Gefen Extender for HDMI v1.3 Over One CAT-6a Cable Makes Extending HDTVs and Projectors at 1080p/60 Easy and Economical

Connectivity solutions provider Gefen today announced the availability of its improved version of the Extender for HDMI v1.3 over One CAT-6a cable.

This sender/receiver system delivers high definition video at 1080p full HD with up to 12 bit deep color support up to 175 feet (53m) in length using just one shielded CAT-6a cable. Resolutions at 1080i/60 can be extended even further up to 250 feet (76m). All HDMI v1.3 features are supported including lip sync audio, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio.

With this extender, installers can cut cable costs by half as previous solutions required the use of two CAT-5 cables to reach the same distance. WDisplays mounted on walls or projectors installed on the ceiling can receive their HDMI signal from a source located in a rack mounted area or closet. At the 175 foot extension length, the system can accommodate most large conference rooms, retail or entertainment spaces.

"This extender was designed to offer professionals a reliable alternative to the use of two CAT-5 cables," said Hagai Gefen, president and CEO, Gefen Inc. "If a building is already wired with one CAT-5 cable, installers can tap into the existing infrastructure at a shorter distance and avoid new cable runs. But with one CAT-6 cable, this system will streamline the installation even further and extend the range of extension."

The Gefen Extender for HDMI v1.3 over One CAT-6 works with all high definition devices available today, including set-top boxes and gaming systems, as well as flat panel displays and projectors using the HDMI format. Support for HDCP compliance ensures it will work with protected content on Blu-rays and other DVD devices.

Its small form factor (each box measures just one-inch high by three-inches wide) further improves the installation process by eliminating bulky equipment in the viewing area. It comes with two external power supplies and a set of wall mounting brackets.


Discovery Education Launches ‘Parent Corner’ to Provide Free Online Tools to Support Student Academic Achievement at Home


Silver Spring, Md. (Aug. 20, 2009) – Empowering parents to support their student’s academic achievement, Discovery Education introduces Parent Corner, a free Web site filled with interactive digital content that engages learners of all ages.  Situated at the intersection of home and school, Parent Corner is a trusted resource families can depend on to support teachers’ classroom lessons and aid with homework.


Among Parent Corner’s free resources is Motivation Station, which Discovery Education developed in partnership with Hallmark Cards.  Providing creative and useful ideas for motivating students to academic excellence, Motivation Station offers tips and suggestions about fitting in at school, managing homework, dealing with sibling rivalry, and more.


A national survey sponsored by Hallmark Cards showed more than three-fourths of parents are looking for new ways to boost their children’s confidence during the back-to-school season. Hallmark Cards supports parents through both the Motivation Station and a line of products that help encourage student academic achievement in a genuine, authentic way.


In addition, frequent online polls ask caregivers questions about their child’s school environment to help determine the best support tools for students as provided by a variety of experts.  Motivation Station also features a special tool where parents and others can design encouraging notes and cards to inspire their student’s academic growth.


Parent Corner’s robust Homework Help resources – including thousands of online videos, simulations, texts, and links – are useful study aids that engage students of all ages in learning.  With digital content for all grades and across all disciplines, Homework Help supports academic achievement in the subjects students are currently studying in the classroom, including science, English, social studies, and mathematics.


WebMATH, another resource featured on Parent Corner, is the perfect solution for students and parents struggling with math homework.  A digital tool that generates answers to specific math questions and problems, WebMATH answers are generated and displayed in real-time, demonstrating how the solution was reached, after a user types in their math problem and clicks “solve.”


"The most successful students I’ve ever met were the products of a solid partnership between their teachers and caregivers," said Dale Fulton, Senior Vice President of Curriculum Development, Discovery Education, and a former associate superintendent in the Montgomery County, Md., public school system.  "Parent Corner provides parents and others a powerful suite of free digital resources that can help bridge the gap between home and school, and ensures that parents and other caregivers have the digital tools they need to help students continue to learn once they leave the classroom."


Parent Corner also highlights hundreds of activities to keep students motivated and on track during school breaks.  To access Parent Corner, visit


For more information products and services from Discovery Education, please visit or call 800-323-9084.


About Discovery Education

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education.  Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement.  Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services.  Explore the future of education at


About Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Kansas City-based Hallmark has been helping people communicate, celebrate and connect for nearly 100 years.  Hallmark greeting cards and other products can be found in more than 41,500 places in the U.S. alone, with the network of Hallmark Gold Crown stores providing the very best selection.  The Hallmark brand also reaches consumers online at and on television through Hallmark Hall of Fame original movies and the top-rated Hallmark Channel.  In addition, Hallmark publishes products in more than 30 languages and distributes them in 100 countries across the globe.  The company’s Crayola subsidiary provides fun and imaginative ways for children to colorfully express themselves.  In 2008, privately held Hallmark reported consolidated net revenues of $4.3 billion.  For more information about the company, visit


# # #



TeacherWeb Announces the Launch of Digital Lockers

Dallas, Texas.  August 20, 2009 – TeacherWeb, a leading provider of classroom, school, and district websites for educators, announces the launch of Digital Lockers, an online storage solution for students and school staff to digitally store projects, homework, and class documents online for easy access at school or home.


“This is an amazing addition to our family of programs,” stated Jeremy Verret, the General Manager of TeacherWeb.  “We are so proud to introduce such a dynamic tool that will change the way teachers and students interact.  In addition, utilizing Digital Lockers decreases the amount of classroom handouts resulting in a reduced impact on our environment.”


With Digital Lockers, all data is stored on TeacherWeb servers, which are pre-scanned for viruses. This safe and secure solution eliminates the need for floppy disks, compact discs, or flash drives. Students can work seamlessly on the same projects at school and at home. All file updates are logged with the time and date and the Digital Drop Box allows students to submit assignments for final review by his or her teacher.


Additionally, schools can choose how much storage is allowed per student and per class as well as set limits on file size and transfer speeds.


For more information about TeacherWeb Digital Lockers, or to schedule a web demo, visit or call 866.768.1527.



About TeacherWeb®


TeacherWeb, founded in 1997, is an innovative company providing a patented, software as a service model of websites for teachers, schools, and districts. TeacherWeb provides easy-to-use and very affordable templates and tools that allow educators to create customized classroom and school websites to improve communication with students and parents.  Educators can quickly create and continuously update personalized TeacherWeb sites with the click of a mouse. 


TeacherWeb is currently used by over 100,000 educators in over 20,000 schools in the U.S. and also has customers in over 90 countries world-wide. TeacherWeb is owned by Archipelago Learning, LLC, Visit to learn more.



Schools using social media to educate students about swine flu

The Santa Clara, Calif., county health department is putting together an educational campaign for area high schools that uses social media to teach students how to guard against swine flu, reports the San Jose Mercury News. According to county health officer Marty Fenstersheib, 17 is the median age of swine flu victims. So the health department soon will be sending a "toolkit" to area high schools outlining a campaign that will use social media, such as a YouTube video contest, to develop flu prevention messages. The toolbox also will include materials and information to help students run their own peer-to-peer education campaign. According to Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District assistant superintendent Bob Mistele, "We’ve communicated to teachers the same commonsense precautions they would take for the regular flu. When a student contracts the flu, the student goes home." Mistele said if the county health department determines there is indeed a swine flu threat, the district is prepared: "We’ve really tried to prepare should this escalate. We’ll utilize eMail to all the parents and our school messenger [phone] system. We won’t be sending any notes home with students–that’s not effective. For high school students, Facebook and Twitter are the most effective forms of communication."

Click here for the full story


UAB wins $1M grant to help Birmingham teachers with laptops

The University of Alabama at Birmingham has won a two-year, $1 million grant to help Birmingham City School teachers incorporate XO laptop computers from the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child foundation into the math and science curriculum, reports the Birmingham Business Journal. The National Science Foundation awarded UAB the grant to extend XO laptop use beyond word processing and internet searches and to help increase the number of minority students entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career pipeline, according to a news release. In 2008, the city of Birmingham and Birmingham City Schools jointly gave each child in grades one through five an XO laptop computer. (See "Low-cost laptop experiment under way.") The computers feature child-friendly computer programming activities and open-source software. UAB researchers will work with fourth- and fifth-grade teachers to develop curricula for use with the XO laptops and to evaluate their effect on student learning…

Click here for the full story


Adidas Rugby Boots Available to Order online

The 2009/2010 season Adidas rugby boots are now available to order online from specialist rugby equipment retailers.

The Adidas Nine 15 IV SG, low, soft toe rugby boot is a high end model offering excellent quality at a more affordable price for most club players.

They boast full grain leather uppers for optimum comfort, performance and durability.

The rugby boots also feature a lightweight, split TPU outsole which has a six stud configuration.

Adidas has designed the entire rugby boot range this season to have a uniform appearance and the traditionally black boots are finished off with an eye-catching royal blue inside, trim and tongue and the Adidas three stripes stand out in silver with a royal trim.

Sizes range from a UK size 7 up to 14 and include some half sizes.

Some online rugby equipment retailers offer discounts on the full range of Adidas rugby boots.


Teacher quality under the microscope

It’s no secret that one of the keys to creating better schools is to raise the quality of teaching in the nation’s classrooms. But how to identify, and encourage, high-quality teaching is proving to be a challenge.

Several efforts to address this question are under way. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has just launched a five-year, $500 million initiative to quantify what, exactly, makes a teacher effective and how to tie that to student achievement (see story). And the Obama administration has cited improving teacher quality as one of four education-reform areas it plans to target in particular. (See “Duncan outlines school reform agenda.”)

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said he supports merit pay for teachers–a practice linking raises or bonuses to student achievement. He also said test scores alone should not decide a teacher’s salary, “…but to somehow suggest we should not link student achievement to teacher effectiveness is like suggesting we judge sports teams without looking at the box score.”

Duncan also is using federal stimulus dollars to press the issue.

Later this year, states will compete for a piece of $5 billion in “Race to the Top” stimulus funding, which rewards those states and school systems that adopt innovations the Obama administration supports. Whether officials tie student data to teacher evaluations will be a consideration in awarding the grants, said Duncan.

Although relatively rare, the use of pay-for-performance programs appears to be growing, albeit slowly. According to analyses of data from the “Schools and Staffing Survey” administered by the U.S. Department of Education, 13.6 percent of districts rewarded excellence in teaching in 1999-2000, and 14 percent rewarded excellence in teaching in 2003-04.

In 2003-04, 19.6 percent of districts said they rewarded some schools for excellence in teaching through a school-wide bonus or additional resources for a school-wide activity, and 15.4 percent of districts said they provide a cash bonus or additional resources to individual teachers to encourage effective teaching.

The key challenge in implementing pay-for-performance systems, experts agree, is how to define teacher excellence. The most obvious way would be to look at student achievement, as Duncan wants to do. But that’s controversial, as many people believe test scores alone paint an unfair or incomplete picture of a teacher’s contribution.

A recent survey, “Exploring the Possibility and Potential for Pay for Performance in America’s Public Schools,” conducted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), revealed the motivations and concerns that influence superintendents’ consideration of pay-for-performance systems.

Out of 536 school administrators from 45 states, 45 percent expressed moderate to strong interest in pay-for-performance programs, and five percent of all respondents were already pursuing pay-for-performance programs for teachers in their districts.

The top three indicators school leaders would use in determining performance-based pay were student achievement (89 percent), teacher evaluations (68 percent), and teacher attendance (54 percent).

But defining student achievement should mean more than calculating test scores, many observers say.

“I don’t believe merit pay based solely on test scores is appropriate,” said Marc Liebman, superintendent of the Berryessa Union School District in San Jose, Calif. “The research I did [for] my doctorate … indicated that using test scores as a hammer doesn’t work. I don’t think giving teachers more pay to get higher test scores will get the desired result, except in cases where teachers teach to the test, not to the students–which totally misses the point of high-quality instruction.”

Education Sector, an education think tank, and public opinion research company FDR Group surveyed a national sample of teachers on their attitudes toward a variety of teacher policies, including compensation reforms. They found that fewer than half (42 percent) favored incentives for “teachers whose students routinely score higher than similar students on standardized tests.”

In analyzing these results, as well as other survey data, the nonprofit Center for American Progress (CAP) determined that teachers are more likely to support programs that rely on a variety of measures of teacher performance, rather than those that rely on only one measure (such as test scores).

Also against merit pay based solely on student achievement scores is the Economic Policy Institute, which recently released a report titled “Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability: What Education Should Learn from Other Sectors.”

The study, conducted by economics professors Scott J. Adams and John S. Heywood at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, claims there are “significant downsides of reward-punishment systems based on quantitative outcomes, whether in the public or private sector.”

“Contrary to the claims of advocates of teacher merit pay, relatively few private-sector workers have pay that varies in a direct formulaic way with their productivity–and the share of such workers is probably declining,” Haywood states.

He adds, “Formulaic reward structures often reward only a few dimensions of productivity and run the risk of causing workers to abandon effort in the dimensions not rewarded.”


Gates Foundation seeks keys to effective teaching

Ever since Americans sent their children to one-room schoolhouses, parents have known what makes a good school: inspiring, organized, and creative teachers. But researchers haven’t been able to quantify what, exactly, makes a teacher effective and how to tie that to student achievement.

Now, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–one of the most influential voices in education policy today–hopes to end that confusion. Nine years and $2 billion into its work to improve America’s public schools, the Seattle-based foundation is turning its focus to teacher effectiveness.

“We’ve been sort of looking around for the silver bullet for education reform, and actually the answer has been right under our feet the whole time,” said John Deasy, deputy director of the foundation’s education work.

Over the next five years, the foundation plans to spend another half a billion dollars in its quest to figure out what qualities make the best teachers and how to measure those qualities in the classroom.

The project has two parts: research to develop and test methods to rate teachers, and experiments at a handful of school districts around the nation to try out new ways of recruiting, training, assigning, and assessing teachers.

Among those asked to submit proposals for a share of the money were school districts in Atlanta; Denver; Hillsborough County, Fla.; Memphis, Tenn.; Omaha, Neb.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Pittsburgh; Prince George’s County, Md.; Tulsa, Okla., and a group of Los Angeles charter schools.

This week, the foundation chose five finalists: Hillsborough County, Memphis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and the Los Angeles charters. Final decisions will be made this fall.


Card catalog? Most freshmen have never used one

Most teens starting college this fall have never used a card catalog, and they’ve always been able to read books on an electronic screen. Text has always been hyperlinked, and they’ve never had to wait for the evening news to find out that evening’s news.

These are some of the 75 cultural landmarks on the Beloit College Mindset List. The 12th annual compilation, which offers a glimpse of the world through the eyes of each incoming college class, was released Aug. 18 by the private school of 1,350 in southern Wisconsin.

The purpose of the list is to remind professors that references familiar to them might not be well known to their students–and to help see the world through their students’ eyes.

For example, people age 30 and older knew Magic Johnson as a Los Angeles Lakers star before he went public with news that he was HIV-positive in 1991–the year most incoming freshmen were born.

"I knew Magic was HIV-positive before I even knew he was a basketball player for the Lakers," said Anthony Cornell, 18, an incoming Beloit freshman from Dallas. "In fact, I heard that even before I knew what AIDS was."

It’s among the reminders that different generations can hear the same reference and think two completely different things, said Tom McBride, an English professor at Beloit who helps compile the collection.

"This is not scientific research we’re doing here, and some of the most important research you get here is the blank stare," said Ron Nief, emeritus public affairs director and one of the creators of the list. "My favorite one [is] when you say ‘Here’s Johnny,’ and they didn’t know who Johnny Carson was."

Many incoming freshmen also aren’t familiar with the term RSVP, in part because of the generation’s adoption of informality, Nief said: "When you say, ‘make sure there’s an RSVP on that,’ there’s that blank stare."

The Class of 2013 also has never known a world without the internet, flat-screen TVs, or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, according to the list.

The European Union has always been around, Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister, the United Nations has had two Koreas, and the KGB never officially existed.

Mike Collis, starting his freshman year at Beloit this fall, was struck by No. 53: "Someone has always been asking: ‘Was Iraq worth a war?’" He was born the same year Desert Storm began.

"It makes us realize how long we’ve been in Iraq," said Collis, 18, from Chicago. "We never think about Bush [No.] 1, but Desert Storm was well into our preschool years."

Among other examples to make earlier generations feel old: actor Michael Landon, author Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Queen singer Freddie Mercury, and "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry all died before most members of the Class of ’13 were born.

McBride said some people criticize the Mindset list because it makes them feel ancient. They shouldn’t be concerned.

"It’s not that they’re getting old, it’s that the culture changes very fast," said McBride, who is 64. "People feel out of it before they need to."


Beloit College Mindset list