CDW Government Inc. (CDW-G) introduced a new “21st-century classroom” solution to help schools take this idea from concept to practice. The solution is highlighted by new partnerships with key ed-tech companies, including Futurekids, 8e6 Technologies, Promethean, and RM Educational Software, that broaden CDW-G’s offerings. The 21st-century classroom solution features professional development; interactive software; audio-visual components that include interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, and projectors; and networking and security technology to ensure that student, faculty, and staff information is protected.

To help educators, parents, and administrators understand the full scope and capabilities of this new classroom model, CWD-G also has launched a new web site to support its initiative.

e-Rate consulting firm Funds for Learning discussed its recently released report titled, "The Average E-rate Applicant." In this report, Funds For Learning creates a profile of the average E-rate applicant based on funding requests received for the 2007 Funding Year.

For example, the average applicant made funding requests for 6.1 sites. The applicant with the most sites made requests for 1,519; while 11,366 applicants made requests for just a single site each. On average, each applicant submitted 5.4 funding requests. The applicant with the most FRNs made 422 funding requests. There were 3,143 applicants with just one funding request each. (The averages are based on the nearly 23,000 funding requests received for the 2007 Funding Year.)

Microsoft and HP have teamed up to introduce an online project called the Teacher Experience Exchange (TEE). This new web site provides educators with a one-stop resource to discuss, share, and learn with other educators and to access tutorials for teaching with technology in the classroom.

Educators are encouraged to preview the TEE web site and join the group of initial Teacher Advisors to provide feedback on proposed content, or simply pre-register to become a member and see some of the features to come. These features might include forums to discuss teaching techniques, get advice from colleagues, or share information; teacher-generated content and sharing of lesson plans, projects, and photos of classroom set-ups; and access to tutorials for teaching with technology in the classroom—including courses on Vista, XP, and Office 2007 that are available through podcasts and videos.

Spectrum K12 School Solutions, a provider of data management solutions for special K-12 student populations, announced a new service called RTI Needs Analysis. Designed to help school systems take advantage of “Response to Intervention,” a federally mandated way to determine which students require special education as the result of a disability, the solution includes an analysis of the district’s current academic interventions for at-risk students; a debriefing session with school or district leaders to discuss these findings and how they can be used to plan for effective classroom instruction, professional development, and school improvement; and a one-day training session on RTI that focuses on the specific needs of the district.

Teachscape promoted its Classroom Walkthrough solution, in which principals or other school leaders make brief classroom visits and record their observations using research-based tools and data-collection software on a handheld device. This information then is uploaded to a desktop computer for easy analysis and reflective discussion. Teams of teachers at grade-level meetings and in faculty committees examine the data, working toward a shared goal of improving instruction and boosting student achievement. Areas of strength and needed growth can be identified quickly, so professional development can be planned accordingly.

Classroom Walkthrough implementations include two days of on-site training for school leaders; a wireless handheld application for easy data collection; a participant’s binder with additional resources, masters, and templates; one year of access to the Teachscape Online Program Manager for data analysis, reporting, and training; observational protocols, or “look-fors”; professional literature; and unlimited technical support.