Curriculum Associates showcased its new BRIGANCE Head Start System, launched at the Head Start National Association Conference this spring. Created to meet the needs of Head Start programs, the system is designed to prepare every child for school success by providing quick and easy screening, developmentally appropriate activities, and ongoing assessment and monitoring of student skills, the company says.

Discovery Education announced a new curriculum alignment service that collaborates with school districts on their goals for integration of digital content into their day-to-day classroom instruction. Discovery Education also has partnered with PBS, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Pearson Education/BBC Worldwide to expand the media library of its Discovery Education streaming video-on-demand service.

Disney Online Kerpoof Studios, which focuses on the development of interactive online entertainment, says its goal is to provide rich, engaging web activities that go beyond most of today’s “passive, mindless offerings,” delivering an interactive tool that lets children be creative and productive while playing online. The activities provided on Kerpoof.com allow children to create artwork, movies, freehand drawings, cards, and more in a variety of themes and styles. Children also can print or eMail their creations.  More than 60 Kerpoof backgrounds are available, ranging from cartoon worlds to historical worlds and animal habitats. Kerpoof Scholastics is a resource page for educators, providing lesson plans and ideas on how to use Kerpoof to enrich classroom activities. Schools have access to subscriber services free of charge.

eChalk, which helps school leaders, teachers, students, and parents safely use the web to connect to learning, information, and each other, released a case study from Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) in Texas. Moving their district online with eChalk has transformed communication and led to greater collaboration, CCISD officials say. According to the district, a pilot program implemented in its middle schools has increased parent involvement, raised test scores, and reduced disciplinary problems within a single school year.

EduPlatform showcased its Classroom Manager, an all-in-one software solution that facilitates teaching and learning in wired or wireless network environments, one-to-one computing programs, and computer centers such as those found in libraries or labs. The company’s Lesson Builder application helps teachers create engaging lessons by merging and sequencing files from commonly used digital resources, such as Web 2.0 technologies.

eInstruction unveiled two new products that represent the next generation of its student response technology: vClicker Mobile Edition (ME) and the CPS Pulse. vClicker ME is a virtual response system that runs on web-enabled mobile devices students already use, such as personal computers, laptops, iPhones, and BlackBerries. Using vClicker ME, a student can participate in a lesson, take a test, or complete an interactive team challenge from anywhere without having to invest in a separate clicker device, eInstruction says. For users of eInstruction’s Classroom Performance System, the new CPS Pulse enables up to 1,000 students per class to answer multiple choice, numeric, and short text-answer questions while teachers collect responses in real time. To support educators with the implementation of these and other 21st-century learning tools, eInstruction also launched eI Community, a new online community for K-12 and college educators to share and discuss best practices, lesson plans, and more.

Elluminate has expanded its role as a provider of online learning platforms and meeting spaces by launching a new social learning network for education, called LearnCentral (www.learncentral.org). A free and open resource for professionals in the global education community, LearnCentral provides social networking and collaboration tools for members to find and connect with others, share content and best practices, create and maintain a portfolio of learning content, meet in real-time virtual rooms, and hold and attend events. Upon joining LearnCentral, each member receives a free Elluminate vRoom, a virtual meeting room for up to three participants or locations. The network is moderated by Elluminate’s social learning consultant, Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0 and director of the Consortium for School Networking’s K12 Open Technologies Initiative.

ePals announced that it has partnered with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to implement and manage a customized, hosted online learning community for IB students, educators, alumni, and other stakeholders. The new site will use safe and collaborative communication tools to create authentic learning experiences and interactions on a global scale, ePals said. The rollout will be multi-phased, ultimately enabling members of the worldwide IB community in 2,600 schools and more than 130 countries to connect, share, and collaborate online.

Epson demonstrated its PowerLite Presenter, a solution for schools that cannot afford a full complement of audio-visual technology. The projector, which lets teachers show classroom video without additional equipment, comes with a surround-sound option, microphone input, and “plug-and-play” connections–allowing for quick setup that doesn’t require IT help, the company says.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt demonstrated its Learning Village, Destination Math, and Destination Reading products. Learning Village is a curriculum management solution that connects educators to best practices, instructional strategies, lesson plans, and resources to support measurable student achievement. Destination Reading and Destination Math are used as supplemental instructional resources to support core instruction–either for practice, remediation, or acceleration, or as a way to provide individualized or small-group instruction in an engaging, interactive learning environment. Both programs also provide a learning management system that tracks students’ performance over time.

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