New guidelines for ed-tech research could help educators, vendors

SIIA is hoping for broad distribution of the guidelines, because one of its main goals is to improve the credibility of publisher-sponsored research.

To produce a stimulating 21st-century learning environment, school leaders see educational technology as a no-brainer. But using research to distinguish a truly effective ed-tech product from a less-than-effective product can prove difficult when the research is conducted by a vendor or for-profit company.

Now, new guidelines for vendors and educators aim to solve this comparison conundrum.

The report, titled “Conducting and Reporting Product Evaluation Research: Guidelines and Considerations for Educational Technology Publishers and Developers,” is authored by Denis Newman, CEO of Empirical Education Inc., and produced by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).…Read More

Survey reveals slow progress in education technology

The annual survey lets schools measure their progress toward a 21st century education.
SIIA's annual survey lets schools measure their progress toward providing a 21st-century education.

U.S. schools’ average overall scores on an annual survey designed to measure their progress toward implementing 21st-century classrooms and learning skills increased less than 1 percent from 2009, even though schools did improve on four out of five measures of progress.

The Vision K-20 survey, from the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), was developed to help educators and administrators track their institutional progress in five areas, called measures of progress, and compare it with the national average. These five measures are 21st-century learning tools, anytime/anywhere access to technology, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support. The aggregate results give a picture of the nation’s progress in education technology as a whole. The 20 survey questions, each designed to measure a particular indicator of ed-tech implementation, are grouped according to the five measures of progress.

The average overall score for the 21st-century tools category in 2010 was 68 percent, tied for the highest score in any category with enterprise support, also at 68 percent. Anytime/anywhere access received an average score of 64 percent, differentiated learning received 57 percent, and the assessment tools category averaged 48 percent, suggesting that schools have room for improvement when it comes to using technology to aid in assessment.…Read More

Summit: Mobile computing is education’s future

Students in a Project K-Nect math class use smart phones to learn algebra.
Students in a Project K-Nect math class use smart phones to learn algebra.

Speakers at a recent education technology industry summit had a key piece of advice for the company executives who make and sell products for schools: Go mobile.

Hosted by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the summit was intended to keep company executives abreast of the latest trends and recent developments in school technology. But its content also gives educators a glimpse into where business leaders see the ed-tech industry heading.

Keynote speaker Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Qualcomm Inc., pointed to a successful initiative in North Carolina, called Project K-Nect, that uses mobile phones to help teach algebra as an example of how mobile technology can empower learning.…Read More

Cracks in school innovation fund might present problems

Federal officials say schools may find difficulty providing evidence of successful programs when applying to the Investing in Innovation Fund.
Some say schools might have trouble providing evidence of successful programs when applying for i3 funding.

Just days before the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released applications for the $650 million Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund on March 8, education technology researchers and developers expressed some concerns about the i3 program’s procedures and requirements.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside $650 million in the i3 fund for three levels of competitive grants that expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative and evidence-based practices, programs, and strategies in schools.

ED officials say these solutions should significantly improve K-12 achievement and close achievement gaps, lower dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates, and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.…Read More

SIIA names top education market products

The Software and Information Industry Association recently recognized their top 10 Innovation Incubators.
The Software and Information Industry Association recently recognized 10 promising new education technologies.

The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen and the Waterford Assessment of Core Skills (WACS) have been named the top products in the Software and Information Industry Association’s (SIIA’s) Innovation Incubator program, which connects developers of promising new education technologies with industry leaders and established organizations.

The Pulse Smartpen took top spot as the most innovative education product or service, and WACS won as the most likely to succeed in the education market.

The two winning technologies received the honors during SIIA’s annual Ed Tech Business Forum in New York. They were two of 10 participants in the organization’s Innovation Incubator program, which recognizes innovative start-up companies, nonprofit groups, research and development agencies, and academic institutions.…Read More