For De Anza College, Vaddio’s TrackVIEW Has All the Answers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (August 3, 2009) – Vaddio’s TrackVIEW system allows faculty to forget the technology and offers students fast access to their lessons from anywhere.

“Just teach as you normally would and don’t worry about the technology.” That’s the advice that Video Systems Engineer Edward Breault has for faculty members using the new Vaddio TrackVIEW system in the Broadcast Media Center of De Anza College in Cupertino, California. The system was installed to provide media on demand for students and faculty over their DSL and cable modems at home and by all accounts, it has been a resounding success.

“Our selection of the Vaddio TrackVIEW system was based on a combination of price and functionality,” said Breault. “TrackVIEW does not require the instructor to carry a tracking sensor so the teaching environment is more natural for faculty to teach without having to do something special or to remember to put on something special.” Another major advantage the TrackVIEW system offers is the reduced dependency on student directors to run the pan/tilt/zoom camera in their record classrooms. As the number of “recording classrooms” grows, the cost to train and fund student directors becomes a major factor.

The idea at De Anza College was to have a system for recording lectures with video, audio and graphics that didn’t require students or staff to set up or operate. The camera tracking is based on movement rather than totally on sensors. The TrackVIEW system is incorporated with multiple video and graphic instructional resources including, a document camera, DVD/VCR, video-on-demand server and the instructor computer/electronic tablet combination that enables the instructor to make live annotations, right over the computer display.

The ultimate in versatility, the Vaddio TrackVIEW automated camera tracking and preset control system uses a wide angle reference camera and tracking camera that automatically follows the instructor or zooms to a preset shot based on activation by StepVIEW mats, ceiling mounted AutoVIEW infrared motion sensors or by manual control from the ProductionVIEW FX camera control console. The pressure and infrared sensors are used in any combination of up to five mats or five IR sensors. The only equipment worn by the instructor is the wireless microphone.

The Mask
The key to setting up the system for automated camera tracking is in drawing the mask. This is done in setup software that allows small blocks of video area seen on the reference camera to be masked off. “You draw over the image from the reference camera to identify what areas of the teaching area will sense motion and what area will be ignored,” Breault explains. “Two important portions of the reference camera shot that should be blocked off from motion detection are the classroom display screen and the student’s heads in the front of the classroom.” Once the mask is drawn and a little tweaking is done, only the instructor’s movement is detected and the tracking camera faithfully follows.

Although the TrackVIEW auto tracking camera system is used to record most classroom events, the faculty does have the option to request that a student director operate a director desk located in the back of the classroom.  The director desk offers the student operator access to the instructor control panel, a Vaddio ProductionVIEW FX video controller/switcher and two additional pan/tilt/zoom cameras. The additional equipment allows the director to select from three camera shots: the auto tracking camera, a front student question camera and a second rear mounted camera.  This is the one that uses the WallVIEW Quick-Connect PRO and EZCamera Interface Module to perch in the right spots for best coverage. Breault says the dual mode capability has proven to be one of the system’s secrets of success.

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Silicon Valley Public-Private Partnership Funds Grants to Support Elevating Math Achievement

About the MIND Research Institute

The MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and education research-based, non-profit corporation. MIND applies its distinctive visual approach to illustrating concepts and building problem-solving skills as the basis for innovative, research-proven math education programs for elementary and secondary schools. For more information, visit http://www.mindresearch.net

 

 

"The math education crisis in America requires a commitment to innovation in our schools," said Ted Smith, Chairman & CEO of MIND Research Institute. "As a spin-out from UC Irvine, MIND developed K-5 and middle school research-based instructional software that engages students and is effective in helping them learn math. Over 118,000 students in 16 states are succeeding with the software. In the Orange County Math Initiative, launched in low-performing schools in 2008, there is excellent progress being made and it is being expanded to 95 schools this Fall."

MIND’s ST Math instructional software is already being implemented in 23 schools in the San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and has positively benefited sites such as Anderson Elementary in San Jose where after using the program for one year; the percent of 2nd grade students at proficiency increased by 26 points to 46% and 4th graders increased 30 points to 39%. In addition, the overall Academic Performance Index for the school as a whole increased by 36 points versus a one year target of just 8 points.

Schools participating in the math initiative receive the ST Math instructional software, intensive training and support for instructors, and professional development in leadership training for administrators.

"In this year of continued school budget cuts, this is an unusually generous offer," said Chuck Weis, Superintendent of the Santa Clara County Office of Education. "We look forward to this partnership and supporting those public schools with the greatest growth potential."

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PARAT Solutions 20-unit iPod charge/sync dock

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Peter Jauss
 
 
 
Parat Solutions announces Made for iPod and Works with iPhone designations for new PARASYNC charge/sync dock
 
 
Berwyn, PA July __, 2009 – PARAT Solutions today announced the designation of “Made for iPod” and “Works With iPhone” for their new PARASYNC 20-unit charging and synchronization dock.
 
The Made for iPod and Works with iPhone logos indicate that the product has been designed specifically to work with iPod and iPhone. PARAT Solutions certifies that the accessory has been made in accordance with the high standards of quality and performance users expect from iPod/iPhone and Apple.
 
The PARASYNC charges and synchronizes content to 20 devices from one iTunes library. It was specifically designed for users deploying large quantities of devices in schools, universities, museums, training centers and resorts. The durable, attractive and lightweight product makes iPod and iPhone device management a quick and simple process. PARASYNC accommodates current and past generations of iPod Classic, Touch, Nano and iPhone. It is available as a compact table-top dock or integrated in a lockable rolling case.
 
According to Peter Jauss, Director of Sales, “By eliminating charging cables and using iTunes as a native synchronization application, no other iPod and iPhone charge/sync product is as simple to use as the PARASYNC. We are particularly proud that our dock has the smallest footprint for 20 devices available on the market today.” The value of Apple’s Made for iPod and Works with iPhone designations is underscored by PARAT’s Director of Manufacturing Operations, Adrian Pavitt, “customers have every assurance in knowing that our product meets our own and now also Apple’s very demanding quality and performance standards.”
 
 
About PARAT Solutions
PARAT Solutions, an independent U.S. affiliate of PARAT-Werke, develops and manufactures “smart products for mobile computing” which secure, store, transport, protect, charge and synchronize multiple mobile computing devices.
 
For further information, please email press@paratsolutions.com, call 866-647-5976 or visit www.paratsolutions.com/parasync.
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Educators Set to Begin New School Year with Enhanced Curricular Resources and Integration Tools from Discovery Education

 

Silver Spring, Md. (Aug. 3, 2009) Educators returning to their classrooms for the 2009-2010 school year will be greeted with enhanced digital services from Discovery Education.  Among the new upgrades are a universal search function that allows users to find content across Discovery Education’s streaming, Science, Health, and MediaShare services.  Other critical enhancements include the addition of Flash video to Discovery Education’s media player, a more robust student experience, and the introduction of a variety of new asset types to Discovery’s rich library of digital media, including a significant increase in math resources.

 

"The new upgrades to Discovery Education’s digital services are fantastic," explained Laura Pilker of Trinity Lutheran School in Joppa, Md.  "The new features will allow me to spend less time preparing for class and more time teaching, and the additional Skill Builders, games and reading passages give me even more tools with which to engage my students."

 

The increased search capabilities will save time for the more than one million users of Discovery Education services by allowing them to search through high quality digital assets using one search engine, effectively putting the combined resources of Discovery Education streaming, Science, Health, MediaShare, and the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) at any educator’s fingertips.  In addition, the new search function offers state-of-the art filtering and recommendation functionality, providing users related content and digital assets they may find of interest.

 

Discovery Education also has upgraded the media player in all its digital services to support Flash video.  The addition of Flash video eases the management of classroom technologies by supporting one type of video file for both Mac and Microsoft platforms.

 

In addition, Discovery Education has added a number of new content types to Discovery Education streaming Plus that will further engage language arts and mathematics students.  Discovery Education’s Skill Builders now capture students’ attention and develop their problem solving skills in core subject areas through hands-on experiences.  To reinforce essential language arts and mathematics concepts, more than 100 games, including Supernova Sentence Puzzles and Leon’s Math Dojo, have been added.  Also, more than 150 Spanish-language reading passages that help ELL students comprehend core concepts in life, earth and space, and physical science have been added to Discovery Education Science.

 

Finally, Discovery Education has added a number of teacher tools that help educators easily assign digital quizzes, writing prompts, and assignments to either individual students or groups of students.  Using their own unique logins, students anywhere, at anytime can access digital class work as assigned by their teacher as well as search through thousands of multimedia resources for their own projects.

 

According to Kelli Campbell, Discovery Education Senior Vice President of Content and Product Development, "With a million active users and 100,000 DEN members, we’re in a unique position to monitor what technology and content works effectively in the classroom.  The enhancements to Discovery Education’s suite of digital services are the direct result of the outstanding feedback our user community provides each day.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with America’s educators to create services that support our joint mission to engage students and improve academic achievement."

 

For more information on Discovery Education’s suite of digital services, please visit www.discoveryeducation.com 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 

www.discoveryeducation.com.


 

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Online program connects Idaho students with NASA scientists

Bright, advanced Idaho high school juniors now can compete to get into a new online science and math course offered in partnership with NASA, reports the Spokesman-Review — in part by impressing a local state legislator. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna joined astronaut Barbara Morgan, now a distinguished educator in residence at Boise State University, to announce the new program, called the Science and Aerospace Scholars Program, on July 30. Students who are successful in the rigorous online course, which is aligned with state education standards, could earn an expenses-paid trip to a weeklong NASA academy in California next summer. Morgan contacted Luna in May about setting up a NASA scholars program. Luna agreed to kick in $100,000 from the state’s Math Initiative, and the program will start this school year, with the 10-week online class beginning in January. The model for Idaho’s program is the Texas High School Aerospace Scholars program, and Virginia also has a similar initiative…

Click here for the full story

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Educators look at using cell phones as teaching tools

Students in Joe Wood’s science class at Somerset Middle School in Modesto, Calif., didn’t have to hide their cell phones in their backpacks; instead, they used them to take quizzes, shoot photos for class projects, and create podcasts, reports the Sacramento Bee. Wood has since been hired as an instructional technologist for the San Juan Unified School District. He is among a growing group of educators who consider cell phones an important tool in the classroom. Proponents of cell phones in the classroom say they are battling years of negativity. Historically, educators have thought phones should be banned or confiscated. Most schools have policies forbidding their use on school property. But many districts are amending policies to allow cell phones on campus, if only for instructional use. Cell phones today really are mini-computers, Wood said. They have the same amount of power that a computer had 10 years ago. Education periodicals, web sites, and blogs are filled with discussion about the use of cell phones in the classroom. The National Education Computer Conference, held in Washington, D.C., in June, included 13 sections of a workshop on the topic, Wood said. The previous year’s conference held only one such class. "The big buzz of the conference was, ‘How do you leverage cell phones for learning?’" Wood said. "Ultimately, in education, we want to know, ‘How do I get my students to learn?’"

Click here for the full story

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Wisconsin schools await settlements from Microsoft lawsuit

Three local school districts will receive a combined $1 million starting this year as a result of a legal settlement with Microsoft, and educators plan to use that money to put more technology in the hands of students, reports the Wausau Daily Herald of Wausau, Wis. The schools will be reimbursed for approved hardware and software purchases made through the Microsoft-Wisconsin Cy Pres Program. The program aims to provide technology to schools that have 33.3 percent or more low-income students, based on free and reduced-price lunch data from 2005. More than 850 schools statewide are slated to receive a combined $75 to $80 million, according to the State Department of Public Instruction. Wisconsin plaintiffs from a class-action lawsuit reached a settlement with Microsoft in 2006. The plaintiffs claimed that Microsoft violated state antitrust and unfair competition laws by overcharging customers for its products, according to a legal notice. The company denied the claims. District officials have not finalized their plans for the money, but they are eager to give students the tools they need to remain competitive in the 21st century workforce…

Click here for the full story

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InfoSource Learning’s SimpleAssessment is Free Again

OVIEDO, FL – August 3, 2009 – InfoSource Learning is excited to announce that SimpleAssessment for Student Technology Proficiency is free once again for the 2009/2010 school year.

Due to overwhelming demand and support from K-12 districts across the country, the company will continue to offer the ISTE NETS-S based assessment at no cost. With shrinking budgets and increasing demand for schools to report student technology literacy levels, SimpleAssessment is the number once choice by more than 1,200 school districts nationwide.

During SimpleAssessment’s first year in classrooms, more than one million students used the assessment to measure and improve their technology proficiency. According to InfoSource Learning’s CEO, Michael Werner, “We’re back for this school year and more excited than ever. After one full year of use in classrooms, we saw first hand how our free offer helped a million students – and we want to help a million more.”

SimpleAssessment will continue to be offered in two versions (NETS-S 2007 and NETS-S 1998) with options for both PC and Mac schools. The assessment is administered through InfoSource Learning’s Learning Management System (LMS), also included free, making it quick and easy to access results and reporting. The immediate reporting helps schools identify student technology proficiency levels, set curriculum goals, support grant proposals, and meet national, state, or district requirements.

To learn more or to receive the assessment free of charge, contact InfoSource Learning at 1-800-393-4636 or sign up on the website at http://www.SimpleAssessment.com

About InfoSource Learning: For over 25 years, InfoSource Learning has been a leader of custom personalized learning solutions for the education, corporate, and government segments. With engaging, web-based training, and educational technology curriculums the company’s “How to Master” content-rich portfolio of training products is comprised of elements including; PC and Mac applications, professional development skills, soft skills, compliance, and technology integration. In addition to its focus on providing tools for calculating return on investment (ROI), InfoSource Learning also develops and maintains a unique Content Authoring Tool (CAT) and Learning Management System (LMS). To learn more about custom personalized training solutions from InfoSource Learning, call 800-393-3436 or visit http://www.infosourcelearning.com.

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eBOARDsolutions introduces FREE Cost Savings Calculator to track potential Meetings and Policies Efficiencies

On behalf of Laura Reilly:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura D. Reilly, APR
Director of Communications, eBOARDsolutions
lreilly@eboardsolutions.com
770-364-4236 – mobile

eBOARDsolutions introduces FREE Cost Savings Calculator to track potential Meetings and Policies Efficiencies
Free online tool allows districts to compare traditional methods of developing and managing meeting agendas and policies to online methods.

August 3rd, 2009 Atlanta- eBOARDsolutions, developer of eBOARD, announces a free online tool that allows districts to compare the costs associated with manually-produced materials such as Policy Manuals and Board, School Council and Staff Meeting Agendas to a web-based system such as eBOARD.

Many districts across the country are still producing meeting agendas and policies via traditional paper-based methods or simply publishing downloadable pdf files.  Districts who are considering investing in web-based systems for managing meetings and policies can simply input variables such as printing costs and labor costs into the Cost Savings Calculator and can then easily analyze the financial savings and other advantages of managing these administrative functions via a web-based system. Once the information is entered, the tool will automate the calculations and users can print a pdf report of the results to share locally.

Mark Willis, COO of eBOARDsolutions, states: “Today’s economy and the subsequent budget shortfalls are key topics among school administrators and board members.  With declining funds, districts must identify cheaper and more efficient ways to do business.  Our new Cost Savings Calculator will give districts a concrete analysis of the potential cost savings that can be realized by leveraging low-cost technology tools like eBOARD.”

For those who are already subscribers to eBOARD, they can access and save the results from within their own eBOARD site by going to the support options link and clicking on the Cost Savings Calculator Tool.

The Cost Savings Calculator is also available for non-subscribers at www.eboardsolutions.com

(Go directly to this online press release and link here: http://tinyurl.com/mvfxav)

About eBOARD:

eBOARD helps organizations by:

  • Providing a single source for access to pertinent data for effective decision-making
  • Stakeholders can easily find information through advanced search capabilities
  • Saving time and money by streamlining workflow and eliminating paper dependency
  • Enhancing communications with all stakeholders

eBOARD Modules now include:

  • Strategic Plan – Monitor, track, manage and report on the organization’s strategic plan to all stakeholders
  • Meetings – Streamline agenda preparation and enhance the effectiveness of all meetings (not just board meetings)
  • Policy – Publish policies, regulations and exhibits for easy access by all stakeholders
  • Communications – Improve communications with all stakeholders
  • Documents – Build an online library for easy access to important documents

About eBOARDsolutions:
eBOARDsolutions (EBS) is backed with more than 55 years of experience in board governance and association management. EBS was created as a subsidiary of the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) when demand for its governance and membership management products began to expand into other markets and states. Initially developed by and for the GSBA, the products are now being used by over 200 local boards of education, state boards of education, state agencies and other associations.

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Coach sued for requesting Facebook logins

In a case that could set a precedent for whether school officials can legally peek into students’ private social-networking accounts without justifiable cause, a high school cheerleader is suing her school and former coach for what she claims is a violation of her rights to privacy and free speech.

Two years ago, Mandi Jackson, a cheerleader at Pearl High School in Pearl, Miss., and the other members of the cheering squad were asked by cheerleading coach Tommie Hill to give her their Facebook login passwords. According to reports, Hill wanted the passwords to check and make sure none of the squad members were drinking or participating in any illegal behavior.

While the other members of the squad quickly used their cell phones to access the web and change or delete their profiles, Jackson did not.

“I didn’t know if I would get in trouble or not … because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what was on my Facebook [profile],” Jackson said during an interview with local WAPT News.

Later that night, Hill reportedly looked through Jackson’s profile and found a conversation between Jackson and another squad member that used profanity. The conversation was part of Jackson’s personal Facebook eMail correspondence, which is not available on any publicly displayed Facebook page.

After this discovery, not only was Jackson prohibited from cheering at games, which she had already paid participation fees to do, but Hill also sent Jackson’s private Facebook information to school administrators and other cheerleading coaches, according to the lawsuit.

Now, Jackson claims she is being ostracized at school. Because all her friends were part of the squad, “none of them talk to me,” she told WAPT News. “One of them [whom] I used to be friends with in middle school all the way up to freshman year, she talks to me a little–but seriously, none of them talk to me.”

She said she’s dreading her return to school as a junior and fears her fellow students, as well as her teachers, will shun her.

According to the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), several months after the incident, Jackson was nominated for a “spirit stick” award for the previous year, but the coaches said she did not deserve the honor. Jackson also did not take certain academic courses because the cheerleading coaches taught them.

“Even now she’s afraid to speak her mind on anything,” said Jackson’s attorney, Rita Nahlik Silin. “Because of this situation, she’s afraid of being punished for anything she does inside or outside the school.”

Jackson and her mother, Missy Jackson, are seeking $100 million from Hill and the high school for what the suit claims are violations of Jackson’s right to privacy and freedom of speech.

School officials filed a motion saying Jackson and all cheerleaders were told their coaches would monitor social-networking web sites. The motion asks the judge to dismiss the case.

Several previous cases have tested the limits of students’ rights to free speech on social networks and on publicly available web pages off campus, and the courts generally have set the bar high for administrators to prove such postings disrupted the learning environment in their schools. But Jackson’s case might be the first to examine whether school leaders have a right to request and view private online conversations conducted outside of school.

“I would have been completely fine with the school officials looking at my public [profile on] Facebook, but I think they went too far with getting my password and looking at my personal messages between me and my peers,” Jackson told the SPLC. “They were conversations between me and my friends, so I shouldn’t have gotten in trouble for them.”

According to some legal experts, Jackson might have a strong case

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