Impero Software’s keyword library addresses online safety concerns
It makes the headlines often: A young man or woman in the U.S. ends his or her own life due to bullying or becomes radicalized and attempts to join ISIS or other hate groups. In both instances, adults in these youth’s lives are often left wondering what they could have done to intervene.
In an effort to protect students in this always-on and connected world, Impero Software, a remote monitoring and management software provider, has updated its keyword libraries to include a more comprehensive list of U.S. specific terms related to bullying, self-harm, radicalization and more, in order to alert educators so they can help students before a tragedy occurs. Impero will showcase the updated library in their booth #708 during the 2016 ISTE conference June 26-29, 2016 in Denver.
The updated library, combined with Impero Education Pro software, gives educators an edge on internet safety by helping them monitor and analyze student activity on school devices. The software alerts educators when a student uses words or phrases that match a term in the keyword library.
“Students rarely tell adults that they want to join a gang or a terrorist group. They don’t brag about being suicidal or anorexic, or abused. They talk in code, especially when they are discussing something that is dangerous to themselves or others,” said Sam Pemberton, CEO of Impero Software. “We are already partnered with many respected charities worldwide, including some of the top organizations in the nation such as iKeepSafe, Hey U.G.L.Y and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders in order to crack this ‘code,’ and help educators stop potential problems before they start. This keyword library is a much needed resource for our U.S. customers.”
Impero’s keyword library includes terms such as “gkys” which is text-speak for “go kill yourself;” “biscuit” which is a term to define a gun, “thinspiration,” a term often used by people with eating disorders, and “Yodo,” an acronym for “you only die once,” an extremist phrase used to promote suicide bombings and recruitment to violent extremist groups. The software also allows for adding new keywords or phrases so that educators can incorporate such things as neighborhood-specific gang references or student nicknames. Students can also use the software to anonymously report concerns about themselves or others to trusted, trained adults.
Vernier releases free back-to-school resources
To support science and STEM teachers in delivering quality instruction to their students at the start of, and throughout, the school year, Vernier Software & Technology is offering an abundance of free professional learning resources, support tools, grant opportunities and more. This comprehensive collection of offerings provides teachers with the skills and resources needed to effectively use data-collection technology in their classrooms.
“Helping both educators and students succeed in today’s science classrooms is our top priority,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “To support this, we are committed to providing stellar service, teacher-based tech support, and useful professional development year round to meet the needs of our customers.”
Free resources from Vernier include:
● Award and grant opportunities: Among others, these include the annual Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and Vernier Engineering Contest, both of which award teachers with cash and technology prizes.
● Community Forum: Customers can access the forum to exchange advice, trade used equipment, look at DIY projects and discuss lab ideas with other educators.
● Hands-on workshops: These free educator-led seminars provide teachers with innovative ways to integrate probeware into their curricula.
● Sample experiments: The student version of these classroom-ready investigations can be downloaded directly from the Vernier website. More than 1,000 sample experiments are available.
● Tech Tips Videos: This collection of more than 180 videos provides helpful tutorials on using various Vernier data-collection technologies.
● Technical Information Library (TIL): An extensive collection of technical information, troubleshooting advice, frequently asked questions and more than 1,000 searchable technology tips are available 24/7. The Vernier TIL was honored with a Stellar Service Award from Tech & Learning magazine.
● Warranty and repair program: In addition to an ample five-year warranty, Vernier will attempt to repair most products, many times at no charge.
● Webinars: These personalized, customized webinars provide an effective way for educators and their science departments to learn more about using Vernier technology.
Bloomz announces new features at ISTE 2016
Just in time for ISTE 2016, the teacher-parent communication app Bloomz is announcing a major award and introducing new features, including offering its basic schoolwide product for free.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) recently named Bloomz a Best Website for Teaching & Learning in the Social Networking and Communications category. “Members of the Best Websites committee were very impressed by Bloomz,” said AASL President Leslie Preddy. “The site combines the features of several collaboration and social media platforms in order to optimize communication with parents. Bloomz’s ‘one-stop shop’ opens a window into the classroom that today's parents expect—while protecting student privacy. One committee member said, ‘Honestly, I wish it had existed when I was a classroom teacher!’”
Bloomz also announced four new updates that will be coming to its mobile and web app in time for the upcoming school year:
• Student Timelines: As teachers share pictures of a students’ work, parents will now see a portfolio or timeline of their child’s creations, and watch them evolve over time. The feature is similar to that of a Facebook timeline view for every student over time, across all activities. This feature is scheduled to launch in August.
• Behavior Tracking: This feature helps teachers send home reports of how students behave in class. Taking a cue from the app’s name and to reinforce positive student behavior, “blooming” flowers will be used to provide parents a pictorial representation of their child’s behavior throughout the school year. Behavior tracking will also be available in August.
• Video support: This feature has been the most requested by Bloomz users. Now, teachers will be able to record moments from the classroom and share them directly on Bloomz, where parents can watch and enjoy them. Video support will be available starting in September.
• Free for schools: Bloomz is also making its current basic schoolwide communication product (currently in beta until the new school year), free for schools moving forward.
Pearson Realize course content now works with any LMS
earson announced a new iteration of its main content delivery system for K-12 schools that will allow them to experience learning, assessment and data applications seamlessly, saving thousands of hours and dollars in the process. Traditionally, teachers, students and administrators have to deal with multiple logins and repetitive data entry. Pearson Realize is now fully compatible with IMS Global’s Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI™) standards, making almost all of the company’s K-12 content and data easy to use, access and analyze, regardless of the school’s learning management system (LMS).
IMS Global is a non-profit organization that sets standards for digital educational content. Leading IMS members like Pearson are committed to creating content and applications that “play nice” with one another so that accessing content from multiple sources and publishers is a unified, continuous experience.
“When we say we put digital content at teachers’ and students’ fingertips, that should be the reality. Now fully compatible with all learning management systems, the digital content delivered through Pearson Realize should make learning and assessing student performance easier, and that’s why we’re committed to interoperability,” said Marc Nelson, vice president of product management at Pearson. “We’re proud to support IMS and the future of digital education, where educators can easily select the digital products that meet their students’ needs without having to worry about whether or not they work together.”
The team at Pearson Realize has been redeveloping its content to earn LTI Certification from IMS. LTI certified content has been designed, tested and approved by IMS to work with any certified LMS. Over the past year, Pearson has been testing its LTI certified courses in 10 school districts, including Houston Independent School District (HISD), the largest district in Texas and the seventh largest in the nation.
With more than 200,000 students and nearly 300 schools, HISD needed a better way to handle data, maintain privacy and security, and standardize digital curriculum across the district. LTI standards allowed HISD to build their learning ecosystem to their specifications without having to worry about products not working together.
Small schools and districts will also find it easier to upload and work with Pearson learning tools because of their interoperability. Specific advantages of Realize’s IMS certification include:
Odysseyware releases more than 250 new courses ahead of ISTE 2016
Odysseyware, a provider of dynamic, individualized online courses for K-12 education, today announced its summer release of more than 250 new national and state-specific courses.
Just in time for ISTE 2016 and bolstered by Odysseyware’s new Search by Standards feature, these courses were created in response to educators’ demand for more personalized, flexible, and standards-aligned content. The new national courses include the following:
· Odysseyware Grades 6–12 ELA and Math Fundamental courses;
· Spanish III; and
· Spelling 300, 400, 500, and 600.
Additionally, Odysseyware is launching more than 200 new state-specific courses designed specifically to meet standards in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
In conjunction with the new courses, Odysseyware is supporting teachers by launching 1,600 new direct-instruction videos; enhanced assessment item types; and new lessons and projects in Math 400–800, Science 600–800, and History 600–800.
“We take educators’ feedback and requests to heart at Odysseyware,” said Beth TeGrotenhuis, Odysseyware’s president and the CEO of its parent company, Glynlyon. “These new courses and supporting materials are part of our commitment to continuous improvement and providing educators the most effective and flexible instructional tools and resources to meet the needs of their students.”
Odysseyware’s award-winning platform is recognized as one of the leading providers of personalized and individualized learning resources available in education today.