Administrator Smart Guide to ARRA Spending
The 21st-Century Classroom
50 ways to use that new ARRA cash to enhance good teaching, deepen learning, and improve school performance
By now you might think you’ve heard enough talk about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to last you for the next decade.
You know about the $100 billion, the reporting requirements, and even the basic dos and don’ts for the money. It’s an opportunity to better equip and prepare educators by investing in cutting-edge technology, and at the same time, prepare students for high-tech workplaces. The trick is to find the shrewdest way to use limited ARRA funding to permanently benefit your teachers, students, and district. There’s plenty of technology out there, including interactive whiteboards, projectors, digital cameras, software-based curricula, and more. Teachers and administrators can also learn a wide range of new skills through professional-development classes, seminars, conferences, and other venues.
To help you narrow down the choices and find some products and programs that are right for your district, here’s an eclectic list of some of the many available possibilities. You’ll also find out how you can get the most out of your professional- development investment, get the skinny on the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund (page 60), and much more.
SMART is well-known for its leading-edge whiteboards and other interactive technologies, which can be used in as many different types of classes as you can dream up. The company also offers an array of off-site training programs for both basic and intermediate users.
Whiteboards and Assessment Tools
Denton, Texas–based eInstruction is a maker of many different types of interactive teaching equipment, including Interwrite whiteboards and CPSPulse assessment tools. They also offer online and on-site training.
Interactive Whiteboards, Pads, and Projection Equipment
Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Mimio makes a wide array of interactive technology products, including whiteboards, pads, and projection equipment, which can be used as effective teaching tools. The company also backs up its products with extensive, multiweek master’s training courses. Beginning and advanced online classes are available. After completing these courses, staff may attend one-day in-person training sessions held in cities across the country.
Promethean’s many ActivClassroom tools—interactive whiteboards, pads, and more—can be put to a wide range of uses in any clasroom. Company-provided educator training is also available; options include Web-based self-guided instruction as well as multipart on-site instruction.
Interactive Presentation Products
Qomo HiteVision, based in Wixom, Michigan, near Detroit, manufactures many useful teaching devices, including interactive whiteboards, interactive writing pads, and document cameras.
Student Response and Assessment Software for K–12
Turning Technologies makes student-response and assessment software products for K–12 educators, and also offers in-person technical training and integration instruction for its products, in addition to interactive online tutorials.
Sanyo/Fisher Multimedia Equipment
Sanyo sells high-definition digital video cameras and multimedia projectors that can very easily be used for classroom presentations; its subsidiary Fisher sells equally useful high-quality audio systems and speakers.
Sharp Multimedia Projectors and Notebooks
Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp makes an extensive range of
consumer-electronics products, including high-tech scientific calculators,
multimedia projectors, and easy-to-use notebook PCs—all of which come in handy in any tech-oriented classroom.
CDW-G K–12 Education Products
CDW-G, a leading tech provider for education, business, and government agencies, sells a variety of hardware, including whiteboards, projectors, printers, and netbooks; it also sells teaching and administration software.
Logitech makes a number of different accessories and peripherals for computers, including keyboards, mice, speakers, and webcams that can be used with desktops and laptops of all types. Its webcams feature microphones that help filter out background noise.
Dell Netbooks and Training Services
In addition to its netbooks specifically designed for K–8 use, Dell has its own professional-development solution, the Dell Learning System, to help educators seamlessly integrate laptops into their curriculum. Dell also offers other training courses to boost computer skills.
LG Monitors and Optical Drives
Korean electronics giant LG sells
cutting-edge notebooks and optical data-storage products that would fit in well in any school district’s classrooms. They also make 60-inch widescreen LCD and plasma screens to use for eye-catching presentations.
Computers, Peripherals, and Software
Office Depot sells all sorts of technology, including desktop computers, laptops, and netbooks, as well as all the peripherals that go with them. It also sells a impressively wide range of educational software products for reading and writing, math and science, English-language learning, and more.
SunGard Public Sector
Software and Services
SunGard Public Sector provides administrative software and consulting and management services for public and nonprofit agencies, including K–12 school districts. Its software systems include tools for budgeting and reporting, tracking students’ attendance and grades, human resource management, and more.
Follett Software offers extensive automated library-system content, as well as the Destiny resource management and TetraData data-analysis software products—the nuts-and-bolts software that keeps a school administration running. They also provide basic-to-expert training for many of their products.
VariQuest Visual Learning Tools
Varitronics is based in the Minneapolis area and makes the VariQuest Design Center, a computerized design workstation for use with customized printers. With the center, educators can create posters, banners, cutouts, awards, and other items for use in their curriculum.
Public-Safety Communications Equipment
Vertex Standard is a manufacturer of public-safety communications devices that keep your on-campus security personnel connected. Its VX-230 Series portable radios feature wideband coverage, long-lasting lithium-ion batteries, and improved ergonomic design.
Sprint Nextel Cell Phones
As more and more school districts embrace cell phones as a way to engage their students (see “Lift the Cell Phone Ban” in Scholastic Administrator’s January 2009 issue), it may be worth investigating cutting-edge touch-screen smartphones, such as those sold by telecom giant Sprint Nextel, as your next new classroom technology.
ASI System Integration
IT Sourcing and Consultancy
New York City–based ASI provides information-technology sourcing and consulting services for companies and institutions in many different fields, including education. The company’s overall aim is to increase IT flexibility for its clients, while at the same time saving them money.
Audio-Video Document Cameras
Milpitas, California–based AVerMedia
is a maker of high-tech audio-video document cameras and also offers one-day training sessions of up to eight hours, either on-site or online. Educator training sessions include tutorials on setup, basic and advanced features, and how to fit the product into your school’s existing curriculum.
Scholastic Read 180
READ 180 is an intensive reading intervention program to address struggling readers’ individual needs through differentiated instruction. It offers adaptive and educational software, high-interest literature, and direct instruction in reading, writing, and vocabulary skills.
A+nyWhere Learning System
The A+nyWhere Learning System K–12 network-based courseware contains some 200,000 pages of content spread over 5,400 lessons in math, science, language arts, and other subjects. With its assessment tools, instructors can create targeted tests based upon national or state learning standards.
Carnegie Learning, a software company based in Pittsburgh, makes the Cognitive Tutor math-instruction software product and also offers a comprehensive professional-development program for it, delivered by Certified Implementation Specialists who have years of classroom experience.
Reading Instruction Software
Read Naturally’s self-titled reading instruction software is being used effectively in classrooms all over the country. The company also offers educators full-day seminars, which include tips on how to individualize student instruction, monitor progress, and help improve reading test scores. There’s also a take-home self-study course.
Reading, Mathematics, and Other Curriculum-Based Products
Curriculum Associates makes many reading assessment, math assessment, and test preparation products. Through its team of consultants, it customizes on-site workshops to meet your district’s specific implementation needs.
The various reading programs produced by Lexia Learning are geared toward PreK on up to 12th grade, as well as
special-ed. They are scalable Response to Intervention tools and useful ways to assess students’ progress. Lexia Learning also provides webinars, regional customer events, and extensive online support for all of its products.
Educational Assessment Products
Publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill offers many different educational assessment products for K–12, and for the early-education and adult-education markets. There are also online professional-
development courses available.
PASCO makes handheld Probeware devices for scientific-data collection and analysis, as well as wide-ranging science curriculum materials for use in classrooms. It also offers live online training, on-site workshops, and summer training programs.
Curriculum-Based Products and Professional Development
Publisher Pearson’s many different curriculum products are well-known. The company is also truly dedicated to professional development: It has a 32-page catalog of comprehensive training
courses for its many curriculum-based products, including several on the subjects of elementary- and secondary-level language arts and math. The entire training catalog is viewable as a PDF online at the above Web address.
Reading, Math, and Writing Software
Renaissance Learning makes reading, math, and writing software, including Accelerated Reader, 2Know!, and Accelerated Math. It also provides webinars, live seminars, online “QuickSessions,” and on-demand self-guided tutorials for educators on how to use its many products.
RM Educational Software
Math Framework Edition
Hyannis, Massachusetts–based RM Educational Software makes the Math Framework Edition interactive curriculum for middle and high schoolers. It addresses professional development for its product via a two-day in-school training session, taught by RM’s own expert training consultants.
Rosetta Stone Classroom
With Rosetta Stone Classroom software, instructors can teach their students any of 30 different languages, using the software’s advanced interactivity and speech-recognition technology. The software also includes tools to help track students’ progress.
Scholastic Assessment Products
Scholastic publishes a number of reading-assessment tools, including the Fluency Formula Assessment System, the Scholastic Phonics Inventory, and most recently, System 44 for especially challenged readers. The Scholastic Reading Inventory also has on-site training courses available for instructors.
Read&Write Gold Product Webinars
Texthelp’s Read&Write Gold software aims to help students with literacy problems and learning difficulties by using features such as text-to-speech capability, phonetic spell-checking, and many other innovative and interactive features. The company also offers a number of free webinars for instructors, detailing Read&Write’s many features.
Adaptive Curriculum Professional Development Workshop
Scottsdale, Arizona–based Sebit, using staff from Arizona State University, offers professional-development workshops for middle-grade math and science teachers. The program focuses on teaching educators to make use of interactive online environments to draw students into learning mathematical and scientific concepts.
Universal Design for Learning
Wakefield, Massachusetts–based CAST, founded in 1984 as the Center for Applied Special Technology, is a nonprofit research-and-development organization that works to expand students’ learning opportunities, especially for those with challenges such as dyslexia, sensory disabilities, or behavioral problems. Its Universal Design for Learning framework enables educators to use technology to help students meet academic standards in reading, mathematics, social studies, science, and
writing, via two-day programs held on-site at your school. Courses are also offered at CAST itself.
University of California, Los Angeles, School Management Program
Bridges to Understanding Institute
UCLA SMP has offered the Bridges to Understanding Institute for the past eight years. It’s a three-day program to teach educators strategies for teaching English-language learners, introducing new activities and methods rooted in English-language development (ELD) and specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE).
Nova Southeastern University
Education Degree Courses
NSU, based in Fort Lauderdale–Davie, Florida, is the largest independent institute of learning in the southeast. It offers education master’s degrees and doctorates, including specialization in technology integration. Many degrees are available via distance learning. Along with several other universities, NSU also offers accreditation for Scholastic RED professional-development courses, which use a combination of online and site-based study to help sharpen reading-instructor skills. (For more information on Scholastic RED, go online to teacher.scholastic.com/red)
Math Solutions offers a wide array of standards-based professional-
development courses for K–8 teachers and administrators, with the goal to improve the level of math instruction. The courses aim to increase teachers’ mathematical understanding, explain how children best learn math, and
develop effective teaching strategies.
Kagan Publishing and Professional Development
San Clemente, California–based Kagan offers workshops and materials for professional development in such areas as cooperative learning and instruction of English-language learners. Graduate courses are available in cooperation with universities across the country.
Crisis Prevention Institute
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training Program
These safety workshops, held all over the country, aim to improve classroom management and create a safer atmosphere for teachers and students by teaching participants how to respond to the warning signs of out-of-control behavior. They also teach participants how to manage their own stress levels while in the workplace.
Workshops and Courses
Annenberg Media, part of the Annenberg Foundation, offers dozens of online and video-based professional-development courses and workshops on teaching the arts, social studies, language arts, mathematics, and science, as well as on education theory.
Nonprofit educational leadership organization ASCD offers online courses, on-site training, and conferences. It aims to help improve instruction and build teachers’ and administrators’ leadership skills. Online courses include “Six Research-Based Literacy Approaches for the Elementary Classroom,” “English Language Learners in the Mainstream: Strategies That Work,” and “Technology in Schools: It’s Not Just About Word Processing.”
Blackboard offers numerous online and in-person training courses for its myriad software products, including Blackboard Learn for K–12. Advanced certification courses are also available.
This San Francisco–based company recently expanded its Teachscape XL professional learning platform to include curriculum mapping, student assessment, a “Classroom Walkthrough” suite to compare instructors’ teaching strategies to the latest research, and 100 online learning modules for professional development. Teachscape also hosts four-day planning sessions with administrators to help set up the system in their districts.
School Improvement Network
PD 360, an on-demand library of professional-development resources for teachers, contains more than 200 hours of video content featuring experts as well as real teachers in real classrooms. It also includes tools for follow-up, tracking, and group training.
This online professional-development site includes more than 130 graduate-level courses for educators in reading and language arts, math, instructional technology, science, and more.
Knowledge Delivery Systems
Online Professional Development Courses for K–12 Educators
Professional development for educators can be delivered through the KDS Classroom e-learning platform, and includes videos featuring well-known educators as well as study guides and assessment activities. There are also online forums on which teachers can communicate and share best practices.
Both online and in-person coursesoffer certification in Discovery Education products for educators, which include a range of curriculum and assessment tools.
Indiana Wesleyan University
College of Adult and Professional Studies, Education Division
Recognized by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, has online master’s degree and special-education licensure programs, as well as local, in-person classes in Indiana and Ohio.