Renaissance Learning offers summer reading program for $20 a student

In an effort to increase learning over the summer, Renaissance Learning Inc. is now making its popular Accelerated Reader (AR) program available to students during the summer months through its new AR Summer Reading Program.

The AR Summer Reading Program offers access to the entire AR Renaissance Place Complete Subscription Package, which includes the company’s entire quiz library of more than 80,000 quizzes, allowing students to choose from a large selection of books. The program will be available at several locations beginning this summer, and students from area schools will be invited to take part.

Community programs will be managed by a local coordinator who will organize quiz-taking sites at convenient locations and times. The AR Renaissance Place technology allows the program to be held in a number of places, including schools, the public library, or a local organization. Coordinators will be paid for their involvement, and schools that encourage the program will receive certificates for Renaissance Learning products. The cost of the AR Summer Reading Program is $20 per student.


Lightspeed Firewall provides advanced network protection–and is now eRate-eligible

Lightspeed Systems, a developer of network security software products, has introduced a new product called Lightspeed Firewall. The new software provides integrated, multiple levels of security to create a comprehensive firewall solution. The product was developed specifically for the education market and incorporates recommendations from IT professionals who manage some of the country’s largest educational networks, according to Rob McCarthy, company president.

Lightspeed Firewall begins with traditional firewall security, but administrators can tailor the firewall to the specific security policies of their institution. According to Lightspeed, the software can detect and prevent network intrusions; control all applications on the network and track their usage; monitor and report on network and user activity; allow or deny HTTP, FTP, and SMTP commands; and resolve usernames for policy enforcement. An option to block spyware, instant messaging, and peer-to-peer traffic also is included in the system.

The Lightspeed Firewall security system is available for $10,000 and–thanks to new program rule changes–is now eRate eligible.


ACE Software creates PDA solution for busy administrators

ACE Software Inc. has introduced a mobile tool for users of its ADM2000 Student Information System (SIS) software that enables principals and other administrators to instantly access critical data about students at any time and from anywhere. Principals can use ADM2000 Principalm with Palm OS-based personal digital assistants (PDAs) to view scheduling, attendance, emergency contact, and other student information–whether in the hallway or on a field trip.

The software provides secure, mobile access to student information such as emergency phone numbers, schedules (sorted by period or teacher), homeroom teachers, and the names of students’ counselors. It also can supply attendance details, locker numbers and combinations, student photos, and other information instantly.

ADM2000 Principalm is included in ACE’s ADM2000 Student Information System at no extra charge, although the connection software to provide the link to ADM2000 and all handheld computers are extra. Principalm services for 501 or more students costs $1,045 per building; a PDA and software serving 500 students or less is $495 per building. An annual maintenance fee of $210 per building also is required. The ADM2000 server costs $2,500 per district, per year.


Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) and VBrick Systems Foster Education Innovation

WALLINGFORD, Conn.–April 4, 2007–VBrick Systems, Inc., the world leader in digital video systems and solutions, today announced that it is sponsoring the TxDLA Don Foshee Memorial Grant. TxDLA awarded the 2007 Don Foshee Memorial Grant to Roxanne Glaser, distance learning coordinator, Education Service Center Region 12 in Waco, Texas during the 10th Annual TxDLA Conference, held March 27-29, 2007 in Galveston Island, Texas.

This marks the second consecutive year that VBrick has funded the Don Foshee Memorial Grant, which supports exceptional ideas that are delivered creatively through distance learning applications. Keeping with the spirit of TxDLA Founder Don Foshee, the grant is focused on leveraging Texas resources to develop innovative online education programs. Grant recipients receive $2,000 and present their project outcomes at the following year´s TxDLA conference.

"The Texas Distance Learning Association fosters an environment that promotes education, ease of information access, and raises the bar for collaboration and discovery," said Pat Cassella, senior director of marketing, VBrick Systems, Inc. "We are proud to work with the Texas Distance Learning Association and sponsor new, engaging approaches that redefine the classroom."

Ms. Glaser´s grant submission expands traditional reading programs to also include online collaboration for book theme discussions and videoconference Q&As with local subject matter experts for each of the three proposed books. The grant program will serve grades five through eight, will include reading and writing, and potentially integrate into social studies and science curriculum.

"I´m honored to receive the Don Foshee Memorial Grant and am excited to initiate a program that combines independent reading with online discussion and interactive videoconferencing from experts across the county and state," said Roxanne Glaser, distance learning coordinator, Education Service Center Region 12 in Waco, Texas. "I greatly appreciate the commitment by TxDLA and VBrick Systems to support new programs that engage students and promote education best practices."

"We are extremely pleased to provide a grant that embodies Don Foshee´s pioneering spirit and commitment to connecting our schools and communities with the best and brightest resources in Texas and across the globe," said Kenneth Conn, president, Texas Distance Learning Association. "We thank VBrick for continuing to sponsor important distance learning initiatives that support our children and our state."

VBrick Commitment to Education

An active participant of the Internet2 and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), and the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), VBrick dedicates its efforts to expanding video´s role in transforming education. Previously, VBrick donated $100,000 of digital video products to Internet2, a consortium led by 207 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow´s Internet.

Additionally, VBrick has regularly donated digital video products and services that enable audiences worldwide have a front-row seat for research and discovery initiatives including renowned deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard´s return to the Titanic and his expeditions to the depths of the Black Sea.

More than 1,000 K-12 and higher educational institutions use VBrick to foster a dynamic learning environment including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Oklahoma State University (OSU), University of Texas, Texas A&M, and University of Toronto.

About The Texas Distance Learning Association

The Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) is a nonprofit association formed to promote the development and application of all distance learning applications and to implement effective distance learning strategies for Texans and other distance learning practitioners of the global community. Founded in 1996, TxDLA facilitates the sharing of information, services, expertise, research, and peer networking among its constituents. The organization is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is available online at

About VBrick Systems, Inc.

VBrick Systems, Inc. is the world´s most reliable provider of standards-based video networking solutions to educational institutions, corporations and governments. VBrick, an ISO 9001:2000 certified company, has garnered numerous industry accolades including the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Connecticut Technology Fast 50, and the National Association of Broadcaster´s (NAB) Award for Innovation in Media in the Content Delivery category. Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, USA, VBrick´s products are distributed through industry-leading value-added resellers, system integrators, and distributors. Find out more at


GE Invests in Leading Distance Learning Provider

NORWALK, CT–APRIL 4, 2007–GE Commercial Finance–Media, Communications & Entertainment (formerly Global Media & Communications) today announced it is the administrative agent and sole lender of a $30 million credit facility for Penn Foster, a portfolio company of the Wicks Group of Companies LLC, to support their acquisition of Education Direct, Inc. and Thompson Education Direct, Ltd. The GE business will also take an equity position by contributing $0.5 million to Penn Foster. The transaction closed on March 27.

Based in Scranton, Penn., Penn Foster is one of the largest and oldest distance education providers offering career diplomas, associate degrees and high school diplomas. The flexibility, convenience, and affordable nature of distance education has made it an attractive vehicle transforming the way professionals and students learn the skills critical to meeting new challenges. The distance education products and services market will reach $38.1 billion by 2011 according to a recent industry report.

"We have had a positive working experience with GE on several key deals," said Dan Black, partner, Wicks Group. "The GE team provides flexible financing structures that allow us to grow our businesses organically and by acquisition."
"As demand for distance education continues to grow, private equity investors are becoming increasingly interested in this sector, giving us the opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge and capabilities to help them meet demand," said David Harrington, senior vice president, GE–Media, Communications & Entertainment. "The experience we gained in working with the Wicks Group on prior transactions allowed us to develop a flexible financing solution."

Prior to this transaction, GE has worked with the Wicks Group on various deals, including Delta Education, Wicks Sports Information, owner of the Daily Racing Form, Heartland Publications and Wilks Broadcasting.

About GE Commercial Finance–Media, Communications & Entertainment

With over $7 billion in assets and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Norwalk and San Francisco, the Media, Communications & Entertainment business is a global strategic partner to the media, communications & entertainment industries and the technologies that enable them. We bring GE´s full resources and financial strength to each relationship, while delivering industry expertise and flexible financing solutions that maximize stakeholder value. For more information, please visit

About GE Commercial Finance

GE Commercial Finance, which offers businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services, has assets of over $206 billion and is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut. GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work–a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world´s toughest problems. GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company´s website at


New York Bird Flu School Planning Summit Announced

The New York Bird Flu School Planning Summit on May 21 at the Hilton Garden Inn Raritan Center in New Jersey aims to equip communities with all the right tools against bird flu.

Washington DC (New-Fields) April 3, 2007 *School administrators will have another chance to equip themselves with the tools necessary for preparing for and responding to bird flu in their communities at the New York Bird Flu School Planning Summit to be held on May 21
at the Hilton Garden Inn Raritan Center in New Jersey.

The fourth such conference organized, the summit is a continuation of New-Field Exhibition´s commitment to be responsive to the needs and expectations of the communities. The summit aims to provide assistance to school administrators for improving mechanisms for bird flu and pandemic preparedness and response.

It introduces an efficient emergency management plan designed to function in times of need–on time, under budget, and with minimum disruption to school and community operations.

New-Fields president and CEO Samir Farajallah expresses his enthusiasm over the upcoming affair: "This is one summit that the academe should not miss. Topics concerning bird flu and the school community will be discussed in great detail," he said.

Highlights of the event include an overview of the bird flu situation, hands-on experience with the planning process, table-top exercises (composed of classroom, home, and community scenarios), and
taking home of "action tools" to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate.

For more information about the conference, please contact our Washington DC office at 202.536.5000 or visit us at

About New-Fields Exhibitions

New Fields Exhibitions, Inc. is a leading emerging markets and business information provider. With offices in Washington, DC and overseas, the company provides marketing services in the areas of construction, energy, oil & gas, telecommunications and health care. It organizes trade shows that produce results for companies worldwide.


World Book Spotlight on "Earth: The Living Planet" Explores the Planet´s Resilience and Vulnerability as Earth Day 2007 Approaches

CHICAGO–April 3, 2007–Earth may be a only small part of the universe, but it is home to all known living things, and in preparation for Earth Day, April 22, 2007, World Book, Inc. ( is showcasing the planet in a free, multi-faceted content spotlight, "Earth: The Living Planet" ( The Earth content spotlight provides students, educators, and families with a detailed account of the geography, geophysical history, ecology, and exploration of the planet.

The site offers a comprehensive understanding of why Earth is able to support life, how the planet has changed over time, and what geologists and other earth scientists have learned as they´ve uncovered Earth´s history. Biographies of scientists who have studied the planet, including British geologist Sir Charles Lyell, German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner, and Scottish geologist James Hutton, inspire students and teach them about how different sciences apply to the study of the planets. The World Book Earth site also provides a detailed account of people´s impact on the planet.

Maps, interactive quizzes, illustrations, and photographs support the information presented. Students are encouraged to explore further through links to dozens of government, university, and science Web sites reviewed by World Book editors.

"By considering a multi-faceted explanation of Earth, readers gain a well-rounded understanding of the planet, from its formation to how we affect our planet through our daily lives," said Paul Gazzolo, president of World Book. "While this understanding is generally important, it´s particularly good background as educators begin focusing on Earth Day studies."

The World Book Earth spotlight also ties to state curriculum standards.

About World Book Online

The World Book Online Reference Center ( is the premier online encyclopedia for students and educators. World Book´s direct, easy-to-understand writing style and media-rich environment make it the ideal reference site for learners of all ages. The World Book Concise Encyclopedia ( provides students and their families with ready reference from home.

Earth: The Living Planet is one of dozens of World Book Content Spotlights ( available at no charge and designed to bring alive topics for students, prompting them to explore areas that they may not have known they had an interest in.

About World Book

Celebrating in 2007 the 90th anniversary of the first edition of The World Book Encyclopedia, World Book, Inc. sets the standard in publishing accurate, current, and reliable reference and learning materials for children and adults. Based in Chicago, Ill., World Book is committed to creating learning materials that meet the highest standards of editorial excellence while leveraging the advantages of online delivery. This commitment has culminated in a wide range of products which include the number-one selling The World Book Encyclopedia, and such leading digital products as the World Book Online Reference Center. World Book is a Scott Fetzer company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.


HP Celebrates 35th Anniversary of HP Calculators with Video Contest

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 2, 2007–As part of a year-long celebration of its 35th anniversary in the handheld calculator business, HP today announced a nationwide competition inviting entrants to submit short videos that capture the essence of their personal experiences with, emotions toward or artistic interpretations of HP calculators.

The "HP Calculator Casting Call" contest runs through May 31, 2007, and is open to U.S. residents. Finalists in each award category will win an all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood, Calif., to participate in the HP Golden Calculator Awards ceremony on July 12, 2007.

"HP calculator users´ passion and loyalty are legendary. With this contest, we want to capture and share this enthusiasm and creative energy with the rest of the world, including the new online generation," said Jeff Robbins, director of marketing, Calculator Division, Personal Systems Group, HP. "We entered the handheld calculator market 35 years ago with a revolutionary product that virtually rendered the slide rule obsolete, and we are still going strong today as a result of our product innovation that continually exceeds our users´ needs."

Video entries can take the form of a documentary, commercial or any appropriate theme the contestant envisions, but they must be limited to three minutes in length or 100 megabytes in file size. Entries will be judged by a panel on the basis of best actor, best actress, most creative and most technical. 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 at

In 1972, HP introduced the world´s first scientific pocket calculator–the HP-35–and delivered portable "computing power" into the hands of everyday users. The HP-35 was an instant hit among scientists and engineers and soon displaced the then ubiquitous slide rule. HP went on to become one of the leading developers of high-performance, high-quality programmable calculators for the business and scientific marketplace.
Today, HP´s high-end graphing calculators offer more connectivity options and greater configurability than other calculators in their class, and the HP 12c Financial Calculator has become an industry standard in the business and finance community with more than 15 million units sold to date.

Information about HP´s complete line of graphing, scientific and financial calculators, as well as on-demand training videos, computer-based training and step-by-step learning modules for each of HP´s current calculators is available at

HP calculators are available at select retailers and bookstores across the United States. A complete list of resellers is available at

About HP

HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers–from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world´s largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $94.1 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended Jan. 31, 2007. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at


DeskShare delivers My Screen Recorder Pro For Vista Users

A picture is worth a thousand words. Demonstrating what happens on your screen can save you not just thousands of words, but hours of time. My Screen Recorder Pro can capture any area of your screen, or the entire Windows desktop. Never fumble trying to explain again-just show people.

My Screen Recorder Pro makes it easy to share screen recordings with anyone, anywhere. Recordings can be saved in three industry-standard formats, or turned into self-running executables that work on any Windows computer. With automated conversion and web publication, you save even more time.

Who needs My Screen Recorder Pro? Anyone who teaches, demonstrates or communicates about an application, a product, or a web site. It´s used every day by instructors, sales presenters, web developers, software testers, and many others.

New features in My Screen Recorder Pro 2.6 include:

*Full Windows Vista support

*Screen Draw: add predefined shapes to the recording to highlight key areas

*Join and split AVI files, allowing you to edit your recordings

*Schedule web site recording-at a specified time, the program can automatically launch a browser to a particular URL and record for a pre-set duration

*The ability to record and save only the last n minutes of a screen recording

*Password protect your screen recordings when distributing them as executables

My Screen Recorder Pro runs under Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, and Vista.

Priced at $99.95(US), My Screen Recorder Pro is available now, either directly from DeskShare ( or at

About DeskShare, Inc.

Founded in 2000, DeskShare, Inc. develops easy-to-use, affordable, Windows-based software products to help you excel. In addition to My Screen Recorder Pro, its product family includes Video Edit Magic, a powerful and easy-to-use video editor; Digital Media Converter, the ultimate tool for converting between all popular video and audio formats; and WebCam Monitor, which turns your PC with camera into a video security system for your home or office. DeskShare products are used extensively by business professionals to create materials for use in corporate training, customer support, website development, documentation, software demonstrations, workforce collaboration, and the creation of content for business presentations and Internet broadcasts.


Ellis College of NYIT, a Leading, Accredited Online University for Working Professionals, Endows Nearly $32,000 in New Scholarships.

Stamford, CT, April 3, 2007: Ellis College of NYIT, a fully-accredited online college offering career-based distance learning to working professionals, is launching two additional scholarship opportunities. Designed to recognize academic achievement and to help students in need, the new scholarships will be available to both active undergraduate and graduate students who have completed at least nine credits at Ellis College. The annual value of the scholarships, based on current graduate tuition rates and eight terms annually, is nearly $32,000.

Beginning with the May 7th term and continuing with each term thereafter, Ellis College of NYIT will award the Provost and Chairman Scholarships, granting the recipients free tuition towards their next Ellis College online course. The Provost Scholarship is awarded for academic performance and recognizes students who are of honors standing. The Chairman Scholarship recognizes students with good academic standing who have demonstrated financial need.

Students applying for the Provost or Chairman Scholarships will have the opportunity to keep their applications on file, eliminating the need to submit a new scholarship application each term. In addition, in order to maximize the number of students who can benefit from these awards, a student is only eligible for the Chairman or Provost Scholarship once per year.

"Ellis College is always looking for new ways to recognize excellence, especially given the dedication our students have to their studies despite all of the other demands they face as working adults," said David Harpool, PH.D, provost for Ellis College of NYIT. "Our new scholarship endowment will enable us to provide substantial benefits to a large number of students who have demonstrated their academic commitment, while simultaneously easing the financial burdens of those in need."

About Ellis College of NYIT

Ellis College of NYIT is a regionally accredited online university that has been designed specifically to meet the needs of busy, working professionals. A division of the New York Institute of Technology, Ellis features a unique, interactive learning platform and vast virtual campus that bring online classes to life while fostering extensive online communities among students, alumni and faculty. Ellis College offers over 50 different undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates and specializations, and partners with leading business schools like Stanford, Columbia and the University of Chicago in developing its prestigious online MBA program. In addition, Ellis offers a Free Guest Pass that enables one to preview life as an Ellis student for free by participating in a variety of educational courses and forums. For more information on Ellis College of NYIT, visit, or call 1-877-355-4727 (1-312-669-5027 outside of the U.S.).