New Common Sense tool shows how secure your ed-tech apps are

New educator resource is intended to find accurate, up-to-date evaluations of privacy and security practices of ed-tech applications

Common Sense Education, in collaboration with over 70 schools and districts nationwide, launched its K-12 Ed-Tech Privacy Evaluation Platform to support educators in their effort to make informed decisions about the educational software being used on campuses throughout the country.

With schools and districts struggling to manage the challenge of evaluating the privacy and security practices of thousands of educational technology products on the market, Common Sense convened stakeholders to develop a platform that provides accurate and up-to-date evaluations of the security practices of the most commonly used ed-tech apps. The robust set of resources is available at https://privacy.graphite.org.

“Evaluating the privacy and security practices of educational software is a daunting task for most schools and districts, but it doesn’t have to be,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “By working together with educators, Common Sense has developed a comprehensive, centralized, and free resource to help an education community that is spread out across the country learn from each other and make more informed decisions about protecting student privacy.”…Read More

New ed-tech products target classroom instruction

Classroom instruction was the focus of many new products introduced at recent ed-tech conferences.

Software designed for touch-screen tablets, and new programs for teaching reading and math, were among the many products unveiled at recent ed-tech conferences. Some providers of curriculum software also highlighted new research to support the efficacy of their products.

New tablet-based products

Capitalizing on the growing use of iPads and other tablet computers in education, the California-based nonprofit MIND Research Institute released ST Math Touch, a version of its ST Math visual learning software for students in grades K-5 that is optimized for use with touch-based tablets.…Read More

‘Funding cliff’ looms as stimulus money runs out

School districts could face huge budget shortfalls as the stimulus money dries up.

As lawmakers around the country debate their states’ budgets, they’re staring over the edge of a massive fiscal cliff—the point where about $100 billion in federal stimulus money for education will run out.

The end of that money will compound states’ severe budget woes and likely lead to thousands of layoffs and the elimination of popular school programs around the country.

The bulk of the money, part of $814 billion provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, went to save the jobs of teachers and other school employees, as state and local revenue dried up during the prolonged economic downturn. Lawmakers in many states have drawn criticism for making deep cuts in state education funding and replacing it with stimulus money, thus avoiding cuts elsewhere in their budgets.…Read More

Enough hardware, already!

Schools may see more impact if they look past hardware.
Schools may see more impact if they look past hardware.

Guess the years: a computer in every classroom; internet access in every school; 1:1 laptops for middle or high school students; an interactive whiteboard in every classroom; 3D projectors to make content more engaging.  Now, tell me how education outcomes have improved since 1985 when the goal was a computer in every classroom.  According to the test scores, there has been no significant improvement.  And now that we need to teach 21st century skills, our schools are further from success than they were in 1985.

So why hasn’t technology helped to improve education the way it has made manufacturing more productive, the way it has made financial services more profitable, or the way it has transformed the retail experience through online reviews, recommendations, and shopping?

There is a simple answer: educators have been obsessed with hardware.…Read More

TechSmith donating $2M in software to Michigan schools

TechSmith Corp. is donating up to $2 million in software to Michigan schools, reports the Lansing State Journal. The Okemos, Mich.-based company provides computer screen capture and recording software. Accredited Michigan schools that teach kindergarten through 12th grade can apply for free copies of the software. “A lot of our employees, almost 90 percent, are from Michigan, and many of us have kids in Michigan schools,” said Dave McCollom, who works with education clients for the company. TechSmith was founded in 1987 and employs 220, mostly in Okemos. About 30 percent of its business comes from education clients, while the rest comes from a variety of sources. The company posted roughly $35 million in sales last year. Depending on which software the schools request, McCollom said he estimates the company’s offer will supply 13,000 to 20,000 copies of software…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

CompassLearning bought by private investment firm

Students master technology at a young age and software must keep up with that trend.
Students master technology at a young age, and software must keep up with that trend, CompassLearning says.

Educational software company CompassLearning has been purchased by Marlin Equity Partners, a move that CEO Eric Loeffel said will give the company greater flexibility in a fast-paced market that must respond to the needs of digital natives.

Marlin Equity Partners purchased CompassLearning from Reader’s Digest Association on Jan. 26. Loeffel said CompassLearning plans to enhance its product line in an attempt to grow in the education market, and he expects a greater ability to respond to customer needs now that CompassLearning is not a subsidiary of a large corporate parent.

Reader’s Digest Association filed for bankruptcy in August 2009, citing a loss in advertising and high debt. In a recently approved reorganization, the firm is expected to emerge from bankruptcy in a plan that would cut its debt by 75 percent.…Read More

Macintosh tips and tutorials for beginners

This site is dedicated to helping less experienced users make the most of their Macintosh computers. It gives reviews of educational software, plus links to other Mac sites and tips on using applications. Many of the tips and tutorials suggest ways you can apply a feature to enhance your classroom use of Macs. Lessons are written in simple language and include illustrations when appropriate.

…Read More