Rand McNally’s World Atlas now available through Sunburst Digital, Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 3, 2014

Rand McNally’s World Atlas now available through Sunburst Digital, Inc.

Hoffman Estates, IL – Sunburst Digital, Inc. today announced that it will supply Rand McNally World Atlas, a new online educational resource that delivers dynamic maps with social studies, history and geography content, as well as suggestions for lesson plans and writing connections. The new collaboration will provide a cornerstone for Sunburst’s digital social studies offerings across the K-12 spectrum.

World Atlas allows teachers and students to bring geography curriculum to life through robust maps and data layers and rich content. The dynamic digital classroom resource platform allows for users to create, draw on, annotate, and share custom maps.

Teachers have the ability to develop cross-curricular lessons to support students’ critical thinking and map skills. Each lesson is standards-aligned and can be downloaded, edited and saved. Students can easily create individual accounts, combine maps and layers, save them, add annotations, and then collaborate with other students as well as share maps with their teacher’s account.

Sunburst Digital, Inc. is proud to add Rand McNally’s World Atlas to its ever-expanding catalog of renowned and experienced digital classroom partners. Through this partnership, Sunburst Digital, Inc. significantly enhances its geography curriculum software within the digital classroom space.

Sunburst Digital, Inc., which provides appropriate digital classroom resources designed to supplement curriculum software and enhance academic achievement outcomes for the past 25 years, adds World Atlas to its wide-ranging product portfolio.

Rand McNally World Atlas is available from Sunburst Digital, Inc. via http://worldatlas.sunburst.com/ or by calling (800) 321-7511 for more information.

About Sunburst Digital, Inc.

Sunburst Digital, Inc. is the leading provider of digital classroom resources to educators and schools for more than 25 years, comprised of software developers, instructional designers, sales, service, and classroom specialists who are knowledge experts in delivering and connecting educators with digital content solutions designed to enhance academic achievement outcomes and transform classrooms. Sunburst Digital, Inc. sells, supports, and provides ongoing services for digital curriculum solutions to districts, schools, teachers, classrooms, and parents in the United States and abroad through passionate employees, talented partners, and proven systems. Sunburst Digital, Inc. proprietary and 3rd party products consist of: Type to Learn™, Ignite! Learning®, English Spanish Success: ESS™, Big Universe, Edusmart, Help Math, Rand McNally World Atlas, Key Skills®, Learn About™, 10th Planet™, Math Pathways®, A-Zap!®, Knowledge Adventure School™, and ShowWhatYouKnow®/Khan Academy.

About Rand McNally – Since 1856 Rand McNally has been the country’s most trusted source for maps, navigation, and travel content. Its Education division provides leading geography-based resources for the classroom, including the online World Atlas, printed classroom atlases, and wall maps. Rand McNally’s award-winning products provide teachers with innovative resources to help them engage children and enrich the learning experience in Social Studies, History, and Geography. Learn more at randmcnally.com.

To learn more about this partnership, please contact

Tim Edwards, Marketing
Sunburst Digital, Inc.
3150 W. Higgins Road, Ste. 140
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Office: (800) 321-7511
Fax: (224) 366-2586
tedwards@sunburst.com

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Mac to School Ramps Up Apple Device Buy-Back Program for K-12 School Districts

Leading recertified Apple provider earmarks $10M to buy back older Apple devices from K-12 in upcoming school year
Rather than letting old machines sit in the janitor’s closet gathering dust, hundreds of schools nationwide are choosing to sell those machines back to Mac to School, a leading provider of K-12 recertified Apple technology.

Over the past year, Mac to School has bought back millions of dollars worth of EdTech from schools, helping districts get some much-needed cash back in their pockets, seeing over $1M paid to schools through buybacks in August alone. The buy-back process is simple, quick and easy, once a quote is accepted, funds are immediately released to the institution selling the devices.

“Our mission is to provide a high-quality, low cost recertified Apple device option for districts across the country. In order to do that, we partner with schools and districts to purchase their older devices, providing them with additional funds to use as they see fit,” said Robert Baker, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Mac to School. “It is a priority to keep these devices in education, once purchased, they are recertified and offered to those looking for more Apple devices at a lower cost.”

Mac to School frequently works with districts that are looking to make room in their budgets to purchase newer EdTech – for example, selling iPad 2s to finance the purchase of iPad Airs. By selling the older assets back to Mac to School, districts can lessen the financial impact of a big EdTech purchase.

In 2015, Mac to School is looking to buy back $10 million in inventory from schools. Devices that are bought back that Mac to School deems too old to sell back to schools are donated to local schools through their Give Mac Program.

“We hope to continue partnering with districts to find creative solutions to their budget dilemmas, whether that’s through buying back their old machines or helping them purchase recertified devices,” said Baker.

To learn more about Mac to School and the Apple products currently in stock, visit www.mactoschool.com

About Mac to School:
Mac to School buys, sells and recertifies all types of Apple computers and equipment. We serve the public and private education market, working with small schools up to large districts throughout all 50 states. Our mission is to deliver the best value to our customers while providing the highest level of customer service. Our team of Apple Certified Technicians employs customized tools to generate detailed audits and provide quality refurbishment.

Press Contact:
Jacob Hanson
PR with Panache!
jacob@prwithpanache.com

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edWeb.net launches a professional learning community on “Teaching Kids to Code”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

edWeb.net launches a professional learning community on “Teaching Kids to Code”

PRINCETON, NJ, November 3, 2014 – edWeb.net, a professional learning and social network has launched a free professional learning community (PLC), Teaching Kids to Code, to help teachers integrate computer science and coding into classroom lessons.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the projected increases in STEM jobs from 2010-20 will be 33 percent, which is well above the projected growth of 14 percent for all other occupations. Yet steadily, the United States is falling behind other nations in educating our students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Coding literacy is a large part of STEM education and builds skills not only in the science of computing, critical thinking and problem solving but challenges students to think creatively and to communicate ideas; skills that are essential to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

There has been a recent surge in organizations developing tools to assist students in learning to code such as codeacademy.com, code.org and the MIT Media Lab. For teachers, teaching coding in the classroom is a new and exciting means to engage students in a creative instrument that combines computational thinking with real world application, but many of our educators lack the expertise and knowledge to teach these skills.

edWeb.net created a PLC to assist teachers in bringing these important lessons into the classroom. The Teaching Kids to Code PLC hosts webinars and online discussions to help educators connect and collaborate on the broader topic of teaching kids to code. The webinars will be hosted by experts, leading edge educators and industry leaders who will assist teachers in implementing computer science tools, curriculum and programs that benefit students, teachers and schools.

“According to the non-profit Code.org, only 1 in 10 U.S. schools teach children to code yet it is a growing realization that learning these skills are very important to our children’s future,” Lisa Schmucki, edWeb.net founder and CEO commented. “Teaching Kids to Code is not about creating the next generation of game creators but preparing students for 21st century careers and we are thrilled to offer teachers the opportunity to learn from experts and join in this very important discussion.”

In the inaugural webinar, Google’s Kate Berrio and Mary Jo Madda of EdSurge expressed the importance of teaching coding and introduced CS First — a program designed by a team of educators and computer scientists to get students, particularly those in underrepresented groups, interested in coding through after-school and summer programs. View the webinar here.

Teachers are invited to register for the next professional development webinar by Kiki Prottsam, the Executive Director of Thinkersmith.com, “Doing Your Part with Hour of Code,” which will be broadcast live on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here.

Educators can join the free Teaching Kids to Code community on edWeb.net to stay informed about upcoming webinars, join in discussions with peers and industry experts, and gain access to valuable resources.

For more information, contact:

Jenifer Morack, Program Director, edWeb.net
609-439-8103 | jenifer@edweb.net

About edWeb.net
edWeb.net is a free professional learning and social network that makes it easy for educators to connect and collaborate, share information and best practices, and create professional learning communities. edWeb hosts online professional learning communities for educators to connect with peers and experts all around the country and the world on the most innovative and progressive areas in education. edWeb professional learning programs offer free webinars, online chats and discussions, archived resources, and CE certificates. Schools and districts lack the time, expertise, and funding to provide the professional development educators need – edWeb fills that gap. Learn more at www.edweb.net or follow us on Twitter @edwebnet.

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Educators say Apple’s $100M grants can transform schools

Company’s commitment to support ConnectEd initiative is a boon to underprivileged schools

apple-schoolsAs part of its $100 million commitment to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, Apple will provide devices, software, and support to 114 schools across the nation.

The grants will go to schools with at least 96 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Ninety-two percent of students from the 114 recipient schools are minorities.

Each student will receive an iPad, and every teacher and administrator will receive an iPad and Mac. Each classroom will have Apple TV.

Apple representatives emphasized that their investment goes beyond products. Each school will work with an Apple Education team, which will ensure that IT and educational needs are met. Professional development around technology integration also will be provided.

(Next: How educators are reacting to the announcement)

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Four critical decisions when making wireless infrastructure changes

Joe Kuzo, director of technology at Quakertown Community School District, shares four critical decisions his district made when expanding wireless systems

joekuzoWireless systems in K-12 institutions have likely been in place for several years now, prior to the large influx of personal devices and district owned devices, and we are beginning to see the ever-growing need for expanding wireless capacity. There are many options that need to be considered.

Funding for these critical infrastructure changes happen infrequently, so we must do our due diligence to ensure we not only get the best value for our funding, but also it’s future proofing us for devices that have not yet entered our districts. I’ve outlined my top four as I have just gone through the transition to a new vendor and platform. Easiest is not always the best! I’ve purposely left this blog vendor-agnostic, however, I’m more than happy to share my experiences directly with anyone interested.

Below are four critical decisions we had to make which I think most K-12 districts will also face and need to evaluate.

(Next page: the four critical decisions to evaluate)

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App of the Week: Scheduling for students with autism

autism-schedulingApp name: Choiceworks

What is it? The Choiceworks app is an essential learning tool for helping children complete daily routines (morning, day, & night), understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting).

Best for: Students with autism and educators working with students with autism

Price: $4.99

Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

Features: Created with the support of leading hospitals and child development specialists, this app is designed for caregivers to provide clear and consistent support to foster a child’s independence, positive behavior, and emotional regulation at home and in the community. It can also be customized for teachers in a school setting.

Key Features

  • Three boards: Schedule, Waiting, and Feelings
  • Three Companion Books supporting each board
  • Image Library preloaded with over 180 images and audio
  • Add your own images and record your own audio for limitless customizability
  • Easily create profiles to personalize and manage multiple users
  • Save an unlimited number of boards for multiple children or different routines
  • Speaks boards out loud with professionally recorded audio
  • Time saving essentials like search and auto-save
  • Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks app users
  • Ability to print boards or save as PDF

Link: iTunes

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Free charging carts up for grabs in online contest

Schools need a way to charge and store tablets, and three schools could win a free charging cart

charging-cartAs mobile technology appears in more and more classrooms, the need for accessories to support the functionality and battery power of those devices is evident.

CartWrite, an online technology furniture dealership, is offering a free charging cart to a deserving school.

“Dedication to low pricing and free shipping are everyday examples of our commitment. Now, we are offering a FREE charging cart to a deserving school,” said Ed Stevens, CartWrite CEO.

(Next page: How to enter the contest)

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Mobile tools clear path for workflow management

app-graderA new tablet app aims to improve faculty workflow around assignments and easily track student submissions.

Using Bb Grader from Blackboard, teachers and faculty can easily track, sort, and grade student assignments across multiple courses directly from their iOS tablets. They can also offer text, audio and video feedback on submissions, creating more personalized and engaging responses on projects and tasks.

The tool also lets teachers view metrics on potential student performance risks, making it easier for instructors to effectively improve student retention and outcomes on a daily basis. For example, teachers can see when assignment risk factors associated with student success, such as slow submission progress or minimal activity, are triggered.

“I like the interface. I especially like that I can immediately see all course assignments and quickly get a list of those that need to be graded. I can also see which students have not yet submitted,” said Robert Newbury, Ph.D., faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno. “I found the simple swipe features and the ability to email students directly very handy. I also enjoyed the simplicity of going in and changing a grade. There are no extra buttons to click. I just hit ‘grade’ and start modifying.”

“Educators need – and expect – great tools that help them do their jobs better,” said Mark Strassman, senior vice president of product management for Blackboard. “I am excited to offer a helpful and delightful tool that not only have teachers and faculty been asking us for, but is designed specifically for them. This represents yet another step in our renewed focus on creating products that improve the experience for the teachers and the students that use our solutions every day.”

The app is available at no extra cost to teachers whose schools use Blackboard’s mobile teaching and learning solution. Institutions can connect Bb Grader to the Blackboard teaching and learning environment. The app is currently available for iOS and is supported for the iPad and iPad Mini.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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