LogMeIn extends free phone and unified communication services

LogMeIn, Inc. has expanded its Emergency Remote Work Kit offerings to include GoToConnect, the company’s cloud phone and Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC) platform, to help K-12 schools make the shift to remote learning. Aimed at both customers and critical service providers like schools, hospitals and health care companies, municipalities and non-profit organizations, LogMeIn launched the complimentary Emergency Remote Work Kit program earlier in March, including software for video conferencing, running virtual events, remote access to PCs and servers, as well as remote IT support.

Under the expanded offering, K-12 schools will be eligible for free cloud phone and UCC services through the end of the school year via LogMeIn’s GoToConnect platform. The new offering is designed for schools to keep students, teachers, parents, administrators and staff connected with free soft phones, voice and video calling, and messaging that can be used on PCs, Macs, Chromebooks and mobile phones (iOS and Android). And unlike traditional phone systems, no hardware, networking or number porting is required.

“These last few weeks have meant a monumental change for everyone, and while some organizations had experience empowering a remote workforce, others like schools, health care providers and local municipalities are dealing with a remote work reality that they never planned for and were ill equipped to enable,” said Bill Wagner, CEO of LogMeIn. “For some organizations, it’s about access to audio and video conferencing and virtual events to stay connected. While for others, it’s as basic as giving people remote access that allows them to connect to their work computers or giving the tools to IT teams to support their people during this rapid shift towards remote working. We’re seeing these needs play out across the organizations we rely on in our communities, and it’s something we believe our people and our technology are uniquely positioned to help with during this uncertain time.”…Read More

Free eLearning Academy to Support K-12 Students

Otus, a K-12 edtech company that provides the award winning Otus Student Performance Platform, today announced the launch of the Otus eLearning Academy, a free K-12 virtual school with a variety of courses led by highly experienced certified teachers employed by Otus.

With millions of students being forced to learn from home due to school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, families are struggling with ways to ensure that their children continue learning while K-12 school systems shift to becoming remote learning organizations.

“While Otus, like many edtech companies, is offering our software to school districts for free during this pandemic, we knew we could do more.” said Andy Bluhm, CEO of Otus and a Chicago investor and philanthropist. “We not only have an amazing platform designed to accommodate eLearning, but we also employ highly qualified teachers who have created engaging eLearning lessons that will include teacher feedback and engagement allowing students to continue their education even when they are not at their school.”…Read More

4 common barriers to accessible content for all students

This summer, many faculty will work on developing or revising curricular content for their courses. One of the keys in developing new digital materials is verifying that those materials offer accessible content for all students.

Today, most learning management systems (LMS) and software programs offer some level of accessibility compliance checking. However, they are not always thorough or error-free.

Related Content: 5 steps to ensure accessibility…Read More

Ensuring accessible content for all students

This summer, many faculty will work on developing or revising curricular content for their courses. One of the keys in developing new digital materials is verifying that those materials offer accessible content for all students.

Today, most learning management systems (LMS) and software programs offer some level of accessibility compliance checking. However, they are not always thorough or error-free.

Related Content: 5 steps to ensure accessibility…Read More

3 things edtech can’t do

We’re swimming in a world of technologies that have huge implications for the future of schooling. Computers live in teachers and students’ pockets, the Internet makes information and media ubiquitous commodities, apps offer to aid with all our daily routines, and artificial intelligence unlocks new possibilities for differentiated instruction.

Yet even with these technologies flooding into schools and classrooms, computers won’t be replacing teachers any time soon, and that’s why now, more than ever, teachers should be given the critical support they’re asking for in the classroom. To illustrate this point, consider these three things educational technology can’t do.

1. Technology can’t … provide higher-order feedback

Software is great for generating immediate, automated feedback on students’ mastery of basic knowledge and skills. But higher-order feedback falls outside its purview.…Read More

Why we love our reading software

It’s no secret that strong reading skills are part of the foundation of students’ academic success. Without a solid reading foundation, students are more likely to perform poorly or drop out of school.

Students don’t have to stick to paperback books to cultivate a love of reading, however—there are digital platforms that keep students engaged, pinpoint areas where students need to improve and give them the tools to do so, and also send important data to teachers for more individualized instruction.

Here, educators share their favorite reading software and offer insight into what makes these specific tools so helpful in supporting students’ reading habits.…Read More

5 ways to ensure cultural inclusivity

Have you ever wondered what goes into developing a culturally-inclusive curriculum?

The audience that Reading Horizons serves is diverse, and our footprint has grown significantly in the last decade as K–3 teachers and students from all over the country use our product for emerging readers and remediation. Our curriculum has generally met the needs of educators and learners, but a few years ago we learned that we had not spent enough time ensuring that we weren’t unintentionally excluding people or perpetuating stereotypes and biases. If a reader can’t identify with any piece of our material or software, we are doing them a disservice. That’s when we made a company-wide resolution to focus on cultural inclusivity at every step of the writing and publishing process.

Our goal is to make sure that, no matter where a student is from, their age, their ethnicity or religion, they feel like the program was written for them as much as anybody else. Guided by cultural inclusivity, we not only rewrote our existing material, but we set up systems to make us more intentional in how we developed new curriculum. Here are the lessons and steps we took.…Read More

Building a smarter network

Given the data, networking, and security implications of upcoming technology trends, K-12 schools will require a variety of innovations to meet dramatically increased wireless and wired network performance demands without adding more stress on overworked IT staffers.

We recommend the following strategies:

1. Adopt smart infrastructure.
To keep IT overhead low while delivering the performance required to power Internet of things (IoT) devices, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) applications and whatever comes next, invest in more intelligent networking infrastructure. At the wired networking layer, replace your outdated switching paradigm with a modern platform that supports the new IEEE 802.3bz standard for multi-gigabit Ethernet and is driven by an advanced software operating system.…Read More

Nope! Why adaptive software is not the same as personalized learning

Sorry, adaptive software is not the same as personalized learning.

We all know that changes in public education move slowly, but there’s one specific educational dilemma we’ve been mired in for decades, with varying levels of rhetoric and hand-wringing: How can we maximize individual student achievement with group instruction?

This is what Education Secretary Arne Duncan was talking about in 2010 when he called for “transformational productivity reforms that can also boost student outcomes.” Over the last century, we’ve put a lot of effort into solving this problem with varying degrees of success.…Read More

School’s out! Finding teacher tools that finish at the top of the class

Technology delivers plenty of tools to help teachers manage their classroom and transform how they teach–from solutions rolled out by schools and districts, to personal mobile apps and programs. The challenge for teachers is sorting through the possibilities to find what truly works, what can be consolidated into a broader tool—and what should get a failing grade.

Based on our many years of experience as education technologists, here are key items to consider, both good and bad, in choosing technology tools that truly help teachers (and their students) succeed in the classroom.

Focus on Tools that are Easy to Use…Read More