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December 08, 2009

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Funds For Learning's Seven E-rate Tips for Surviving the Filing Window
Turning Technologies Announces New Release of TurningPoint AnyWhere
SirsiDynix Symphony 3.3.1 Released
Netop Launches Netop Get A Grant for Education (NGAGE) Program
Zula USA Launches ZulaWorld.com

Free Resources: Funds For Learning's Seven E-rate Tips for Surviving the Filing Window

The E-rate Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2010 is open for applicants across the country. It extends from Dec. 3, 2009 to Feb. 11, 2010. E-rate consulting firm Funds For Learning has put together a list of seven key tips to help applicants navigate the waters of the E-rate funding application process.

1. Review all Forms 470 used on your application

Whether posting a new Form 470, or using a Form 470 which was filed in a previous year, it's important to review each Form 470 to ensure it's the one that you can (and want to) use for each funding request. In particular, check that:

--The services for which you are requesting discounts are covered under the Form 470.

--The quantity or capacity of services requested are in line with those listed on the Form 470.

--The Form 470 indicates that you are seeking a multi-year contract, or one that includes voluntary extensions, if referencing a long-term contract.


2. Sign contract AFTER the Form 470's Allowable Contract Date and BEFORE submitting the Form 471
If you have posted a new Form 470, be sure that you select your service provider(s) only after the Allowable Contract Date. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company monitors this by checking the signature date on your contract(s), so it's a good idea to double-check that date to ensure it's later than the Allowable Contract Date. In addition, the SLD requires that the contract be signed prior to the Form 471's submission to the SLD.

3. Use lunch data on or after Oct. 1, 2009

As the basis for calculating your organization's discount rate, you must use National School Lunch Program eligibility reports dated Oct. 1 (or later) when completing the Form 471 application. The SLD will verify the information provided for discount rate calculation with a third party (such as a State Department of Education), so be sure that the information you provide on the Form 471 is accurate.

4. Post Form 471 early
While the Form 471 deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 11, 2010, don't wait until the last minute to file it. The Form 471 application is complex, it takes time to complete, and things don't always go as planned. A snowstorm, an illness in the family - such unforeseen events could derail your plans to complete the Form 471 by the due date. Each year, many applicants request additional time to complete the form because of unexpected circumstances - most of these requests are denied.

5. Double check everything before submitting
A thorough review of your Form 471 is the critical final step before submitting the form. Have a second person within your organization review the application. Overlooked typographical or calculation errors could result in your funding being delayed or denied. Even colleagues without much day-to-day E-rate experience can be helpful in catching these errors. Many applicants assume the FCC's Bishop Perry Order provides an open-ended second chance to fix any and all mistakes or omissions on their Form 471. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. The Bishop Perry Order allows only certain errors to be corrected after the Form 471 is submitted.


6. Prepare your Item 21 Description of Services Attachments as you prepare the Form 471
Every E-rate application must be accompanied by the Item 21 Description of Service Attachments, the supporting documents that substantiate the amount of funding requested. Since this set of documents is required, it's a good idea to compile them as the application is prepared. This will ensure that the information provided to the SLD - both on the Form 471 funding request and within the Item 21 Description of Services Attachments - is consistent and accurate.


7. Submit & certify before the close of the filing window

The submitting of Form 471 takes place when the form is completed and filed (either electronically or on paper) with the SLD. The deadline for submitting the Form 471 for the upcoming E-rate year is 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 11, 2010. Applications completed online must be submitted before this time. Those submitted on paper (via mail or courier) must be 'postmarked' on or before Feb. 11, 2010. Failure to submit the form in a timely manner jeopardizes your organization's potential for receiving funding. In addition to being submitted, the Form 471 must also be certified. This step requires you to attest your compliance with established E-rate rules and regulations. If you submit the Form 471 on paper, certification is entered on the final pages of the form. If you submit the Form 471 online, certification is a separate step that follows the submission of the form.

Source: For Learning, LLC, http://fundsforlearning.com

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Turning Technologies Announces New Release of TurningPoint AnyWhere

Turning Technologies LLC has announced the latest release of TurningPoint AnyWhere software for PC and Mac platforms.

To accommodate various presentation styles and technology integrations, TurningPoint AnyWhere combined with Turning's ResponseCard keypads or ResponseWare, a web-based polling application, creates a wireless response and voting system allowing presenters to ask interactive questions within their preferred presentation application -PowerPoint or Mac Keynote presentations, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF content, web pages, multimedia, and more.

Originally developed to accommodate users interested in a polling option that didn't require PowerPoint, TurningPoint AnyWhere uses a floating toolbar to poll participants or students at anytime using any type of digital content. Results can be collected anonymously or tracked by individual with the use of a participant list. Educators also benefit from integration with certain LMS systems, including Blackboard and WebCT, that supports the ability to import class rosters and upload session results into a gradebook.

The 2.0 release of TurningPoint AnyWhere provides increased functionality and improved interface design to both PC and Mac users including:

* Question Lists - Presenters can create and store interactive questions in advance.

* Dynamic Charts - Real-time results during polling.

* Screen Shot Report - Automatic screen shots capture question content in other digital applications and correlate results on a question-by-question basis.

* Enhanced ResponseWare Support - Participants can respond to interactive polling questions using their web-enabled devices including iPod touch, iPhone, BlackBerry smartphones, laptops, or desktop computers.

Source: Turning Technologies, LLC, www.turningtechnologies.com

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SirsiDynix Symphony 3.3.1 Released

SirsiDynix has announced the release of SirsiDynix Symphony 3.3.1. Topping the list of new features is support for Microsoft SQL Server as the underlying database for the ILS application server.

 

The Symphony 3.3.1 release contains a number of features to increase overall staff efficiency, including:

* Microsoft SQL Server database support – Symphony can now support customers that prefer a Microsoft SQL Server database solution.

* Improved authentication options for SirsiDynix e-Library – LDAP configuration is simplified and expanded to work well in consortial environments.

* Administration module for e-Library – New wizard simplifies e-Library configuration and customization.

* Fines/Fees reporting improved – Libraries enjoy expanded fine and fee details with this version; especially helpful to consortia and libraries with complex reporting needs.

* Additional enhancements to patron credits – Libraries can utilize patron credits to help pay for library services with this release.

 

Numerous customers participated in extensive beta testing of Symphony 3.3.1.

 

Symphony incorporates open, industry-standard technologies, offering libraries an expansive list of features and capabilities. These include an open n-tier architecture, software-as-a-service (SaaS) options, powerful search and discovery solutions, comprehensive integrated library management and productivity solutions, Java-based staff clients for all modules, fully documented application programming interfaces (APIs) that support unparalleled customizability and integration capabilities, Unicode support, advanced business intelligence and reporting tools, support for API, SIP2 and NCIP, and embedded and full Oracle database support.

 

For more information about SirsiDynix Symphony 3.3.1, contact SirsiDynix sales at sales@sirsidynix.com.

 

Source: SirsiDynix, www.sirsidynix.com

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Netop Launches Netop Get A Grant for Education (NGAGE) Program

Netop, a provider of  classroom management software, has launched the Netop Get A Grant for  Education (NGAGE) program to help educators struggling with shrinking  budgets. Available through Dec. 31, 2009, this funding program furthers the company’s commitment to ensuring that  all schools and teachers have access to tools for teaching with  technology.

Through NGAGE, Netop provides financial support for schools to  purchase an individual or site license for the Netop Vision6 Class  Kit classroom management software. Vision6 gives teachers control  over classroom computers from a console that shows each  student computer screen. Educators use Vision6 to monitor student  progress, control web browsing, and guide student learning on computers.

The Vision6 Class Kit is priced at $999, but with an NGAGE grant of  $450, an educator would pay only $549 per lab. Schools can also  receive grants of $1,600 for a site license.

The NGAGE Grant Program applies to select purchases of Netop Vision6  made through Netop or an approved Netop reseller. For more  information, call 866-725-7833 or visit www.netop.com/NGAGE.

Source: Netop Solutions A/S, www.netop.com

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Zula USA Launches ZulaWorld.com

Zula USA, LLC has announced the launch of ZulaWorld.com, an online destination designed to offer kids ages six and older, along with their peers, parents and teachers, a chance to explore the galaxies in fun and challenging ways. From racing around Saturn’s rings while playing the Bumper Spaceships Game, to riding a skateboard at Greater Crater Planetary Park, ZulaWorld.com offers entertainment that encourages discovery and excitement, according to the announcement.

 

ZulaWorld.com was developed in collaboration with IBM by the creators of The Zula Patrol, the 2008 Parents Choice Award-winning TV series featuring alien characters and science-based content.

 

Inside ZulaWorld.com, users create their own avatar, fly their own spaceship, and make discoveries about how things work as they explore the cosmos. Kids team up with their peers, parents, and teachers to problem-solve, play games, and immerse themselves in a community that includes traveling to other planets and frequently added new activities. The creative, technical, and educational team that developed ZulaWorld.com has designed all the games to engage kids while at the same time promoting critical thinking skills. Through a collaboration with IBM Research, many of these features have been made possible through the Emerging Business Opportunity (EBO) program with IBM's Virtual World Administration software tools for the creation of ZulaWorld.com and for ongoing site management.

 

The main sites on ZulaWorld.com, and some of the activities on them, include the following:

 

* Zulapolis: Play Larvi’s Trash Game to learn about recycling and caring for the environment.

Count your "Zlinkles" (coins earned from game-playing) while improving math skills.

 

* Greater Crater Planetary Park: Rebuild the park’s playground equipment while learning about core mechanical principles. Create a skateboard and let your character ride on it to discover Newton’s Laws.

 

* Ice Station Zula: Experiment with temperatures and different states of matter. Beat the Sun in a downhill sledding race to learn how heat affects melting snow.

 

* Venus: Capture a cloud in a jar for a look at weather patterns on other planets. Explore possible volcanoes on Venus.

 

* Multopedia: Use this handy interactive reference tool to view, listen to, or read more about literacy, science, and math concepts presented on ZulaWorld.com.

 

* Mole Game: Catch cute moles as they fall from the sky, learning about gravity, mass, and other core concepts.

 

* Bumper Spaceships Game: Race around the rings of the planets in your spaceship and discover what the rings are made of, the nature of gravitational pull, and the principles of mass/weight and their effect on movement.

 

Recognizing the importance of social interaction versus solitary play, the developers of ZulaWorld.com have designed the site to offer a high degree of team play for kids, parents and educators. To allow this, ZulaWorld.com has been built around proven concepts of protecting children in online environments.

 

Basic levels of gameplay are available for free for visitors to the site. A subscription to ZulaWorld.com unlocks many more levels of exciting activity. Subscriptions rates are $5.99, one month; $29.99, six months; and $49.99, one year.

Source: Zula USA, LLC, www.zula.com

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