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 ( 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

About Ballard & Tighe

Ballard & Tighe, Publishers ( 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. 



Dothan City Schools Use Special Allocation Funds for Purchase of Carnegie Learning Math Curricula

 ITTSBURGH, PA, September 1, 2009 – Dothan City Schools in Alabama purchased Carnegie Learning® Bridge to Algebra and Carnegie Learning® Algebra I Math Curricula Solutions for implementation this fall with nearly 1200 students in the District’s four middle schools. Purchased with special allocation funds from the city of Dothan, Carnegie Learning® Math Programs will be used as a Response to Intervention solution in two middle schools, and as a math acceleration program in Dothan City Schools’ two middle school magnet programs.

“The transition from arithmetic to algebra is often a stumbling block for students moving from middle school to high school,” said Allyson Morgan, secondary curriculum director for Dothan City Schools. “We are focused on preparing our students to think conceptually and with a deeper understanding of the connections among verbal, numeric, graphic, and algebraic representations. The Carnegie Learning combined software and textbook model delivers engaging, self-paced instruction that we believe will better prepare our students to succeed in higher level mathematics.”

Carnegie Learning® Math Programs include interactive software lessons, print resources, collaborative classroom activity, ongoing formative assessment of student and class progress, and Professional Development services. Based upon an artificial intelligence model, the Cognitive Tutor® Software provides self-paced, differentiated instruction that identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses and individualizes instruction to improve conceptual understanding. Instructors can re-sequence units to build a custom program that meets the intervention or acceleration needs of a class or an individual. Carnegie Learning® Textbooks engage students in classroom activities that strengthen understanding of math as it applies to the real world, and collaborative classroom activities encourage students to work cooperatively to solve problems, while improving reasoning and communication skills.

About Carnegie Learning (
Carnegie Learning, Inc. is a leading publisher of innovative, research-based math curricula for middle school, high school, and post-secondary students. Our curricula – Bridge to Algebra, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Integrated Math programs – provide differentiated instruction that helps 500,000 students in nearly 2600 schools throughout the U.S. to succeed in math as a gateway to graduation and the 21st century workforce. Carnegie Learning® Blended Math Curricula integrate interactive software, text, and collaborative classroom activity for core, full-year math instruction. Carnegie Learning® Adaptive Math Curricula Solutions feature Cognitive Tutor® Software that may be customized for Response to Intervention programs. All solutions are supported by Carnegie Learning® Professional Development Services. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Learning was founded in 1999 by cognitive and computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in conjunction with veteran mathematics teachers.

Mary Murrin
Carnegie Learning, Inc.
(412) 690-2442 X176


A 21st-century approach to teaching autistic students

In the United States, a child is diagnosed with autism every 21 minutes–a rate that is growing faster than that of any other developmental disorder, according to Virtual Expert Clinics Inc. In response to this trend, Virtual Expert Clinics has developed a 21st-century response to educating students with autism, called AutismPro.

A customizable package of tools, content, and programming, AutismPro is designed to help educators and administrators improve the learning experiences for students with autism through the effective use of technology. It was developed and reviewed with the help of a professional advisory board that included Dr. Kathleen Quill of the Autism Institute, Dr. Cathy Pratt of the Autism Society of America, and Dr. Brenda Smith Myles.

There are two products in the AutismPro line: AutismPro Workshops and AutismPro Resources.

AutismPro Workshops is a flexible, web-based professional development program that allows educators to apply a range of evidence-based strategies to typical school situations. Designed for general education teachers, AutismPro Workshops provides videos and illustrated examples of instructional techniques that can be applied across the spectrum of autism and autism-related disabilities. AutismPro Workshops features up to 45 hours of online content, including the most commonly used concepts and strategies in the field of autism intervention.

Designed to complement an existing special-education program and IEP framework, AutismPro Resources is a comprehensive set of online classroom tools. It allows special-education teachers, support staff, and administrators to search a database of more than 5,000 lesson plans, teaching strategies, and behavioral supports. Users can download and print what each student’s support team needs to apply techniques and target learning objectives on a daily basis.

“During the last 10 years, many evidence-based strategies have surfaced to assist educators in teaching students with autism. What is important to remember is that no one teaching method works for all children, and methods described by researchers can be hard to translate to the classroom,” said Kevin Custer, CEO of Virtual Expert Clinics. “AutismPro delivers the tools educators need to develop and follow an intervention plan that is both consistent and individualized for each student with autism.”


FCC to study ways to block sex, violence from kids

The Federal Communications Commission will open an inquiry to examine the various technologies to block children from watching programs with sex and violence, Reuters reports. "Parents must have access to control technologies that can appropriately limit their children’s exposure to unsuitable material," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in releasing an agency report detailing the technologies available to parents. The report concluded that no single parental control technology works across all the media platforms, such as over-the-air, cable, and satellite television; wireless services; and the internet. In July, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing during which Genachowski said the existing rules governing television programming for children will be reviewed in light of the proliferation of online videos and other technological changes. Committee chairman John Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, said more must be done by lawmakers, industry, and the government to help parents block inappropriate content from children. "We must offer the tools and policies that make it easy for people to be good parents and oversee the viewing that goes on in their homes," he said in a statement…

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1-to-1 computing in the spotlight

Project RED examines the economic impact of successful technology initiatives.

Project RED examines the economic impact of successful technology initiatives.

South Dakota, Maine, and Wyoming top the list of states with the highest percentage of schools that have ubiquitous (one-to-one) computing programs for their students–while California (50) ranks last in this category, according to new research compiled from school databases and surveys.

The information is the latest to come out of Project RED: Revolutionizing Education, a yearlong effort from a group of educational technology researchers and market analysts to measure how technology can help schools save money and improve instruction. (See “Project seeks to measure ed tech’s value.”)

Project RED researchers began by creating a database of high-tech schools that all have roughly the same number of computing devices as students. The comparison of where states rank according to the percentage of their schools or students with ubiquitous ed-tech access comes from an analysis of this database. (Numbers in parentheses throughout this report indicate a given state’s rank in terms of ubiquitous access.)

The database reveals a national average of about 5.4 percent of schools with ubiquitous technology programs, reaching about 4 percent of students.

Once Project RED forms an advisory board, researchers will choose several states with exemplary ed-tech initiatives to serve as showcase states.

States with smaller populations, such as Missouri (11), Kansas (4), and Nebraska (6), have done a great job in ensuring students’ access to classroom technology, said Jeanne Hayes, a Project RED manager and CEO of the Hayes Connection, an ed-tech consulting firm.

Often, it’s easier for less populous states to implement statewide education technology initiatives, Hayes said, because they have a smaller percentage of the national student population and the costs of such initiatives are less.

For instance, Maine (2) has 800 schools with fewer than 214,000 total students–0.4 percent of the U.S. student population. Because the student population is so small, Hayes said, Maine is financially able to reach about 23.5 percent of its students with ubiquitous technology.

In contrast, many people consider Connecticut (30) to be an affluent state, but only 4.1 percent of the state’s schools have ubiquitous ed-tech programs, according to Project RED’s research.

States such as Texas (17), Florida (20), and New York (29) have invested heavily in education technology, but the actual percentage of their students served by ubiquitous technology programs is small owing to the states’ sizes.

But for a large state, Texas’s rank in the database is quite impressive, Hayes said. Texas has nearly 5 million students and has managed to provide ubiquitous access to technology in nearly 8 percent of its schools.

To advocates of education technology, the top two states in Project RED’s list–South Dakota and Maine–should come as no surprise, because both states have implemented statewide school laptop programs in recent years.

And although budget-troubled California (51) hopes to invest heavily in technology, it occupies the lowest spot in the rankings, reaching only about 1.2 percent of its students with ubiquitous computing. The state’s size–it holds 12.5 percent of U.S. students–works against it, Hayes said.


Phones, PCs put eBooks within easy reach

Eight percent of adults bought an eBook in 2008, according to national surveys.

Eight percent of adults bought an eBook in 2008, according to national surveys.

Thanks largely to Inc.’s Kindle, eBook sales are finally zooming after more than a decade in the doldrums–and students at five campuses this fall will pilot Amazon’s textbook-friendly Kindle DX to read electronic versions of their textbooks. But students without Kindles also have an increasing number of options for reading electronic books–and campus officials say the proliferation of eBooks will accelerate even further as the use of color and embedded video become paramount for eBook makers.

eBook sales reported to the Association of American Publishers have been rising sharply since the beginning of 2008, just after the release of the Kindle. It’s the best sustained growth the industry has seen since the International Digital Publishing Forum began tracking sales in 2002–a sign that eBooks finally could be about to break into the mainstream.

But many phones are now sophisticated enough, and have good enough screens, to be used as eBook reading devices. In addition, eBook reading on computers is already surprisingly popular–and Amazon faces growing competition from rival Sony Corp. and other eBook reader manufacturers.

California-based CourseSmart began offering electronic textbooks in 2007 and reportedly has sold copies to students in more than 5,900 schools. The company says it works with a dozen major textbook publishers to supply electronic versions of their books and claims its prices are typically about half that of print versions.

Students have used CourseSmart texts to read electronic versions of their textbooks on a computer, but last month CourseSmart announced a free application that makes digitized forms of college textbooks available on Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone or iPod Touch devices.

“We’ve seen significant demand from student customers for the ability to get required textbook content in electronic form on an iPhone or iPod Touch,” said CourseSmart Executive Vice President Frank Lyman. “It’s important to students to be able to access textbook content in color with the same page layout as a printed textbook, and now the eTextbooks App allows them to do that.”

CourseSmart’s iPhone program is available for downloading free of charge from Apple’s online App Store, and it could help make electronic textbooks even more popular on campus.

Shanna Vaughn, a university worker and voracious reader in Orange County, Calif., has been reading eBooks on a computer or handheld organizer for at least ten years, but it was only an occasional habit until she got an iPhone last year. It’s mainly the convenience that has won her over: Because Vaughn can buy and download books nearly instantly to her phone, she doesn’t need to plan a trip to the book store.

“I never really wanted something that was a single-function device. I just couldn’t see spending … $300 for a device where I’m sort of locked in to one retailer. Whereas my phone, that does everything,” she said.

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said that while the Kindle has sparked interest in eBooks, downloads of eReading applications for smart phones have far outnumbered the Kindles sold.

“There will be a market for dedicated reading devices, but there’s potentially an even bigger market for reading on devices that people already own, like smart phones,” she said.

According to a survey of 2,600 adults by research firm Simba Information this spring, the most common way to read eBooks is on another general-purpose device: the personal computer. It found that 8 percent of adults had bought an eBook last year, a high figure considering that Kindle sales were less than half a percent of the adult population.

Still, analysts credit the Kindle and other eBook reader devices with helping to spur the growth of the eBook market in the last 18 months.


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