A Look Back on ISTE 2014


A Look Back on ISTE 2014

The CB&A team has been working hard the past few months in preparation for ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. From Media Central to show floor appointments and press conferences, the team learned about the latest in EdTech while soaking up the hot sun (and rain). The week went by in a blur, but not before people took to their social media accounts to tweet, post a new status or film a video, immortalizing some of the most memorable moments from all of the different events. Take a look at how the CB&A team and some of our client family experienced this year's convention.

The CB&A team has been working hard the past few months in preparation for ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. From Media Central, show floor appointments, and press conferences the team was able to learn about the latest in ed tech while soaking up the hot sun.


Recapping the 2014 SIIA Education Industry Summit

Last week, more than 300 education industry executives convened in unseasonably warm San Francisco for the Software and Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) Education Industry Summit. Discussions spanned the spectrum from brain research to procurement, and many points in between.

Main stage at SIIA Education Industry Summit 2014

Main stage at SIIA Education Industry Summit 2014

Debating Data

As Frank Catalano notes in his write-up for EdSurge, debates around student data privacy echoed through the Palace Hotel’s long corridors:

In the wake of the shuttering of inBloom and SIIA’s own issuance of student data privacy guidelines for its members earlier this year, data safeguards and policies loomed large. In a general session, it was clear that one big unknown lay in products that cross the semi-permeable consumer-school barrier.

While the majority seems to agree student data privacy concerns are legitimate, it’s far less clear where the line should be drawn – and who should draw it. The vendor community remains wary of a “chilling” effect on innovation that could result from a severe overcorrection in privacy policies.

Shifting Perception of “Mobile”

In her SmartBlog on Education piece, Melissa Greenwood shares an “EdTech industry forecast,” including a new way of thinking about “mobile”:

Tiny screens may be the digital content delivery solution of the future. While the U.S. often frames “mobile” learning as learning that takes place on tablets, smartphones, etc., the global market is being driven largely by digital learning content provided via smartphones, which are more accessible to students in developing countries.

With screens shrinking, along with cost barriers associated with smartphones, expect to see more vendors capitalizing on “the new mobile.”

Celebrating Innovation

SIIA announced 31 winners in the 29th annual Education CODiE Awards. Winners encompassed a variety of companies, from household names to fledgling startups. CB&A client Learning.com brought back to Portland the CODiE for Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas.

Innovation Incubator finalists were on display, as well, and conference attendees voted to determine winners and runners-up for Most Likely to Succeed, Most Innovative, and Educators’ Choice.

Next Event

Stay tuned for details about SIIA’s Education Business Forum, held during December in New York.


Fall Education Awards

As the leaves begin to change colors, several exciting opportunities are surfacing in the education and technology industries. Some of the industry's leading organizations and publications will be recognizing outstanding products, entrepreneurs and educators.

Do you know an educator who goes above and beyond to create lesson plans for the classroom? Or a company that proves it's dedicated to students? Check out the exciting programs below, and make sure to catch these deadlines before the leaves hit the ground this fall.

SIIA CODiE Awards – September 20

Honors the top companies and individuals in the software & information industries, including over 80 content, education and software categories.

EdTech Digest Awards – September 30

Recognizes people and companies in education for standout solutions, which transform education and enrich the lives of learners.

SIIA Education’s Innovation Incubator Program – October 4

Identifies strong entrepreneurs and supports the development of their company as they enter the education market.

Tech & Learning’s Leader of the Year Program – October 31

Acknowledges K-12 administrators, technology coordinators and teachers, who teach with the most innovative solutions.

Counting Sheep at the Ed Tech Industry Summit

Themed “Navigating ‘Next,’” this year’s SIIA Ed Tech Industry Summit (ETIS) will bring together the leading voices in education technology. Charlene and Carie from the CB&A team are traveling to San Francisco for the conference, so check back next week for a post highlighting their experiences.

Charlene, along with Linda Winter of Winter Group, has the special distinction of leading a session titled, “What Keeps You Up at Night? A Night Owls Breakfast Boot Camp.” In this session, attendees will explore the marketing issues that keep them up at night as they “Navigate ‘Next.’” Participants and presenters will then actively work together to develop strategic responses and practice delivering messaging for their organizations. Participants are encouraged to bring sample materials and vexing problems to the boot camp so there can be a practical, powerful and collaborative session. Participants will also receive a summary of the issues and messaging responses following the session.

To register for the session, click here.

Are you headed to ETIS? Which sessions are looking forward to most? If you’re not making the trip, follow along on Twitter via #ETIS13.


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.

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!


CB&A Congratulates Educational Publishing Hall of Fame Honorees

Karen Billings with Jim Russo before the Hall of Fame induction

The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) recently inducted three luminaries into the Educational Publishing Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Karen Billings, Dick Casabonne, and Margery Mayer!

“This year’s honorees have dedicated their lives to studying how children learn, developing tools to help them achieve their goals, and encouraging others throughout the industry to constantly improve educational resources," said Charlene Gaynor, CEO of AEP.

Having worked for several years with our longtime friend Karen Billings, the CB&A team has been witness countless times to Karen’s laser-like focus, steady leadership, and unsurpassed passion and enthusiasm for education.

Congratulations, Karen!

Looking to Evaluate Your School’s Technology Use?

For the 5th year, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) provides educators, administrators and faculty members from K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions the opportunity to evaluate their technology use by taking a short, online survey. Participants can draw on the 20 benchmarks in the SIIA Vision K-20 survey to assess their current technology setup, and establish future goals with the survey’s “ideal implementation” component.

Schools, districts, two-year colleges and four-year universities will be able to use the Vision K-20 benchmarks to monitor their progress, and can update the survey periodically as they work toward their goals. The Vision K-20 benchmarks focus on 21st Century tools, accessibility, differentiated learning, assessment tools and enterprise support.

SIIA member organizations worked together to develop the Vision K-20 initiative as a guide to help educational institutions implement technology district- and campus-wide. This survey aims to collect additional data that will broadly assist educators in taking technology implementation to the next level of success.

The survey closed May 24, 2012. To download the results of the 2012 Vision K-20 Survey, please visit: www.siia.net/visionk20/survey.asp.

To learn more about the Vision K-20 initiative, please visit: www.siia.net/visionk20/

SIIA Webcast Highlights Education Industry’s Use of Social Media

"Social networks can be used to provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant, as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time." - National Ed Tech Plan 2010

SIIA Webcasts EdTechEarlier this month, the Software & Information Industry Association hosted the "Social Media Marketing in Education" webcast, which highlighted the use and integration of social media in education companies' sales and marketing plans.

Stemming from an online survey conducted in February, participants answered several questions related to their knowledge, use, and implementation of social media channels as part of their overall marketing efforts. More specifically, the questions honed in on how respondents use specific tools to build their brand, reach key audiences, and garner feedback.

Looking at the final data, 35 percent of companies surveyed felt they have a social media strategy and plan, while 35 percent believed they are using social media, but don't have a clearly defined strategy or plan. Most of the remaining participants responded that they were working toward social media use.

For those in the research and development phases, one of the challenges they faced was, "convincing higher-ups to take a risk on a content marketing strategy." It's important to remind senior-level executives to measure more than one metric - not just growth in numbers of followers or fans.  Social media is about sharing content, engaging customers, and building relationships.  As the report says, "Social media requires that you give in order to receive." Therefore, illustrate what the expected ROI will look like so management can recognize success as it happens.

Of those actively using social media, participants responded that the most effective use of social media was to build brand awareness, followed by building customer loyalty and creating customer user and support groups. The least effective use was to inform product development and generate new leads. Finally, all respondents indicated that webinars are the most effective tool as part of their company's current marketing program, followed by Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.social-media-points521

When generating content, the panelists reminded webcast attendees that listening to the customer, not just pushing out information, is how social media plays a large, helpful role in conjunction with other marketing efforts. Rather than immediately focusing on the ROI, shift your focus to generating content and establishing resources for network management. Once you've solidified a strategy, start focusing on ROI - what and how will you measure efforts?

Additionally, make your customers/members and prospects feel like part of a community - engage them in conversation and encourage extended discussion via your company's social channels. Aside from generating conversations, inventory existing content and determine what can be repurposed. Marketing materials, such as case studies, white papers, etc., can be easily disseminated through your social networks.

If you've already developed your social strategy, what tools have you found most effective and for what tactics? What advice would you give those still establishing a social media marketing plan?

Top Innovators in Education Technology Recognized by SIIA

Last week, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announced 10 finalists for its Innovation Incubator Program. The Innovation Incubator Program connects developers of promising new technologies with industry leaders, potential investors, and established companies seeking partnerships or acquisition candidates.

In addition, Karen Billings, vice president of the Education Division at SIIA, and Tasiyiwa Mapondera, program manager for the Education Division, joined Larry Jacobs of Education Talk Radio to discuss the history of the Innovation Incubator Program and the decision to focus the 2011 program on personalized learning. The full interview can be found online at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edutalk/2011/04/28/educational-technology-siias-innovation-incubator.

siia_innovationincubator2This year, innovative K-12 and postsecondary technology-based educational products and services were reviewed and assessed on a broad range of selection criteria, including various characteristics of a personalized learning solution. The selected finalists will present their innovations during the Business Profiles Presentations and the Innovation Showcase & Welcome Reception at the Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco, May 22-24.

Finalists include:

-- Cabanga

-- Coursification

-- Dynamic Whiteboard

-- GiftedSpeech

-- GoKnow

-- McGraw-Hill Spark!

-- myON reader

-- Neurocognitive Training for Reading Comprehension

-- Sokikom

-- Wowzers

(Alternate: Pay-Per-Result at Learn that Word)

The 10 finalists will vie for recognition as "The Most Innovative" and "The Most Likely to Succeed" in the ed tech market.  Additionally, lead Innovation Incubator Sponsor, Blackboard Inc., (Blackboard), will award one finalist with a complementary year-long membership in the company's Partnership Program.

To learn more about the Innovation Incubator Program, or the Ed Tech Industry Summit, visit siia.net/ebf/2013/incubator.asp.

Congratulations to all the finalists!