Special Education Innovations From ISTE: An eSchool News Reflection

Tag: Ed Tech

Special Education Innovations From ISTE: An eSchool News Reflection


It’s been a month since ISTE 2014, but we’re still beaming from the Special Education Innovation Reception. Dennis Pierce (@eSN_Dennis) of eSchool News recently wrote about the event in the article Four Special-Education Innovations from ISTEand it inspired us to reflect on the gathering.

Dennis did a wonderful job capturing all of the exciting innovations that were highlighted at the event. We partnered with the ISTE Inclusive Learning Network, Arc Capital Development and the Atlanta Braves to showcase technology innovations in special education and bring together some of the most inventive minds in the special needs community.

Some highlights Dennis included in his article are:

  • A “cognitive cross-training program” from C8 Sciences that combines computer games and physical exercises to help students with ADHD and other learning disabilities develop areas of “executive functioning.”
  • The two-foot-tall humanoid robot Milo who's included in the product Robots4Autism from RoboKind that practices social skills with children on the autism spectrum.
  • A tablet computer manager from TabPilot that allows teachers to lock students’ screens and monitor their activity.
  • A device from ProxTalker that uses RFID technology to retrieve vocabulary stored on sound tags to produce spoken words.

Catch up with ISTE special education innovations by reading the full article: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/07/22/special-education-innovations-564/2/.

ISTE 2014: Media Central

This week, five of our team members returned to a very soggy Wisconsin after spending four days in the Atlanta, Ga. sun (and heat) for ISTE 2014. On Monday, June 30, the CB&A team hosted Media Central at the annual conference and exhibition, with media members stopping by to meet with Filament Games, Funds for Learning, Learning.com, RoboKind and Skyward. Media Central gives media members, industry experts and CB&A clients a chance to come together and discuss the latest ed tech and special needs news. Check out the CB&A ISTE Newsroom for news releases, media kits and videos from our clients.

It was day filled with exciting announcements and great conversations, and we’ve highlighted some of the day’s best moments below. Take a look through to see all of the fun from ISTE 2014 Media Central!

ISTE 2014 Media Central turned up the heat in Atlanta, GA!

ISTE 2014 Media Central turned up the heat in Atlanta, GA!


ISTE 2014 Preview


The 35th annual ISTE Conference and Exposition is heading to Atlanta this year, and so are we! The CB&A team will join nearly 18,000 educators and education leaders at the June 28- July 1 event to immerse ourselves in the latest industry happenings. ISTE 2014 will feature powerful keynote addresses, illuminating sessions, inspirational professional learning and much more.

Our primary focus at ISTE is to host Media Central, a unique opportunity to put faces to names, learn about new products and company updates and establish relationships for future collaboration. Media Central takes place in a hotel suite away from the hubbub of the show floor, where media members can engage in stimulating one-on-one conversations with our clients about their latest news and offerings.

If you’d like to take part in Media Central through either onsite or virtual meetings, please contact us for details.

Clients participating in Media Central this year include:

  • Filament Games – Game production studio that develops engaging teaching and learning games.
  • Funds For Learning – E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants and service providers through the complex E-rate regulatory process.
  • Learning.com – Provides digital curriculum and assessments that help students develop 21st century skills to prepare them for future success.
  • RoboKind – Designs and builds a series of robots that enable people to engage with robots on a personal level, including a social robot for autism therapy.
  • Skyward – Provides industry-leading student, finance and human resources administrative software exclusively for K-12 school districts.

Additionally, Califone and LearnZillion will be available on the show floor to discuss and demonstrate new product offerings.

If you can’t be there in person, don’t fret! We’ll keep you updated during the conference through social media:

  • Twitter (#ISTE2014) – Live tweets from the show floor.
  • Facebook – Photos and updates from Media Central.
  • LinkedIn – Connect with our industry network.
  • Pinterest – Atlanta highlights.
  • Vine – Many video surprises!

For you lucky EdTech enthusiasts who are attending, be sure to stop by and chat about the latest industry news. We look forward to seeing you!

Photo: commons.wikipedia.org


CB&A Selected As Top PR Firm for Fourth Year in a Row

edtechwinnerThis week our team was elated to learn that we earned a 2014 Leadership Award from EdTech Digest, acclaimed online education publication, for the fourth consecutive year. The annual awards program recognizes outstanding solutions—and the best and brightest minds—in education and technology. A distinguished panel of industry influencers and veterans conducted this year’s evaluation proceedings.

We would like to thank EdTech Digest and the other deserving nominees. The energy and determination of so many in and around education, one of the most important fields— not only deserves respect, but also is encouraging to witness and partake in. We are part of a greater movement, one that takes a tremendous amount of drive, but one with so many gains.

After more than 20 years in the education industry, being named top PR firm isn’t only a win for us, but also for our clients. We consider ourselves fortunate to work alongside companies that tirelessly strive to improve the learning environment for children and adults. Our client family makes a difference in lives across the country, developing products and services that contribute to a quality education for each and every student. We feel honored to have the opportunity to support our clients in achieving this goal.

Following our EdTech Digest Awards in 2011, 2012, and 2013 this recognition is the result of many hours of hard work in partnership with our clients, media and many other industry friends. The dedication and passion of everyone at CB&A contributes to our continued success.

Huge congratulations go out to all worthy finalists and winners! Click here to view a full list of the EdTech Digest Awards results.

2014 CoSN Award Recipients

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Awards were presented at the 2014 CoSN Annual Conference in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Generously sponsored by SchoolDude, the awards recognize some of the most innovative leaders in education technology.

Recipients were selected by a committee of ed tech community veterans, including our own CB&A President and Founder, Charlene Blohm. The winners represent a fundamental belief in lifelong learning and the power of technology to transform lives.

Withrow CTO Award – CTO of the Year

Keith Bockwoldt, CETL, the Director of Technology Services for Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Keith has tirelessly worked to help foster a culture of learning and make technology a vital part of his school’s strategic plan.

Honorable Mention: Pete Just, the CTO at Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indiana, is a committed CoSN member and a newly elected CoSN Board member.

Team Award

Kent School District from Kent, Washington. The Kent School District IT team takes technology beyond just the support role and has made itself a strategic partner in this learning community. Kent is one of the first districts to develop a 1:1 computer program for all middle and high school students, and is a leader in dropout recovery.

Honorable Mention: Northwest ISD from Fort Worth, Texas. Defining what a 21st century classroom should look like, Northwest has implemented a 1:1 and BYOD initiative in schools across the district its technology leadership team implemented ed tech tools that support both school and home-based learning.

Volunteer of the Year

John Vaille, CTO at Puget Sound ESD in Washington. John is one of the leading champions of CoSN’s CETL certification program. As co-chair of the Certification Governing Committee, he has dedicated countless hours to ensuring that certification is rigorous, fair, and up-to-date. John is one of the behind-the-scene volunteers who are critical to CoSN’s success.

Private Sector Champion

Vicki Bigham of Bigham Technology Solutions. Vicki has been a champion of CoSN from the beginning- as a volunteer and as a link to other companies in the ed tech space. She builds the CoSN’s annual K-12 Horizon Toolkit on how to start a conversation about emerging technologies and last year co-chaired the advocacy auction.

Award for Excellence in Public Service

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Commissioner of the FCC. Jessica earns this for her tireless work to reform the E-rate and increase education funding.

We applaud all the work and time the award winners and nominee have devoted to building the education technology industry and supporting CoSN. Congratulations to all!

Sweetened or Unsweetened? The New Dairy Dispatch Touches on Tea

It’s June, which means it’s time to find any and all grilling opportunities, relish in summer sports and indulge in the latest ed tech buzz from the Dairy Dispatch.

For the final installment of the school year, the CB&A team had a tasty time researching iced tea, the timeless beverage synonymous with summer. June 10 was National Iced Tea Day, and we’re celebrating all month long. We found fascinating facts about iced tea and discovered the truth behind one of its most popular twists, the Arnold Palmer.

But we found nothing so refreshing as the brisk brew of news from our client family. For example, Brain Parade’s See.Touch.Learn.® application was voted Most Likely to Succeed during the Innovation Incubator Program held by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), and Funds For Learning announced its proposal to modernize the E-rate program.

The next time you read the Dairy Dispatch, the weather will be cooler and the editor will be new. Katie has passed the torch, and Chris will be filling her editorial shoes. But have no fear, he will continue the tradition of keeping you primed to the happenings here at CB&A and with our clients, as well as suggesting new and off-beat holidays to celebrate.

Until then, stay thirsty, reach for the sweet stuff (or unsweetened if you prefer) and kick off your summer with the May/June Dairy Dispatch.

Click, Learn, Earn: Digital Badges the Next Education Game-Changer

Smithsonian Quests Digital Learning Badges

Leaders from education companies around the world will gather May 5-7 for the 2013 Ed Tech Industry Summit hosted by SIIA to discuss Navigating “Next," this year’s conference theme focusing on what's coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world. One of the most exciting new developments, that could have a wide-ranging impact on the future of education and will be a topic of conversation and sessions at the conference, is digital badging.

Kevin Carey, director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation, recently wrote in the New York Times that digital badges will soon come of age. The movement is supported by leading technology and education organizations, including Mozilla and the MacArthur Foundation. The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sees badges as a way to “broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate – as well as document and display – their skills.”

A digital badge is a new type of credential gaining value among education providers and learners. Many experts believe the new credential will have greater currency with employers in the near future as well, because badges offer a more detailed picture of an individual’s knowledge and skills than do traditional measures. Digital badging is an outcropping of non-traditional learning methods and the broader range of educational settings enabled by technology and anytime, anywhere access. Thousands of K-12 and college students – whether enrolled in online or brick-and-mortar programs – may soon be proving their academic prowess through digital badges.

Several institutions of higher learning and K-12 education organizations offer digital badges. Earlier this year, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies launched Smithsonian Quests, an interdisciplinary digital badging program for students and teachers. Learners have the opportunity to earn badges by completing project-based learning challenges with real-world applications, and submitting their work for review by Smithsonian education experts. The organization offers 16 badges, and plans to release new ones throughout the year. Another badging program that engages learners in the pursuit of real-world skills is "DIG/IT," a collaborative effort by the New York City Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Readiness, and LearningTimes.

For more background on digital badging in education, Cathy Davidson, from the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, provides a bibliography of resources on the DMLCentral blog: Why We Need Badges Now.

We’d love to hear how you are embracing this new trend – or why you’re not. Have you earned a digital badge? Are you offering a digital badging program? Share your thoughts with us on our blog or at the Ed Tech Industry Summit.

CoSN Conference 2013

The annual Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) conference kicks off in San Diego today. Team members Charlene (@CharleneBlohm) and Katie (@KSteil2) have made their way to California to take part in the action.

This year’s theme, Audacious Leadership, aims to highlight leaders in education who are leading the way for 21st century learning. The next few days will be filled with conversation surrounding the goals, challenges and changes involved in the creation of compelling learning environments.

Whether you’re in sunny San Diego or not, these will be conversations you don’t want to miss. Join in via Twitter (#CoSN13), and be sure to follow @CoSN for the latest updates!

Support For Innovation Grows Through Incubator Programs

It's an idea that is becoming more and more common these days—the Innovation Incubator. Advances within education technology industry are running rampant…and that’s a good thing! There are multiple organizations making it a priority to acknowledge the products and services that go above and beyond in the world of learning technologies. And we applaud them for these efforts.

So what exactly is an Innovation Incubator? For that answer we go back to the start of this phenomenon. The year was 2006 The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Education Division began raising awareness for the many new products and services they were watching be introduced into the marketplace. They saw a growing number of entrepreneurs developing and distributing some of the most innovative learning technologies they had seen. As always, SIIA wanted to play a meaningful role in the effort to improve education through software, digital content and related technologies. For that reason, they created the industry’s first-ever Innovation Incubator Program at the 2006 Ed Tech Business Forum in New York.

“The development of a program that would highlight the best, most innovative ideas for entrepreneurs looking for feedback, funding and distribution seemed like a natural fit for the Education Division,” said Karen Billings, the Division’s Vice President. “We’ve provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts. It’s a great way for successful industry leaders to provide one-on-one mentorship to innovators in the industry.”

Within the SIIA program, participation is open to any company with a functional website and a fully reviewable (finished) product. The next Innovation Incubator Program will be held at the Ed Tech Industry Summit, May 5-7 in San Francisco. Their panel of industry professional judges will select 10 finalists and 1 alternate to present their products to conference attendees. One winner in each of the following categories will be selected: Most Innovative, Most Likely to Succeed in addition to the most recent award, the Educator’s Choice Award (in partnership with edWeb.net and MCH Strategic Data) along with other prizes. The deadline to apply is March 8, 2013. I encourage you to visit their website, learn more and apply.

Other organizations have followed suit and developed similar programs of their own including the Center for Education Technology and SXSWedu. There are quite a few more, some of which are listed here in an article written for GettingSmart.com. http://gettingsmart.com/cms/blog/2012/10/10-cool-edtech-incubators-aiming-change-education-forever/

Some of the most valuable aspects of incubator programs are the chance for companies to have visibility with key industry leader mentors and gain insight from peers, publishers, tech companies and investment firms. Companies from start-ups to established innovators should all consider participating in Incubator programs happening around the world. It’s good for business and it’s even better for the future of education.

Dan and Maurice from Filament Games

Recent SIIA Innovation Incubator winners include the following:

2012 Ed Tech Industry Summit

  • Filament Games (Most Innovative Award and Most Likely to Succeed runner-up)
  • Language Express (Most Likely to Succeed Award and Most Innovative runner-up)
2012 Ed Tech Business Forum
  • Clever (Most Likely to Succeed and Most Innovative Company Awards)
  • Classroom, Inc. (Educators Choice Award)

What do you think? Are Incubator programs here to stay? Do you think they’re beneficial for entrepreneurs in the education space? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights!


Follow Me to NYC – CB&A Attending Inaugural Autism Investment Conference

We’re getting excited about heading to the Big Apple this week for Autism Speaks’ first-ever Autism Investment Conference. 

With increasing numbers of children with autism attending schools across the country, we are seeing significant changes in the education landscape. In particular, advancements in the Ed Tech industry and the increasing availability of mobile devices have enabled teachers to revamp their approach to special education.

Of course the autism community faces mounting needs in areas beyond education as well. We will be learning about companies seeking to address community needs in four different categories – therapeutic devices and medicines, diagnostics and enabling technologies, assistive technologies, and support and services.

Stay tuned for updates as we gain insight on how the needs of this community are changing and being addressed in the marketplace. If you plan on attending the conference, be sure to keep an eye out for CB&A team member Carie Breunig (@carieb2). If you’re not attending, but would like to keep tabs on her activities, watch for photos on the C. Blohm & Associates Facebook page and Twitter profile.