SIIA Honors Industry Veterans with Lifetime Achievement Award and Ed Tech Impact Award

The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announces that it will honor Dr. Leonard Hall, co-founder of education companies SkillsBank Corporation and Impact Education, with its prestigious Education Lifetime Achievement Award. SIIA will also present its Ed Tech Impact Award to Sue Collins, principal at CollinsConsults, during the upcoming Education Industry Summit held in San Francisco May 12-14.

During a special awards ceremony, Dr. Hall will be presented with the award by his son, Adam Hall, president of Nervanix, as SIIA highlights Dr. Hall’s accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry. When Dr. Hall joined two other colleagues to co-found SkillsBank Corporation, he did so from the foundation of an already remarkable career in Education and Health & Human Services. The SkillsBank series of basic skills software focused on “at-risk learners” and adults wanting to learn unattained skills. The series was introduced first as a beta for Timex Sinclair on cassette tape and piloted for IBM, then entering the infant stages of educational software on desktop computers. By the time it was acquired by The Learning Company in 1997, SkillsBank was among the most widely adopted educational software in the nation’s schools.

In 2000, Dr. Hall came out of retirement to co-found another business with his son, Adam, and wife, Nancy. Impact Education was a distributor of instructional software and offered an array of propriety data analytics that, to a large extent, served as prescient indicators of the big data and integrated platform features that are on the rise today. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired Impact Education in 2010.

In addition, SIIA will present the Ed Tech Impact Award to Collins for her accomplishments and contributions to the education technology industry, as well as to the Education Division of SIIA. Collins began her career 35 years ago as a teacher, and she has held positions in both the public and private sector sides of the education technology industry. She left the classroom to become a district-level administrator and soon transitioned to the state level, where she served as the education technology director for the State of Washington. During the Clinton Administration, she was appointed to the Web-based Education Commission and represented SIIA in testimony before the U.S. Congress.

Collins has held senior-level positions at Apple Computer, Compaq Computer, Jostens Learning,, and Apex Learning. In her consultancy, She provides strategic solutions to education technology businesses. Collins’ experience on both sides of the education industry has enabled her to understand and expertly navigate public policy as it relates to education and technology. As a consultant in the ed tech space, she continues to provide expert and strategic advice to a variety of companies.  Over the years, she has served on various ed tech industry boards.

Collins was a driving force behind the development of the Vision K20 initiative, from the goals to the brochure to the website to the survey instrument. She has been an active member of SIIA through the years, previously spending eight years on the SIIA Education Board, and as co-chair for part of her tenure. Collins has also been a key contributor on the Ed Board Alumni Group.

For more information or to register for the Education Industry Summit, visit or contact Lindsay Harman at


Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Innovation Incubator Program Announces 2014 Finalists

SIIA announces finalists, and an alternate, for its Innovation Incubator Program. The program will be held during the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market. The finalists will feature their products during the event, May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Awards will be presented to the Most Innovative and Most Likely to Succeed, based on the votes of conference attendees. The Educator’s Choice Award will also be presented based on votes from educators and administrators from around the U.S., and SIIA will award prize packages from program partners to the award winners.

The SIIA Innovation Incubator Program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

Innovation Incubator Program finalists were selected from the applicant pool based on key selection criteria, including:

  • Ability to positively impact end users of the product
  • Ability to succeed in the ed tech market
  • Level of originality and innovation

All Innovation Incubator finalists will present during the Business Profiles Presentations Monday afternoon, May 12, which is immediately followed by the Innovation Showcase & Networking Reception where they will be available for one-on-one product demonstrations and in-depth discussions.

Innovation Incubator Program participants are:

Capture Education - A scheduling software that reduces data entry tasks and allows real data driven decisions to be made.

Crowdmark Inc. - A document assessment web application that allows instructors, or teams of instructors to easily mark up and grade documents.

EDUonGo - A cloud-based platform that allows highly collaborative learning and educational sharing.

Million Dollar Scholar - An open online platform that delivers highly tailored scholarship opportunities to students in High School and College and empowers students to achieve those scholarships.

Mondokio International News - The next generation resource for news articles in the classroom, it allows for customization to avoid bias and allows students to consider multiple perspectives.

Mosa Mack: Science Detective - A web library of animated science materials that engages students with a mystery format for each lesson.

Nepris - A web-based platform that seamlessly connects curriculum, industry expertise, and classroom needs to engage students in STEM and expose them to real job skills and role models.

Promethean/Classflow – An integrated learning platform that enhances education productivity by orchestrating and streamlining a collaborative teaching and learning process.

Ranku- A discovery engine for online degrees, using personalized search through LinkedIn and Facebook to help adults find reputable online degrees from accredited universities.

Smart Science Education, incInteractive video based online science labs for grades 4-12 that supply online science labs where lab space, cost and time challenge the use of hands on labs.

Alternate: A state-of-the-art video website that provides teachers with daily, one-minute videos that help teach important social skills, create a healthier school climate and reduce bullying.

For more information about the Education Industry Summit, visit or contact Lindsay Harman at

SIIA Announces Education Finalists for 2014 CODiE Awards

SIIA today announced the 146 finalists in Education categories for the 2014 SIIA CODiE Awards. These finalists represent applications, products, and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

This year’s program features 31 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models. Winners will be announced during a special awards dinner at the nation’s leading education technology conference, the Education Industry Summit, in San Francisco on May 13.

This year’s finalists are breaking ground with new business models and innovative products. We are pleased to recognize the best in educational technology with these 119 products. I look forward to honouring them all in May at the Education Industry Summit.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program. Educators and administrators conduct the first-round review of all education nominees. The judges are responsible for selecting the CODiE Awards finalists, and SIIA members then vote on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds are tabulated to select the winners.

Details about each finalist are listed at For more information on the Education Industry Summit, attending the CODiE Awards dinner, and to see a full schedule of events, visit

2014 CODiE Awards Education Finalists
[Read more...]

10 Reasons Not to Miss Ed Industry Summit May 12-14 in San Francisco

The SIIA Ed Industry Summit will be here before you know it! May 12-14 sounds far away, but if you register now, you can really leverage your time in San Francisco. Here are the top ten reasons for attending this year:

10. May and San Francisco. After the rough winters we’ve all had these past months, we deserve the nice weather that usually greets us on the West Coast at this time of year. You can spend free time during or after the conference enjoying the beautiful city!

9. Location. You know how many major high tech companies there are in San Francisco, let alone the Bay Area. To do business with them, you could come in early or stay another day to meet them. But….see them AT the Summit, saving you time and resources. We know how important networking is for our conference attendees. That’s why at the Education Industry Summit, you’ll find several key networking opportunities.

8. Innovation. Ed tech start-ups abound in the Bay Area, but our Innovation Incubator competition routinely brings the ‘best of the best’ to the Summit with our industry’s most innovative products and companies. Develop relationships with them before your competitors do!

7. Business Connections. Have SIIA schedule two hours of your time during the One-to-One Business Connections on Tuesday afternoon. With our partner Educational Systemics, we’ll help you meet the companies that can help you meet strategic and business objectives. These fast-paced exchanges will help pave the way for increased capital, revenue, and strategic alliances between participants. Meet the right people, for the right reasons!

6. Competitors. They may not be registered yet, but the Summit always draws the leading players in the industry. We already have many of your partners, peers, and competitors registered. Don’t be obvious by your absence! Look who’s coming.

5. Market Intelligence. Learn what’s coming in ‘the cutting edge’ of education and technology and how to transition your business to effectively reach decision-makers in K-20 institutions. Conference sessions will review what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world, and will prepare you and your company to build the infrastructure, products, and services to support the changes that schools want or need.

4. Sales. Contact your best prospects for partnerships BEFORE the Summit by getting our pre-registration list of attendees. Names and their contact details too. But, to get the list, you need to register first.

3. Support. Be in the audience when your CEO, business partner, or customer is speaking or to help recognize the people who make this industry great. Show your support for speakers and the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ed Tech Impact Award.

2. The CODiE Awards. Accept your CODiE Award–or see who wins–at our 29th annual CODiE Awards Reception & Dinner. The SIIA CODiE Awards have been the premier award for the software and information industries, recognizing excellence for 29 years. If you are unable to attend the Education Industry Summit, you can still purchase tickets for the CODiE Award Ceremony reception and dinner.

1. Huge Savings. Save $300 with our early-bird registration rate. Leverage your budget dollars and go back to the office with actionable items you can implement. Can’t beat that ROI. In order to receive the early-bird rate, be sure to register by April 7th!

Innovative Policies, Developer Content and Data Tools are Key, According to Education Officials at SIIA Mobile Learning Forum

SIIA this week hosted a successful meeting with education policy makers to enhance dialogue with developers of moble learning and other educational technologies. Discussions helped SIIA members better understand how public policies, funding and regulations are impacting their K-20 education customers, and provided education and government officials with an better understanding of the industry’s role, questions and concerns. Among the clear conclusions from SIIA’s Education Government Forum on Mobile Learning: Educators and students are looking increasingly to deveopers and service providers for adaptive, mobile content as well as data analytics as the engines of instruction and the platform for student learning.

The conference agenda included:

  • Keynote presentations from Rich Crandall (Chief, Wyoming Department of Education), Robbie Melton (Tennessee Board of Regents) and Kathleen Styles (CPO, U.S. Department of Education);
  • Review of federal and state K-20 policy trends from both analysts and officials;
  • Discussions about the migration to mobile learning; and
  • Updates on pending regulations and funding shaping the market, includingthe E-rate, student privacy and Common Core State Standards and assessments.

Among the takeaways:

  • Leading educators are turning increasingly to mobile devices to personalize learning and meet student needs anytime/everywere — They are looking to developers for interoperable, adapative and aligned content and tools; and they are looking for flexible public policies to support that innovation including the E-rate.
  • Safeguarding student data privacy and data security are critical — A regulatory framework is now in place, and policy must not get too far ahead of the problem and unintentionally restrict data-driven learning.
  • Common Core State Standards and assessments are moving forward — Implementation is hard work, but educator and public support remains strong as does their need for aligned instructional resources, assssments and data-driven professional development.
  • Costs and quality remain primary concerns in higher education — Public policies are pushing toward an outcomes-based model built around transparency and flexibility, while entrenched interests and undefined competency metrics stand as barriers to reform.


Mark SchneidermanMark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.

Four Days @SXSWedu 2014

Here’s what I noticed first during my four days at SxSWedu in Austin:

-    Attendees this year referred to it as ‘south by’

-    It was again a very mixed crowd of young entrepreneurs, educators, and company execs who wore very skinny jeans and tee shirts, or informal slack and tops, or casual business attire

-    Everyone complained about the very cold weather, except the Canadians and attendees from Wisconsin.

-    The organizers did a better job of mixing events and sessions so that there was more movement between the Hilton and Convention center by both educators and industry folk.

-    There was a huge number of sessions and events so I constantly prioritized meetings with members or potential members over sessions that sounded interesting.

Speaking of interesting sessions:

-    Diane Ravitch, in the opening keynote on the Dangers of Privatizing Schools , was very direct in her criticism of the role of for-profit companies in education. Thanks to SIIA member Idit Harel Caperton, who spoke up eloquently about the reason her company focuses on education and the work they do in that space.

-    I learned the most in an interesting session called Hardwiring the Brain.  Anna Kamenetz, a blogger at the Hechinger Report, chaired a panel of researchers and entrepreneurs looking at how the brain functions and how it can become more focused to learn more efficiently and effectively.  New learning systems will not just measure outcomes and what a student knows, but the effort and processes involved.

-    I enjoyed listening to Deborah Quazzo, Jessie Woolley-Wilson, and Lynda Weinman, who spoke about the challenges they faced as leaders in a session called: Women: Disrupters of Education. It brought back my own memories of being the lone female in mathematics and computer science classes, of 10 years later teaching those same classes, still with a equally-low female/male ratio, and 20 years later being in the minority at investment-focused  conferences.

I moderated a session for SIIA’s Mark Schneiderman about Building a Personalized Learning Engine. Panelists were from Rocketship Education, Michigan Education Achievement Authority, and  Itslearning  and they described their work in dynamically aligning students with resources from multiple providers based on timely and robust student data. We also highlighted findings from two personalized learning summits where SIIA was instrumental in driving a national conversation on the topic. This session was extremely well attended by both educators and industry reps, including SIIA education members.

I did listen to the Launchedu where education early-stage companies presented their innovations. The judging panels selected three start-ups as finalists:  admittedly,, and RobotsLAB. I invited them, of course, to apply to SIIA’s Education Division Innovation Incubator Program that closes on March 14.

Like last year, there were a lot of parties, a technology playground, a film series, and sponsored events.  The lounges, where attendees could get refreshments, were very popular. I found a surprising number of key execs, as opposed to regional sales reps in the rooms I visited, which were hosted by SIIA members: McGraw-Hill Education, Google, and Pearson.  There were meet-ups sponsored by Cengage Learning, and Adobe, and parties sponsored by Amplify, Pearson, and College Board.

I didn’t get to all of the sessions or parties I wanted to attend, especially those that started at 10 pm! But it was a productive and great four days in Austin.

Hats off to Ron Reed and his staff for another great event!

Note:  SIIA’s Education Division  is hosting a short conference call on Thursday, March 13. Members who attended will discuss their experiences at SxSWedu and others can listen and ask questions!

Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation

SIIA Invites Education Industry Executives to Present at 11th Annual Education Industry Summit

SIIA today announced it is accepting speaker applications for the Education Industry Summit, to be held May 12-14 at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. Articulate and experienced executives and leaders from education firms, education institutions, platform companies, and those on the cutting edge of education are invited to apply.

The theme of this year’s Education Industry Summit is “Meet @ The Cutting Edge.”  Speakers are invited to present in:

  • Interactive Labs where attendees can learn how 3D printers work and are being used in the classroom
  • Lightning Rounds with fast-paced information about new learning games and global partnerships
  • Pitch Fests where companies share successful business plans, marketing strategies, and five-minute pitches
  • Roundtable Discussions to delve into hot topics with industry colleagues
  • Panel Sessions to dig into a topic more thoroughly with an appreciative audience

The goal of this event is to showcase what ed companies can do to help build the infrastructure, products and services to support the changes that schools want and need. The Education Industry Summit is a vehicle for established companies and emerging innovators to learn successful strategies and tactics on what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a mobile-rich classroom.

Executives interested in presenting at the conference may apply online here.

WHO: Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
Education Industry Summit
May 12-14, 2014
The Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Karen BillingsKaren Billings is Vice President for the Education Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA Education Team on Twitter at @SIIAEducation