Community college system reduces eMail costs with Metalogix

The Colorado Community College System has reduced its eMail storage costs, simplified retention, and improved its total cost of IT ownership—while ensuring compliance with public-records laws—with the Exchange archiving solution from Metalogix. Read this case study to learn how.Download Whitepaper

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Tired of the same old professional development? Try Edcamps

The first Edcamp was organized in Philadelphia in 2010 by a team of like-minded educators who were frustrated by one-size-fits-all professional development experiences.

As educators gear up for a new school year, they’ll be doing some learning of their own in professional development workshops and sessions. Unfortunately, district and school-based professional development is often described as tiresome and irrelevant, but there are alternatives. One of these alternatives that’s quickly catching on is an Edcamp “unconference”—the antidote to mandated professional development.

Edcamps are free, organic, one-day, participant-driven professional development gatherings organized by educators for educators. Typically held on Saturdays in educational facilities, Edcamps have no pre-set presentation schedule, nor any pre-selected presenters. Instead, participants volunteer to facilitate conversations and hands-on activities among peers.

The first Edcamp was organized in Philadelphia in 2010 by a team of like-minded educators who were frustrated by one-size-fits-all, passive-learning professional development experiences. Inspired by Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, the originators felt that their intrinsic motivation for self-directed learning was a more powerful incentive for professional development than district imposed “sit-and-git” training. They first met at another unconference for people in the local technology community, called BarCamp, to share their best practices and brainstorm solutions to common problems in education. It was there that the idea of the first Edcamp was conceived.

The current Edcamp schedule lists 164 events, starting with the original Edcamp Philly in May 2010 and running through February 2013. Some districts, like Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts, have adopted the model for weekly professional development meetings—strictly voluntary, and open to all. While most Edcamps are organized regionally, some target specific audiences, such as superintendents, principals, a specific discipline like art or social studies, or a theme—like Edcamp CommonCore. There are even rumors of an upcoming Edcamp organized and facilitated by students—a vehicle for honest dialog between educators and students, education’s most important stakeholders.

Edcamps generally follow a similar timeline. An event is organized, registration opens (some fill up fast), and an online sharing space (where participants can initiate conversations about topics of interest before the event, post content for sessions during the event, and comment about discussions afterwards) is created. Here is a typical schedule for an Edcamp:

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Monarch Teaching Technologies now accepting applications For 2012 Visual Learning TechGrants

Monarch Teaching Technologies now accepting applications For 2012 Visual Learning TechGrants

Six education institutions to receive awards of VizZle® District Edition – visual learning software for students with autism and other special learning needs

Shaker Heights, Ohio (August 30,2012) – Monarch Teaching Technologies (MTT) is accepting proposals from qualified educational institutions for their 2012 Visual Learning TechGrant program. Six school districts will be granted access for up to 200 educators to VizZle District Edition, MTT’s web-based
authoring tool that offers interactive, visually-supported curriculum for children with autism and other learning challenges.

“The VizZle District Edition is our way of partnering with districts to yield measurable results from the comprehensive deployment of instructional technology.” says Terry Murphy, CEO and Co-Founder of Monarch Teaching Technologies. “We have combined the best web-based visual learning resource with
customized professional services to help teachers build proficiency and capacity. We built the VizZle District Edition to respond to the growing demand from public schools for a total solution based on what we have experienced in hundreds of districts nationwide. We are very excited to include it as an integral
part of the 2012 Visual Learning TechGrants.”

The 2012 Visual Learning TechGrants are open to any learning institution that would benefit from visual learning and language support for students with autism, pervasive development disorder (PDD), Asperger’s syndrome and other learning challenges. Six TechGrants will be awarded worldwide, providing institutions
access to VizZle for the school year. Each TechGrant includes accounts for up to 200 educators, custom professional development, and ongoing technical support. The total retail value of TechGrant awards will total more than $500,000.

Applications must be emailed to techgrant@monarchtt.com by September 21, 2012. Winners will be announced at the Closing the Gap Conference on October 17,2012 For copies of the application and more information about the TechGrants, visit www.monarchtt.com/pressroom.

About VizZle
VizZle, produced by Monarch Teaching Technologies, is an easy-to-use, web-based authoring tool that empowers educators to create fun, interactive, visually-supported curriculum customized to the needs of children with autism and other learning challenges. Using any of the thousands of pre-made lessons from the peer-reviewed shared library or using lessons created with flexible templates and thousands of in-program or imported images, audio and video clips, teachers can track improved outcomes by IEP goals and/or Common Core State Standards.

http://www.monarchteachtech.com/vizzle
VizZle – 20600 Chagrin Blvd, Suite #703, Shaker Heights, Ohio, 44122 – 800.593.1934

About Monarch Teaching Technologies
Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc. (monarchtt.com) provides cost-effective, technology-enhanced solutions for more effective instruction for children with special learning needs. After a four-year R&D collaboration with researchers funded in part by NIH grants, the company introduced VizZle for the general market in 2009. For more information on VizZle or Monarch Teaching Technologies, visit http://www.monarchtt.com.

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Mobile Phones in the Classroom- this Week’s Topic on the Gateway to 21st Century Skills

Tucson, AZ – August 30, 2012

The use of cell phones in the classroom has always been a lively topic of discussion. With the ever expanding capabilities of mobile phones and the tremendous amount of applications developed for them, the dynamics of how they can be used to support education has changed. Additionally, students are proficient in using the cell phone as a multi-faceted device and not just to make phone calls.

This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org features resources from the Gateway’s collection that make creative use of mobile phones in the classroom and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Peggy’s Corner examines the Good, the Bad, and the ugly of using cell phones in the classroom. Peggy also adds several great resources.

In addition, we will also be featuring many more lessons, activities, and resources on Mobile Phones in the Classroom on the Gateways’ Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook so you don’t miss anything. Discussions will continue on last week’s theme of Pop Art on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the Gateway under the bio of both Joann and Peggy.

About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (www.thegateway.org) is a semantic web enabled education digital library that contains thousands of educational resources and as one of the oldest digital libraries on the web, it serves educators in 178 countries. Since 1996, educational activities, lesson plans, online projects, and assessment items have been contributed and vetted by over 700 quality organizations. The Gateway is made possible by the generous support of the National Education Association.

About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the
Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught physical science and chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work writing, evaluating, and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!

About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research and development organization, is a world leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With over 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives.
For more information about JES & Co., contact Terry Smithson at TerryS@JESandCo.org or visit us www.JESandCo.org.

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Follett’s new K12DigitalDecisions.com Website Helps Districts, Schools Navigate eReader Highway

‘Which Comes First … Content or Device?’ Quandary Explored in Depth

MCHENRY, Ill., Aug. 30, 2012 – Follett has sponsored a new website, K12DigitalDecisions.com, a timely and robust resource to help educators and districts navigate the eReader highway and answer the critical question, “Which Comes First … Content or Device?”

Follett Library Resources and Follett Software, part of the Follett School and Library Group (FSLG) that also includes Follett Educational Services and Follett International – sponsored the website to serve as a one-stop resource for school and district librarians and administrators to find the information that will help them create the best digital strategy customized to their specific needs.

“It is clear that mobile learning provides tremendous opportunities for student engagement,” said John Williams, director of digital products for Follett Library Resources. “Sorting through the wide variety of available mobile device strategies, however, is overwhelming to many of today’s school leaders. To amplify the challenge, the pace of technological change is so rapid now that digital tools and resources are being developed faster than schools can evaluate their options for implementation.”

When users sign up for the free digital diagnostic tool kit, the K12DigitalDecisions.com website will present a clear step-by-step process to help evaluate digital content resources, hardware needs, and understand content licensing terms. Ultimately, K12DigitalDecisions.com will enable districts and schools to connect the right digital tools to their desired learning outcomes.

The website also includes several insightful articles, including:
• Navigating the eReader Highway
• Purchase or Lease? Options for School Library eBook Acquisition
• One Tablet Per Child?
• eBooks and School Libraries
• Tips for BYOD K12 Programs
• Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity
• School Administrators Are More Open to Mobile Devices, Study Says

Whether it is sorting out the advantages and disadvantages of various mobile devices, such as commercially available dedicated eReaders, or learning how to compare and contrast various licensing agreements, K12DigitalDecisions.com addresses core digital issues with practical information to help educators make the best decisions for their school or district.

“We keep waiting for things to calm down with eBooks before we jump into them, and it’s not going to happen,” said Ann Fondren, library media coordinator, Spotsylvania County (Va.) Schools. “We’re used to spending money on things that are going to last, and in the eBook market we have no idea what’s coming down the road, but we can’t afford to wait because our kids are missing out.”

K12DigitalDecisions.com was unveiled at ISTE ’12 in San Diego in late June, and Williams said the response only affirmed why Follett took the step to sponsor the website.

“We had people coming by the booth to tell us their schools and districts were immersed in the content/device quandary, and they were only too eager to delve into resources that could help them make the right decisions,” Williams said. “We are confident K12DigitalDecisions.com is a positive step forward in that direction.”

Visit www.K12DigitalDecisions.com to explore the new website.

For more information aboutFollett Library Resources, visit www.titlewave.com, or visit Follett Software Company atwww.FollettSoftware.com

About Follett’s PreK-12 Business
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, eBooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.

About Follett
Follett Corporation is a $2.7 billion, privately held company that provides products, services and solutions to the educational marketplace. Follett Corporation was founded in 1873, and today is headquartered in River Grove, Illinois.

# # #

Media Contact:
Doug Thompson | Thompson Drake Public Relations
doug@thompsondrake.com| 541.322.9345 (office) | 541.419.4471 (cell)

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Shmoop Welcomes Students Back to School

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Aug. 30, 2012) – For students everywhere, summer is nearly over and it’s time to get back to the grind. Not that anyone’s going to be grinding too close just yet; it’s still pretty hot.

Shmoop, a publisher of digital curriculum and test prep, welcomes students back to the fold with a slew of helpful guides and tools to make their sailing smooth.

  • Test Prep. Going back to school means that students will soon be studying for tests, and Shmoop has all the tools they need to ace those suckers. Shmoop offers diagnostics for the reading, writing, and math portions of the SAT, PSAT and ACT. Students can take a stab and see how they do. The results will tell them what areas need more work. But don’t worry… they say it nicely.
  • Learning Guides. Before students are tested on their knowledge, they’ll need to accumulate it first. Using Shmoop’s Learning Guides, students can discover what makes Jay Gatsby so great, where Thor got that hammer, and what in the world “Prohibition” was. And was anyone actually “Anti-hibition?”
  • College 101. Students might not know it yet, but the carefree days of high school will soon be behind them. Shmoop’s College 101 section will prepare students for everything but their first frat party. Some things just have to be experienced.
  • Career Guide. Although they won’t need to pick a major right away, now may be a good time for students to start mulling over their options, career-wise. Want to make gobs of money? Enter the worlds of big business and finance. Want to make no money at all? The acting bug is a-callin’…
  • Financial Literacy. Understanding money, finance and economics early on may be the difference between retiring at 40 and buying a second home in Monaco, and…not retiring at all. So come on over to Shmoop’s Financial Literacy section—give the dollar a holler.

Shmoop has been very busy over the summer with the release of a new Literature Glossary and Dr. Seuss guide, and there’s plenty more on the barbie for the coming school year, including a calculus textbook and Shmoopsterpiece Theater. Also on the way are diagnostic tests for AP exams, a new and improved essay-writing guide, teacher resources and more.

Shmoop is a one-stop-shop for test prep, learning guides and fine Italian cuisine. All right, so Shmoop doesn’t serve food yet, but they’re working on it. Wait until you get a load of the meatballs.

About Shmoop
Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. Shmoop content is written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities. Shmoop Learning Guides, Test Prep, and Teacher’s Editions balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. Shmoop offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards and was named “Best in Tech” for 2010 and 2011 by Scholastic Administrator. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.

• Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x19, emily@cblohm.com

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Text: Jeb Bush’s ed speech at GOP convention

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush addressed the Republican Convention on Thursday night, giving a speech about education reform that is likely to fuel talk that he could be Mitt Romney’s education secretary should Romney win the presidential election, the Washington Post reports. Here’s the speech by Bush — who predictably attacks President Obama and teachers union — as well as remarks by a Florida teacher and student…

Click here for the full story

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Is education a privilege for the elite?

In June, Mitt Romney told Virginians on the campaign trail that he wanted “to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity…” the Huffington Post reports.

“…where everyone has a fair shot. They get as much education as they can afford and with their time they’re able to get and if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to be able to provide for their family and have a shot of realizing their dreams.”

Except if everyone is to have “a fair shot,” then they likely need to get more education than they “can afford.” July 12, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, along with eight students, filed a lawsuit against the state and the Highland Park School District for failing to see that children were reading at their grade level…

Click here for the full story

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Chicago teachers vote to strike on September 10 if no deal

The Chicago Teachers Union voted on Thursday to allow its first strike in 25 years starting on September 10 in the nation’s third-largest school district if negotiators cannot reach a contract with city officials, Reuters reports. The strike would start during the second week of classes for most of the system’s more than 400,000 students. The last Chicago teachers’ strike lasted four weeks in 1987. The union representing more than 26,000 teachers and other professionals wants improved job security, a raise, a new curriculum and a nearly 20 percent increase in instructional time, following a push by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a longer school day. Public schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has said that with a projected $3 billion deficit over the next three years, the school system cannot afford the raise the teachers want…

Click here for the full story

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Not all private schools parallel Romney education plan

Expanding school choice is a central piece of Mitt Romney’s education platform. But allowing more public dollars to follow low-income and special-needs children to private schools — one of Romney’s main proposals for reforming American education- does not guarantee those schools will open their doors to them, says the Hechinger Report. For example, a private school not far from the convention center — highlighted on the GOP Convention website as one of Florida’s best independent schools — did not take part in Florida’s first voucher program, which was ruled unconstitutional in 2006. And Tampa Preparatory School — founded in 1974 by a group of Tampa citizens, including Al Austin, chairman of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee for the Republican convention — does not participate in the state’s current school choice programs…

Click here for the full story

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