Want to engage students? Have them create apps

Student app development is on the rise, and ed-tech companies have tapped into this trend by launching programs that teach kids how to build their own apps


With mobile apps soaring in popularity, companies such as Crescerance and Treehouse have created programs that help teach kids how to build their own apps.

Each month, tens of thousands of mobile apps are added to the app stores for Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows 8—and a growing number of these are from K-12 students.

There’s an app from fifth-grader Danielle that teaches users how to create intricate Rainbow Loom designs, for instance—which had been downloaded more than 20,000 times as of press time.

There’s an app from a student named Kennedy that teaches visitors to France some basic words and phrases to know, as well as facts about France and where to visit. And there’s an app from a student named Ryan that offers fashion advice and lets users share photos of outfits they like with their friends.

With mobile apps soaring in popularity, companies such as Crescerance and Treehouse have created educational programs that help teach kids how to design and build their own apps.

These programs engage students by tapping into their powerful connection with smart devices—and they could help inspire the next generation of software developers as well.

From consumers to creators of technology

Kevin Reiman, superintendent of the Auburn Public Schools in Nebraska, said his district had worked with Crescerance—a Georgia-based company that develops customized apps for schools and other organizations—to create a mobile app for the district.

When Reiman learned that Crescerance was offering a new program to teach students how to develop apps, “this spoke to me,” he said.

Auburn is a small district of about 900 students in southeastern Nebraska. About half of its students live in poverty—but even among these students, “most of them have a smart phone,” Reiman said. “They might not have a computer at home, but they have a mobile device.”

(Next page: How Auburn students are learning app development—and how they have benefited as a result)


Los Angeles Unified School District Selects IBA’s In Case of Crisis Mobile Emergency Management App

Critical Emergency Management Information for Faculty, Parents and Community – Also in Spanish – to Be Available on Mobile Devices

Herndon, Va.– May 28, 2014 – Irving Burton Associates’ In Case of Crisis today announced that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has selected its emergency preparedness mobile app. With three versions planned for faculty, parents, students and the greater community (select versions will also be developed in Spanish), the mobile app will provide guidance on specific emergencies, offering step-by-step actions to take in cases of fire, severe weather, and evacuation, among other possible situations. Visual icons, know-how guides and detailed instructions will help users communicate and navigate any crisis situation.

As the second largest school district in the nation, LAUSD enrolls more than 650,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, at over 1,300 schools and 249 public charter schools. The district’s boundaries spread over 710 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities, plus several unincorporated sections of Los Angeles County.

Utilized by leading corporate, education and government organizations, the In Case of Crisis mobile solution allows convenient and secure access to emergency information with features such as easy-to-read instructional and building diagrams, one-tap key contact calling, push notifications for updates/alerts, maps and incident reporting. The app includes access to a library of 85 possible emergency event scenarios with templates and images.

“We are thrilled to serve the Los Angeles Unified School District as a partner in bringing critical emergency management plans and procedures to their vast communities via mobile devices,” said Christopher Britton, General Manager, IBA’s In Case of Crisis. “Each school district has unique needs and we look forward to working hand in hand with LAUSD to implement a customizable, secure solution that comprehensively supports immediate access to readiness, response and recovery plans.”

About In Case of Crisis
In Case of Crisis is a purpose-built mobile emergency response and business continuity solution designed to allow organizations to publish their specific emergency procedures and instructions via an online portal to employees’, students’ and constituents’ Apple, Android and Amazon Kindle mobile devices. With four editions including education, corporate, government and hospitality, the In Case of Crisis app promotes organization and business continuity by offering mobile users current, actionable emergency guidance when and how they need it, regardless of connectivity. In Case of Crisis is an Irving Burton Associates (IBA) service headquartered in Herndon, Va. For more information visit www.incaseofcrisis.com

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SecurityWorks, Inc. Launches New Division, Unveils Highly Anticipated KONGcart

Fountain Valley, CA (May 27, 2014) –SecurityWorks, Inc. today announced the launch of its new division: GORILLAdigital, an entity focused on the design and manufacture of ultra-rugged and innovative IT support products. In conjunction with this announcement, the company also released its flagship product, the KONGcart 2000 Series, a reinvented, patented audio-visual (AV) cart that makes carts a viable option for today’s classrooms.

“Three school districts joined with us in a design project to reinvent the AV cart after teachers and administrators concluded that the old-style carts didn’t fit with today’s equipment,” says Christopher Meyer, president of SecurityWorks. “Our products provide teachers with the tools they need to more effectively do what they do best which is teach, without having to focus on the audiovisual landscape.”

The KONGcart 2095 is designed to accommodate a projector, a document camera, a tablet or laptop, and a sound system; all the equipment is physically secured, yet fully adjustable and within easy reach. This allows teachers to face their students and project to the rear of the classroom without the glare from the projector getting in their eyes. In addition, the KONGcart has built-in cylinders that allow the cart’s work surface to adjust from 29” to 42” while in use. This allows primary-grade teachers to sit down while teaching, so they can maintain eye contact with their students. It also promotes good health by giving teachers the option of sitting or standing while teaching.

The KONGcart has already impressed schools, including San Leandro High School in California, where there is a KONGcart in every classroom, along with a GORILLAdigital bundle that includes a projector, document camera and speaker.

“The KONGcart is so well made, it holds up quite nicely in the high school environment where many other products do not,” says Roxanne Ansolabehere, San Leandro High School’s multi-media director. “Teachers love the fact that the equipment is right at their fingertips and physically secured to the KONGcart, so they just push a button and get to teaching each morning.”

Along with the introduction of the KONGcart series, the company also announced the release of two other products developed for the education space. The MONKEYmount 280 is an all-in-one universal mounting product that serves as a stand-alone solution for tablets. The unique ball-joint pivot allows the tablet to be positioned parallel to the surface on which the stand sits, so the tablet can be used as a document camera.

The APEcase is an iPad case with a wireless keyboard. The patent-pending design has detachable keyboard and iPad with an innovative kickstand.

To purchase products or receive more information, contact: 800-880-3988, ext. 301 or 308, info@goapedigital.com, www.goapedigital.com.

About GORILLAdigital:
GORILLAdigital designs and manufactures multimedia and AV carts that facilitate the mobility and security of small-form-factor IT hardware in any workplace. The company works closely with customers in education, medical, service bay and manufacturing/distribution segments to provide IT support solutions that are secure and mobile while maintaining ergonomics and ease of use. GORILLAdigital products offer full-featured patented solutions that are value priced. To purchase products or receive more information, contact: 800-880-3988, ext. 301 or 308, info@goapedigital.com, www.goapedigital.com.

About SecurityWorks, Inc.
SecurityWorks, Inc., a privately held company based in Fountain Valley, California, with a New York-based sales office, designs products on an OEM and ODM basis for institutional clients who require physical security for small-factor IT devices. For more information about SecurityWorks, Inc. products, contact SecurityWorks, Inc., 17233 Newhope St., Ste G, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 USA. Phone: (714) 668-8800; Fax: 714-668-8808; Internet: www.securityworks-inc.com; info@securityworks-inc.com


Conceptua Math Partners with Clever to Speed SIS Integration

Conceptua Math Adds Clever SIS Integration to Support IT Staff and Teachers

Petaluma, CA – May 27, 2014 – Conceptua® Math today announced a partnership with Clever to seamlessly integrate district student information systems (SIS) data with its online digital math solution. The collaboration will make it easier for teachers and students to use Conceptua’s innovative visual models, class lesson sequences and teacher supports, while providing a FERPA-compliant way to sync student rosters with Conceptua Math.

“Our goal at Conceptua is to help teachers use technology to deliver instruction based on best practice to their students. Our partnership with Clever helps us realize this goal by maximizing the instructional time that teachers have with their students,” states David Robertshaw, Conceptua’s VP of Project Management. “ Clever’s secure, automatic data syncing helps to minimize the level of data management required of district IT staff and teachers. This collaboration lets Conceptua Math sync with nearly any SIS system, while maintaining our FERPA-compliance. It’s a win for us and the districts we serve.”

The partnership with Clever will allow districts to deploy Conceptua Math with up-to-date student and teacher enrollments, even as they change throughout the school year. The collaboration will free schools and teachers from the burdens of data and technology management, allowing teachers more time to focus on instruction and formative assessment with Conceptua Math.

“We are especially excited that Clever has launched their new “Instant Login” feature,” adds Robertshaw. “Student login time can devour a huge portion of the instructional period. Now students will be able get to their Conceptua Math lessons instantly.” Tyler Bosmeny, Clever’s CEO, added, “Clever has always been focused on making sure students and teachers can spend time on what matters, instruction and learning. We’re excited to partner with Conceptua Math in bringing a seamless experience to classrooms.”

About Conceptua Math
Conceptua Math, an innovator in online elementary math solution, was founded by a team of educators, educational publishers and research leaders with a mission to transform the teaching and learning of mathematics. Conceptua Math offers research-based, interactive visual models, built-in discussion guides that empower teachers to facilitate the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, and adaptive teaching technology that allows teachers to diagnose and remediate student misconceptions. For more information, visit www.conceptuamath.com or phone 888.768.MATH.

About Clever
Clever is the simplest way for schools to keep their learning software in sync with their existing student information systems. Over 20,000 schools across the United States use Clever, and over 100 innovative software applications now integrate with Clever, including Interactive Achievement, Imagine Learning, and DreamBox. In 2012, the SIIA named Clever the “Most Innovative Company in Education,” in 2013, Clever was awarded first place at SXSWedu, and in 2014 Clever won ROE’s first prize for learning infrastructure. Clever’s headquarters are in San Francisco, CA. For more information contact Clever at (415) 562-6483, press@clever.com, or http://clever.com.



ClassLink LaunchPad™ Wins 2014 SIIA CODiE Award

Clifton, NJ – May 29, 2014 – ClassLink, the leader in personal cloud desktops for education, announced that LaunchPad Suite won a 2014 SIIA CODiE Award. This is the third consecutive year that the industry leading LaunchPad took home a prestigious CODiE award win.

ClassLink LaunchPad™ is a personal cloud desktop offering 500+ single sign-on’s to web and Windows applications, instant access to files at school and in cloud folders (Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive) from any device. LaunchPad is essential for 1to1 and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

“It’s an honor to be recognized as a CODiE award winner for the third year in a row! The pace of innovation in LaunchPad keeps growing and it energizes our whole team. Now with robust single sign-on, LaunchPad is essential for any modern classroom.” said Berj Akian, ClassLink Founder and CEO. “We thank the judges, SIIA and the membership for their recognition of LaunchPad.”

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, announced ClassLink’s win as one of 31 CODiE Award winners in education technology category. An SIIA CODiE Award win for ed tech companies is an especially prestigious honor, as each award winner has been selected by a combination of educators, who act as initial judges by selecting finalists among all nominees, and SIIA members-company peers, who vote to select the winners from among the finalists.

“SIIA’s 2014 Education CODiE Award winners’ are some of the most innovative, high-impact education products out there,” said SIIA Vice President for the Education Division Karen Billings. “We congratulate all of this year’s CODiE Award winners, and thank them for the contributions they have made to the education industry.”

To learn more about LaunchPad visit: www.classlink.com/launchpad

About ClassLink
ClassLink is a leading provider of cloud-based education products and services that connect teachers and students with their classroom, their curriculum and each other in richer, more powerful ways. Founded in 1998, ClassLink’s mission is to empower educators to improve learning through innovative systems and services.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 700 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. Information technology (IT) and software security are critical issues to SIIA’s members, many of whom strive to develop safe, secure and state-of the-art products that effectively serve their commercial and government customers alike, while protecting their intellectual property. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities and critical market information. For more information, visit www.siia.net/education.

ClassLink and LaunchPad are trademarks of ClassLink.

ClassLink — the future of instructional technology
For more information, visit www.ClassLink.com
Call 888-963-7550 or email info@ClassLink.com


Pennsylvania Education Service Agency Hosts Webinar on the Benefits of Online Therapy

Capital Area Intermediate Unit (IU) invites IUs and school districts to learn about their successful implementation of PresenceLearning

SAN FRANCISCO, May 29, 2014 – When school districts within the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) faced overflowing caseloads and a backlog of student assessments for speech and occupational therapy, the CAIU researched new options and selected PresenceLearning to provide online therapy services to districts in need. After a successful year deploying PresenceLearning’s live online services, the CAIU will discuss their experiences during a free webinar on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time/10:00 AM Pacific Time. The “Extend Your Reach: CAIU Offers Online Services for Your Students with Special Needs,” webinar will be hosted by Arlene Moll, project administrator for the Department of Student Services at the CAIU, and moderated by Christian Hansen, Pennsylvania school partnership director at PresenceLearning.

To sign up for this free webinar, visit: http://pages.presencelearning.com/register-caiu-webinar.html

The 45-minute webinar will introduce attendees to online therapy services and discuss how IUs and school districts can use live online technology to bring quality services and experienced clinicians to students with special needs. Participants will also learn how and why the CAIU (IU #15) uses online therapy services to supplement its existing therapists and programs.

By attending the webinar, participants will:
● Understand the factors that led CAIU to use online therapy as a supplemental resource, how these services support existing staff and how they added to the IU’s service offerings.
● Gather background information and supporting research about online therapy, known interchangeably as telepractice.
● Watch demonstrations of what online speech and occupational therapy look like and how it works.

Since 2009, PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy and other related services have provided schools with a practical, affordable new option for service delivery: web-based access to a nationwide network of live, highly qualified, fully licensed speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and mental health professionals who are available whenever and wherever they are needed. PresenceLearning also offers online assessments for both speech and occupational therapy. By partnering with PresenceLearning, school districts can address capacity issues related to acute and chronic shortages of qualified clinicians, reduce high caseloads for onsite personnel, reduce their backlog of assessments, improve student outcomes and become more efficient. PresenceLearning also offers access to technical specialists, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse clinicians.

About Arlene Moll
Arlene Moll is the Project Administrator for the Department of Student Services at the CAIU. She is the primary point of contact for school districts interested in integrating online special education services into their network of resources.

Christian Hansen
Christian Hansen is the Pennsylvania school partnership director at PresenceLearning. Hansen has over a decade of experience as a school-based occupational therapist.

About PresenceLearning
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading provider of online speech and occupational therapy, counseling and assessments for K-12 districts and families of children with special needs. PresenceLearning’s nationwide network includes hundreds of highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs) and mental health professionals. Therapy sessions are delivered “anytime anywhere” via live videoconferencing using the latest in evidence-based practices combined with powerful progress reporting.

Serving thousands of students in public, charter and virtual schools across the U.S. and globally, PresenceLearning has shown that online delivery of related services is practical, convenient and highly effective.



E-Rate Demand Grows As More Districts Seek Higher Broadband Speeds

Data analysis from Funds For Learning reveals new insights into applicant needs

EDMOND, OKLA. (May 29, 2014) – Demand for E-rate funding continues to grow across the country, with the most growth coming from Rural and Rural Remote applicants. Funds For Learning, the nation’s largest E-rate consulting firm, provided this insight from its analysis of all Funding Year (FY) 2014 E-rate applications submitted by schools and school districts.

The analysis reveals requests for proposals for Internet access and Wide Area Networks services have continued to shift to higher broadband speeds. The number of unique participating vendors, which were listed on applications for internal connections and maintenance, has continued to drop, which suggests less competition in that space.

“Historic change is coming to the E-rate program. The FCC is considering proposals to reform and modernize the E-rate, bringing about the most significant changes to the program since its inception,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “To help the FCC and other stakeholders make informed decisions about the future shape of the program, Funds For Learning has prepared a detailed analysis of FY2014 school demand for telecommunications and Internet discounts.”

On May 15, 2014, USAC released the first FY 2014 funding wave. Of 10,134 applicants, 38 percent received funding decision letters. In all, $607.3 million in telecommunications and Internet access discounts was committed. USAC also issued denials totaling $22.8 million.
The complete analysis is available in a recent whitepaper from Funds For Learning.
About Funds For Learning

Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student Internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.FundsForLearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.

For more information contact:
Micah Rigdon
Funds For Learning, LLC

Saul Hafenbredl
C. Blohm & Associates, Inc.
608-216-7300, ext. 25


7 steps in a mobile learning rollout

Knowing what to do and where to start can help your mobile program succeed

mobile-stepsSuccessful mobile learning initiatives are more and more prevalent in districts across the nation.

And while the same initiative won’t necessarily work for two different districts, mobile learning best practices repeatedly prove that successful initiatives share a number of the same steps.

Here, we’ve outlined seven of those steps. These steps are broadly described, and successful mobile initiatives certainly require much more attention to detail, in-depth planning, and continued focus.

What steps do you believe are critical to mobile learning success? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

(Next page: 7 steps in a mobile learning initiative)


Three ways digital badges are used in education

As schools progress to include online and on-campus courses and activities, digital badges are suited to meet the needs of emerging education models

gI_132393_MakingbadgesAs children, our accomplishments were recognized with trophies, plaques, a pat on the back or cloth badges sewn on to a Girl Scout or Boy Scout sash.

In high school and college, we received diplomas and began to fill up resumes and LinkedIn profiles with job qualifications and experience. But what if there was a way to help acknowledge educational experiences that happen outside of the classroom and recognize valuable skills such as leadership or collaboration?

To address this need, the trend of digital badges is rapidly catching on. But what will be its impact and potential on education?

(Next page:  Examining Digital Badge effectiveness)


3 new ed-tech startups you should know about it

From learning science and social studies through public radio to animated ed-tech video games and big data, these three startups will improve learning

ed-tech-startupsWe are living in a defining moment for ed-tech startups, despite concerns of being in a “bubble.” To be sure, in 2013, entrepreneurs raised more than half a million dollars, compared to more than $200 million in 2008.

Indeed, this is an exciting time for both ed-tech entrepreneurs and for educators and administrators.

It should be recalled that technology in and of itself should not replace traditional teaching and instruction. Technology, when used correctly, should be viewed as a powerful tool to enhance the learning experience.

Are you considering launching your own ed-tech startup? Watch this informational video here.

Below are three new ed-tech startups you should know about and might want to consider using to compliment and boost traditional lecturing.

(Next page: Three ed-tech startups making a difference)