New software programs for finding substitute teachers, sending emergency notifications, creating digital forms, improving classroom behavior, and involving students in the creation of their IEPs were a few of the many school administrative services showcased during Feb. 2011 ed-tech conferences.
BuyBoard introduced attendees to its online purchasing cooperative, which is designed to streamline the purchasing process and help its members make confident buying decisions. By combining purchasing power, BuyBoard members can leverage better pricing from vendors they might already use.
CRS Advanced Technology presented SubFinder, a fully automated Employee Absence Management and Substitute Placement System that offers both internet and telephone access. SubFinder also integrates with human resources and payroll systems and promotes a paperless work environment, the company says. SubFinder is fully configurable, with the user controlling settings, options, and functions.
ECN, the Emergency Communications Network, demonstrated its web-based suit of emergency notification services, including CodeRED, a high-speed community notification system; CodeRED Weather Warning, an automated severe weather alert system; CheckUp Call, for checking on at-risk individuals; and CodeED, communications tools for K-12 educators.
EF Educational Tours offers more than 290 international tours designed for high school teachers and students. The company commissioned research firm AdvancED to survey thousands of young adults who are now 20 or 21 years old and who took an EF tour in high school. The company says it discovered that taking an educational tour is “life-changing, setting students up for long-term success in their personal and professional lives.”
Excent, a developer of software for special-needs students, announced the release of MyGraduationPlan, an online program that helps students create their own Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to boost graduation rates. “Entirely too many students in special education are dropping out of school or not graduating with a diploma,” said Carmen W. Cavolo, the software’s creator. “MyGraduationPlan [seeks] to turn this trend around.” Students use the software to assess their strengths and needs, and they learn to be self-advocates for their personalized IEP. District administrators can use the software to monitor students’ progress toward meeting the goals in their IEPs right from their desktop. “By aligning all of the stakeholders around the student’s own goals and involving the student in [his or her] own IEP, students are given a sense of purpose and ability, which greatly increases their probability of staying in school to graduate,” Cavolo said.
Global Connect discussed how its parent notification system allows users to reach parents, staff, and faculty quickly, effectively, inexpensively, and securely. According to the company, clients can conduct emergency broadcast notifications; contact parents with tardy, absence, or discipline notifications; make weather-relates announcements; conduct polls and surveys; announce holidays or other schedule changes; contact staff members; give school board meeting reminders; boost fundraiser results; broadcast testing or report card distribution dates; and conduct voice broadcasts from any location. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ING, a Dutch insurance conglomerate, discusses its commitment to education through its Unsung Heroes Awards Program, which the company says has helped more than a thousand K-12 educators and their schools fund innovative classroom projects through awards totaling more than $3 million. The company is asking for 2011 applications for this award, which focuses on rewarding a creative, unique educational program that is helping students “reach new heights.” Educators also can apply for funding if there is a program that “you’d like to implement, if only you had the proper funding.” For more information, contact email@example.com.
Lexmark discussed its Testing and Grading solution, which helps educators test their students more often and for less cost, without adding to their workload, the company says. Adding this workflow software to Lexmark multifunction printers allows educators to print their own test materials (including scan-ready bubble sheets) on affordable plain paper and scan the completed tests right at the printer to score them automatically. That enables teachers to see their students’ results in minutes, while teachers and administrators can access a variety of reports to analyze student performance. In addition, the solution can be configured to export results directly to a student information system or electronic grade book, Lexmark says.
Longhouse Software gave educators and administrators a peek at its Class A Scheduler, an interactive school scheduling solution that gives teachers access to automated tools and reports. The product features easy data entry and editing, course setup and parameters, and schedule-building tools to work with free periods, sections, and more.
PowerITSchools, a provider of K-12 web applications, announced its PowerIT Form Builder, which the company says can save districts money, help staff be more efficient, and streamline management of school and district forms and other data. Forms can be made for online help desks, event registration, summer reading preferences, parent volunteer sign-up, and more. Form Builder also has payment processing tools and can integrate with eCommerce platforms such as PayPal. Its reporting and database features allow administrators to export, sort, and manipulate form responses; also, its submission options allow users to receive form submission via eMail or text message in addition to having them feed to the secure database. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psychological Software Solutions (PSS) has released a software program called Review360 GenEd, which serves as a foundation for behavior improvement in the classroom and a more positive school climate. “Review360 GenEd draws on the experience and success with our flagship product, Review360. It has many of the same features that make Review360 highly effective in managing the behavior of students with behavioral disorders; however, we have added new features to make it relevant for school leaders, educators, and support staff working across all levels of intervention,” said PSS Co‐Founder Stewart Pisecco.
The first component of Review360 GenEd, for classroom teachers, provides professional development modules for effective classroom management, with content from evidence-based, teacher-led practices. The second component, for use by school leaders, aggregates classroom and school‐wide data and tracks specific behavioral trends in the overall student population, as well as with individual students. This provides the framework for implementing school‐wide activities to promote positive behavior, resulting in a more constructive school climate and increased academic performance, PSS says.
SchoolCity introduced attendees to SchoolCHARTS, a free statewide assessment and accountability charting system that provides instant access to hundreds of charts illustrating assessment results for every school and district in a user’s state.
Skyward introduced new software that gives school districts several mobile-friendly ways to access the company’s School Management System. Skyward’s new SMS Mobile application operates on multiple smart-phone platforms, including iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. Designed for ease of use on mobile devices, SMS Mobile allows users to view student emergency, attendance, scheduling, and discipline information. Whether on a field trip or at a sporting event, officials can quickly look up a student’s emergency contact or medical alert information, and they have easy mobile access to financial and human resources information as well, allowing them to approve time off and requisitions on the go. In addition, parents can easily check on how their student is progressing from a mobile device with support for Family Access, Skyward says.
Software Answers demonstrated ProgressBook, a web-based classroom and student management system reportedly used by 75 percent of Ohio schools. The system started as an online gradebook for teachers but now includes a full student information system (SIS), as well as features for compiling and managing standards-based assignments and tracking special-education compliance. Because the software is modular, it can be used as a complete, stand-alone solution or with a school district’s existing SIS to help manage classroom grades and assignments, the company said.
STI discussed how Alabama is using its web-based student information system to help drive student achievement. Alabama is one of 24 states that have implemented all 10 recommendations of the Data Quality Campaign, which tracks states’ progress toward a set of goals that will help them use data to improve education. STI also introduced a new ad-hoc reporting tool, called InFocus, that is bundled into its software at no extra charge. The tool allows users to drill down through the data for more information on topics such as attendance trends, dropout rates, and so on. Users also can set up automatic alerts that will notify them when certain data points dip below a pre-defined threshold.
Teachers-Teachers.com is an online recruitment service that provides schools with a method for advertising to qualified educators nationwide. Users can post positions to a database of more than 125,000 certified educators, search the database and send targeted eMails to specific pools of candidates, hire an unlimited number of educators for one annual fee, and use a paperless applicant tracking system.
Tyler Technologies displayed Tyler Pulse for Schools, which acts as a central data repository, or information warehouse, and combines and transforms data into usable information that can be easily accessed and delivered. It offers key information about a school district, individual school, classroom, or student, the company said.
Worth Ave Group, affiliated with Student Insurance Policies, gave attendees information on laptop and iPad policies that can insure devices issued to students, teachers, and staff.
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