School and student management

(36) Alma is a modern, cloud-based school management system that aims to fix what it calls the “broken” state of school software use.

Intended to save time, not consume it, this new system includes school, student record, and classroom management tools that can help educators move to proficiency-based grading and tie curriculum to instruction, Alma said; many of the system’s features are available free of charge, with add-ons for a fee.

(37) With privacy near the top of school leaders’ minds, Skyward has issued a set of data privacy guidelines for schools. Available from Skyward’s website free of charge, the guidelines offer best practices for safeguarding sensitive information as school leaders store, share, and analyze student data.

(38) SunGard K-12 Education described recent enhancements to its eSchoolPLUS school management software, such as support for standards-based grading, prorated student fees, and the ability to find students quickly in the event of an emergency.

SunGard also now offers a series of webinars to help customers “tap the untapped abilities” within its software, said SunGard’s Lori Burke; these free, 30-minute sessions target student information every Tuesday and school business and finance every other Thursday.

Network infrastructure

(39) Extreme Networks discussed its Purview software, which collects, analyzes, and reports on application data across a school or district network—giving administrators insight into how applications are being used.

Savvy school leaders can use this information to improve the experience for their students and teachers, said Jonathan Kidwell, director of education sales; for instance, you could track which applications your highest performing students and teachers are using, to replicate this use across your school or district.

(40) Xirrus has been offering wireless access points based on the new gigabit Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, for several months—but at ISTE, the company announced that its 802.11ac arrays are shipping as well, at the same price as the older 802.11n arrays.

All Xirrus access points and arrays are modular products that can be upgraded easily, by pulling out the old radio module and snapping in a new one, Xirrus said—allowing schools to future-proof their investment in wireless technology.

21st century skills

(41) Atomic Learning has introduced new “soft skills” training for students. These are online videos that teach career readiness skills such as time management, conflict resolution, and effective listening—skills that go beyond the traditional curriculum.

(42) Certiport is coming out with a new digital literacy certification program for students in grades 3-5 this fall, called IC3 Spark; it will be similar to the company’s flagship IC3 certification program, which meshes with the ISTE technology literacy standards for students, except that it will be geared toward younger children.

Certiport’s digital literacy standards are available online for free, and the company charges a licensing fee for students to take an exam certifying them as digitally literate.

(Next page: Eight more innovative products shown at ISTE)

Dennis Pierce

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at