Serif, a developer of desktop publishing and graphics software, announced that its Serif Design Suite of programs have been aligned with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Education. Serif worked with reseller Educational Resources to attain the designation, which will enable schools to purchase Serif products using federal grant money, the company said. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant program supports local centers that give students from low-performing and high-poverty schools academic enrichment opportunities through an array of before- and after-school and summer activities. The Serif Design Suite includes tools for bitmap and vector drawing, animation, desktop publishing, and web publishing. Serif is also offering a “Back-to-School” discount of 20 percent off the cost of all its products purchased through its partner, the Douglas Stewart Company. This discount applies to both individual products and site licenses. The promotion ends Sept. 30.

Software Technologies Inc. (STI) is giving Alabama students exposure to online learning. Students entering the ninth grade must complete one online course by the end of high school, and STI hopes to help the state’s students meet this requirement by giving them access to STI State and Information Live, an education portal. Through this portal, students can learn via video conferencing, web-based classes, or a combination of the two.

Studywiz launched new Mobile eLockers for its Studywiz Spark Mobile service, a dynamic, 24-7 online learning space for schools. The new eLockers provide storage space for teachers and students on the iPhone or iPod Touch for all file types, support audio and image recording, and provide both on- and offline access to learning, Studywiz says.

Tabula Digita, developer of the award-winning DimensionM (www.dimensionm.com/) educational video games for math, is releasing its first immersive online science game series. Called “The League of Scientists,” the series is being offered free of charge to students in grades three through five and is meant to help students build their knowledge base.

TEL.A.VISION helps students define their life goals by incorporating technology children are familiar with: video. The nonprofit organization helps students make short videos–complete with audio and sequenced photos–that spell out what they want to be, and how they’ll get there. TEL.A.VISION provides tutorials for students to make their own videos to show to classmates and teachers.

Texas Instruments announced Math Nspired, an online resource center for algebra and geometry teachers. TI says its Math Nspired lessons will offer customizable activities to help students build conceptual understandings of key math concepts and help them use TI-Nspire technology to visualize concepts and explore multiple representations.

Verizon Thinkfinity hosted a talk with blind mountain climber, adventurer, author, and former teacher Erik Weihenmayer, who teamed with actor-director Eric Close to demonstrate how bringing a sense of adventure to the classroom can inspire and engage students to reach their full potential. The event was part of an initiative that pairs the principles of adventure sports with practical tools like Verizon’s free Thinkfinity.org content portal in an effort to help teachers move beyond their textbook when teaching. Weihenmayer put that concept into action by inviting Close and several teachers from the audience to take part in a rope team exercise to demonstrate the importance of teamwork on the mountain and in the classroom.

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