The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program Selects ParentSquare as a Vendor Partner for School-Home Communications

Santa Barbara, CA — Dec. 15, 2021— ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12 education, has been named a vendor partner by the Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP).

The ILTPP is a statewide cooperative created by Illinois’ Learning Technology Center (LTC), Regional Offices of Education (ROE), and Intermediate Service Centers (ISC) in 1998. Its goal is to provide a voluntary purchasing program that combines the purchasing power of Illinois school districts and other eligible educational entities to offer competitive pricing on technology products and services.

Approved vendors undergo a rigorous evaluation before obtaining ILTPP’s approval for partnership. The program researches the reliability of each vendor by contacting three educational facilities that have purchased their products within the last year. In addition, an advisory committee consisting of LTC, ROE, and ISC directors and Illinois State Board of Education officials assesses the vendors’ pricing and products.…Read More

Vernier Software & Technology Partners with Magnitude.io to Engage Students in a Virtual Field Trip to Space

Vernier Software & Technology recently partnered with Magnitude.io to engage students in a virtual field trip to the International Space Station (ISS). During this unique distance learning opportunity, students will participate in the ExoLab-8 plant science experiment in which they will grow and analyze their own legumes simultaneously with legumes grown in space. Vernier is offering a special discount to educators interested in participating in this experiment and purchasing the accompanying student and educator kits.

ExoLab-8 is designed to put students at the forefront of scientific research by having them discover insights alongside Magnitude.io’s team of principal investigators and scientists. This month, Magnitude.io will launch legumes, red clover, into orbit that will grow on the ISS for 30 days. Then students will have the opportunity to participate in post-flight genetic and data analysis. During this time students can grow their red clover simultaneously with the legumes grown in space and observe the differences between their growth and development. As a demonstration project, the goal is to achieve root nodulation on red clover for the first time in the microgravity environment of the ISS within the Space Tango CubeLab, relying on an autonomous system that initiates germination and fixes the plants while in orbit.

“ExoLab-8 provides a truly one-of-a-kind, hands-on learning opportunity that will teach students about important NGSS-aligned topics, as well as crosscutting concepts,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “Through our partnership with Magnitude.io and the special offer we are providing, we are hoping more educators and students across multiple grade levels and disciplines will be able to participate in this immersive learning experience.”…Read More

VHS Learning Partners with Schools in Massachusetts to Offer Online Courses

Three Massachusetts schools are the latest to join the hundreds of schools around the world in choosing VHS Learning as an online course provider for their students. Schools can easily increase their course offerings by giving students access to the VHS Learning catalog, which consists of more than 250 unique teacher-led online courses, including 24 AP® offerings, innovative STEM programs, and a wide variety of unique electives.

Marblehead High School, located in Essex County in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, has chosen to expand course offerings with a new membership that provides 112 student enrollments in VHS Learning courses. Andover High School, also in Essex County, expanded their VHS Learning partnership by purchasing 100 enrollments, and is also incorporating one teacher into the program. Natick High School, located in the Greater Boston area, purchased 40 enrollments.

VHS Learning design and delivery standards were the model used by the National Education Association when they created the first standards for online learning. Last year in collaboration with the international nonprofit Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, VHS Learning helped revise the National Standards for Quality (NSQ) in three areas: Online Courses, Online Teaching, and Online Programs.…Read More

AEPA Awards National Security Solution Bid to Deledao

On December 1st, 2020, the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) awarded Deledao a national bid in their Security Solutions category. This allows the 29 member states to offer Deledao through a nationally bid contract designed to meet state bid law requirements.

“We’re excited to partner with AEPA to expand our reach to school districts across the United States,” says Shuang Ji, CEO at Deledao. “This partnership aligns with our company goal of providing education solutions that are easy and effective. Member ESAs can now focus on solving the web security needs of their districts instead of wading through complicated purchasing processes.”

“Student mental health crises are increasing at an alarming rate, with internet access and social media exacerbating this issue. The internet is always there, it doesn’t rest,” says Kevin Benson, the Security Solutions Committee Chair at AEPA.…Read More

Curriculum Associates’ Ready® Classroom Mathematics Receives Highest Rating

Curriculum Associates’ Ready Classroom Mathematics program for Grades K–5 recently received a Tier 1 rating by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). This highest rating from the LDOE, which was given after a comprehensive, educator-led review process, signifies the instructional program “exemplifies quality” and “meets all non-negotiable criteria and scored the best possible on all indicators of superior quality.”

The LDOE leads online reviews of instructional materials to support school districts across the state in making their own local, high-quality purchasing decisions. The tiered reviews describe the instructional materials’ degree of alignment with state content standards, which enables each local school system to determine if the use of the materials is appropriate to meet the educational needs of their students. Ratings are based on elements such as the focus, coherence, rigor, alignment, and quality of the materials.

“This highest rating from the Department signifies the power of Ready Classroom Mathematics in helping students gain conceptual understanding, develop a high degree of procedural skill and fluency, and apply the knowledge learned in and out of the classroom,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “Regardless of where the teaching and learning is taking place, we look forward to supporting educators throughout the state of Louisiana this year and beyond as they help students make gains in math.”…Read More

Adobe Offers Free K-12 At-Home Access

As an unprecedented back-to-school season rolls out across the United States, Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced expanded support and resources for students, educators and the broader education community.

Adobe is offering Creative Cloud application access at no additional charge to all students and teachers from August 24, 2020 through January 31, 2021 for current U.S. K-12 volume license customers. New U.S. K-12 Creative Cloud customers can also take advantage of these cost-savings by purchasing a volume license for their school or district, giving access (including at-home) to all students and teachers at no additional charge. More information on this offer can be found here.

Education around the world has been synonymous with the classroom, but our new reality of distance and online learning has fundamentally changed the way institutions operate, how educators teach and how students learn, and ultimately, how student success is measured and achieved.…Read More

5 reasons we switched to financing edtech instead of buying

Like many school districts around the country, D.C. Everest (WI) Area School District purchased a hodgepodge of edtech devices over time to meet the needs of our growing student population, teachers, and available budgets.

Four years ago, a study of inventory found that we were close to having one device per student for our K-12 district of more than 6,000 students, yet the way our tech had been purchased didn’t create an equitable environment. We had desktop computers, laptops, and tablets from various manufacturers. Consequently, while one classroom had its own tablets, another would have to use desktops in a lab.

Our uneven learning environment was difficult to manage, expensive to maintain, and challenging to train teachers. When devices had reached the end of their useful life—typically every six to eight years—we would contact a recycler to haul the devices away. On a rare occasion we’d get a little money for parts or a stray device that still held value.…Read More

8 essential qualities of a digital literacy curriculum

“Jeff. I’ve got a big challenge. Help!”

That was a voicemail message I received from a friend, a principal at a local elementary school one sunny summer afternoon. What was the challenge? Her 30 slightly apprehensive teachers had to deliver a digital literacy curriculum to her 450+ students the next school year. Like many other educators around the country, the principal’s team understood the need for their students to learn digital-literacy skills to become responsible citizens and to be prepared for the challenges of college, and careers, but … where to start?

Before discussing building, purchasing or creating a digital literacy curriculum, we decided to devise a set of essential qualities that we felt would be helpful to evaluate potential digital-literacy curriculum options. Ultimately, with the help of other schools and districts, we decided to focus upon these eight themes:…Read More

Why, and how, warranties should guide edtech purchasing

School technology leaders are faced with the buying decisions of products for an entire school or district. These types of edtech purchases are a sizeable investment and, unfortunately, funding can be wasted on products that are overpriced and underperform–diverting school budgets that could be better used to benefit students in other ways.

The first and most obvious factor in the search for the right technology is to decide which product will be most cost-effective. Durability of the technology is the next major influencer.

When evaluating a district’s edtech needs there are several factors to consider, including product warranties and life cycle of the product. Consumer brands typically do not offer warranties for school use, and this is where differentiation between consumer and commercial devices comes into play.…Read More

Why some schools pay $100 more for the same iPads

Education technology experts discuss various solutions to the ‘broken’ process of ed-tech purchasing

The ed-tech procurement process is broken, said former New York City Public Schools Chancellor Harold Levy during the 2016 South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas, March 8—and to prove it, he said a study last month found disparities of more than $100 per unit on how much schools were paying for the exact same iPad model.

In a session titled “Begging for Disruption: Ed-Tech Procurement,” Levy and the other panelists discussed the problems that school districts have in discovering, evaluating, and buying technology products that meet their specific needs.

They also shared information about new services that aim to bring more transparency to the buying process for schools—including a nonprofit organization called the Technology for Education Consortium (TEC) that just launched last month.…Read More