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Top 100 Products

Internet Winners

User-Created Online Media

Whether the emerging Internet applications are labeled 21st-century, Web 2.0 or social networking, there has been an enormous grassroots power shift from online users being passive consumers of information, to actively creating collaborative content. For example, the use of Weblogs to share personal thoughts, opinions and information across the Internet is exploding in every area of society - and capturing the interest of educators and students around the world. A new blog comes online every second, and the directory lists more than 57 million examples on every conceivable topic. Blogs are becoming new communications vehicles for teaching, learning and professional development in K12 schools, and any student, teacher or administrator can add a voice to the conversations. Related user-created online media include the social networks MySpace, Facebook and Xanga; photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and Webshots; shared information sources including Wikipedia and Wikibooks; and the personal classified ads of Craigslist.

Web resources touch every realm of society, and influence teaching and learning profoundly. Most school districts offer high-speed Internet service, and half of all Americans have broadband at home. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 87 percent of all teenagers are Internet users, and 68 percent use online resources at school. However, online experiences are totally different than they were even a few years ago, and Pew found that each day 5 million people post information through blogs or other content-creating applications, 4 million share files including music and videos on peer-to-peer networks, and 3 million use the Web to rate people, products and services.

Powerful new Internet products are being developed for almost every education application and offer personalized features.

Powerful new Internet products are therefore being developed for almost every education application, from curriculum and school management to professional development, and the influence of user-created online media is clearly evident. Online products now make use of high-speed interactive multimedia, offer customized and personalized features, and link to communities of users from schools and from home. But at the same time, finding information on the best products has never been more important or more complicated, so we asked our readers to help us select the Top 100 Products of 2007-08. In addition to nominating and voting for products, it was particularly gratifying to note the supporting comments we received. For example, Dan Broadbent, from the Northside Urban Pathways charter school in Pittsburgh, said that because of the Apangea program, "test scores in math this year were significantly higher"; Jeffrey Peal, from the Alexander County Schools in North Carolina, said that Connect-Ed allowed his district to "communicate with every household in a matter of minutes"; and Erica Rodriguez from the Laredo Independent School District in Texas said, "eChalk changed the way I teach and interact with my students."

Here are the 2007-08 DA readers' choice awards for Internet products.


SCHOOL DESIGN, Research-Based Teaching Strategies, Pricing dependent upon district needs

School Design includes components such as daily literacy blocks, workshop teaching strategies, school-improvement leadership teams, and in-school math and literacy coaches. it also provides a safety net for struggling students, with double-period courses, proprietary instructional publications, and a national network of curriculum and teaching experts. School Design uses research-based teaching strategies for students by aligning standards, instruction and assessments.



SmartHELP, Supplemental Education Service, $50 per student/year

Apangea's online supplemental education service, which combines tutoring software with live support from certifi ed teachers, was designed to facilitate costeffective differentiated instruction. Its seven-step problem solving method helps students understand the process of solving math problems, not just how to arrive at the answer. With just-in-time feedback, student progress can be monitored and analyzed. Teachers can also create customized tutorial programs and reports on student progress. Other features include automatic progress lerts and multilingual support in seven languages.



CHOICES PLANNER, Education and Career Options, Prices start at $400

Choices Planner helps high school students compare, connect and choose career and education options. It features more than 8,000 colleges, technical schools and graduate schools, along with over 1,000 college, job bank and financial aid links. Other highlights include Occupational Information Network (OINET) occupation profiles, a work values sorter, transferable skills checklist, interest profiler and over 250 career videos, some in Spanish.



ODYSSEY, High School Intervention Courses, $190-$400

Powered by Education 2020, CompassLearning's curriculum targets students in grades 7-12 and provides 34 one-on-one core and elective courses ranging from American literature to psychology. Content is aligned with state standards, emphasizing individual student progression and achievement. The program can be structured to provide virtual secondary courses, customized remediation blocks and virtual tutors, and preparation for exit exams. Teachers can customize courses, monitor progress by class and student, and communicate with students via e-mail in a protected online environment.


TerraNova 3, Assessment Solution, Pricing dependent upon district needs

TerraNova 3 is a research-based, norm-referenced assessment solution that helps educators measure and monitor student progress. It motivates students to perform using age-appropriate content to reflect real-world situations. Educators can further target instruction and improve student achievement with meaningful, actionable and accessible data. More than 30 comprehensive and diagnostic reports are available, offering access to critical performance information.



PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, $1,800 for two credits (each credit covers tuition for 20 people)

Curriculum Advantage professional development tools help integrate technology into schools and are based on a yearlong review of best practices associated with successful implementation models. Curriculum Advantage specializes in localized data-driven curriculum solutions, including management assessment as well as a variety of Web-based resources. Professional development courses contain modules addressing topics such as summer school programs, raising scores for students failing AYP, and bringing technologies into use with Classworks.




eChalk offers 24/7 Web-based access to instructional materials including classroom activities, student grades, homework assignments, club or team activities, professional development programs, and other resources. With eChalk's fully integrated Lesson Planner module, teachers save time while curriculum leaders have the ability to identify curriculum gaps before standardized tests. eChalk's Online Learning Environment enables teachers to integrate technology into the classroom with time-saving tools that extend learning outside of the school and foster increased parent involvement.


ECS StAR, Web-based Student Assessment and Reporting, $8,995

ECS StAR can generate reports based on standardized test scores, sort data by an array of criteria such as test year, school, course or period, while comparing results using various demographic criteria. It can also update students' fi les as they transfer classes or change schools. The Web-based student testing, assessment and reporter (StAR) helps teachers make data-driven decisions by presenting students' test results online in graph and report formats. StAR provides data that allows teachers to customize and individualize lesson plans before school begins and to address individual students' strengths and weaknesses.



ELLUMINATE LIVE! 8.0, Web Conferencing Software, Starting at $36 per seat

Elluminate's Web conferencing software has been tailored for small and large group collaboration and blended sessions. Some of its features include higher resolution for video demonstrations, personal note taking, improved whiteboards, presentation modes that remove potential distractions from IM capabilities, and indexed recordings so users can easily find their place. Elluminate is ADA complaint, since it is capable of producing transcripts through closed-captioning.



In2Books, Online Literacy Program, $3,000/introductory, plus 5 cycles

The In2Books online literacy program enhances academic achievement by matching adult pen pals with students who read the same books and exchange letters about issues in the books through the company's protected e-mail system. The high-quality book selections in various genres have been selected by In2Books' team of children's literature experts. Teachers also have access to online professional development, practical teacher-tested instructional activities, and more.



Mult-e-Maths LE VERSION,Free to Starboard Whiteboard users

Users of StarBoard Whiteboards now have exclusive access to more than 500 Mult-e-Maths interactive math activities and lesson plans. The software provides educators with a hub to download content, inspire new lesson plans and create new activities. The 2006 British Education Training and Technology toolbox, the newest addition, allows demonstrate mathematical concepts in a simple, visual way through retractable angles, protractors and moveable 3D shapes. Teachers can also view StarBoard demonstrations and online tutorials through the Educators Resource Center.



HOLT MATHEMATICS ONLINE EDITIONS, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry, $53.95-$63.95

Holt's online math courses include Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry for students in middle school and high school. Teachers can choose from ready-made exams that are correlated to the textbook content, or they can upload their own tests, track results and view trends using reporting features. Other new tools include lesson tutorial videos, formative assessment and a multilingual glossary with terms defi ned in 13 languages. Additionally, there are algebra tiles, fraction bars, various calculators and integer chips, as well as workbook and lab activities.



TeamPrepared, Security and Emergency Preparedness and Information Portal, Starts from $2,000/fi rst year, one building

TeamPrepared utilizes portal technology to help schools improve their security and preparedness. It coordinates the integration of emergency information, allowing for an effective response to emergencies and unplanned events. Features include 24/7 secure access to online personal health records for staff, and critical public safety and health information for key community stakeholders. Dermatologic diagnostic tools recognizing disease trends or biological terrorism and an alert system utilizing multilingual text, e-mail, voice and voice-to-text for emergency notification are also available.


RESOURCE CENTER, Curriculum for Teachers, Starts at $19 per license The Resource Center provides teachers with over 1,000 curriculumbased questions and resources that can be used within its software. Teachers can also access a forum area to upload their own curriculum content or download content developed by other educators, leave comments, rate questions, browse through available questions by topic or category, and identify multimedia resources supplied by other educators. In the testing modules, questions are automatically marked as students take their tests.



CCC! VIDEO ON DEMAND 2.0, Starts at $2,995

CCC! Video on Demand integrates with iTunes, allowing users to watch K12 core curriculum content anywhere on their iPods. Webcasts of classroom sessions, school sporting events, cultural performances and professional development workshops can be broadcast or stored for playback. This open system enables users to search for content from an external application. It also features Digital Director, which enables teachers to select from over 40,000 teaching segments from any of its titles and customize their own video segments.



Connect-ED, Mass Notification System, $3.60 per student per year

Connect-ED is a mass notification system that enables school administrators to record, voice messages in minutes to parents and staff via voice, text, e-mail messages and TTY/TDD receiving devices. It is SIF certified, fully hosted, and managed and designed exclusively for the education market. It also tracks message delivery, offers comprehensive reports, sends targeted messages in a household's native language, and easily integrates with most student information systems.



OnCourse, Web-Based Tools for School Districts, $34.99 annually per teacher or administrator

OnCourse is a provider of Web-based tools that automate educational processes for school districts. They integrate educational standards from each state in On-Course's Lesson Planner, Grade Book and Student Stats solutions and provide instant updates as standards are added or changed. Teachers can use these relevant educational standards, while administrators can generate reports about instructional activity and create standards-based report


RENZULLI LEARNING SYSTEMS, Web-Based Differentiated Curricula, $40 each/up to 40 students; $5,000 per school

Renzulli's Web-based learning system differentiates curricula by creating an individualized assessment of each child's interests and preferred method of learning. This new version provides enhancements that give teachers more reporting and accounting capabilities. Highlights include a comprehensive learning assessment that can be used to identify each student's motivational makeup, and a differentiation search engine that matches online and offline resources to each student's interest areas and learning styles.



WAN MANAGER, Video-on-Demand and Digital Media Management Solution, Pricing based on district size, bandwidth and options

The WAN Manager by SAFARI Montage is a turnkey video-ondemand and digital media management solution for school district WANs. The expansive solution not only provides the finest educational video titles available but also enables districts to upload and manage their own created content to the SAFARI Montage media server and distribute that content to every school. Their approach solves the bandwidth problems faced by districts with low-bandwidth T-1s while also providing the ultimate tools for optimizing new high-bandwidth fiber WANs.



AlertNOW, Web-Based Communications Manager, $3 per student

STN's Web-based application service provider manages and hosts the hardware, software and telephone infrastructure required to deliver voice, e-mail or text-based messages to telephones, mobile phones, PDAs or any Internet-enabled device. Features include the displaying of "411" on the recipient's caller ID when sending an emergency message, proprietary, redundant nationwide network for the delivery of emergency messages, and translation into 11 different languages. Each campus has secure login rights to the application via the Internet and can send messages through mobile or landline phones.



PD 360, Professional Development, and Learning Resources, $2,995 per site, with volume discounts available

PD 360 provides online professional development resources from the School Improvement Network, providing educators with instant access to experts, over 1,000 best classroom examples and more than 300 learning segments. Topics covered include differentiation, assessment, classroom management, closing the achievement gap, and data and instructional strategies. Teachers input their state, system, and school objectives and standards, which are linked to expert and classroom examples that show how to accomplish and implement those standards and school improvement plans.



ONLINE PROGRAM MANAGER, Quantity-based pricing

The Online Program Manager uses Workspace technology to run online programs, from public information Web sites to online learning groups. Features include professional quality video, rich interactives and text content. Instructional designers, editors and video producers are available to help users produce new content or bring in existing materials online. The company has introduced 12-month professional study programs to help teachers obtain measurable outcomes through professional development. Programs include High-Yield Strategies, Developing and Supporting Beginning Teachers, and Best Practices in Instructional Coaching.