New Child-Friendly Mic from FrontRow Helps Build Student Engagement and Confidence

Contact: 

Nadia Santoli
Public Relations Coordinator
FrontRow
P: 800-340-9894 x5333
 
 
New child-friendly mic from FrontRow™
helps build student engagement and confidence
21st century “talking-stick” encourages turn-taking and transforms the classroom into an interactive environment
 PETALUMA, Calif. – September 1, 2009 – Classroom sound system maker, FrontRow™, has released a new pass-around microphone that’s designed to be easier for young students to use. With special attention to fitting childrens’ small hands, this unique tool provides an increased level of comfort for all students in K-12 classrooms, while providing excellent sound quality.
 
“This mic is designed to really encourage student participation in an affordable way,” says John Merline, Marketing Director, FrontRow. “We are excited to share this new 21st century ‘talking-stick’ with schools across North America, as it instills values of turn-taking and encourages respectful behavior during class.  Our engineering team is always thinking of ways to enhance the overall interactivity of the classroom environment, and this product is perfect for doing so.”
 
Teachers also cite improved presentation skills and comprehension as reasons for using student microphones in greater numbers.  The student pass-around mic not only ensures that students’ answers can be heard by the whole class, but has secondary advantages as well. “Shy students who dread reading aloud almost always bloom when given a mic,” says Merline. “It empowers these young learners to speak up, be heard, and most importantly, feel confident while speaking in public.”
 
FrontRow’s California engineering team conceived the new microphone as an improvement on the well-accepted concept of amplifying student voices: it’s small enough to fit children’s hands, simple to use, and lightweight enough to rest around the neck for hands-free use. 
 
The new student mic is compatible with FrontRow infrared sound systems, including VocaLight™, FrontRow Pro™, and the latest FrontRow Pro Digital™.
 
FrontRow is planning events across North America, following the release of this product, to show the exciting uses of this microphone, including an opportunity for teachers to win this 21st century “talking-stick” for their classroom.
 
 
About FrontRow
 
FrontRow is a division of Phonic Ear — whose wireless technology has helped build more engaging learning environments since the mid-1960s. The FrontRow division has focused on using classroom amplification (soundfield) technology to improve students’ listening success — resulting in better behavior, comprehension, test scores, and teacher vocal health.
 
FrontRow is part of the William Demant Group, founded in 1904 as a hearing aid company. Listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange (CSE3247), William Demant comprises a group of international companies that develop, manufacture, and sell innovative and highly advanced technological solutions in the hearing healthcare and educational field. Through 45 Group companies located in over 20 countries, consolidated group sales exceed US$1 billion.
 
For more information, please visit http://www.gofrontrow.com or http://www.premierrang.ca.
 
©2009 Phonic Ear Inc., Phonic Ear, FrontRow, and the names of FrontRow products are trademarks or registered trademarks of Phonic Ear Inc. in the US and other countries.
 
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ACLU sues over cell-phone search

The ACLU is suing a school district that expelled a student for photos found on his cell phone.

The ACLU is suing a school district that expelled a student for photos found on his cell phone.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit on behalf of a middle-school boy who was expelled from school after what the group calls an illegal search and seizure of his cell phone. The case could help decide whether school officials have the right to examine a student’s cell phone or other personal technology device without probable cause.

Richard Wade, who was a 12-year-old student at Southaven Middle School in the DeSoto County School District in Mississippi, had his phone confiscated last August by several of his football coaches, his class principal, and a Southaven Police Department sergeant after he read a text message during football class, which was a violation of school rules.

According to the ACLU, after receiving a text message from his father in South Carolina, Wade flipped open his phone to read the message. Rather than confiscate the phone and turn it in to the school office as required by Southaven Middle School policy, several school officials reportedly searched through the phone and found cell-phone photographs of what they described as “gang-related activity.”

The phone was then turned over to police, and Wade was suspended for three days. At a disciplinary hearing the next week, it was argued that Wade posed a threat to school safety, and police argued that they recognized gang signs in the photos stored in Wade’s phone. He was then expelled from the school.

Court records filed by Wade, his mother, and the ACLU state that the photos in Wade’s phone were of him dancing in the bathroom of his home and of a classmate holding a BB gun across his chest.

“This is a case where an honor student was expelled from school because a police officer and school officials decided without any basis that innocent pictures of a kid dancing conveyed ‘gang-related’ messages,” said Reginald T. Shuford, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. “School officials and the police officer involved never pointed to anything that would suggest that pictures of Richard dancing were linked to a gang in any way. From the day he had his phone confiscated until the day the county school board expelled him, school and police officials showed a callous disregard for Richard’s rights.”

DeSoto County spokeswoman Katherine Nelson said the district could not comment on the litigation. After Wade was expelled from school, Nelson provided a statement to media outlets that outlined the board policy against student use of cell phones during school hours, which are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to reports in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Southaven, located in the northwest corner of Mississippi, is part of the Memphis metropolitan area.

“Students know that if they break the rules, their cell phone will be confiscated and that school officials reserve the right to look through the cell phone to see if they were cheating on a test or conducting illegal activities related to gangs or drugs,” the statement said. According to court documents filed by the ACLU, students and parents were not aware of this policy.

Wade and the ACLU argue that the school district not only violated the student’s privacy and right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, but also did not follow school policy concerning a violation of the rule against possession of electronic devices during school. They are suing under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

“The rights of students to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and to due process are not suspended when they walk through the schoolhouse door,” said Kristy Bennett, staff attorney with the ACLU of Mississippi.

Links:

Lawsuit against DeSoto County School District

DeSoto County School District

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Schools get help in using Web 2.0 tools

Web 2.0 tools also can enhance schoolwide communication and decision making.

Web 2.0 tools also can enhance schoolwide communication and decision making.

Web 2.0 tools hold great promise for education, but they also pose a number of challenges for educators. To help teachers and administrators navigate these challenges, while also becoming “disruptive leaders” in their schools, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released two new whitepapers as part of its recent focus on Web 2.0 and education.

One report, titled “Social Networking: Personalized Content, Conversations & Communities,” is the latest publication in CoSN’s EdTechNext series on emerging technologies for education. The other, “How 2 B a Disruptive Technology Leader,” recaps CoSN’s Leadership Forum on this topic at the 2009 National Educational Computing Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Both reports are available only to CoSN members.

During CoSN’s Leadership Forum, Bailey Mitchell, chief technology and information officer for Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools, said being a disruptive leader means creating problems that need solutions–not just solving problems that already exist.

“Why would a leader create problems?” asked Mitchell. “Intentional problems can be the catalyst for change. Problems can evoke the necessary motivation to make a quantum leap in innovation. The goal of meetings like this is to break apart the common responses to Web 2.0 tools and interrupt the normal course of action.”

Such an interruption can help unleash the power of Web 2.0 tools to enhance instruction, forum participants said. For instance, Web 2.0 tools can help keep kids engaged in school; extend the learning day beyond school; meet the needs of different kinds of learners; prepare students to be thoughtful, ethical, and informed participants online; and connect students with their peers in other locations, thereby increasing their global awareness.

Web 2.0 tools also can enhance schoolwide communication and decision making, said Gordon Dahlby, director of curriculum and technology for the West Des Moines Community School District in Iowa.

One-way communication, in which eMail blasts, newsletters, web posts, or meeting minutes are used to spread the word, “is so last century,” Dahlby said. Instead, he recommended using Web 2.0 tools to facilitate problem solving and increase collaboration and transparency. “The committee,” according to Dahlby, “is dead.” Why choose a group of people to meet and make decisions, he explained, when you can post the question online and let people respond using Web 2.0 tools?

To help educators better understand the different tools available, the EdTechNext report breaks down the different types of Web 2.0 tools into more specific categories, such as:

– Tools dedicated to social networking, which are explicitly designed to “enable people to put their identity forward, express themselves, and connect with others,” and include networks like Ning, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

– Social bookmarking, research, and collaborative tools, which “combine research and community, transforming traditionally solitary activities into opportunities for social engagement, learning, and productivity,” and include sites like Delicious and Diigo–popular social bookmarking sites that allow people to share comments, notes, links, and highlighted or annotated web content.

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Tech helps students adopt good study habits

Purdue students keep an eye out for red lights in their course management system.

Purdue students keep an eye out for red lights in their course management system.

Purdue University is using educational technology–and online “signals”–to warn some students that their grades are dropping, offer study-habit suggestions, and provide positive reinforcement to students who are acing quizzes and exams.

When students log into their Blackboard course management accounts this fall, they’ll see frequently updated feedback indicators similar to traffic lights indicating their standing in each class. Each Purdue faculty member using the online system, called Signals–developed at the university and piloted for three semesters before its 2009 launch–will assign red, yellow, or green lights to their students.

Red is reserved for students with low or faltering grades, and warnings include critiques and suggestions from faculty on how a student can improve his or her grades. Yellow lights are for students in the middle of the academic pack, and green lights are encouragement for those at the top of the class.

Read the full story on eCampus News

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Tech helps students adopt good study habits

Purdue University is using educational technology–and online "signals"–to warn some students that their grades are dropping, offer study-habit suggestions, and provide positive reinforcement to students who are acing quizzes and exams.

When students log into their Blackboard course management accounts this fall, they’ll see frequently updated feedback indicators similar to traffic lights indicating their standing in each class. Each Purdue faculty member using the online system, called Signals–developed at the university and piloted for three semesters before its 2009 launch–will assign red, yellow, or green lights to their students.

Red is reserved for students with low or faltering grades, and warnings include critiques and suggestions from faculty on how a student can improve his or her grades. Yellow lights are for students in the middle of the academic pack, and green lights are encouragement for those at the top of the class.

About 11,000 undergraduates will use the Signals system this fall. The stoplight signals and corresponding tips from professors can also be delivered via eMail, voice mail, or text message. The system helps students and faculty monitor a student’s study behavior by reporting on how often a student reviews online resource material, participates in class-related chats, and communicates with professors and teaching assistants, it was reported.

The Signals system doesn’t wait until midterms to alert students about dangerously low grades, like similar academic warning programs, said Nancy Wilson Head, executive director for information technology in Purdue’s Teaching and Learning Technologies Unit. Students will get their first stoplight updates in the first few weeks of the semester, Wilson Head said, meaning they have a better chance to recover academically before crucial mid-semester tests.

Purdue officials said faculty members who have used Signals often receive thank-you eMails from students grateful for an early heads-up after an early stretch of mediocre or failing grades.

"They don’t feel invisible, even in a very large classroom," Wilson Head said. "They feel like the faculty member really wants to motivate them to improve."

Signals doesn’t just account for grades on homework assignments and exams, campus IT officials said. The program is a data-mining system that examines more than 20 factors that influence student grades, including whether each student is consistently reading online assignments, completing web-based practice tests, and putting in extra time for tutoring sessions and online class discussions with faculty members.

The popularity of Signals has caught higher education’s attention. Wilson Head said other campuses have contacted Purdue’s IT department about using the system, and the technology could be shared with other colleges and universities soon.

Telling students where their grades stand in the first two weeks of a semester has a lasting impact, which could mold conscientious students before they develop poor study habits that could plague them through their undergraduate years.

Kimberly Arnold, Purdue’s educational assessment and evaluation specialist for IT, said using Signals to urge students to attend after-class tutorial sessions with professors and teaching assistants established academic behavior that lasted. Students involved in the Signals pilot program sought "outside assistance at a rate higher than their peers," Arnold said.

Isaiah Johnson, a Purdue sophomore, credited warnings from Signals for helping him bump his grade from a D to a B. The advice included in each Signals update, he said, proved valuable in steadily improving his grade.

"I didn’t know I was doing that [badly] in that class, but I read the messages, and they told me what to do," Johnson said.

Ashley Lambrosa, a Purdue junior majoring in biochemistry, said the Signals updates helped her cope with the fast pace of college life as a freshman, when many students are adjusting to post-high school academics and new surroundings.

"College is not like high school," Lambrosa said. "It moves fast, and if you’re not careful, your grades can slip. Once I started getting the Signals messages, my grades improved. Without that, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the help sessions."

Link:

Purdue University’s Signals

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Ballard & Tighe Encourages Online Discussion About English Language Instruction

LOS ANGELES, Calif. September 1, 2009 –The rapid-fire conversation about English language instruction is diverse and far-reaching so Ballard & Tighe, Publishers (www.ballard-tighe.com) today announced the launch of social networking sites to encourage the discourse.

Ballard & Tighe has set up a blog as well as a corporate presence on Facebook and LinkedIn so that educators and administrators can join the conversation about pedagogy, policy, and progress with English learners. The Ballard & Tighe blog is a diverse collection of commentary and reference materials, and it includes links to informative articles and other blogs that can inspire fresh dialog about English language learners.
“As we build our social media presence, these sites will allow educators to get to know us better while we focus on providing valuable content,” said Mark Espinola, CEO of Ballard & Tighe. “We have over 33 years of experience in this industry and access to thousands of teachers who live and breathe this topic. We hope to give educators serving English language learners a distinctive voice and a source to find information.”
LinkedIn profile: Ballard & Tighe
Facebook profile: Ballard & Tighe
Blog: http://www.ballardtighe.blogspot.com/
About Ballard & Tighe
Ballard & Tighe, Publishers (www.ballard-tighe.com) has focused on developing products for English language learners since 1976. Ballard & Tighe provides testing, instructional, and training products and services to more than 3,500 state, regional, and local school districts throughout the United States and internationally. Ballard & Tighe produces assessment products, English language development instructional materials, professional development programs, and a series of unique social studies programs designed especially for English language learners. 
Contacts for the Media
Jennifer Harrison for Ballard & Tighe, 916-716-0636, jennifer@jharrisonpr.com
Traci Barnett, Ballard & Tighe, 800-321-4332 x301, tbarnett@ballard-tighe.com
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STUDY ISLAND’S FREE WEBINAR SERIES FOCUSES ON NEW TENNESSEE CURRICULUM STANDARDS

Dallas, Texas – September 1, 2009 – Study Island’s free webinar series focuses on the new Tennessee Curriculum Standards. 

Archipelago Learning, owner of Study Island, has begun hosting free webinars to help users and potential users to understand the benefits of using Archipelago Learning’s programs, learn best practices, share creative ideas, and introduce new programs.
 
This week’s forty-five minute webinar focuses on Study Island’s updates based on the recent changes from the Tennessee Department of Education. The Study Island Tennessee Curriculum Standards Mastery program was released August 10, 2009 with the updated state standards.
 
“We are excited to introduce the new state standards incorporated into the Study Island program to Tennessee teachers during this week’s webinar,” stated JW Marshall, Coordinator of Educator Events for Archipelago Learning, LLC. “We go to great lengths to ensure our programs are accurate and current. We want educators to partner with us to do their best for their students and we believe our webinar series is an innovative way to accomplish that.”
 
This week’s webinar is Thursday, September 3, 2009 from 1:30-2:15 EDT. Participants of the webinar are eligible for 10% savings on any new Study Island purchases made before September 30, 2009. 
 
Please visit www.studyisland.com/webinars to register for this week’s webinar or to view the calendar of upcoming webinar events.
 
About Study Island
Study Island is a leading provider of online, standards-based assessment, instruction, practice, and test preparation programs for the U.S. K-12 educational market. For more information, please visit www.studyisland.com. Study Island is a member of Archipelago Learning, LLC based in Dallas, TX. www.archipelagolearning.com.  
 
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Ballard & Tighe Encourages Online Discussion About English Language Instruction




LOS ANGELES, Calif. September 1, 2009 –The rapid-fire conversation about English language instruction is diverse and far-reaching so Ballard & Tighe, Publishers (www.ballard-tighe.com) today announced the launch of social networking sites to encourage the discourse.

Ballard & Tighe has set up a blog as well as a corporate presence on Facebook and LinkedIn so that educators and administrators can join the conversation about pedagogy, policy, and progress with English learners. The Ballard & Tighe blog is a diverse collection of commentary and reference materials, and it includes links to informative articles and other blogs that can inspire fresh dialog about English language learners.

“As we build our social media presence, these sites will allow educators to get to know us better while we focus on providing valuable content,” said Mark Espinola, CEO of Ballard & Tighe. “We have over 33 years of experience in this industry and access to thousands of teachers who live and breathe this topic. We hope to give educators serving English language learners a distinctive voice and a source to find information.”

LinkedIn profile: Ballard & Tighe
Facebook profile: Ballard & Tighe
Blog:
http://www.ballardtighe.blogspot.com/

About Ballard & Tighe

Ballard & Tighe, Publishers (www.ballard-tighe.com) has focused on developing products for English language learners since 1976. Ballard & Tighe provides testing, instructional, and training products and services to more than 3,500 state, regional, and local school districts throughout the United States and internationally. Ballard & Tighe produces assessment products, English language development instructional materials, professional development programs, and a series of unique social studies programs designed especially for English language learners. 

 

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Contacts for the Media

Jennifer Harrison for Ballard & Tighe, 916-716-0636, jennifer@jharrisonpr.com

Traci Barnett, Ballard & Tighe, 800-321-4332 x301, tbarnett@ballard-tighe.com

 

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New Study Shows Students’ Use of Odyssey Math Contributed to 103-Point Increase in State Test Scores




For Immediate Release

Contact:

Diana Hyland

Manager — Marketing Communications

CompassLearning

(512) 492-6134

dhyland@compasslearning.com

New Study Shows Students’ Use of Odyssey Math Contributed to 103-Point Increase in State Test Scores

Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse Gives Odyssey Highest Applicable Rating

 

AUSTIN, TX (August 26, 2009) — CompassLearning today announced that the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) gave Odyssey Math, a K–12 online learning solution, their “highest possible rating” based on the results of a study that focused on fifth-grade mathematics students. The study found that students who used Odyssey Math in addition to regular coursework scored an average of 103 points — or 17 percent — higher on the mathematics portion of Pennsylvania’s standardized test than those students who did not use Odyssey Math.

 

Data from the study covered 207 fifth-grade students across four Pennsylvania schools. A control group of students who did not use Odyssey Math scored an average of 1480 on the mathematics portion of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) standardized test. Students in the test group, who used Odyssey Math in addition to their regular classroom curriculum for at least 90 minutes per week, scored an average of 1583 on the same test — an increase of 103 points.

 

Odyssey enables teachers to assess students and identify their areas of strength and weakness. The management system uses assessment data to create a personalized learning path of engaging activities for each student that addresses the specific skills or concepts that student lacks.

 

“Odyssey helps teachers address a classroom full of students who may all be performing at different levels. Because it differentiates instruction to students at, above, and below grade level, it remains relevant and challenging to each child. The on-demand, customizable reporting feature tells educators which students are encountering difficulty and in which areas, and enables them to address those students in a small group. In the meantime, the rest of the class will be working in their prescribed learning paths,” said CompassLearning president Eric Loeffel.

 

According to Melanie Pritchett, Director of Educational Policy for CompassLearning, “These results not only highlight the benefit of making Odyssey available to all the students in a classroom, but they also underscore the need to implement the Odyssey solution with fidelity. The more consistently students use Odyssey, the better-informed their teachers will be if they need to make an adjustment to a student’s learning path.”

 

Odyssey is available thorough an unlimited-user license, allowing all students within a school to use Odyssey from the classroom, home, or anywhere else, at any time.

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Diana Hyland

Manager, Marketing Communications
tel: 512.492.6134
fax: 512.492.6193
203 Colorado Street

Austin, Texas 78701
www.compasslearning.com

 

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