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News 11-19-2002

Sponsor: SMART Technologies Inc.


The Sympodium(TM) interactive lectern combines the advantages of the SMART Board(TM) interactive whiteboard with a contemporary podium design. It's perfect for larger classrooms and lecture theaters. To see the Sympodium interactive lectern in action, order your free Video CD-ROM. Reply before December 1, 2002, and receive a FREE 12-disk CD case.

The Sympodium lectern lets you face your audience as you interact with your presentation. The lectern's interactive screen and your auditorium's projection system simultaneously display your computer image. Using the lectern's attached stylus, you simply touch the interactive screen to control applications, access the Internet or write electronic notes while your audience follows along. If you have questions about SMART products in education, please contact us at [email protected] or 1.888.42.SMART.

Cal State Re-evaluates Overall Tech Strategy

California State University, the nation's largest university with 23 campuses, is developing a formal academic technology strategy to ensure that its investment in technology is producing the maximum academic return for its students and instructors, as well as state voters and legislators. As a first step, the university will conduct focus group sessions at seven campuses to create a profile of current best practices and needs within the university. A planning group of faculty and administrators will then use the profile and CSU affordable access and academic quality policies to develop a series of initiatives to improve system-wide collaboration and resource sharing. The university has hired academic IT specialist Collegis Inc. to consult on the project.

Software Roots Out Secreted MP3 Files

A company that designs software to enforce file-usage policies on business networks has created an application to find MP3 audio files secreted on networks and the online desktop file-sharing software used to trade them. Apero Inc.'s SoundJudgment software detects and responds to online file-sharing programs at the file-level, a necessity for finding MP3 files as they reside on individual workstations rather than a central server. File-level protection complements network-based solutions frequently used to monitor and manage music-swapping and MP3s, such as firewalls and Internet access monitors. Los Angeles-based Apero, which also makes AntiGame Plus game-detection software, bundles SoundJudgment with start-up assistance and three months of maintenance and technical support.

Grant Funds Texas Study on Wireless Reading Assessment

Two Texas universities received a $6.7 million grant to study the effectiveness of using the Internet and handheld computers to conduct reading assessments on K-12 students. The federal Inter-agency Education Research Initiative (IERI) grant went to the University of Texas's Center for Academic Reading Skills (CARS), the University of Houston's Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics (TIMES), and Wireless Generation Inc. They will study the effectiveness of two Texas reading assessment instruments when administered with Web-based support, in-person support, and on handheld computers. Inter-agency funding of the grant includes the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, contact Barbara Foorman, director of the University of Texas-Houston Center for Academic Reading Skills (CARS) at [email protected].

Syracuse U. Students Envision Futuristic Printer

Two Syracuse University students won a $10,000 prize for designing a futuristic printer that may make it possible to layer information on paper more easily and compactly archive business documents. The design for the Electronic Archive Printer, created by Ryan Bednar and Nate Schaal, senior industrial design students at Syracuse University, earned the top prize in the contest, sponsored by Lexmark Inc. The students' innovative design allows the printer user to layer multiple pages of information onto a single, standard letter-size page. The Electronic Archive Printer builds up layers of information on a substrate that is inserted into the print bed. The device lays down an insulating binding agent and prints conductive ink over the insert. A small beam of ultraviolet light cures each layer. A navigational device printed on the page allows the user to "surf" or "turn" the many pages contained in the single sheet. The pages can then be stored in a unique notebook that protects the document and acts as a power source.

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Awards, Deals, Contracts in Higher Education

DISTANCE LEARNING—Johns Hopkins University picked collaboration software from Elluminate Inc. to support its online graduate engineering program for part-time students. The company's vClass program is being used with WebCT content management services to support the live, real-time segments of each online course. "Given the computational intensity of our courses, vClass had the particular combination of features that satisfied our needs, including voice over IP, an interactive, shared whiteboard and the ability to record sessions for later playback," said Brenda Knox, senior information technology specialist at Johns Hopkins.

COLLABORATION MANAGEMENT—The University of Michigan purchased software to help organize the scheduling of heavily used and requested equipment in a campus solid-state electronics lab. The software, Global Scheduling System, from Forgent Networks, will manage schedules for reserving lab resources and track the time and related charges for equipment used.

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