variety of deployment options and support models.

JA-SIG´s two other software projects also enjoy success. CAS has gained wide adoption within higher education for single sign-on enterprise authentication. HyperContent is used on university campuses to help manage distributed web content.

New JA-SIG Member Organizations

Institutional Members:
— BCcampus — University of Delaware
— Cornell University — University of Guelph
— Dalhousie University — University of Hull
— Duke University — University of Kansas Medical Center
— Indiana University — University of Manitoba
— Juniata College — University of Michigan
— Princeton University — University of Rennes 1
— Queens University — University of Winnipeg
— Rutgers University — University of Wisconsin-Madison
— Rider University — University of Valenciennes
— Simon Fraser University — Virginia Tech
— University of British Columbia — York University
— University of California, Irvine

Commercial Affiliates:
— SunGard Higher Education
— Sun Microsystems
— Unicon, Inc.

About uPortal

From the JA-SIG consortium, uPortal is a free, downloadable, sharable, open source enterprise portal collaboratively developed by higher education, for higher education. Utilizing Java, Extensible Markup Language (XML), JavaServer Pages Technology (JSP) and Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) technologies, the uPortal framework enables easy, standards-based integration with authentication and security applications, single sign on secure access, and end user customization.

About JA-SIG

JA-SIG, Inc. is a non-profit (501(c)3), international consortium of educational institutions and commercial affiliates supporting open source software development and promoting open computing architectures for higher education. JA-SIG has been in operation for over seven years, holding semi-annual conferences and sponsoring open source software applications like uPortal, the enterprise-grade portal solution; CAS, a flexible Central Authentication Service deployed for single sign-on; and HyperContent, lightweight but powerful web content management. For more information, visit the JA-SIG website at www.ja-sig.org.

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Blackboard and Thinkronize Partner to Provide Safe Search Capabilities

Washington DC, January 31, 2007 – Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of enterprise technology to the education industry and
Thinkronize, Inc., developer of netTrekker d.i., a leading educational search engine, announced a new partnership today at the FETC 2007 conference. Through this partnership, K-12 teachers, students, and parents can directly search and access more than 180,000 educator-selected, standards-aligned resources from netTrekker d.i., directly within their Blackboard(r) learning management platform. This integration is possible through a new beta version of the netTrekker Blackboard Building Block. Blackboard Building Blocks are third party
applications which enable schools and districts to extend and customise their Blackboard platform.

The netTrekker Blackboard Building Block beta is also being made available for the Blackboard K-12 Starter Edition(tm). Introduced six months ago, the hosted Blackboard K-12 Starter Edition features a variety of resources for K-12 districts in the early stages of establishing an e-Learning strategy. The netTrekker Blackboard Building
Block beta is available to customers who have licensed both netTrekker d.i. and Blackboard technology.

"This new partnership brings the power of content and internet search capabilities into K-12 classes so that teachers and parents can feel secure and comfortable," said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. "With access to netTrekker d.i. directly in the Blackboard environment, students and teachers can easily and conveniently search
for standards-aligned content relative to their specific classes."

More than 400 state, local and private education providers in the K-12 sector license Blackboard´s software serving approximately 1,200 schools
and districts. Over 9.3 million students, teachers, and librarians nationwide, including state adoptions in Pennsylvania and Tennessee,
currently use netTrekker d.i. for safe, targeted searching.

The Cobb County School District in Georgia relies on both netTrekker d.i. and Blackboard technology and expects the integration of these tools to provide significant benefits to all members of its K-12 community.

"Our teachers and students are regularly searching online with netTrekker d.i. for information and resources," said Nancy Howell, Ed. S., Distance Learning Consultant for the Cobb County district. "The ability to search netTrekker d.i. directly in the Blackboard environment will save our students, teachers and parents a lot of time and effort.
This is definitely an all-around win-win initiative."

"As education continues to move online, our commitment is to be a leader in this transformation, providing solutions that facilitate e-learning.

netTrekker d.i.´s integration into Blackboard´s learning management platform delivers a very powerful digital solution for schools and
districts who are teaching AND achieving with technology," said Christine Willig, President of Thinkronize.

The netTrekker Blackboard Building Block beta can be downloaded free of charge by current customers from the Blackboard Building Blocks
catalogue at http://www.blackboard.com/extend/b2/.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a leading provider of enterprise software applications and related services to the education industry.
Founded in 1997, Blackboard enables educational innovations everywhere by connecting people and technology. With two product suites, the
Blackboard Academic Suite ™ and the Blackboard Commerce Suite ™, Blackboard is used by millions of people at academic institutions around
the globe, including colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other education providers, as well as textbook publishers and student-focused merchants that serve education providers and their students. Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Blackboard is the parent company and owner of WebCT.

Blackboard
Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.

Blackboard
Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.(tm)

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard and other statements containing the words
"believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "will," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking
statements as a result of various important factors, including the factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of our Form 10-Q filed
on November 9, 2006 with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company´s views as of January 31, 2007. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company´s views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company´s views as of any date subsequent to January 31, 2007.

About the netTrekker Product Suite

The netTrekker product line includes award-winning educational search products for both the education (netTrekker classic and netTrekker d.i.) and consumer (netTrekker home) markets. Unlike ordinary search engines, products from the netTrekker suite provide fast and easy access to only the best, pornography-free, educational resources from the entire Internet in a safe, organized, standards-aligned format. Using
netTrekker search products, educators, school librarians, students, and parents save valuable time because they are directed to relevant,
reliable, educator-selected Web sites every time – meaning less time spent on searching and more time focused on teaching, learning, and achieving. For more information about the netTrekker suite, visit
www.netTrekker.com.

About Thinkronize

Thinkronize, an Internet developer of K-12 educational products, was founded in 1999 by Robert Reinders, and grew out of a passion for and
commitment to enhancing teaching and learning with the Internet and standards-based online resources. The company launched its flagship product, netTrekker classic, in October 2000 and has since expanded the product line to include netTrekker d.i., designed for use in schools to help educators meet individual students´ learning needs, and netTrekker home, available for purchase by parents whose district or school has not
yet purchased a netTrekker subscription. Peers, educators, and parents have honored Thinkronize and the netTrekker product suite 17 times for
their contribution to education. Most recently, netTrekker home was awarded The National Parenting Center´s Seal of Approval, earning a position among an elite group of products recommended to parents by TNPC. In addition, Thinkronize was also named to the 2006 Inc. 500 List as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. The company currently serves nearly 9.3 million students in 49 states, including adoptions by key districts and states nationwide. For more information visit www.thinkronize.com or phone 877-517-1125.

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Students Chat-Up School at CheapBooks.com

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Jan. 31, 2007 — CheapBooks.com(TM), a
textbook price-comparison Website and book buyer founded in 1997, today announced that it has added a new discussion forum to its site to help students find information on topics that affect their day-to-day lives, as well as an online community of their peers where they can alleviate stress and overcome bouts of boredom.

Many college and high school students, including distance learners, have turned to social networking sites on the Internet to learn more about what interests them from their peers and like-minded people, said David Tiberio, the founder of CheapBooks.com(TM).

The CheapBooks(TM) forum, he said, is free and doesn´t
require students to register with the site, which will allow them to efficiently read and reply to public messages on various school-related topics. For example, students can visit the forum to learn more about financial aid, studying, tuition, textbooks, college athletics, intramural sports and video games.

"We´ve had a great response so far from students in the U.S. and across the globe," Tiberio said. "We basically know that students who visit our site have a great deal on their minds, and they´re usually ready and interested in talking with other students about what matters to them."

Tiberio added that the forum also contains a free
classifieds section and helps students learn about various majors, academic disciplines and career paths. The site plans to ultimately expand the discussion forum to include stand-alone forums dedicated to specific majors.

"We wanted to make our forum as dynamic and relevant as possible to students, regardless of their backgrounds or their interests," Tiberio said. "Just about any student can go to our site and learn about something that interests them."

Teachers can also post information to the forum for their students to read, and student journalists can use the forum as a vehicle for their editorial writing.

For more information, e-mail dave@cheapbooks.com or visit http://www.cheapbooks.com/ .

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Microsoft previews new development tools

Microsoft is developing a new suite of tools that will allow developers and publishers of educational software, as well as educators themselves, to create their own instructional programs easily and intuitively, the company says. Users would control these programs on their computer screens, using a media player that Microsoft expects will ship with all Windows-based computers in the near future. The entire software environment is code-named “Grava.”

The Grava development tools, which Microsoft previewed at the British Education and Training Technology Conference in mid-January, are meant to stand alone as separate applications. A Grava SDK (Software Developer Kit) tool is designed for publishers and developers of educational software, while a different authoring tool will give those with less programming experience–such as many educators–the ability to create their own media-rich content to be viewed with the Grava player, Microsoft says.

By introducing these new tools, Microsoft hopes to reduce the time and money spent creating educational software for schools. Because developers won’t need high-level programming expertise to create Grava-based programs, the tools could eliminate the common software development cycle in which a subject-matter expert creates content, then hands it off to a programming team to write code, which then returns it for more changes, and so on.

Using Grava, “developers can create very rich [educational materials] … to make learning much more fun and engaging,” says Ravi Soin, product unit manager for Microsoft’s Education Products Group.

With the Grava player, users reportedly will be able to customize the experiments, surveys, or tests they are running. If a developer were to create a program demonstrating a specific law of physics, for example, he or she could set the features to be customized by educators. Teachers then would have the ability to tailor the program to their own experiments.

As an incentive for software developers and publishers to begin using Grava to create programs, Microsoft has included the software needed to play Grava, the .Net 3.0 Framework, in its newly released Windows Vista operating system. Windows XP users are able to download .Net 3.0 through Microsoft’s web site, said Kapil Thombare, product manager for the company’s ducation Products Group.

In addition to the developers’ and publishers’ tools, Grava provides educators with an authoring tool that lets them create projects to be used on their own computers, or published online as web applications.

“It’s going to be easy for educators to work with the tool,” says Thombare. “Our plan is to have a certain amount of information up front. Educators can use templates that would make it much easier to come up with the end result they are expecting to achieve.”

This ease of use is something many believe could be Grava’s greatest attribute.

“It’s very user-friendly in that you don’t have to be a software developer to be able to author your own tests, presentations, interactive surveys, or lots of other different applications,” says Diana Cano, executive director of new product development at Educational Testing Service (ETS). “The key is it’s menu-driven. You pull it down and create buttons and that sort of thing.”

ETS is one of the first companies to use the Grava platform to create educational programs. ETS is using Grava to develop applications for its “Who am I?” program. This program contains six different sophisticated surveys, with topics such as time-management skills and whether the user is a morning or night person. Each survey will represent a different application on the Grava platform.

For some of the applications it has created, ETS used a software developer to take advantage of certain features that had not been introduced into the Grava platform yet. But for the other applications, Cano said, ETS turned to a non-developer. Her work in creating a multimedia program using audio files and multiple-choice questions has led Cano to believe that Grava holds much potential for those in the education community with no software developing experience.

“The biggest thing to watch, as this matures, is for users to be able to customize the kinds of things they want to customize, the buttons and all that kind of stuff,” says Cano. “The key for Microsoft is to be able to create a tool that anybody can use, but that [users] can really individualize for what they’re trying to do and the path they’re taking.”

“From an educator perspective, we hope this can transform the way educators are able to take difficult concepts and explain them in a fun and engaging way,” says Soin. “For publishers and developers, [we hope] this can provide a new medium for them to create content in a much more efficient way.”

Microsoft is set to release customer previews of Grava to software publishers and developers within the next few weeks. The company aims to launch the product officially, with a final name, this fall.

Links:

Microsoft Corp.
http://www.microsoft.com

Educational Testing Service
http://www.ets.org

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Microsoft previews new development tools

Microsoft is developing a new suite of tools that will allow developers and publishers of educational software, as well as educators themselves, to create their own instructional programs easily and intuitively, the company says. Users would control these programs on their computer screens, using a media player that Microsoft expects will ship with all Windows-based computers in the near future. The entire software environment is code-named “Grava.”

The Grava development tools, which Microsoft previewed at the British Education and Training Technology Conference in mid-January, are meant to stand alone as separate applications. A Grava SDK (Software Developer Kit) tool is designed for publishers and developers of educational software, while a different authoring tool will give those with less programming experience–such as many educators–the ability to create their own media-rich content to be viewed with the Grava player, Microsoft says.

By introducing these new tools, Microsoft hopes to reduce the time and money spent creating educational software for schools. Because developers won’t need high-level programming expertise to create Grava-based programs, the tools could eliminate the common software development cycle in which a subject-matter expert creates content, then hands it off to a programming team to write code, which then returns it for more changes, and so on.

Using Grava, “developers can create very rich [educational materials] … to make learning much more fun and engaging,” says Ravi Soin, product unit manager for Microsoft’s Education Products Group.

With the Grava player, users reportedly will be able to customize the experiments, surveys, or tests they are running. If a developer were to create a program demonstrating a specific law of physics, for example, he or she could set the features to be customized by educators. Teachers then would have the ability to tailor the program to their own experiments.

As an incentive for software developers and publishers to begin using Grava to create programs, Microsoft aims to have the Grava player pre-installed on most PCs once the final product is released, said Kapil Thombare, product manager for the company’s Education Products Group.

In addition to the developers’ and publishers’ tools, Grava provides educators with an authoring tool that lets them create projects to be used on their own computers, or published online as web applications.

“It’s going to be easy for educators to work with the tool,” says Thombare. “Our plan is to have a certain amount of information up front. Educators can use templates that would make it much easier to come up with the end result they are expecting to achieve.”

This ease of use is something many believe could be Grava’s greatest attribute.

“It’s very user-friendly in that you don’t have to be a software developer to be able to author your own tests, presentations, interactive surveys, or lots of other different applications,” says Diana Cano, executive director of new product development at Educational Testing Service (ETS). “The key is it’s menu-driven. You pull it down and create buttons and that sort of thing.”

ETS is one of the first companies to use the Grava platform to create educational programs. ETS is using Grava to develop applications for its “Who am I?” program. This program contains six different sophisticated surveys, with topics such as time-management skills and whether the user is a morning or night person. Each survey will represent a different application on the Grava platform.

For some of the applications it has created, ETS used a software developer to take advantage of certain features that had not been introduced into the Grava platform yet. But for the other applications, Cano said, ETS turned to a non-developer. Her work in creating a multimedia program using audio files and multiple-choice questions has led Cano to believe that Grava holds much potential for those in the education community with no software developing experience.

“The biggest thing to watch, as this matures, is for users to be able to customize the kinds of things they want to customize, the buttons and all that kind of stuff,” says Cano. “The key for Microsoft is to be able to create a tool that anybody can use, but that [users] can really individualize for what they’re trying to do and the path they’re taking.”

“From an educator perspective, we hope this can transform the way educators are able to take difficult concepts and explain them in a fun and engaging way,” says Soin. “For publishers and developers, [we hope] this can provide a new medium for them to create content in a much more efficient way.”

Microsoft is set to release customer previews of Grava to software publishers and developers within the next few weeks. The company aims to launch the product officially, with a final name, this fall.

Links:

Microsoft Corp.
http://www.microsoft.com

Educational Testing Service
http://www.ets.org

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New product from NetOp Tech enhances effectiveness of IT-based training and knowledge sharing

Chicago–January 31, 2007 — NetOp Tech Inc., a fully owned subsidiary of Danish IT company, Danware A/S, launched today in the United States NetOp® Instruct–a user-friendly plug-and-play program for IT-based training and knowledge sharing in companies and businesses.

"Knowledge sharing and competence development are important competitive parameters for all modern companies," said Danware´s chief executive officer Peter Grondahl. We are therefore launching a solution that facilitates varied, IT-based training and at the same time makes it easy to share information and knowledge internally in an organization. In many companies, internal training and knowledge sharing still consists of mainly PowerPoint presentations, but with NetOp® Instruct, we can offer a solution that is much more dynamic,"

NetOp® Instruct is well suited for internal training situations including introduction courses for new employees. With NetOp® Instruct, the instructor can plan and carry out the entire training from his or her own screen. And during the training, the instructor can follow what the participants are doing on their screens and involve the them, for example, by letting them take over the presentation to the rest of the group.

Training can also be interactive; course participants can communicate on a one-to-one basis with each other or with the entire group at the same time. It is also possible to transfer sound, pictures and video between the participants´ screens.

More than a training tool

NetOp® Instruct is not just limited to use in a training setting. The program also makes it possible to quickly and effectively inform people about important information, and it offers new opportunities for collaboration between employees.

"During the Parisian mayoral elections in 2001, NetOp® technology was used to transfer the latest election results to the screens in the pressrooms where journalists were following the developments intensely," said NetOp Tech Inc. country manager, Jason Vargovchik. "Companies can use NetOp® Instruct in the same way–to transfer updated information quickly and securely to TV and computer screens placed around a company. This is often very important for companies that have a large production environment."

NetOp® Instruct is also very conducive for internal teamwork in organizations:

"A team can closely follow the developments of a particular project while one of the team members is working on the project, said Vargovchik. The other team members can, at any time, take control using a shared screen and in this way take over the ´baton´. We call this the ´pass the chalk´ principal, and it is relevant for project-orientated companies, where many different departments work together across the organisation."

NetOp® Instruct uses less than 15 MB of disk space and works with both LAN and WAN networks. The program supports an 802.11 g wireless network as well as all current Windows operating systems.

More than 80 countries across the world can access NetOp® Instruct. Download a free trial version of NetOp® Instruct at www.netop.com

ABOUT NETOP TECH INC.

NetOp Tech, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of Danware, a Danish based software company. Danware´s core business is to develop and market, through a certified channel of NetOp Partners, software products based on the NetOp core technology–a technology enabling swift, secure and seamless transfer of screens, sound and data between two or more products.

ABOUT DANWARE A/S

Based in Birkerod, Denmark, Danware A/S develops and markets NetOp software products sold in more than 80 countries worldwide. In 2005, Danware reported sales of about $15.5 million. Danware´s shares are listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange and are a component of the Small Cap+ index. For more information, visit the Danware Web site at www.danware.com.

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