Oser Communications Group

EdTech Show Daily June 26

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28 Wednesday, June 26, 2013 WHY THE COOLEST SCHOOL IN AMERICA USES PROJECT FOUNDRY By Shane Krukowski, Managing Director of Project-based Learning Systems, Milwaukee, Wisc. If you were to visit the "Coolest school in America," what would you expect to see? What kind of classes do you think the school would have? What kind of classrooms? What kind of teachers? What kind of technology? What kind of students? What if I told you the 'coolest school in America' didn't really have any classes? No classrooms either! Not really teachers ― more so advisers and credit validators with big open spaces and workstations resembling workplace cubicles. No class bells or loud speaker announcement interruptions. And other than the powerful Project Foundry software, a pretty modest technology footprint. You probably wouldn't believe me, or you may write it off as a nice outlier in the educational ecosystem. However, this is, indeed, what the Coolest School in America looks like. "The backbone tool of our school is Project Foundry― Project Foundry helps students and teachers to effectively manage the chaos and paperwork of the project process, track standards and manage personalized learning plans. The tool syncs with Google Apps and, coming Fall 2013, will include ALEKS math integration. The 'coolest' label was issued by Tom Vander Ark, the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And the school happens to be the Minnesota New SUNBURST DIGITAL FOCUSES ON EDUCATION TABLETS Educational Resources® was founded in 1985 as an offshoot of Sunburst Technologies. "Ed Resource™" (as known by school districts) helped schools implement the best instructional technology solutions. Over the next 25 years, Ed Resources provided productivity tools, hardware, software and peripherals to more than 95 percent of U.S. schools. In 2011, Sterling Partners decided to divest Sunburst. The newly focused Sunburst Digital shifted from supplemental software to delivering standards-based content. At the same time, Ed Resources applied expertise to researching tablet solutions used in education. The short answer was this – it didn't find any. In 2012, Sunburst Digital invested in a number of digital curriculum projects (EnglishSpanishSuccess!, Ignite! CSCOPE Edition, …). After concluding there was a void for educationally relevant tablet solutions, Ed Resources reduced its SKU list to a single focus – providing purpose built for education tablets. Rather than thinking about the tablet question as hardware, Sunburst and Ed Resources (ER) are adopting complete solutions to solve the problems emerging from schools use of consumer tablets. From the very beginning, there was thinking about the need for professional development, implementation, technology integration, supporting standards, teacher capacity and digital content access. ER brought together a team of leaders in digital media, software development, instructional design, and classroom technology to implement this vision for a purpose built for education tablet solution. Alan Davis, a K-12 hardware/software veteran signed on as President; Chris Klein, former SMART® Technologies' Ecosystems Group and Apple® Distinguished Educator signed on as GLOBALVIEWER ENTERPRISE SUPPORTS CLASSROOM AV SYSTEMS Leander Independent School District encompasses more than 200 square miles and is one of the fastest growing school districts in Texas. The district serves approximately 32,000 students on 37 campuses that include technology-enabled classrooms. Managing the audiovisual technologies in these classrooms would be a sizable task for almost any organization. But, Benny Bello, the district's only full-time AV/Network Cabling and Infrastructure Technician, handles it all with the assistance of Extron PoleVault Systems and GlobalViewer Enterprise software. Complete Competitive Review After an extensive review of the many classroom audiovisual systems available, the district standardized on Extron PoleVault Systems for its middle and high schools. In addition to Extron, district officials evaluated solutions from Crestron, AMX and others. The final decision to choose PoleVault Systems was influenced by several factors related to support. Some examples noted by district officials include: other suppliers' warranties are three years, while Extron's is five years; service contracts were required by other manufacturers and integrators, but Extron did not require one; Extron allows the district to stock replacement parts for quick turnaround, while competitors do not. "Extron support was a big advantage over the competition," Bello says. "From warranties and service to spares and easy system configuration, they really took the time to satisfy the unique needs of our district." However, the chief factor leading to the district's decision to choose Extron systems was GlobalViewer Enterprise software, or GVE, which enables the district to support hundreds of geographical- Ed Tech Show Daily Country School located in Henderson, MN (an hour southwest of the Twin Cities). This 612th grade school individualizes the learning experience for every student by leveraging project and inquiry-based approaches across the board ― and without apology. It was also the first public school in the nation to be run by a cooperative ― teachers work together as professionals to reach consensus and make school decisions. But Minnesota New Country is not alone. High schools like this are sprouting up everywhere across the country and the momentum is only furthering us in this direction. With a platform such as Project Foundry (ISTE Booth # 5236) and proof positive from groups like EdVisions Schools, Big Picture Schools and High Tech High Schools, who've been pioneering a better way forward, transforming to these models is even more compelling. Even the sacred cows of suburbia are starting to look at these models with genuine interest. Granted, you won't see them use the same labels for these schools, but when you peel the onion, you see the same fundamental pieces as you'd see in these other organizations. These schools create impressive learning communities. Individual learning styles and personal interests are valued, so students actually want to come to school. Likewise, since the professionals are able to be professionals and differentiate, it creates a morale for staff, unlike traditional institutions. When students are grouped in multi-age advisories, mentoring becomes real and modeling of the project process becomes a norm for older students. For more information, go to www.projectfoundry.org, call 877-836-9960, email skrukowski@pblhq.com or visit booth #5236 at ISTE. Director of Tablet Solutions; Ladd Skelly, former HMH/Classroom Connect veteran signed on as Director of Professional Development; and Joe DeSario, marketing veteran from Sunburst signed on as Director of Product Management. A key moment in ER's leadership of tablets for education came with Sunburst's decision to invest in the LearnPad®. LearnPad was implemented in a few hundred schools in England and growing quickly. The LearnPad was designed by a group of developers as an Android®-OS application configured together with a cloud based teacher solution. This affordable hardware-software solution provides a safe, device management solution with a teacher-easy lesson portal. Unlike consumer tablets, the LearnPad provides practical classroom teaching and learning utility right out of the box. Sunburst's investment allowed the LearnPad to be released in the Americas. The impact was instantaneous. Pilots signed up across the country. ER expanded access to LearnPad by enrolling value added resellers (ProComputing here in Texas) to work exclusively with ER in sole source across the U.S. 2013 started with a bang. BETT (the largest education technology show) announced LearnPad as Best Digital Device Finalist for 2013. ER pushed innovation to the next level with Sunburst's decision to invest in a start-up called: HMS Teach. HMS Teach (a clever play on Blackbeard's real name "Edward Teach") is led by developers Albert Swantner and Dan Steinhauser working at the prestigious "Capital Factory" in Austin, Texas. ER has taken advisory roles helping them figure the maze of K12 sales and instructional requirements. They've raised seed capital to launch their "KnowItAll™" application – an iOS classroom solution for iPads® including device, instructional and content management. ER sees it as a complement to LearnPad's Android solution. KnowItAll will be available beginning April 15, distributed through the ER partner channels. ly dispersed classrooms from a single, centralized help desk. projector preventative maintenance and budget forecasting. GVE can be configured to send email alerts when lamps need to be replaced. Accurate lamp hour data from GVE enables the district to precisely forecast spending for lamps and projectors. Scheduled shut off: Through GVE, Bello schedules all projectors to shut down at a certain time, which prevents projectors from being left on overnight or over the weekend, saving on energy costs and extending lamp life. Input monitoring: Bello also monitors which video inputs, computer or composite, are used in every classroom. This helps eliminate unnecessary expenditures on excess inventories. Through effective problem resolution and regular preventative maintenance, GlobalViewer Enterprise software's unique support capabilities help Bello keep things running smoothly for everyone, even from a distance. Monitoring, Troubleshooting, and Reporting "I like to call Extron GlobalViewer Enterprise software my Virtual Support Person," Bello says. "I'm not sure how I would support so many classrooms without the extensive monitoring, troubleshooting, and reporting capabilities of GlobalViewer Enterprise." GlobalViewer Enterprise software enables Bello to perform several key support tasks right from the help desk, including: Connectivity troubleshooting: With one look at the helpdesk screen, he can detect when device communication is lost, which helps in the event of a theft. When a projector was stolen recently, Bello was able to quickly provide school security officials with the serial number of the stolen device, along with the exact time that communication was lost. Lamp hour tracking: Bello uses lamp hour tracking as the basis for his lamp and For more information www.hmsteach.com. visit For more information on Extron Electronics call 1-800-633-9876 or head to www.extronclassroom.com.

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