Tutor.com and Texas Instruments Add Graphing Calculator Capabilities to Online Tutoring Experience

NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2009 – Tutor.com (www.tutor.com) and Texas Instruments have teamed up to offer struggling math students homework help to get them through their current classes and beyond. Tutor.com, the leading online tutoring and homework help service, is the first to offer algebra tutors trained to provide help for difficult math concepts through Tutor.com’s powerful online classroom using TI-NspireTM Teacher Edition graphing software.

With TI-Nspire graphing software loaded onto Tutor.com’s propriety web platform, algebra tutors are now able to illustrate math problems four different ways on the student’s computer screen, enabling those who use Tutor.com’s award-winning consumer service to develop a deeper understanding of math concepts. Showing the same problem four different ways enables students with different learning styles to grasp the concepts in terms they understand.
“It’s really neat to be able to show a student how to use their graphing calculator within a math tutoring session,” said Jesi R. a math tutor for Tutor.com. “I recently worked with a student exploring transformations, and using the calculator software was amazing. What a great experience for me and for my students.”
Tutors use the software functionality to show students how to solve problems using their own TI-Nspire graphing calculator. For those who don’t own a TI-Nspire graphing calculator, tutors still are able to better illustrate math concepts that pose challenges for students. Together, TI-Nspire technology and expert tutoring create a powerful online learning environment where students can see the math come to life. As a result, students become more engaged in their own learning process and develop a stronger foundation for future math courses.
 “More and more students are required to take classes beyond algebra and geometry. As result they must master the fundamentals taught in these classes to do well in future courses. It’s our job to ensure that our tutors and our clients have the tools they need to succeed,” said George Cigale, founder and CEO of Tutor.com. “That’s why Tutor.com has established this relationship with Texas Instruments. By equipping our expert tutors with world-class technology like TI-Nspire technology, we are providing our students the best resources available to be successful now and in their later math courses.”
“According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by the time today’s students enter the workforce, math literacy will be a critical skill for more than 6 million jobs,” said Melendy Lovett, president, Texas Instruments Education Technology. “TI-Nspire technology plays a vital role in helping students engage with the tutor via Tutor.com’s innovative platform. When tutors demonstrate math concepts with TI-Nspire technology, students will gain a better understanding of these critical concepts while growing the analytical skills they’ll need long after they graduate.”
Free Tips and Tutoring
Students and parents can get free tips on how to be a successful math student and make the most of their TI calculator by following Tutor.com on Twitter for the next month where the company will post a tip a day. Students can also get FREE minutes of online homework help from Tutor.com for entering their graphing calculator id at http://www.tutor.com/ti/ .
About Tutor.com
Tutor.com is an award-winning online homework help and learning service that connects students to a certified tutor for one-to-one help. Our network of over 2,000 expert tutors has conducted over 4.5 million sessions in math, science, social studies and English. To learn more about Tutor.com services please visit www.tutor.com or call 1-800-411-1970. Follow Tutor.com on Twitter or blog.tutor.com.
About Texas Instruments
Education Technology, a business of Texas Instruments, provides a wide range of advanced tools connecting the classroom experience with real-world applications, helping students and teachers to explore math and science interactively. TI’s products and services are tested vigorously against recognized third-party research, which shows that the use of graphing calculators helps improve the mathematical skills of students and their attitudes toward mathematics. For more information, visit education.ti.com.
Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) helps customers solve problems and develop new electronics that make the world smarter, healthier, safer, greener and more fun. A global semiconductor company, TI innovates through manufacturing, design and sales operations in more than 30 countries. For more information, visit www.ti.com. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.
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For More Information:
Jennifer Kohn
Phone: 212.528.3101 ext 228
Email: jkohn@tutor.com.
Lynn Windle
Texas Instruments
Phone: 972.917.2668
Email: lwindle@ti.com.

Nortel Provides 21st Century Communications Solutions for Prince George’s Community College and the University of Baltimore

TORONTO – Higher education institutions in Maryland are relying on innovative and cost-effective solutions from Nortel* [OTC: NRTLQ] to foster student success. These solutions support the increasingly complex, everyday demands placed on the school’s communications systems as they strive to educate and train the 21st century workforce, while ensuring academic sustainability in the event of an emergency.
Prince George’s Community College** (PGCC), a two-year post-secondary school with approximately 40,000 students, is using mobility and data technology from Nortel. With Nortel’s mobility solution, students and faculty gain freedom to communicate outside of the traditional classroom walls. At the same time, Nortel’s high-performance, resilient and energy-efficient network supports 5,000 data ports and all of the college’s communications needs including building security, video surveillance, electronic door entry and, energy management. 
“We worked with our local supplier Presidio** to choose a Nortel solution because it was the most-cost effective option for meeting our current needs while providing a foundation to roll out even more advanced learning technologies such as lecture capture, streaming video, video on demand, video-based distance learning and closed caption Web video,” said Dr. Joseph Rossmeier, vice president, Technology Services, PGCC.
Construction is also underway on a new Center for Health Studies. This state-of-the art facility will house the PGCC data center and emergency command hub that will provide ongoing access to the college’s Web site, employee email system, and active directory even during an emergency scenario.   
Situated just an hour North of PGCC is another Nortel customer, University of Baltimore** (UB), located in a city that ranks seventh in a study of large U.S. cities that are the best places to attend college. Like PGCC, UB tapped Nortel channel partner Presidio to deploy their advanced communications network. They implemented an IP-based Nortel call server and integrated it with contact center, to improve call agent responsiveness. The result has been more effective routing of calls and greater satisfaction among users, which range from students and prospects to faculty, parents, even suppliers. Future integration of solutions such as Interactive Voice Response and Contact Recording and Quality Monitoring is expected to further enhance these results.
UB is also deploying a Nortel unified communications solution, enabling its staff to leverage presence and other collaboration tools so that they can remain productive if they have to work away from campus for any reason such as in the case of a pandemic. UB similarly plans to leverage Nortel’s Notification Suite to automatically alert students, faculty and staff via email, SMS, or voice if a critical event occurs.
“Responsiveness to students is the primary focus at UB and Nortel helps us achieve that,” said Judith Wood, chief information officer, UB. “Nortel’s solution empowers our faculty and staff to be as productive as possible while driving down total cost of ownership.”
"Nortel is helping higher education customers solve their biggest challenge – preparing students for the 21st century workforce during very trying economic times. With Nortel’s solutions, colleges and universities can enable students to learn from any place at any time while realizing valuable cost savings," said Net Payne, vice president, Global Services and Solutions Marketing, Nortel.
Visit the Nortel Booth #1142 at the Educause Annual Conference** or get more information at www.nortel.com/education.
About Nortel
Nortel delivers communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they need it. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at www.nortel.com. For the latest Nortel news, visit www.nortel.com/news.
Certain statements in this press release may contain words such as “could”, “expects”, “may”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, ”targets”, “envisions”, “seeks” and other similar language and are considered forward-looking statements or information under applicable securities legislation. These statements are based on Nortel’s current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the operating environment, economies and markets in which Nortel operates. These statements are subject to important assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict and the actual outcome may be materially different from those contemplated in forward-looking statements. For additional information with respect to certain of these and other factors, see Nortel’s Annual Report on Form10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other securities filings with the SEC. Unless otherwise required by applicable securities laws, Nortel disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
*Nortel, the Nortel logo and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel Networks.
**This is a 3rd party link as described in our Web linking practices.
Use of the terms “partner” and “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership between Nortel and any other party.

Teacher merit pay hasn’t boosted Texas student performance

For the $300 million it spent on merit pay for teachers over the last three years, Texas was hoping for a big boost in student achievement. But according to experts hired by the state, that didn’t happen, reports the Dallas Morning News. The Texas Educator Excellence Grant, or TEEG, plan did not produce the academic improvements that proponents hoped for when the program was launched with much fanfare in 2006, a new report from the National Center on Performance Incentives said. "There is no systematic evidence that TEEG had an impact on student achievement gains," said researchers for Texas A&M University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Missouri. The study focused on flaws in the way the program was designed and did not conclude whether merit pay for teachers in general is a good idea. The TEEG plan, which provided incentive pay for teachers at about 1,000 campuses a year in lower-income neighborhoods, was discontinued by the Legislature after the 2008-09 school year because of design problems. Lori Taylor of Texas A&M, one of the authors of the study, said one possible cause of the program’s failure was that bonuses were relatively small and were given to most teachers at each school–about 70 percent–so the incentive for individual teachers to push for higher scores was "relatively weak." In addition, campuses that qualified already had to be higher performers, so it was difficult to register much improvement. "There were no significant declines at the schools, but there were no significant improvements, either," Taylor said…

Click here for the full story




IRVINE, Calif., November 5, 2009 — In its continuing effort to lessen its impact on the environment, conserve natural resources and be socially responsible, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s Presentation Products Division is announcing a recycling program for projectors.


Projector owners can now have peace of mind when replacing and disposing of their older projectors. Customers who purchase a new Mitsubishi projector can access the company’s new recycling program online.  The program is based on a one-to-one replacement rate: For example, if an end-user purchases five new Mitsubishi projectors, they will be eligible to recycle up to five projectors of any size from any manufacturer.


 “Mitsubishi Electric is committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible, and this program is just one of several steps we are taking to be ‘green’ in every way we can,” said James Chan, senior director, product marketing, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s Presentation Products Division.  “We understand the impact that some high-tech products can have on the environment, and our new recycling program lets us do our part to help keep our planet healthy.”


The program starts with a visit to http://mitsubishirecycle.tradeups.com where users input information about their new Mitsubishi projector purchase as well as the projector(s) to be recycled, including manufacturer and model number.  Once the purchase is verified, the customer will receive a kit with appropriate recycling shipping information.  Once the old projector is shipped by the customer to the recycling center, Mitsubishi takes over and will be responsible for the rest, including the processing fees for material breakdown and recycling.


“We are all concerned about the environment, and many communities still don’t have recycling programs for tech products,” added Chan.  “Our customers want to be sure that their old projectors are being responsibly disposed of, and we’re glad they can rely on us to take care of this important responsibility.”


For more information about Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s eco-friendly initiatives, visit http://www.mitsubishi-presentations.com/pdf/Green_Flyer.pdf.


About Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Presentation Products Division


Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America’s Presentation Products Division, known for award-winning, high-quality, high definition presentation and display products, markets an extensive line of professional presentation, front-projection high-definition home entertainment, and rear-projection video wall cube display systems and digital signage monitors that are designed with DLP™ or LCD technology.  Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America is known for its award-winning high-quality accurate color reproduction technology.  Products are sold through authorized distributors, resellers, retailers and system integrators throughout the United States and Mexico.  Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America is located at 9351 Jeronimo Road, Irvine, Calif., 92618.  For more information, please call 888-307-0312 or visit http://www.mitsubishi-presentations.com


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DLP is a trademark of Texas Instruments.



Virtualization saves cash for college IT

Replacing Pepperdine University’s computer labs with low-cost PCs would have cost almost $25,000, so campus technology officials turned to virtualized computing, connecting many PCs to a single computer and saving nearly $18,000.

Pepperdine IT administrators presented their cost-saving strategies Nov. 4 at the 11th annual EDUCAUSE conference in Denver, where thousands of college decision makers came to see the latest in campus computing.

Gerard Flynn, director of technology and learning at Malibu, Calif.-based Pepperdine–a school of 8,300 students–said the university’s language and athletics departments, among others, requested computer upgrades as PC speeds slowed and students complained.

When Thomas Hoover, the university’s director of instructional technology, realized that replacing aging computers would cost $24,800–money that would strain the school’s IT budget during tough fiscal times–he studied the costs of virtualization. Using equipment from NComputing, Hoover found that small devices that cost $70 apiece could trim the price of a computer upgrade to $7,100.

Using the NComputing device, the keyboard, monitor, and mouse for each of 30 students are connected to a shared PC.

"You’re talking about tremendous cost savings," Hoover said, adding that desktop virtualization has an environmentally friendly component. Pepperdine used 19,000 kilowatt hours annually while using traditional PCs. Virtualization cut kilowatts to 2,208 per year.

"You can change one unit and upgrade an entire lab," Hoover added, referring to the shared PC.

Pepperdine’s IT staff surveyed students to gauge satisfaction with the campus’s new computing strategy. Some students said web pages lagged while they scrolled, and others said there was an occasional lag when watching videos online. The internet slow-down was most evident when many computers were being used simultaneously on one virtualized NComputing hub, Flynn said.

Twelve percent of Pepperdine students surveyed said video on the virtualized PCs was "bad," while 35 percent said video quality was "good." Forty percent said video was "about the same." Forty-seven percent of respondents said computer speed was average, and 8 percent said it was slow.

Six out of 10 Pepperdine students said they were aware of the desktop virtualization.



Pepperdine University


How to move campus IT from good to great

At the 11th annual EDUCAUSE conference in Denver Nov. 4, more than 1,000 attendees listened to the advice of best-selling author and business expert Jim Collins, who used his decades of business-world research to show how colleges and their information technology departments can improve from mediocre to world leaders.

Collins, author of "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t," said campus officials and IT administrators should avoid corporate approaches to success. He also said they should focus on hiring the right people and anticipating future challenges.

In higher education, "money is only the means, but not the definition of success," said Collins, contrasting colleges to corporations, which tend to define themselves by profit margin.

"Money is only the input [for colleges]. … When we judge a college by the size of its endowment, we’ve got it confused," he said. "We must reject the idea that the primary path … to being a great university is to become more like a business."

Improving campus IT services, Collins said, requires decision makers to hire the right people for critical jobs. Decades of research showed that a business can bolster the value of its leadership positions by five times if the correct people are hired, Collins said.

Collins’ latest book, "How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In," was released in May. It advises IT officials to avoid hubris in their policy making, even if campus computing services are considered top-notch.

Businesses and corporations that became overconfident during heady years or decades of consistent success, he said, kick-started their own downfall by failing to anticipate coming challenges.

Standout IT administrators, Collins said, would tell provosts and deans what kind of technology a university needed "before it knew it needed it."

The EDUCAUSE annual conference continues through Nov. 6.


Jim Collins



Free software could help IT departments

School and college IT departments have until the end of the calendar year to take advantage of a new offer from automated systems management software provider Kaseya, which is providing its IT inventory software to educational institutions free of charge for a limited time.

"The federal stimulus plan included funds for technology improvements at schools…, such as new computers and software, which will require dedicated time and resources to manage effectively," said Jim Alves, executive vice president for strategy and product marketing at Kaseya.

But school IT staff often are overworked already, Alves pointed out, with budget cuts forcing staff to do more with fewer personnel and resources. Kaseya’s free offer will help school and college IT personnel manage technology more efficiently, he added.

Kaseya’s software manages servers and workstations through a single web-based interface. The discovery and inventory program, which will track up to 1,000 machines, provides quick access to computer inventory information, scans for all IP-enabled devices, and reports the details required to manage a school’s network from anywhere.
IT staff using the software will have access to details about their organization’s workstations, laptops, and servers, which can help them make the most of the technology already in their schools during a time of tight budgets.

Kaseya’s software helps find misplaced computers, printers, and routers, and it gathers and analyzes software, hardware, and operating system data from each device on the network. The program also tracks all software applications, license keys, and duplicate licenses. Automated inventory scans help IT administrators understand exactly what assets they have, without having to gather the data manually–thereby freeing up their time to focus on more strategic tasks.
Alves said Kaseya was searching for a way to help schools and colleges take inventory of the technology they already have in anticipation of incoming federal stimulus dollars.

More money means more possibility for technology investment, and Alves said schools can’t more forward until they know what technology they already have.

The solution "helps schools see what technology they have, find their devices, see how they’re configured, find software licenses, and keep things up to date," he said. "That way, if they know what they have, they can manage it easily and provide better support."

President Obama has highlighted the need to spend stimulus money wisely, and "you can really do that when you know what you have or don’t have–it will really help you to spend and manage wisely," Alves said.

To take advantage of the free offer, schools should visit Kaseya’s web site and follow the instructions from there. The offer runs until Dec. 31, and schools that sign up during that period will continue to receive the service free of charge after enrolling.

Both K-12 and higher-education institutions are welcome to participate, but the offer might not make sense for large schools systems and universities, because the software only tracks up to 1,000 networked devices.

Kaseya will provide license keys for its software, as well as on-demand training videos that are downloadable online.

"Using technology is one thing, but keeping it running and available is another," Alves said.

Kaseya IT stimulus program


College officials get ed-tech advice

The 11th annual EDUCAUSE conference opened in Denver Nov. 4 with advice from best-selling author Jim Collins on how to take higher-education technology departments from good to great — as well as lessons from Pepperdine University on how officials there saved nearly $18,000 with the help of virtualized computing.

When Thomas Hoover, Pepperdine’s director of instructional technology, realized that replacing aging computers would cost $24,800–money that would strain the school’s IT budget during tough fiscal times–he studied the costs of virtualization. Using equipment from NComputing, Hoover found that small devices that cost $70 apiece could trim the price of a computer upgrade to $7,100.

Collins, author of "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t," said campus officials and IT administrators should avoid corporate approaches to success. He also said they should focus on hiring the right people and anticipating future challenges.

For more on Collins’ advice to campus officials, click here.

To learn how Pepperdine saved nearly $18,000 through virtualized computing, click here.


‘Convergent education’ comes together

Default Lines from eSchool News, first published in print on Nov. 1, 2009–As I was saying last month, an avalanche of change is rumbling towards our field. I propose we call this cascading phenomenon "convergent education."

Here’s what I mean: A new species of education is emerging that artfully aggregates up-to-the-minute instructional technology, sophisticated pedagogy, robust and standards-based educational content, and web-based delivery that requires a computer or other personal digital device but no fixed address. Under most circumstances, convergent education certainly can amplify the impact of traditional instruction, but it is not necessarily dependent on face-to-face encounters between teacher and student.

At its best, convergent education features diverse learning opportunities delivered via multiple media platforms combined with field trips (virtual or real), live streaming video, interactive archived video, educational gaming, student collaboration, animation, celebrity lectures and adventures, project-based instruction with student-managed data, virtual demonstrations and experiments, continuous monitoring of student engagement and learner satisfaction, and classic, in-the-classroom instruction.

In general, convergent education is based on developments such as distance learning and lecture-capture strategies that have been around for some time, but which are now reinforced by the completely unprecedented fact that nearly every willing learner has (or soon will have) economical access to the rich multimedia resources of the internet–access delivered by such devices as personal computers, netbooks, smart telephones, personal digital assistants, interactive whiteboards, pocket projectors, and handheld reading devices.

Convergent education has been made feasible–and perhaps even inevitable–by a unique confluence of social and technological forces that ultimately must transform the way we learn. Such forces include–but are by no means limited to–the thinning of our teaching corps by retirement, reductions in force, and classroom abandonment; the movement toward charter schools, open-courseware, and online universities; the push for school reform from government and industry; and the desire and necessity of multitudes of adults to obtain new skills and knowledge to survive and thrive in a swiftly changing job market.

Here’s what’s profoundly different now: This time the transformation will come whether entrenched interests like it or not.

Those elements of the education establishment that traditionally have defeated change will be powerless to stop it this time. Their hands will be tied, because the general population will no longer be limited to learning in authorized institutions at appointed hours under regular supervision.

At its best, convergent education eventually might embody the classical values of Paideia in ancient Greece, except now, its benefits will no longer be restricted to the aristocracy alone. Technology will make rich learning experiences accessible to the population as a whole.

Authentication of electronic resources will represent a crucial challenge, to be sure, so the role of colleges and degreed professionals as certifiers of curriculum and educational materials will be secure. Likewise, the need for accreditation agencies will grow stronger. But so will new methods of course validation such as crowd-sourcing and content valuation in the free marketplace of ideas.

Already enclaves of the learned are forming up–not only in traditional institutions, charter schools, and open universities, but also as independent cadres of scholars and academics working outside traditional environments. And now these mavericks are drawing on electronic media in all its forms to convey ideas and insights.

Persons committed to learning are now experimenting with open-course education. They do it sometimes for money, sometimes for honor, and sometimes just because they can. These experiments are under way in colleges, schools, museums, corporate offices, military installations, and shopping malls. The fruits of their endeavors now are offered up across the internet–quite often completely without charge. Like latter-day monasteries, some of these enclaves go about their illuminating work primarily to ennoble the spirit and enrich humanity. 

The best example I’ve seen of what convergent education can become is the Jason Project, a nonprofit subsidiary of National Geographic. As one student engaged in the Jason Project explained it, "It’s like school, only more fun."

The Jason Project is staffed by a relatively small team of highly skilled and fully credentialed experts. They deploy new media in all its manifestations to present serious and rigorous content in academically valid programs aligned with state and national standards. The programming–dubbed "education by exploration"–is designed to fit within school districts’ core fifth through eighth grade curricula.

Although the Jason Project has a venerable pedigree, it has now been completely revamped and upgraded. To get a clearer idea of what’s involved, check out these video clips featuring educators at Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools in metropolitan Washington, D.C.: here and here.

And I’ve saved the best for last: All the Jason Project’s course materials are free. By popular demand, the Jason Project does now offer professional development for a fee, but those services are optional, not required to obtain access to the courses.

To learn more about this groundbreaking example of convergent education, visit www.jason.org.


Usage of Internet at Work

Analysis of research conducted in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 resulted in the following rating chart of website categories popular among  employees:


Social networks, personal sites and blogs



Sites devoted to computers and Internet



Different categories of sites not related to work



Economics and business



Search engines



News and media



Online mail services



Parked domains and ‘dead sites’



Entertainment and games



Sites containing malicious software



Advertisement sites



Data portals



Video hosting sites



Pornographic and adult sites



Personal online file storage services



Education and research



Online messengers, instant messengers



Online music stores



Government agencies



Peer-to-peer and torrent networks



Note: The item “Different categories of sites not related to work” includes websites featuring such topics as beauty and health, cars, sports, etc.