Math Solutions

Math Solutions
When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, was rewritten in 2004, a newfound commitment to helping struggling students make progress in the general reading curriculum was born.

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Wisconsin senate votes to cap online-school enrollment

It will take a new Capitol compromise to keep Wisconsin’s virtual schools open after action Tuesday by the state Senate.

At the request of Gov. Jim Doyle, the Senate voted to cap enrollment for online schools at the current level – now about 3,500 students statewide – while a study is done on virtual learning.

Under the Senate changes, that number of online students could not go up again until the 2011-’12 school year, and then only by about 875 students. Dozens of parents and virtual school students came to the Capitol on Tuesday to fight the enrollment cap.

The 18-15 vote by the Senate – controlled by Democrats – sends the measure to the Assembly, which is run by Republicans.

The Assembly will meet for only a few more days before its scheduled adjournment next month. There might not be time to negotiate a compromise to changes dictated by Doyle, who promised to veto any bill without an enrollment cap.

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Video games draw teens back to libraries

Saying they’re going to the library may no longer be the standby excuse teens offer their parents for secretly heading out to a party or to hang out with friends.

These days, more and more young people are flocking to metro Detroit libraries: not necessarily for homework, but to participate in one of their favorite pastimes — video games.

“Getting teens to come to the library is right up there with getting them to go to church: It’s not exactly the first place they want to go,” said Christine Lind Hage, director of the Rochester Hills Public Library.

That is, until now.

Hage has stocked the shelves with 1,823 games for PlayStations 2 and 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360 and other systems. And the free sources of entertainment are hot items among adolescents — on any given day, 1,300 are checked out. The addition of the games largely contributed to the library’s 12% spike in circulation last year, she said.

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TCEA 2008: Safety and security

Absolute Software displayed its Computrace Lo-Jack for laptops, a stolen-computer-recovery service that tracks, locates, and recovers stolen laptop and desktop computers. Software installed on the machine silently and securely contacts the company’s monitoring center and, if the machine is stolen, will report its location using an internet connection. Recently, the company announced that it had recovered its 5,000th computer.

Astaro Internet Security gave an overview of its computer security system for schools. Astaro Security Gateways help secure eMail traffic with anti-spam and anti-phishing features, filter web access, and help protect networks with features that include remote access and virtual private network (VPN) capabilities.

Centurion Technologies showcased its CompuGuard CornerStone and CompuGuard Control Center software. CompuGuard CornerStone protects computer hard drives by using Instant Restore technology to ensure a higher level of security and stability on multi-user machines. If users manipulate the desktop, install software, change settings, or download potentially harmful files from the internet, a reboot of the computer restores it back to the administrator’s pre-defined, pristine configuration–wiping all session changes free. CompuGuard Control Center is a remote management system that lets administrators create groups of client computers, filter users’ access to applications and the internet according to different specifications, and more.

LenSec promoted its District-Wide Video Surveillance solution, which helps administrators more effectively manage the safety and security of all their schools from any location. This IP-based surveillance solution enables school leaders to monitor camera views from a standard internet browser, and users can develop a customized solution to meet their various surveillance needs. The solution offers a map-based user interface for collaboration with local law-enforcement officials, integration with existing systems and devices, and real-time management with secure web access. It’s also scalable and will expand with an unlimited number of cameras and facilities, LenSec says.

Sergeant Laboratories presented Aristotle Alert, its district-wide emergency alert system, which is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms and provides instant notifications via computer. Users follow a four-step method to send broadcast alerts: They select the group, user, or workstation they want to have receive the alert, choose a specific alert from a pull-down menu, edit the message, and then broadcast it.

SpectorSoft announced the release of an upgrade to its eBlaster software, a remote monitoring solution for parents and schools. eBlaster is designed for monitoring the activities of PCs that frequently leave the school network, such as loaned laptops, one-to-one laptop programs, and employee or staff computers. eBlaster 6.0 adds several new features. Now, users have the ability to change eBlaster options and settings from anywhere they have an internet connection, eliminating the need to return to the PC on which eBlaster is installed. The new upgrade also allows users to track stolen or lost PCs, block web sites and chat or instant-messaging programs, and monitor MySpace activity.

Student Insurance Partners promoted its laptop insurance program for K-12 faculty, staff, and students. The company’s policies cover damage to laptop and desktop computers, software, peripherals, and other items.

Thinkronize announced that 11 million students are now searching safely online with netTrekker d.i., the company’s in-school safe search engine. netTrekker d.i. is now used by more than 600,000 teachers and 20,000 schools throughout the United States, an 84-percent increase in safe searches from 2006 to 2007, the company says. Schools are seeking ways to provide standards-based digital resources in all subject areas to their teachers and students, and in many cases, states and districts are shifting available funding from print to digital media, Thinkronize says–and the netTrekker d.i. search engine can help meet these needs.

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TCEA 2008: Professional development and consulting

Atomic Learning demonstrated a new version of its latest product, Atomic Training. Atomic Training is an online training and publishing platform that schools and other organizations can use for managing and delivering training videos, procedures, and other essential information. In the latest release, Atomic Training customers will be able to designate users to specific groups that will determine what content each user is allowed to access. Also included are enhancements that make organizing content and operating Atomic Training even easier, the company said.

InfoSource Learning promoted its PDNPJ service: Professional Development in Your Pajamas. PDNPJ gives school districts and educational service associations the ability to administer an online professional development program. The company also promoted Advanced Integrating Technology in the Classroom, a content library that helps educators learn to use and integrate the latest technologies in their classroom curriculum.

PBS TeacherLine launched a new program, Course Licensing for Schools and Districts. The course-licensing program lets schools, districts, and education service agencies expand their staff professional development programs or create new initiatives in a way that is cost-effective. Course Licensing for Schools and Districts allows educational institutions to select from more than 100 research-based courses in reading/language arts, math, science, instructional strategies, and instructional technology. The courses use technologies such as audio, video, interactive components, and online discussions to address multiple learning styles.

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