Category: In the News

4 Ways CatchOn Boosts Remote Learning Efficacy

Original Article by CatchOn

Executing a Remote and Blended Learning Strategy is a Challenge

Here are four ways CatchOn empowers districts to most effectively manage remote and blended learning in the 21st century classroom:

Provides visibility into how students are using district-owned devices and online tools both inside and outside the classroom, enabling educators to track student engagement and help ensure all students are being served.

Allows district leaders and teaching staff to see when their students are engaging with their coursework, enabling educators to adjust schedules and gain better insight into overall student attendance.

Enables administrative leaders to track apps and online tools being used on school devices outside of the classroom to ensure students and teachers are using district purchased applications and ones that comply with student data privacy rules.

Enables districts to monitor the health and scalability of eLearning and assess their remote learning efforts using actionable, easy-to-access data to make informed and confident decisions.

Did you know CatchOn is eligible for CARES Act and other federal funds? Contact your dedicated Account Manager to learn more:

Education Networks of America (ENA)
Fred Cuthbert
Senior Account Service Manager

Learn More About CatchOn

Eliminate Paper with Adobe Sign While Improving Student, Staff and Faculty Experiences

JourneyEd, assists districts in not only eliminating paper with Adobe Sign, but accessing significant savings via the ILTPP full catalog agreement! Learn more below.

Easy to send. Easy to sign.

There’s no learning curve for e-signing — quickly e-sign forms, contracts, agreements, and other documents. It’s as easy as email.

Make it easy to fill out and sign forms on your website.

Instantly convert any document into an online form so your students, faculty and staff info can easily be filled out and recorded by you.

Capture a lot of signatures with a single click.

Whether you have a large group of students, employees, or  faculty that need to fill out and sign a document, Adobe Sign’s Mega Sign tool makes it easy for you to send and track everything.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Christine McConnell
Senior Account Manager

Learn More About JourneyEd

New Teams Features Add Creative Ways to Engage Students

By Barbara Holzapfel, GM Education

Over the past few months, students, faculty, and educators have worked hard to support the move to remote learning. Their challenges and insights from this spring will help inform how they conduct the next school year, whether it is fully remote or one of the many possible combinations of in-person and online instruction. Since individual schools and systems may use different hybrid models, it’s important that we equip teachers with the best possible tools for all options.

With Microsoft Teams as a central hub for teaching and learning, we are excited to unveil a set of new features designed to make remote learning more engaging, inclusive, and ultimately, more human. We’ve shared a detailed post that lists and describes all the new features, but I wanted to highlight a few that I think will be most helpful for educators, students, and families.

While the ability for teachers and students to see each other and interact is a critical part of remote learning, today’s announcements move beyond simply seeing everyone. They introduce new views designed to optimize interactions and make conversations more natural.

Together Mode places all participants in a shared background such as a college lecture hall, and creates a more attentive and connected online class experience. Its unique look and feel encourages engagement and makes it easier to focus on body language and nonverbal cues. It also reduces distractions in the environment and helps return focus to the individuals who are speaking, which is particularly important in the classroom setting. Dynamic View uses AI to optimize the virtual classroom space and prioritizes shared content and video to make managing the view more fluid, flexible, and intelligent. There are also controls to let students personalize the view to suit their own preferences or needs. Microsoft Whiteboard, which increases opportunities for collaboration during classes, is being updated for Education as well. Features include sticky notes, pen and ink, and drag-and-drop capability.

Another new feature that will enhance the remote learning experience is Chat Bubbles. Chatting during a class can be a lively way to engage students and encourage idea sharing, but it can also cause distraction. With Chat Bubbles, there’s no need to open a separate chat window; messages will float up from the bottom of the screen for all participants and make the chat more central to the conversation.

Speaking of engagement, with Live Reactions, anyone in a Teams class can select an emoji and share it with the group. This is a great way to get instant feedback from students, and helps instructors gauge emotional well-being, track comprehension, and encourage participation. Reflect Messaging gives educators another way to help connect with their students socially and emotionally, by creating check-in questions and polls. This can be especially valuable in remote or hybrid learning environments, where social cues are harder to detect.

Teams already supports learners of all abilities with live captions and transcripts, and now we’re adding Speaker Attribution, which will add speakers’ names to captions. When a class is over, students can download and save a full transcript of the sessions, with clear indication of who said what. And to accommodate classes that fill the largest lecture halls on campus, we’ve increased the maximum number of attendees in a class. Teams will support 1,000 participants in a single meeting with full ability to interact with audio, video, and chat.

While we don’t know exactly what the coming school year will bring, it’s clear that teachers and students will continue to use technology to enable remote and hybrid learning approaches. Our goal is that these new Teams features will foster stronger human interaction, collaboration, and student engagement.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Justin Libis
Account Executive

How to Automate Staff Accounts for School Districts

Student Provisioning Services (SPS) has provided student account automation for MicroFocus eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory for over six years now. Recently, the company has been working with more schools to automate their staff accounts as well. This can be a more complicated process for many reasons, especially for K12 schools, but the problem isn’t unique to schools.

While there is inherent value in automating staff accounts by eliminating the tasks associated with it and the possibility of human error, there is another significant advantage. The real value in this process comes from taking the time to apply the data in a way that will enable automation of staff-related email distribution lists through group memberships. 

Illinois School District Modernizes Data Management with Student Provisioning Services After Going 1:11

Prior to implementing SPS, Mahomet-Seymour Community School District was managing student account creation, deletion, grade level promotion, and suspension manually. Accounts were not being created with a standard format which caused many problems. They often forgot to deactivate student accounts upon graduation or other exit events. Staff did not know who to reach out to for account creation because several people “took care” of it. Staff and students were very frustrated with the time it took to get changes through the system, impacting learning time in and out of the classroom, wasting precious time and man hours that should have been focused elsewhere.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Joe Kubina

Learn More About SPS-K12

Blended Learning, the New Normal

How do you plan to reopen for the new school year after the lockdown?

With the right tools, training, resources and LMS partner you can ‘address and mitigate learning loss’, ‘boost student engagement’ and ‘support teachers and students’. itslearning consulted education experts to put together a list of articles and resources to help you prepare for the new school year.

Strategies to Help you Plan For the New School Year

Digital learning is now a ‘critical resource’ for educators. What lessons and tools has itslearning found useful for teachers to successfully plan for school after summer?

Taking Learning Online

In this 4-part series linked above, itslearning Product Owner Bart van Kimmenade will demonstrate best practices in creating a blended learning program, starting with ‘Taking learning online’ – how to gather your resources and plan an effective blended learning protocol.

Structure and Present Content

Use Plans to provide context, structure and present content in a sequence so that students can easily follow lessons and know where to find resources.

Keeping Track of Student Progress

When you don’t see your students daily, it can be hard to know how engaged they are with their courses. In the video, itslearning shows you the various ways you can monitor student progress and keep them motivated.

Maintaining Contact

Working from home can be lonely. Students miss their friends and teachers. But with itslearning messaging, mobile app, 360° reports and other tools, you can easily encourage collaboration and staying in contact.

Contact itslearning for a customized quote and reference contract #ILTPP-20I03.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Ernesto Ayala
Senior Vice President – Learning Solutions

Learn More About itslearning

Put the Daktronics Difference to Work for Your School

Daktronics is a world leader in designing and manufacturing dynamic scoring and timing equipment that creates an atmosphere your fans want to be part of. Daktronics helps schools reinvent how to educate students, generate revenue, and increase entertainment. The Daktronics team is proud to work closely with the Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP) and its members.

Daktronics can supply, deliver, and install the best looking, most reliable equipment for indoor and outdoor use in the industry, including:

  • Scoreboards
  • Videoboards
  • LED and LCD Video Walls
  • Message Centers
  • Marquee Signs
  • Audion Systems

During these unpredictable times, Daktronics is also offering Big Stream, the streaming player that takes the game to the fans in a new way – connecting your web stream to your Daktronics display.

When you invest in equipment from Daktronics, you get products that have been tested extensively for quality, durability, and performance. With a dedicated Reliability Lab to push equipment to the limit, you can remain confident that it will look amazing for years to come.

More than Hardware

Schools that purchase a video board may want to include the Daktronics curriculum, giving teachers the tools to instruct students on how to use all the equipment effectively. This curriculum can enhance the education experience, and open doors for each student to grow now and in the future. Many students have gone on to use their experience to gain scholarships and even careers.

Plus, your video board can generate revenue – paying for itself and adding to your school budget. Daktronics Sports Marketing (DSM) will help your school bring in sponsorship revenue, guiding you through each part of the process. Schools that go digital and partner with DSM bring in an average of $40,000 in revenue per year.

Of course, your fans will love a new scoring system. You can find new ways to engage them, entertain them, and get them on their feet!

Intrigued? Learn more about Daktronics’ curriculum, DSM, Big Stream, and so much more by listening to the Daktronics podcasts!

Your Team

There are Daktronics team members dedicated to your region. From sales representatives to service providers, you can count on quick response times. Get in touch with your dedicated account manager today!

The northern part of Illinois is covered by Sievert Electronic Sales & Service and the southern part of Illinois is covered by two Daktronics sales reps; Gerald Temples, and Megan Potthoff. Contact Bryan Nagel below and he will direct you to the correct salesperson.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Bryan Nagel
Regional Manager

Learn More About Daktronics

Prepare Your Classroom for Liftoff with Pitsco Drones

Our future is changing fast, and we have no choice but to embrace it. Not only are drones engaging, but they also can prepare students for jobs in the fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry. Let drones take flight in your classroom with middle school curriculum, drone packages, and drone arenas. Students can start by learning remote control features and then easily transition to learning programming languages. Check out Pitsco Education’s drone options below and enter to win a Drone Flight Guide Curriculum and Field Elements Kit!

Grades 6-8 Drone Curriculum

The Drone Flight Guide Curriculum and Field Elements Kit enables all students to get hands-on with drones and adds an element of competition to the learning experience. This package consists of teacher and student guides, which introduce learners to drone flight and competition, along with numerous competition field elements.

Tello EDU Drone Packages

Pitsco’s Tello EDU Drone packages feature best-in-class technology designed specifically for education. Students can start by using the remote control features of the Tello app and then easily transition to learning programming languages such as Scratch, Python®, and Swift. With Tello EDU, you can prepare students for exciting future careers and watch learning take flight!

Drone Arenas

Engineered for educational drone flight, this solution creates a safe and secure yet accessible environment for learning, competition, and fun. This is the ideal cage for drone competition outdoors or in a gym, large classroom, or school lobby.

As a reminder, ILTPP members can get an exclusive 2% off their purchase along with free shipping! Remember to enter promo code AEPA22 during checkout!

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Preston Frazier
Illinois Sales
800-835-0686 Ext. 4559

Learn More About Pitsco Education
Pitsco Education Blog

Zoom Launches Hardware as a Service Program

Program Offers Hardware for Both Zoom Rooms and Zoom Phone

It’s easier than ever to get access to the latest and greatest video communication technology. With Zoom Hardware as a Service, deploy a world-class communications experience with a variety of subscription options for phones and meeting rooms.

Now offering:

  • Hardware payment plans for IT simplicity
  • Low upfront costs and predictable budgets
  • Scalable end-to-end device management
  • Streamline procurement
  • Simple technology upgrades

*Partners offering ILTPP members discounted subscription licensing only.

Contact your dedicated Account Managers:

John Buttita
Sales Manager

Howard Technology Solutions
Joe Leppert
Senior Field Sales Representative
(312) 448-1314

Erin Miller
Inside Sales Manager, K-12 Education
(601) 399-5720

Christine McConnell
Senior Account Manager

Kyle Thomas
SM SLED Manager

MESH: Blended Media Literacy, Ethics, Sociology, & History

Mackin Educational Resources knows that those educators curious about a new, timely extension to STEM or STEAM curriculum are now looking into MESH education. Blending Media literacyEthicsSociology, and History, this ideology brings necessary real-world skills and education to the forefront. MESH provides a new perspective perfect for helping students navigate in today’s ever-changing world.

**When exploring purchasing, reference ILTPP contract #AEPA-IFB-020-C or simply mention ILTPP.

Media Literacy: Focuses on a person’s ability to separate truth from fiction. Topics included within the list are the media, fake news, propaganda, advertising, politics and the media, critical thinking, and how to find credible information.

Ethics: This specific list is focused on ethical issues and highlights responsible decision making, seeing all sides of an issue, and acting on what was learned.

Sociology: Topics within this list are focused on sociology and societal issues, social power relationships, inequality, group dynamics, and group activism.

History: Provides an emphasis on many aspects of world, modern, and ancient histories. Learning about our history allows us to better understand how our past has shaped today and allows us to forge a better future.

Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Sheri Omernik
Sales Manager

Learn More About Mackin Educational Resources

Prepare Students with 4G LTE Hotspots & Chromebooks

FireFly Computers wants to assist you in making sure each and every student is prepared for distance learning. No matter what the set up is like at home, with wireless solutions and data plans from Kajeet, all students can stay equally connected to online learning.

Connectivity for All Students, Anywhere

Did you know that 14% of students between the age of 3-18 don’t have access to the internet at home? No matter how your school is moving forward next fall–whether you head back into the classroom or continue remote learning–make sure no student gets left behind without internet. The Kajeet SmartSpot® and Kajeet Sentinel-Ready LTE Chromebook keep students connected to wireless internet wherever they may be.

Manage, Filter, & Report Student Data Usage

Kajeet Sentinel® is the core of your student connectivity solutions. From a single online platform, you can manage, filter, track, and report data usage from your Kajeet SmartSpot®, and SmartBus.

Kajeet Distance Learning Bundles

Custom Device + Data Bundles are built for your distance learning plan. Pick a device, select your carrier, choose a data plan for a student broadband solution, done your way.

Flexible Data Plans

Kajeet’s flexible data plans help you create a truly customized connectivity solution for your school. Choose a term that fits in with your distance learning plan–whether you’re staying remote, introducing hybrid learning, or returning to the classroom. 

School Bus Wifi Solution for Your School/District

Today’s school buses are more than just vehicles to transport students. From tech solutions that ensure a safe ride for students, to community-based distance learning solutions, provide your bus fleet the best-in-class solutions all from one place, Kajeet. 

FireFly’s Here to Walk You Through Kajeet’s Student Internet Solutions

FireFly’s sales reps are ready to walk you through Kajeet’s student internet solutions and want to help you find the one that best fits your school. Get in touch today to get the conversation started!

Contact your dedicated Account Managers:

FireFly Computers
Marissa Kolmer
Senior Account Manager

Learn More About Firefly Computers

Julie Collett
Business Development Executive

Learn More About Kajeet