Weidenhammer Introduces IT Disaster Recovery Product

Wyomissing, Pa., November 30, 2009 Weidenhammer, a provider of IT consulting services and solutions, is launching vRescue which is an IT disaster recovery service that allows organizations and school districts to rapidly restore business continuity of critical applications and data.
 
Recognizing the need for an affordable and effective disaster recovery solution, Weidenhammer, has launched a service geared for the unique needs of small to medium sized businesses (SMB).
 
"Disaster recovery solutions have traditionally been too expensive or resource intensive for our clients to consider viable," said John Weidenhammer, CEO, Weidenhammer. "With vRescue, we offer a fully managed service that is cost effective and ensures business continuity of mission critical systems in the event of an emergency or system outage."
 
Simply stated, vRescue provides a fully managed backup and recovery strategy for mission critical server applications that assures availability of working systems in minutes rather than days. Leveraging the power of the Internet and virtualization technology, vRescue provides remote backup of mission critical applications and data to virtualized servers in a secured, 24/7 data center. By performing daily testing and validation of systems and applications, vRescue ensures quick and efficient recovery in the event of a disaster or equipment failure. Client notification at any hour of the day initiates the vRescue recovery process, bringing an application on-line and available to end users at a moments notice. 

"Companies can rest assured knowing that a fully-tested and up-to-date version of their mission critical application resides in one of Weidenhammer’s secure, enterprise data centers – ready to be recovered for operations quickly and efficiently," said Rick Finley, director of operations for vRescue, Weidenhammer.

vRescue utilizes a unique server virtualization technology that provides for efficient backup, automated testing and validation, and rapid recovery. This eliminates the cost and complexity traditionally associated with disaster recovery support, dedicated hardware, and expensive communication lines. Weidenhammer partners with Plan B to offer the vRescue service to customers. Plan B is a U.K.-based company, specializing in disaster recovery solutions, that provides industry recognized technology for remote backup and automated testing of virtualized server applications.
 
"Considering the low cost of entry and monthly support fees relative to achieving an effective business continuity strategy for core systems and applications, vRescue offers tremendous savings in terms of avoiding the business and financial impact of down time and lost information." said Charles G. Zwicker, sales manager, Weidenhammer. "vRescue makes disaster recovery affordable and easy to implement."
 

About Weidenhammer
Founded in 1978, Weidenhammer is an information technology firm providing innovative products and services that is celebrating 30 years of information ingenuity. Weidenhammer specializes in working with organizations to use information technology as a strategic tool for education administration, government, and diverse business industries.

With nearly 200 IT professionals in seven locations, Weidenhammer confronts one of the most critical and complex resources of business administration: information. Weidenhammer provides consulting expertise in the areas of Strategic Planning, Business Process Improvement, Application Development, Network Infrastructure, and Application Hosting. The Managed Services and Infrastructure Solutions Group supports a large client base through network and communications services and solutions that lower the cost and improve performance of IT infrastructures.
 
At the core of Weidenhammer’s approach to serving clients is a focus on achieving and maintaining the highest degree of alignment between clients’ business strategies and the appropriate application for information technology. To learn more, please visit www.hammer.net. 
 
 

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UNITED STATES DISTANCE LEARNING ASSOCIATION ELECTS PRESIDENT




Boston, MA (PRWEB) — The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) recently elected Reggie Smith III as President of the Association.  The non-profit organization, formed in 1987, promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training, and serves the needs of the distance learning community globally. With this ascendency to the Presidency of USDLA, Reggie Smith becomes the first African-American member to assume this vaulted position. Earlier in the year Smith also received national recognition by receiving the 2009 Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Community Service.

 

“We welcome Reggie Smith as our new president.  Reggie brings knowledge and a level of acumen that will assist the association in its continued efforts to promote the development and application of distance learning,” said John G. Flores, Ph.D., USDLA Executive Director.

 

Reggie Smith currently works for Booz Allen Hamilton and has been involved in distance education since 1991 along with serving on several committees for USDLA since joining the board of directors in 2004. Smith, who has worked as a deputy director of Learning Technologies for Alion Science & Technology and vice president of operations for Magicsoft, is also a recognized authority on media and telecommunications issues, having received numerous awards and served as keynote or presenter at several national and international conferences, including VIRTUAL EDUCA International Conference, the e-Learning Conference & Expo, the TeleCon East, West & European Expos and the 22nd Annual Black Media Coalition’s Conference. 

 

“Being the first African-American president to the Board of Directors of the United States Distance Learning Association, shows that USDLA understands the value in diversity and what it can contribute to its longevity,” said Smith.  “My background has enabled me to understand the total picture not just the technical perspective because it is not just about the technology but how it enables user communities to connect the dots and truly harness the knowledge continuum globally.”

 

About United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a non-profit association formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets. The USDLA trademarked logo is the recognized worldwide symbol of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry.  To learn more about USDLA, visit
http://www.usdla.org.

 

About Booz Allen

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for more than 90 years. Every day, government agencies, institutions, corporations, and infrastructure organizations rely on the firm’s expertise and objectivity, and on the combined capabilities and dedication of its exceptional people to find solutions and seize opportunities. Booz Allen combines a consultant’s unique problem-solving orientation with deep technical knowledge and strong execution to help clients achieve success in their most critical missions. Providing a broad range of services in strategy, operations, organization and change, information technology, systems engineering, and program management, Booz Allen is committed to delivering results that endure.
To learn more about the firm, visit
http://www.boozallen.com.

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Contact: USDLA HQ
United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

E-mail: info@usdla.org
http://www.usdla.org
1-800-275-5162

 

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North Carolina Schools encouraged to apply for ARRA funding

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) distributed ARRA funds to states to save and create jobs while advancing reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for K-12 students.
ARRA will provide funding to North Carolina schools through existing federal formula and competitive grant programs including Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program. Schools with programs that meet these criteria are encouraged to apply.

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$5,000 for teachers who provide science teaching excellence

The Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence (AASTE) is an annual awards program that recognizes extraordinary contributions by educators across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada who are elevating the level of science literacy through creativity in the classroom and motivation of students. An independent panel of judges selects the winners based on the following criteria: creativity and effectiveness of teaching methods; the plan for the use of grant money to improve science education resources in their schools; and an innovative science lesson plan showcasing innovative methods in the classroom.

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Largest school district in Alabama chooses SMART

 

CALGARY, Alberta — November 30, 2009 — SMART Technologies announces that Mobile County Public Schools (MCPS) in Mobile, Alabama, has standardized on SMART Board interactive whiteboards. In the 2008–09 school year, MCPS began a district-wide campaign to install a SMART Board interactive whiteboard in every classroom. To date, the district has installed more than 1,500 SMART Board interactive whiteboards and continues to add other SMART products to its classrooms. In addition to a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, at least six schools in the district will add a SMART Document Camera, SMART Slate wireless slate and SMART Response interactive response system to each classroom.

With more than 63,000 students enrolled at more than 100 schools, MCPS is the largest district in Alabama and the 50th largest district in the United States. MCPS first introduced SMART Board interactive whiteboards to their classrooms in 1996 and, in the 2007–08 school year, MCPS decided to add an interactive whiteboard to every classroom in the district. One senior official in the district explained that since SMART products were introduced, the district has seen an increase in student attentiveness and a significant decrease in discipline problems. Today, MCPS has more than 1,500 SMART Board interactive whiteboards, 500 SMART Document Cameras, 200 AirLiner wireless slates (now called the SMART Slate wireless slate) and 300 SMART Response interactive response systems, and is committed to adding even more SMART products to its classrooms.
“Having SMART products in the classrooms has really changed the face of how we do things,” says
David K. Akridge, executive manager of IT services at MCPS. “Teachers are elated to be receiving their own SMART Board, and students are collaborating and using the technology to enhance day-to-day activities.”
“Administrators and teachers at Mobile County Public Schools recognize the importance of using interactive technology products in the classroom to engage and support today’s learners,” says Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “With a SMART Board interactive whiteboard in every classroom in the district, students across all grades and subjects will benefit from having the tools and resources needed to support their success now and in the future.”
About Mobile County Public Schools
Mobile County Public Schools (MCPS) is located in southwest Alabama and incorporates 10 cities. The mission of the MCPS school system is to graduate citizens who are literate, responsible and committed to learning over a lifetime. The district strives to provide a variety of learning pathways to ensure academic and career success for their students, including fostering a collaborative school culture to benefit both educators and students. More information on Mobile County Public Schools can be found at www.mcpss.com.
About SMART  
SMART Technologies introduced the world’s first interactive whiteboard in 1991 and is the global interactive whiteboard category leader, providing easy-to-use, integrated hardware, software and services that improve the way the world collaborates and learns. For more than 20 years, innovation and commitment to excellence have been at the core of its business. SMART revolutionized the education market with products that empower educators to improve student outcomes by effectively implementing technology products that support all learning styles and environments. The company helps business people achieve better results with products that enable more productive meetings and collaborative work. Its success is driven by a deep commitment to and engagement with both the education and business communities. SMART offers products, resources and services that positively transform the way people learn and work.
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For more information, please contact:
 
Christine Roulston
Public Relations Specialist
SMART Technologies
Phone 403.407.5084
Fax 403.228.2500
Email
ChristineRoulston@smarttech.com
© 2009 SMART Technologies ULC. SMART Board, SMART Slate, SMART Response, AirLiner, smarttech and the SMART logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of SMART Technologies ULC in the U.S. and/or other countries.
 
Please note that SMART is written in all capital letters. 
 
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Teachers using cell phones for class lessons

Ariana Leonard’s Spanish class at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., is one of a growing number around the country that are abandoning traditional policies of cell-phone prohibition and incorporating the devices into class lessons, reports the Associated Press. Her students divide into groups, and Leonard sends them text messages in Spanish: Find something green. Go to the cafeteria. Take a picture with the school secretary. In this way, Spanish vocabulary becomes a digital scavenger hunt. “I can use my cell phone for all these things, why can’t I use it for learning purposes?'” Leonard said. Today’s phones are the equivalent of small computers; meanwhile, most school districts can’t afford a computer for every student. “It really is taking advantage of the love affair that kids have with technology today,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. “The kids are much more motivated to use their cell phone in an educational manner.” Even districts with tough anti-use policies acknowledge they’ll need to change eventually. “We can’t get away from it,” said Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay County District Schools, a Florida Panhandle district of 27,000 students where cell phones aren’t allowed in school, period. “But we’ve got to do a lot more work in trying to figure out how to stop the bad things from happening.”

Click here for the full story

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Taiwan plans to roll out e-Readers in schools

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education plans to offer e-readers to school kids on the island next year as part of its efforts to digitize schools and promote reading, PC World reports. The e-readers are part of a five-year budget earmarked for information technology in classrooms, valued at $1.55 billion in U.S. dollars. Currently, the ministry is reviewing designs for e-readers and doesn’t yet know how many it will purchase for next year, a representative said. This year, the ministry has focused on putting digital chalkboards in math, science, and language classrooms in Taiwan schools. The HaBoard interactive whiteboard has an 82-inch touch screen so teachers can write on them, make changes to images on the screen, or call up further information, said Ivan Huang, a representative of HaBook Information Technology, the maker of the device. The classrooms using the HaBoard also provide touch-screen monitors to groups of kids in each class, usually one screen for every five or six kids. The purpose of the monitors is to make the class more interactive, so kids can look up additional information or answer questions about the subject the teacher is currently reviewing…

Click here for the full story

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Avg. school district IT director makes $87,898

Despite the slumping economy, technology personnel working in public school district central-office positions saw a 2.1-percent increase in average salary over the past year, with district-level technology directors earning $87,898 on average, according to the latest National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools. But in many districts, technology directors are still not viewed as on par with instructional services directors–and their average salary reflects this perception.

The annual salary survey collects data on 23 professional and 10 support positions, which are selected to represent the full scope of public school employment.

School systems use salary and wage data in many ways, including putting salary increases in a national or regional context when giving information to stakeholders; assessing a level of competitiveness in staff recruiting; reviewing salary schedules for building administrators and teachers relative to those used by other school systems; or analyzing year-to-year and long-term salary increases in comparison with other trends or those in other school systems.

The data were collected from 862 public school systems for the 2008-09 school year. Also included in this year’s survey is year-to-year, five-year, and 10-year information on trends in public school salaries and wages, with comparisons to the Consumer Price Indexes for each of those periods. Responding districts provided salary data on more than 1.5 million employees.

Central-office positions in the survey include superintendents, deputy or associate superintendents, assistant superintendents, staff directors, public relations personnel, finance and business managers, instructional program managers, technology developers and coordinators, and subject-area supervisors.

The survey also includes data on the average salaries of principals and assistant principals; classroom teachers; auxiliary professionals such as counselors, librarians, and school nurses; and support personnel, including teacher aides, building custodians, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers.

District-level technology directors earn an average salary of $87,898, the report says–although it notes that their salary levels seem to be closely linked with their school district’s enrollment, with a $48,925 difference between the average salaries paid in large and very small districts ($114,778 versus $65,853, respectively). Geographically, the highest average salaries for technology positions appear in the country’s Mideast ($93,051) and far West ($100,655) regions.

Average superintendent salaries showed a 4.9-percent increase in the last year, from $148,387 to $155,634. The average salary paid to superintendents in districts enrolling 25,000 or more pupils is $225,222, while in districts enrolling 300 to 2,499 pupils, the average salary is $114,509. As with tech directors, superintendents in the Mideast and the far West have the highest average salaries.

Instructional services personnel earned an average salary of $102,322–a 2.6-percent increase over an average of $99,748 in 2007-08. And among central-office positions, the report notes that much importance is placed on this position, particularly in districts with enrollments of less than 10,000 students–in those districts, the director of instructional services is paid more than other directors, managers, and coordinators.

Elementary school principals earn $88,062 on average, middle school principals earn an average of $93,478, and high school principals average $99,365. Not surprisingly, principals and assistant principals in districts with high per-pupil expenditure have higher average salaries than their counterparts in districts with lower per-pupil expenditures.

Teachers earned an average salary of $52,900 in 2008-09, a 3.1-percent increase over 2007-08’s average salary of $51,329. Teacher salaries also are closely related with a district’s per-pupil expenditure level: The average teacher salary in high per-pupil expenditure districts is $56,538, compared with an average of $48,618 in low per-pupil expenditure districts.

Salary tables in the report are analyzed according to four categories: pupil enrollment, per-pupil expenditure levels, geographic regions, and community types, such as suburban or rural.

When adjusted to 2008 dollars, the 1998-99 average salary paid to teachers was $54,625, meaning the average teacher salary has declined by $1,725 in real dollars. The report notes that this decline could be owing in part to teachers at the high end of the salary range having retired, bringing in newer teachers at the bottom of the salary range to replace them.

The data indicate that over the past decade, salaries for central-office administrators increased at a higher rate (39.3 percent) than salary increases for other professional and support staff, including secretarial/clerical personnel (37.4 percent), building-level administrators (30.6 percent), teachers (27.9 percent), and auxiliary professionals (27.4 percent).

Public school employees’ average salaries outpaced inflation by less than 1 percent from the 1998-99 school year to the 2008-09 school year.
 
Many factors can influence staff compensation, the report notes, such as the relative experience of staff members and whether a district is trying to increase salaries to attract and retain highly qualified personnel.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2008-09 job outlook says that job opportunities for teachers over the next 10 years will vary from good to excellent. The degree depends on location, grade level, and subject, but most job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of "baby boomer" educators expected to retire in the next few years. New teachers leaving the profession after only a few years also will create job openings, the report says.

Educational Research Service (ERS) prepared the report, which was distributed by the Association of School Business Officials International.

Link:

National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools

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Survey shows untapped potential for campus IT

More than 90 percent of college students use social-networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, but only 28 percent say they have used these tools in a course during the last semester, according to a survey that suggests there is much untapped potential for schools to leverage the technologies that students use every day to help with learning.

The 2009 "Survey of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology," from the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR), included a web-based survey of freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year colleges and universities and 12 two-year schools, as well as focus groups with 62 students from four institutions.

Since 2004, the annual survey has shed light on how technology affects the college experience for students.

This year’s survey shows that student ownership of laptops is twice that of desktop computers (88 percent to 44 percent, with several students owning both). What’s more, 51 percent of students said they now own an internet-capable handheld device, such as a smart phone, and another 12 percent said they plan to buy one in the next 12 months.

"Like the clothes in their suitcases, the technologies students bring to campus change every year," the report said. "It’s hard to believe, but when the college seniors we surveyed for this year’s study began their education four years ago, netbooks, iPhones, and the Nintendo Wii has yet to hit the market."

Still, having an internet-capable handheld device doesn’t mean this functionality is used; more than a third (35 percent) of students who own such a phone said they never use this feature.

Despite the slumping economy, students are entering school with newer equipment, the study says. Nearly eight out of 10 freshmen owned a laptop that was one year old or less, and two-thirds of all students surveyed reported owning a machine two years old or less.

That’s good news for campus IT staff who are concerned about supporting older equipment, the report said–although 18 percent of students said their newest computer was four years old or more.

The percentage of students who say they download music or video continues to increase, from 71 percent in 2004 to 84 percent this year–suggesting that IT administrators must continue exploring ways to shape, manage, or increase bandwidth on their campus networks.

Forty-five percent of students said they contribute content to video web sites, 37 percent said they contribute to blogs, 35 percent said they use podcasts, and 38 percent said they use their computer to make phone calls using a voice-over-IP system, such as Skype.

The surge in students’ use of social-networking tools has been accompanied by "a decline in a technology once seen as the definitive mode of teenage online communication: instant messaging," says the report. Whereas nine in 10 respondents said they use social networks and text messaging, only 74 percent said they use IM.

The use of learning management systems on college campuses is on the rise as well, and students appear to be happy with the technology. From 2006 to 2009, students’ use of learning management systems rose from 80 percent to 91 percent–and 89 percent of respondents in this year’s survey said they have taken a course that used an LMS during the current academic year.

Most students who have used an LMS said their experience was either positive (52 percent) or very positive (11 percent).

"Institutions’ investments in [learning management systems] appear to be paying off," the report said. "[And] instructors who have implemented [the] technology can take heart from our finding that nearly two-thirds [of students] said they disagree … with the statement, ‘I skip classes when materials from course lectures are available online.’"

Respondents were lukewarm about their professors’ use of other technologies, however.

Fewer than half (45 percent) of students said most of their instructors use technology effectively in their courses. Only 46 percent said most of their instructors have sufficient IT skills for teaching with technology, and just 34 percent said most of their instructors give them adequate training for the technology used in their courses.

Although the survey revealed a surge in the use of mobile devices among students, several respondents commented on the distraction these are causing in the classroom.

When asked if they thought instructors should be able to ban the use of mobile devices during instruction, 51 percent of students said yes. Agreement was much higher among older students than younger ones.

For the first time, the 2009 survey asked, "How should your institution first notify you of a campus emergency?" More students said they would prefer to be notified by a text message than other forms of communication, such as eMail, a phone call, or a public address system.

In conclusion, "it appears that a revolution in undergraduates’ use of the mobile internet has already begun," the report said. "A quarter of the respondents to this year’s study told us they are using handheld devices weekly or more often to access the internet. This level of use may not be taxing the support capacity of higher-education IT departments at the moment, but if the numbers of users increase, as they likely will if the cost of mobile internet access drops, institutions could be quickly overwhelmed with demands for technical support and development of new mobile services."

Link:

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009

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Special Offers: Wondershare Announces Launch of 2009 Holiday Promotion

Shenzhen, China-Nov. 26th, 2009 – Make it a special Holiday this year, with Wondershare Software. Wondershare today delivered an early Thanksgiving present for customers with special offers on a huge selection of products.

This holiday promotion is time-limited from November 26, 2009 to January 30, 2010. Wondershare will provide all users with amazing discounts, which are saving up to 50%. Meanwhile, some other software will be bundled into the deals as free gifts for every users. Wondershare’s holiday promotion includes special offers of the following products for users to choose from.

Wondershare business software
Wondershare provides big discount up to 50% off for business software. Feel free to explore into the selective suite that provides you comprehensive training solutions.

Wondershare digital photo software
Users can use Wondershare software to deal with their digital photos to make them alive. Moreover, those photos can be made as greeting cards for Thanksgiving, or electronics photo album for family reunions by this software.

Wondershare multimedia software
Wondershare presents best prices for multimedia software. This holiday, users can enjoy and share their favorite movies anywhere with Wondershare multimedia software, such as iPhone, mobile photo, etc. It helps you enrich your holiday.

Pricing and Availability
Promotion offers will be available from Nov. 20, 2009 to Jan. 31, 2010. Wondershare hopes that 2010 will be a perfect year and merry Thanksgiving to all of you.
For more detailed information about Wondershare 2009 Holiday promotion, please visit:
http://www.wondershare.net

About Wondershare:
Established in 2003 and located in Shenzhen, adjacent to the international financial and trade center Hong Kong, Wondershare has extended its business worldwide, consistently dedicated to satisfy customers with diversified consumer software products and services. For more information, please visit: http://www. wondershare. com.

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