RIVERDEEP LEARNING VILLAGE
In a perfect world, every product released would be widely tested to find the best ways to make it effective and to eliminate bugs. The drawbacks to this approach are obvious, mostly that it would take a great amount of time and a greater amount of money to craft such a product before a company could ever sell its first copy.
Well, it certainly isn't a perfect world, but partners Riverdeep and IBM think they have used the above formula to perfect their new version of Learning Village.
Riverdeep Learning Village, released this fall, grew out of the data culled from the $75 million that IBM has spent in its Reinventing Education grant program. Fifty sites have tried out the software that was created as the result of IBM's work.
The product, which is being jointly marketed and sold by the two companies, will eventually become the property of Riverdeep. It will run on IBM's WebSphere Application Server, providing an e-business environment with a set of application services, including capabilities for transaction management, security, connectivity and scalability.
"We've driven discussion with districts to a much more sophisticated level" with this new product, says Gail Pierson, Riverdeep's president of product development and operations. "New teachers are ready to use technology. This will connect them to content and assessment."
The product was created to help school districts use technology to meet the national education reform guidelines. "Learning Village is helping our nation's schools better apply technology to raise student achievement and school performance, one of the primary goals of our Reinventing Education program," says Robin Willner, IBM's director of corporate community relations.
Learning Village is designed as a portal that includes tools for educators, parents and students. The new version will allow districts to more easily integrate Learning Village throughout the district's existing technology infrastructure.
This new version has been tested in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the first district to switch to the new product. The program "will continue to help us achieve our vision for educational technology by improving our teachers' understanding of comprehensive district curriculum and instructional strategies," says Christine Master, the district's administrative director for the division of instructional technology and media. CIRCLE #520 FOR INFORMATION
IEP Online 5.0 www.xperts.com, Internet, $20,000-$1 million (varies by number of system modules, students and other factors)
This online software for special education administration allows teachers to create or update their students' individualized education plans from any networked computer with a Web browser. Administrators, counselors, occupational therapists, parents or other authorized users can also access the database of records. Each district determines whether the records can be viewed from outside the school network or only from an Intranet, and four levels of security are available for different user groups.
Records include student demographics, child study, eligibility, IEP processing, 504 documentation and caseload management. The solution is customized to meet federal, state and district guidelines to help in collecting great reimbursement funds and reducing the chance of IEP-related lawsuits at the same time.
Administrators in Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools estimate that IEP Online cuts the time required for the IEP process in half. CIRCLE #521 FOR INFORMATION
Stuff That Works! www.heinemann.com, Book series, $17 each
Stuff That Works! A Technology Curriculum for the Elementary Grades is a five-volume series developed by researchers, engineers, elementary educators and education faculty at the City College of New York. Each volume helps teachers plan and implement classroom activities