News from the T+L exhibit hall

Software that helps teachers personalize instruction for every student, helps parents stay connected to their children’s education, and helps administrators track progress toward key learning goals dominated the discussion in the T+L conference exhibit hall. Here’s a roundup of what we saw and heard.

aal, a provider of district-wide student information systems, highlighted its web-based eSIS software, which offers features such as Teacher Assistant (a desktop gradebook designed by teachers), as well as curriculum tracking, health and wellness tracking, electronic payment processing, secure online access to grades and course information for students and parents, and access from a smart phone or other wireless handheld device. Optional components that are available for an additional cost include Student Services, which helps educators manage and report on students with special needs; Virtual Education, which maintains information about students taking online courses; and eSIS On Demand, a fully hosted version of the solution.

Aerohive Networks, creators of cooperative control wireless LAN (WLAN) architecture, discussed Pender County Schools of North Carolina’s deployment of Aerohive’s WLAN solution. According to the company, the district selected Aerohive for its manageability, performance, and resiliency at total solution cost below other products it evaluated. The district’s seven elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, and an early college high school educate more than 8,400 students every year. Aerohive’s Cooperative Control technology combines an enterprise-class access point, known as a HiveAP, with a suite of cooperative control protocols and functions that bring all of the benefits of controller-based architectures but without the cost and complexity of traditional controllers or overlay networks. This design makes it possible for multiple HiveAPs to self-organize into groups, called “hives,” that share control information between HiveAPs to provide functions such as fast layer 2/layer 3 roaming, cooperative RF management, as well as security and mesh networking. In addition, unlike controller-based networks that create a single point of failure, HiveAPs work together to recover from hardware and system failures without requiring redundant systems. Read the full Pender County Schools case study. Aerohive’s HIveAP and HiveManager.

Ascend Math demonstrated its online tool for closing math achievement gaps by providing personalized instruction. The software, which can be used at school or from home, combines assessment with targeted instruction, prescriptive tutorials, and reporting tools. According to the company, it can diagnose deficiencies and strengths in individual students, assign instruction and practice using proven lessons, deliver post-instruction testing, adjust each student’s learning path with formative assessments, and address federal accountability requirements. Ascend Math has been proven to help students achieve grade-level gains of two years or more in a single semester, its maker says.

BoardDocs, a paperless governance solution, released a case study showing how the Bremerton School District in Washington state is using BoardDocs for its online governance. District officials say they especially like the fact that BoardDocs is compatible with mobile devices such as the Apple iPad. BoardDocs helps school boards significantly improve the way they create and manage packets, access information, and conduct meetings, while saving on paper and printing expenses; but it also dramatically increases transparency with the public, district leaders say—making access to current information quick and easy.

Britannica introduced SmartMath, which provides math practice, differentiated instruction, and progress tracking to help students improve their math skills and test scores. SmartMath is individualized, self-paced, and supplements any elementary school math curriculum, Britannica says. It also provides instant reporting. A free 30-day trial is available.

CallingPost promoted its automated voice messaging service for education. The service includes emergency notification, employee reminders, parent reminders, absenteeism notification, sports team messages, club fundraiser messages, bus delay information, back-to-school reminders, news release deployment, and alumni news. CallingPost has delivered more than 150 million messages for more than 65,000 clients, the company says.

Desire2Learn showcased its Learning Suite for Schools, which includes a learning management system for administering online and blended-learning programs; an ePortfolio solution for showcasing student work; a Learning Repository for managing professional learning communities and teacher collaboration; and analytics tools for using data to drive improvement. Desire2Lear recently announced that its Learning Suite has received Gold-Level Certification for accessibility by the National Federation of the Blind.

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