ISTE urges tech training for future teachers

Ed tech advocates are pushing for funding of a federal tech-training program for future teachers

Ed tech advocates are pushing for funding of a federal tech-training program for future teachers

Educational technology advocates are hoping that Congress amends the fiscal 2010 budget to include funding for a grant program that focuses on improving new teachers’ abilities to use technology in the classroom.

Lawmakers created the Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners (PTDAL) program last year when they reauthorized the Higher Education Act. The program awards three-year grants to colleges of education to make sure they are equipping pre-service teachers with the skills they’ll need to integrate technology effectively into K-12 classrooms. Congress did not specify a dollar amount in creating the program, however. Instead, it authorized “such sums as necessary.”

The Obama administration’s proposed FY10 budget did not provide any funding for PTDAL. As the budget progresses through Congress, members have the opportunity to propose amendments that include funding for the program. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is requesting that Congress provide $50 million to fund PTDAL.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Heath and Human Services, and Education “did its markup [of the budget] at the end of last week, and it didn’t include funding for the program,” said Hilary Goldmann, director of government affairs for ISTE. “The Senate’s going to work on its [version of the] bill July 28.”

Goldmann said the entire House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the budget bill July 17, moving the bill to the House floor.

“The program is important so that our cadre of new teachers know how to use modern digital tools in [their teaching] when they enter the classroom on day one, and they don’t need any kind of additional professional development,” she said. “When new teachers are doing their field service or student service, they often don’t have any experience using technology … in the classroom. So this program would provide an opportunity for that.”

She added: “Our new teachers often know how to use technology, but they often don’t know how to use it for teaching and learning.”

The House Appropriations Subcommittee’s markup of the budget would provide $64.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Education “to help ensure that all Americans have the educational opportunity that is our most powerful tool in helping the poor and middle class climb up the economic ladder,” said Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., subcommittee chair, in prepared remarks.

The subcommittee’s markup included base funding of $545 million for the School Improvement fund, which is $1 billion less than the Obama administration requested, and it kept the base funding for Title I grants to school districts at $14.5 billion. The administration proposed cutting Title I funding by $1.5 billion.

“As a result, the bill does not include several new and unauthorized initiatives that the administration proposed to finance by cutting Title I grants to 14,000 school districts,” Obey said.

The PTDAL program supports pre-service teachers by funding innovative grants to institutions of higher education. The institutions will work with their college or department of education, their school of arts and sciences, at least one state or local education association, and a private or public entity that can contribute to technology-related reforms of teacher preparation programs. Individual grants would not exceed $2 million, and the law mandates a 25-percent matching requirement.

The program serves as a successor to the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program, a pre-service grant program created during the Clinton administration that received federal appropriations ranging from a high of $125 million in 2001 to a low of $62.1 million in 2003. PT3 provided more than 400 grants to schools of education during its five years of operation, according to ISTE.

PTDAL would “reinvigorate and continue that program with an increased focus on student service years. The last time PT3 got funded was in FY04,” Goldmann said.


International Society for Technology in Education

House Appropriations Committee

Senate Appropriations Committee


Richardson TSI Enhances Learning Outcomes and School Safety for Union County, Ga. School District

When asked to find a cost-effective communication solution to help the Union County School District resolve two of the most critical issues faced by learning systems today, learning outcomes and safety, Richardson Technology Systems Inc. (TSI) not only found a system that could be seamlessly integrated but also helped the school system increase communication efficiency while decreasing the workload of teachers and administrators with Switchvox Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Evaluating Needs and Challenges

To provide the best learning environment and work experience for its students and faculty, Union County School District (UCSD) in north Georgia needed to update its communications solution to help increase productivity, communication efficiency and school safety.

UCSD needed an efficient user-friendly system that was within its budget but that also would help save costs in the future with the ability to easily adapt and expand with the needs of the school system. The solution also had to be compatible and seamlessly integrated with existing intercoms and paging systems while offering robust features such as voicemail-to-email, district-wide four digit dialing, and location-based 911 services.

Challenges involving the integration of the existing paging systems at each school also needed to be addressed. With the existing paging systems, teachers and administrators were burdened with dialing through multiple systems to reach one another. Problems with classroom interference were also taking place as inbound calls to teachers were directed through the PA system, interrupting the classroom learning experience and reducing student productivity.

Providing a Powerful Solution

Needing an appliance-based solution, Richardson TSI and UCSD decided that the powerful Switchvox appliance family would be the best choice of digital switch systems for UCSD. Bill Driskell, technology director for UCSD, had become very familiar with the Asterisk system and appreciated Asterisk’s ability to integrate with other systems, something that proprietary VoIP platforms were unable to do.

Richardson TSI was retained as UCSD’s technology solution provider and integrator of choice for the installation, training and management of the project.

Richardson TSI deployed an innovative district-wide Switchvox system with more than 230 IP phones, and integrated with each school’s intercom, paging, and classroom phone system. With a Switchvox appliance at each of the five schools and the district office, all of UCSD’s communications needs were met, and exceeded.

Utilizing an existing fiber optic network that connects each school to the district office, each school’s Switchvox integrates with the district office Switchvox appliance, based upon the Asterick operating system, which connects to the public phone network through a PRI. Every classroom’s analog telephone connects to a Rauland Telecenter intercom system, which in turn interfaces seamlessly with the school’s respective Switchvox system. With the new system, teachers can now make effortless calls to other classrooms, secretaries, other administrative staff, and public telephone numbers – something not easily possible with the previous system. With teachers constantly moving from classroom to classroom, Switchvox’s voicemail-to-email feature allows for easy access to important messages decreasing their workload.


Fight the Back-to-School Colds and Flu’s!


Fight the Back-to-School Colds and Flu’s!
Germy Wormy ® Germ Smart for Kids Educates Young Children How to Reduce the Spread of Germs and reduce exposure to the H1N1 Virus.
July 21, 2009 (Los Angeles, CA) – Kids are heading back to school and parents are scrambling to get them ready.  Now more than ever, parental concerns ), of the flu are also apparent, especially with the rise of H1N1 as the weather begins to cool and as we confront the cold and flu season.  With the flu vaccine months away and potentially in short supply, many are concerned about what they can do to protect their children, families and schools.
In fact, on September 15, 2009, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is celebrating “Get Ready for the Flu Day by educating the general public about flu facts and encouraging parents to help promote flu prevention amongst children.
Germy Wormy® is doing the same. Since November 2008, Back Enterprises, LLC has been fighting the spread of colds and flu’s with their patent pending Germy Wormy sleeve, which ‘catches’ germs in a disposable arm tissue, and the Germy Wormy® Germ Smart for Kids DVD whichhelps children as young as 2 quickly and effectively learn healthy hygiene habits recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These tips, which support Germy Wormy’s similar instructions for teaching kids to reduce the spread of germs are found on the CDC’s “Cover Your Cough” poster campaign.
  • Keep germs from your face so they don’t get in your body and make you sick
  • Wash hands and face often
  •  Cough or sneeze into your elbow and NOT your hands
Although such guidelines are easily understandable for adults, it is much harder for children to learn and understand the impact of invisible germs and how they are unwittingly spreading bad germs that make themselves and others sick. 
Founder, Margaret Back, created Germy Wormy out of personal experience and frustration with her own child and the back-to-school flu season.  She didn’t know how to teach her 3 yr old about germ control so she created a germ loving character, Germy Wormy to help do the teaching for her.
In the Germy Wormy Germ Smart DVD, Germy Wormy introduces kids to Germ Stoppers 5 – the top 5 things kids can do to keep from getting germs that can make them sick.
The DVD teaches children everything parents and teachers want children to know about how to protect themselves and others from germs and viruses but didn’t know HOW to teach them. With Germy Wormy, kids quickly go from not knowing they are spreading germs to being equipped with the knowledge of what they can do to stop the spread of germs and illness!  
For when they do catch a germ and are sick, she created the Germy Wormy disposable sleeve to “catch” all of those coughy and sneezy germs that doubled as protection for her child’ clothes. 
Children as young as two-years-old have fun “feeding the worm” all their bad germs. In the process, they learn a healthy hygiene habit that will last a lifetime. Just like a tissue, the Germy Wormy sleeve is disposable, which also encourages the healthy habit of disposing of contaminated materials at an early age.
Germy Wormy is a fun, easy and highly effective way to respond to the flu epidemic with prevention by education. With kids covering and disposing of their germs, the amount of germs spread is significantly reduced, increasing the amount of happy and healthy school children!
For ordering information on Germy Wormy® please log on to or call 888-437-6988. For Media Inquiries or Sample Requests, contact Kelly Anderson at Clover Public Relations Inc., at or 818-484-8664.



CDI Reports 49.6% Revenue Increase


Chicago, IL – July 21, 2009 – CDI,North America’s largest supplier of recertified, brand name computers to the educational market, reported a 49.6% percent increase in second quarter sales over the same period last year.
The company has just released revenue figures for 2009 year-to-date. Growth for the first half compared to the same period in 2008 was 39.8%, accelerating to 49.6% in the second quarter. This marked the 5th quarter of strong, continuous growth for the company.
“The growth we are experiencing is due to our efforts to better communicate our message to potential customers and an increase in the size and scope of our sales team,” stated Saar Pikar, CDI’s General Manager. “I am proud of our team’s success in expanding our customer base, especially in the face of this difficult economic climate.
CDI has created a strong market for recertified computer equipment within the education industry. Pikar believes what really sets CDI apart is their recertification program. CDI provides schools with current, reliable technology that is far less expensive than new equipment. This approach has revolutionized technology purchases and allowed many districts to dramatically improve their computer to student ratios.
About CDI
CDI is North America’s largest distributor of recertified computer equipment within the education industry. CDI’s mission is to help schools increase the number of computers available to students while dramatically reducing their technology spending. CDI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chicago based Relational LLC, one of the largest independent leasing and technology solutions providers in North America.
CDI – North America’s largest supplier of recertified computers to the educational market
For more information, please visit or call 888.226.5727.

E-Rate Program Makes Next-Generation Web Lockers Technology More Affordable for K-12 Schools

E-Rate Program Makes Next-Generation Web Lockers Technology More Affordable for K-12 Schools


Online File Sharing and Storage Categorized as Priority One E-Rate Eligible


SAN DIEGO – July 21, 2009 – As the 2009-2010 school year approaches, K-12 administrators across the U.S. are putting the final touches on budget plans, while also leveraging the government-funded E-Rate program to secure discounts on important technology additions to their campuses.  Next-generation file sharing and storage services, such as those offered by School Web Lockers, have been designated as Priority One E-Rate eligible, which means all requests for funding year 2009 (Year 12) for this category of technology will be fulfilled.


School Web Lockers combines web-based storage, backup, collaboration and file sharing in a single system that specifically caters to the needs of K-12 education. The idea behind the technology is that students can create work on one computer, and then stash files in their personal web locker for completion later – either on the same computer, or on another one at home or elsewhere.


“All properly prepared requests for eligible Priority One E-Rate products and services receive funding approval, which is why school administrators should not hesitate to take advantage of the cost savings the program offers,” said Kelly Agrelius, manager of sales and marketing for School Web Lockers. “Especially during tough economic times, we’re happy to see so many of our customers benefit from substantial E-Rate discounts.”


Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, based in Rosenberg, Texas, has already leveraged E-Rate to receive a discount on its purchase of School Web Lockers technology. The district serves more than 22,000 students and operates 34 campuses.  “We received a very solid discount with E-Rate, making it much more cost-effective for us to deploy School Web Lockers technology,” said Steve Hickman, director of technology for the district, which uses the file sharing and storage solution to provide students and teachers with anytime-anywhere access to computer-generated files and projects.

The process for filing for E-Rate funding for the 2010-11 school year is currently under way.  The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which administers the E-Rate program, is now accepting the initial form (FCC Form 470) from schools and districts. Officials suggest filing early so that any administrative errors can be corrected before the January 2010 deadline.  


Since filing for E-Rate funding can be complex and time consuming, many schools and districts seek help from outside firms that specialize in the application process.  These companies offer assistance from the technology plan development stage all the way through funding reimbursement, and everywhere in between.


With E-Rate, schools receive funding in the form of a discount on their purchase of eligible products and services.  The discount is assigned by USAC based upon the school’s percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Schools must cover the non-discounted portion of the products or services that they plan to obtain.  In many cases, only a portion of the product or service is considered E-Rate eligible. School Web Lockers, for example, is 10 percent eligible. The school’s discount percentage is then applied to that eligible portion of the cost, with 90 percent being the maximum percentage allowed.


School Web Lockers offers unlimited storage capacity, complete firewall protection, and affordable pricing of only $1 per student per year,

In addition, it helps schools further their efforts toward a greener environment by allowing teachers to upload documents and post them directly into student web lockers – without the need for paper.  A teacher can simply upload one document and post it in all student lockers instead of making multiple handout copies.  In turn, students can complete an assignment on the computer and upload the document into the "homework due" folder, from which it is then sent directly to the teacher.


For more information on School Web Lockers, please call School Web Lockers at 1-866-499-6527 or visit


About School Web Lockers

School Web Lockers is a leading provider of cost-effective, web-based tools for collaboration, distance learning, one-to-one computing and online storage.  Formed in 2004 as a division of San Diego-based Networld Solutions, Inc., School Web Lockers today serves hundreds of K-12 schools and school districts across the U.S. with secure, easy-to-use computing solutions for students, teachers and administrators. For more information, visit or call 1-866-499-6527.






Microsoft offers Moodle to Live@edu users

In an effort to provide integrated access to its Live@edu services, Microsoft Corp. has released a free plug-in for Moodle, an open-source software program for managing courses online.

The plug-in, available as a free download, gives users access to Live@edu services including eMail, calendar, instant messaging, and search, as well as shared workspaces and storage "lockers" in the cloud, directly within the Moodle environment, wrote Michael Golden, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s education products group, in a blog post.

Students go online through their Live@edu login and connect through the Moodle authentication system.

"Many educators and students around the world are relying on technology to enhance their educational opportunities," he said. "This free download…will help address needs of interoperability and also the flexibility of using technology choices in education."

Using Moodle, teachers can create online learning web sites for their classes.

Typical Moodle sites include class resources, homework assignments, and quizzes, Golden said. Live@edu gives schools access to a suite of services, including Outlook Live for eMail, Office Live Workspace to share documents and collaborate with others, Windows Live Messenger for instant messaging, and Windows Live SkyDrive, which has 25 GB of online data storage space.

Moodle has more than 30 million registered users, and Microsoft has more than 9 million students who use Microsoft Live@edu.

"We’ve been very attentive to the market and understanding from many teachers and administrators around the globe how they’re using Moodle. Based on conversations with them and input and feedback, we actually believed that it was something we needed to bring to market," Golden said.

As well as working with teachers and administrators, Microsoft also worked with institutional information technology leaders, he added.

Microsoft recognizes that education suppliers, companies, associations, and organizations make contributions to the overall education system, making Microsoft able to integrate Live@edu into Moodle, Golden said. "So we’re excited to be issuing [the plug-in] on GPL v2."

GPL v2 licensing means that teachers and institutions can download the plug-in under a widely-used open source license agreement–the same licensing terms under which Moodle operates.

The new download gives students and educators one more tool to help bolster 21st century skills, which are essential to students as they move from higher education into the workplace.

"Live@edu works across the range of devices students already use, giving them ubiquitous access to their coursework and powerful communications and collaboration tools," Golden said.


Microsoft Live Services Plug-in for Moodle


The Common Application and Docufide Partner to Make Applying to College Easier for Students and their Counselors

The Common Application and Docufide Partner to Make Applying to College Easier for Students and their Counselors

 Los Angeles, CA –The Common Application, the 35-year old not-for-profit organization that revolutionized the college admission process, and Docufide, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of high school and postsecondary e-transcript services, today announced an important partnership. Effective immediately, several thousand secondary schools under contract with Docufide may now electronically deliver their transcripts to any of the nearly 400 Common App member colleges and universities nationwide.
High schools will be able to use the simple and familiar Docufide workflow to request and upload transcripts for any of their students applying to Common Application colleges. Docufide will then deliver an electronic transcript to the Common App Online system, where it will link to the Secondary School Report form and be forwarded on together to the college.
The Common App and Docufide have a shared commitment to provide participating colleges and the nation’s high schools and their students with electronic student record delivery services that are easy to use and highly secure. We are delighted and proud that The Common App organization has chosen to partner with Docufide to allow us to add all the approximately 400 Common Application member colleges to our growing list of electronic destinations,” stated John Reese, Docufide’s CEO. 
“Working together, Docufide and the Common Application are transforming the admissions process for every party involved,” added Rob Killion, Executive Director of the Common Application. “The electronic submission of applications, transcripts, and school forms reduces paper consumption, printing costs, postage fees, and human error – saving each high school and college hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each year.”
About Docufide
Docufide, Education’s Trusted Intermediary, is the leading provider of Educational Records Management services made available directly to school districts and through numerous statewide, region-wide, and organizational initiatives. Its flagship service, Secure Transcript, saves schools money, frees up staff time, and improves student satisfaction by managing the ordering, processing, and secure delivery of student records for K-12 and postsecondary institutions nationwide. For more information please visit or call 310.309.3722.
About The Common Application
The Common Application is a not-for-profit membership organization that, since its founding over 30 years ago, has been committed to providing reliable services that promote equity, access, and integrity in the college application process. We serve students, member institutions, and secondary schools by providing applications – online and in print – that students and school officials may submit to any of our nearly 400 members. Membership is open to colleges and universities that promote access by evaluating students using a holistic selection process.
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School technology teaching receives financial boost

A new program is being introduced to improve the quality of technology teaching in the UK, according to an IT sector skills council, BCS reports. More than £5 million worth of funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families will be utilized to improve the education program available, e-skills council UK explained. The money will be used from primary through to college level and will help teachers and students to keep ahead of the latest IT developments. Karen Price, chief executive officer at e-skills UK, said: "The UK already has many excellent technology teachers as well as teachers who are inspirational in their use of ICT in lessons. "We believe that this programme will raise the overall standard to that of the very best, enhancing and enriching education for young people and their teachers."

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Lavendon Access Services backs Work Experience Project

Lavendon Access Services has seen its first work experience candidate successfully complete his placement. Paul Armstrong gained a 2 week insight into the day to day operations of the UK’s largest powered access rental business, along with practical and theoretical engineering experience.
Completing his stint at Lavendon Access Services’ Panther Luton depot, Paul, a student at Northfield Technology College found that his placement sparked an interest in powered access, and he is now looking at entering the industry as an apprentice: “I didn’t really know much about powered access, and had always aimed to work in the automotive industry. The engineering team at Panther Luton have taught me a lot over my two weeks here, and I aim to begin an apprenticeship at Lavendon Access Services once I’ve completed my studies.”
Lavendon Access Services approached The Bedfordshire and Luton Education Business Partnership, (best known as EBP), with the idea of a work experience programme. EBP believes that partnerships between education and employers have a key role in meeting current and future challenges as EBP’s Stewart Outen commented: “The strong links between businesses and education are much needed; these relationships aid vocational qualifications and professional development of staff, and the relationship we have begun with Lavendon Access Services is definitely one we look forward to continuing.”
Area Service Manager for Panther, Tim Williams added: “It is important to continue investing in young people in this economic climate, and also keep on introducing new skills. The apprenticeship scheme is a positive step and something I hope will only gain momentum across the company.”
In conjunction with EBP, the training arm of Lavendon Access Services – Lavendon Access Services Academy developed a ‘Work Experience – Challenge Workbook’ that Paul completed throughout his 2 weeks at Luton, answering questions on a variety of subjects he has covered. This gave Paul a specific focus on the important points surrounding engineering and powered access in general, such as maintenance, Health & Safety, housekeeping and care for the environment.
The Academy is responsible for all work experience, welcoming new employees to the company, and the ongoing development of over 1000 staff through a carefully designed suite of courses and projects.
For further information about our access hire service, please visit our website at