Enough is Enough: Safety Starts NOW

(April 19, 2007) Defywire, Inc. CEO Jill Stelfox announced today Defywire (www.defywire.com) is pledging to donate one million dollars of its premier software package Mobile Guardian Safety Suite to protect students in the United States. This million dollar commitment is open to districts that want to make their schools safer and more responsive in a time of crisis.

"We can´t wait anymore. I know our solution helps keep kids safe and is a critical component in the management of information to prevent and manage a wide range of issues dealing with student problems and crises. As a mom and as a person who understands technology, I simply can´t sit back anymore when I know we have technology that can make a difference."

Further, Ms. Stelfox challenges other corporations with technical solutions to step up and contribute their technology resources to keep our kids safe, starting now. Defywire has already started reaching out to other corporations to encourage their participation. "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?"asked Ms. Stelfox. "Enough is enough."

On 9/11, Stelfox was haunted by the knowledge that she could track an express mail package more easily than she could locate her children at school in an emergency.

With a background in mobile technology, she began a company dedicated to providing teachers, bus drivers, school officials and parents with the capacity to monitor kids´ whereabouts throughout the school day and to provide immediate, handheld wireless access to a wide range of information.

Mobile Guardian Safety Suite also has the capability of monitoring which children are generating incident reports at various locations throughout the school or on school buses. It´s these reports that are used to alert administrators to a potential problem. The application can send officials a message when a specific child has reached a certain threshold of "incident reports?–such as two per day, for example. At each step along the way, parents can be notified immediately of the events occurring with their child at school. Statistics show that children who begin a pattern of truancies, absenteeism and class disruptions are at higher risk for taking misbehavior to the next level.

In addition, the handheld technology gives school officials immediate access to emergency medical information about an ill or injured child, without losing precious minutes locating the information in a distant office. Even in the absence of a school wide catastrophic event, such a device is invaluable when athletes collapse on the practice field or children are left on a school bus at the end of the day.

Mobile Guardian Safety Suite is now used to protect a quarter-million schoolchildren, and Ms. Stelfox is determined to see this technology, or similar technology in every school in the United States. In her continued quest to make this technology readily available and affordable, the cost of this technology is less than $5 per child per year.

Any school district interested in immediately receiving the technology should go to www.defywire.com and click on Enough is Enough for additional details.


Adobe Makes it Easy for Schools to Deploy Creative Suite 3

SAN JOSE, Calif.–April 24, 2007–Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced new site licensing options, curriculum and certification programs for primary and secondary schools deploying Adobe® Creative Suite® 3. The new resources will make it easier for schools to deploy Adobe´s new offering of tightly integrated, industry-leading design and development tools into the curriculum, as well as into career and technical education programs.

The new Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Site Licenses help primary and secondary schools to cost-effectively deploy Creative Suite on school-owned or school-leased computers across the campus. Once deployed, educators can implement one or more of the year-long project-based curricula which help to develop key digital communication and foundational career skills for students. The curricula, which ships on a DVD with the site licenses, include Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production; Digital Design: Foundations of Web Design; and Digital Video: Foundations of Video Design and Production. Projects in each curriculum engage students in all aspects of design and development from planning to evaluation.

"Adobe is committed to offering educators the resources to help students succeed in today´s highly competitive workplace,"said Megan Stewart, director of K-12 Education at Adobe. "The combination of Adobe Creative Suite 3 with our new education resources will help teachers take classroom instruction beyond traditional learning techniques and engage students to express their ideas and prepare for future career paths.?

Additionally, through a partnership with Certiport, an industry leader in developing certification programs, Adobe will offer entry-level certification to educators and students. The new Adobe Certified Associate program validates communication and technology skills and tests for competencies in the use of Adobe technology.

Adobe Creative Suite 3

Announced last month, Adobe´s new Creative Suite 3 provides designers and developers with a broad spectrum of creative options for all facets of print, web, mobile, interactive, film, and video production. There are six all-new configurations, including Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium. Rounding out the product line is Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection which combines 13 of Adobe´s new design and development applications in a single box?the most comprehensive creative environment ever delivered.

Pricing and Availability

Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Licenses pricing starts at US$3,999 for Creative Suite 3 Web Standard and US$4,999 for Creative Suite 3 Design Standard. Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, Creative Suite 3 Web Design Premium and Creative Suite 3 Production Premium Site Licenses are all available for US$7,499. The CS3 Master Collection, including all of Adobe´s latest design and development tools is available for US$11,499. Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Licenses will be available to qualifying public and private schools only. The free year-long curriculum materials are expected to be available this summer, with the associate-level certification coming this fall.

Additional information on Adobe Creative Suite 3 K-12 School Licenses, certification and curriculum is available at www.adobe.com/education.

Adobe in Education

Supporting education initiatives worldwide, Adobe enables a new way of teaching and learning by providing digital creation, communication and collaboration tools for classroom and campus-wide use. By offering industry leading products at accessible prices, free online curriculum and training for educators, Adobe continues to provide support for the education market.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information–anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.


Calif. tops ‘cyberstate’ list

The Associated Press reports that the state of California employs the largest amount of technology workers, pays the highest wages, and attracts more venture capital than any other state. However, the overall U.S. tech sector is growing at a surprisingly brisk pace. These findings were the conclusion of a highly publicized report by AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association), the country’s largest technology trade association…



Scanners keep kids under college’s thumb

Reuters reports that the Meiya College of International Studies at Hunan University in China spent 250,00 yuan ($32,360) last year to install fingerprint scanners in over 30 of its classrooms in order to prevent truancy. Now, students are required to “check in” by placing their thumb on the scanner. However, not everyone is happy about this development. Previously professors would manually take attendance, but this process was easy to circumvent in addition to taking away from class time. Now, some students believe that in addition to being a violation of trust, the information could be used for other purposes…



Interactive design blooms in NYU hallways

CNET reports that at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, students often work long into the night, just so that they may earn a master’s degree in Professional Studies. ITP is one of the most celebrated multimedia design graduate programs in the country. However, the program is an odd specimen. ITP has just a few classrooms and faculty members, and most of the work gets done in the hallways. Students take a few required courses in the first semester of the program, than are basically left to design their own curriculum. In the last semester, students have to complete a thesis project, and all must present some of their work in a twice-a-year ITP “Show,” which is open to the public, and displays the best projects to come out of the program…



´Working From Home Today?´ That´s Not What Your Boss Thinks…

London, UK, 23 April 2007–The phrase "I´m working from home today" strikes fear into one in five (21%) managers who hear "I´m taking it easy today", according to new annual research* from Mitel®.

In fact, over a third (37%) of managers feel that if allowed to work from home, staff will use working hours to carry out personal activities, such as taking a longer lunch, while 30% believe employees will use the time to arrange their social life.

However, two thirds (68%) of employees believe that by working from home they would actually take a more flexible approach to work, enabling them to be more productive (41%), and end up working longer hours (28%).

The research reveals that when it comes to attitudes towards teleworking, nearly one in five (18%) employees would like the opportunity to work from home two days a week, and that over half (55%) believe it is an acceptable option for any level.

Psychologist and employee productivity expert, Dr David Lewis, said: "Managers must understand that every individual has a different style of working, so by allowing your staff to work how they feel best able to achieve results can only benefit their wellbeing and most importantly increase their productivity and ultimately customer service. It comes down to a matter of trust. If you trust and respect your employees to get the job done, they will trust and respect you in return and do the best they possibly can, regardless of whether they are in the office or not.

"In fact, many businesses, are finding potential recruits demanding flexible working as part of their package alongside salary and traditional benefits Businesses must keep up with, and adapt to, ever evolving working practices if they want to continue recruiting and retaining the cream of the talent pool."

Reducing overheads, improving customer satisfaction, increasing productivity and staff retention are the core business benefits that stem from teleworking. However, firms are also starting to recognise that their environmental responsibilities can also be addressed, with teleworking helping to decrease the UK´s ever burgeoning congestion problems and cut carbon emissions.

While many employers are still labouring under the misconception that technologies to enable home-working are unreliable and slow, this is simply not the reality.

"With high speed broadband currently accounting for 70 per cent of all household internet connections**, and a wealth of telecommunications technologies, such as IP telephony now an affordable business standard for seamless connectivity to the office, the technology to enable home working is now more sophisticated than ever, said Graham Bevington, managing director of Mitel.

"Through the use of virtual teams using instant messaging to communicate,having the ability to set up video and conference calls and share documents from the network, there is no need for employers to panic that people working from home or outside the office cannot contribute to the business as a fully functioning member of the team. Flexible working practices are becoming an integral part of a successful business strategy and can be a critical tool in the fight for a competitive advantage in the global marketplace."

About Mitel

Mitel is a leading provider of unified communications solutions and services for business customers. Mitel´s voice-centric IP-based communications solutions consist of a combination of telephony hardware and software that integrate voice, video and data communications with business applications and processes. These solutions enable customers to realize significant cost benefits and to conduct business more efficiently and effectively by enabling enhanced communications, information sharing and collaboration within a business and with customers, partners and suppliers. Mitel is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with offices, partners and resellers worldwide. For more information, visit www.mitel.com.


Miami-Dade County Public Schools Selects Sophos

BOSTON–April 23, 2007–Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, today announced that Miami-Dade Public Schools has selected Sophos to protect 90,000 desktops and 50,000 email accounts from spam, viruses, worms, spyware and potentially unwanted applications for the next four years. The district will also utilize Sophos Professional Services to ensure that the switch from its legacy McAfee solution to Sophos is accomplished seamlessly.

After more than a year of evaluating numerous security solutions, Sophos was selected as the best choice for the district based on breadth of coverage; speed of detection; better computer performance; the size, speed and frequency of updates; a simplified console; superior detection technology; and the quality of Sophos´s technical support.

"Throughout the evaluation, Sophos was enormously attentive to our needs and requirements," said Thomas Sims, director, network services, Office of Information Technology at Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "In the end, we decided to invest in Sophos based on its exceptional level of service and expertise; simplified management capabilities; and proactive, multi-tier protection across our entire district."

"We are pleased to have been selected by one of the most widely recognized school districts in the United States to provide comprehensive security at the endpoint and gateway," said Mark Hatton, president of Boston-based, Sophos. "Sophos is committed to providing flexible, reliable and centrally managed solutions that are consistent with the district´s needs."

Sophos Integrated Solutions:
Sophos Endpoint Security eliminates known and unknown threats, providing scalable, proactive protection across laptops, desktops and servers. Simplified, centralized management provides comprehensive control, while proactive detection technologies, small rapid updates, and round-the-clock support combine to reduce the cost and complexity of securing business networks.

Sophos PureMessage provides integrated gateway and messaging protection from spam, viruses and spyware. It scans all inbound, outbound and internal email messages and includes threat reduction technology to protect against new or unknown email-borne threats.

About Sophos

Sophos is a world leader in IT security and control. Sophos offers complete protection and control to business, education and government organizations–defending against known and unknown malware, spyware, intrusions, unwanted applications, spam, policy abuse and uncontrolled network access (NAC). Sophos´s reliably engineered, easy-to-operate products protect more than 100 million users in more than 150 countries. Through over 20 years´ experience and a global network of threat analysis centers, the company responds rapidly to emerging threats and achieves the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry. Sophos is a global company with headquarters in Boston, MA, and Oxford, UK. For more information on Sophos, visit www.sophos.com


ISTE Convenes First Grassroots Advocacy Conference

Washington, D.C.–The International Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE®) brought together nearly 80 educational technology leaders from 20+ U.S. states on April 22 for the first-ever ISTE State Advocacy Capacity Building conference.

Held at the L´Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., the conference included panels and workgroups focused on developing relationships with U.S. state policy-makers; building coalitions; leveraging conferences and other events; and using communications tools for advocacy. Most of the participants and many of the presenters were members and leaders of ISTE´s affiliate organizations.

According to Jill Pierce, director of technology for the Loudon County Board of Education (TN) and one of several representatives from ISTE affiliate, the Tennessee Educational Technology Association, "Having a conference of this quality shows us how to utilize the national-level resources ISTE can provide to build advocacy in our own state."

Dr. Thomas Bookler, assistant regional superintendent based in DuPage County (IL) and a representative from ISTE affiliate, Illinois Computer Educators, concurred. "I walked away with a myriad of new ideas and ways that we can move the educational technology agenda forward in Illinois."

"We are thrilled with the success of this first state-level advocacy event," said ISTE CEO Don Knezek. "State-level policy, programs, and funding are absolutely critical for transforming education so it meets the needs of digital-age learners. And we´re very glad we can support our affiliates as they develop their capacity for effective grassroots action."

Atomic Learning, Pearson Education, and Promethean, Inc, provided corporate sponsorship for the event.

About ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the trusted source for professional development, knowledge generation, advocacy, and leadership for innovation. A nonprofit membership association, ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Visit www.iste.org or call 1.800.336.5191 to learn more about ISTE.


Joint Statement from the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Center for American Progress, Jobs for the Future and the National Council of La Raza on the Introduction of the Graduation Promise Act

Washington, DC–Today, four national organizations committed to improving educational outcomes for America´s high school students applaud the introduction of the Graduation Promise Act (GPA). The GPA is designed to improve high schools and reduce dropout rates, and was introduced today by U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy. The GPA is enthusiastically supported by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Center for American Progress, Jobs for the Future, and the National Council of La Raza.

"America is facing a dropout crisis," said John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. "This crisis was the impetus behind our report, Addressing America´s Dropout Challenge , co-authored with Jobs for the Future, and is the big flashing sign saying ´Act Now´ that Congress should heed."

In America today, two in three students leave high school unprepared for college or the modern workplace. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that almost 90 percent of the fastest growing U.S. jobs require at least some postsecondary education. The nation´s fifteen-year-olds, when measured against their counterparts in other industrialized nations, rank fifteenth in reading, twenty-third in math, and thirtieth in problem-solving skills.

"We know what can and should be done to end the dropout crisis in this country," said Gov. Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. "By targeting resources to solutions proven to work, the GPA turns knowledge into action. These Senators have shown the will; their legislation shows the way. Congress should pass the GPA to help make ´every child a graduate´ a reality."

For minority and low-income students, the situation is especially dire. High school students living in low-income families drop out of school at six times the rate of their peers from high-income families, and only about 55 percent of Black students and 52 percent of Hispanic students graduate on time from high school with a regular diploma, compared to 78 percent of White students.
"Forty years ago, the United States led the world in high school graduation rates; it now ranks seventeenth," said Marlene B. Seltzer, President and CEO of Jobs for the Future. "We are moving in the wrong direction. The GPA answers the need to move forward and ensure that all students stay in school and graduate ready for college and work."

"It´s unacceptable that slightly more than half of Latino and African American students graduate from high school," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. "The GPA will help reverse these trends by focusing attention and resources on this critical issue."
The GPA authorizes $2.5 billion in new funding to:
*Create a federal-state-local secondary school reform partnership focused on transforming the nation´s lowest performing high schools;

*Build capacity for high school improvement and provide resources to ensure high school educators and students facing the highest challenges receive the support they need to succeed;

*Strengthen state systems to identify, differentiate among, and target the level of reform and resources necessary to improve low performing high schools and ensure transparency and accountability for that process;

*Advance the research and development needed to ensure a robust supply of highly effective secondary school models for those most at risk of being left behind, and identify the most effective reforms;

*Support states to align their policies and systems to meet the goal of college and career-ready graduation for all students.
The GPA will be highlighted during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on high school reform on Tuesday, April 24, at 10 a.m.

About the Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."


Fairfax County Public Schools begins 5th year of FableVision´s web-based vocabulary program, Get A Clue®

BOSTON, MA–April 23, 2007–FableVision, the award-winning progressive educational media and interactive publisher, today announced that its web-based vocabulary and critical thinking program, Get A Clue®, has been selected once again by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia as part of in the district´s leading-edge curriculum mix. Get A Clue will be starting its fifth successful year at FCPS in an ongoing effort that is building vocabulary and reading comprehension for the district´s diverse student population across 26 high schools as well as the system´s various alternative schools.

Widely used as a means of improving literacy and preparing for the SAT, Get A Clue is an innovative subscription-based web application for middle and high school students which builds vocabulary, plus improves reading comprehension and test-taking skills. Through the patented WATS (Words And Their Stories) system, students are presented with the derivation and then through a series of clues begin to inductively uncover the meaning of the word. The actual definition is revealed at the conclusion of the exercise, followed by a bonus question using a synonym. FableVision´s President Paul Reynolds points out that, "Students uncover the meaning of the word through the context and power of story–unlike mind-numbing drills that only produce short term recall. " He adds, "The product´s game-like appeal also has students actually requesting Get A Clue–for a vocabulary product, that´s saying something." The word, so to speak, is catching on. Along with garnering a long list of national industry awards, Get A Clue was also chosen by Apple for inclusion in the Apple Digital Learning Series, which rolled out nationwide program last August.

Jane Reynolds, FableVision´s Executive Partner, has big plans for Get A Clue. "We are building on the enormous popularity of the product with plans for expanded grade levels and new categories of vocabulary in the hottest areas of curriculum, including Math, Science, and Mandarin." And Jane means business–literally. Jane joined her twin brothers Peter and Paul Reynolds–the creatives who founded FableVision a decade ago, to manage the accelerating success of the media and publishing firm. Jane´s successful career includes study and multiple degrees from Tufts, Brandeis, London School of Economics and Harvard Business School, as well as a decade as an exec at Xerox and founding and running her own successful business consulting firm in London. Along with building out FableVision´s own original line of media-rich, technology-enhanced products, Jane´s strategy includes strategic partnerships with other major educational technology players who have a progressive embrace of digital learning and learner-centric technologies.

FableVision (www.fablevision.com) is 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. Some of FableVision´s partners and clients include PBS, Maryland Public Television, MIT Education Arcade, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, Nickelodeon/Noggin, KCET, Carnegie Hall, National Academy of Sciences, WGBH, Random House, Simon Schuster, Pearson Education, the Research Institute for Learning Development, and Boston University and the Jim Henson Company.

For additional information about FableVision´s mission to use media, storytelling and technology to reach all learners, explore www.fablevision.com or call 1-888- 240-3734.