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
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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

Is FETC Coming Back?

Is FETC Coming Back?

FETC is the annual Florida Education Technology Conference, held in Orlando, FL, usually in mid-late January.  I have been attending and speaking at FETC over the past 25+ years, and have watched it grow in the 1990’s, then wane a bit in the next decade. But, over the past few years, and from what I could see at this year’s conference, it has started to come back!

Both the numbers of registered attendees and exhibitors on the show floor this year were the “highest in six years” according to Patrick Gallagher, Event and Sales Director at 1105 Media.  (FETC is now managed by 1105 Media Inc, an SIIA member.)  So it was a good year for SIIA to participate fully!  We hosted the Incubator Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, moderated the Gold Fish Tank Program Presentations, launched our Vision K20 Survey for Educators, and held our Education Member breakfast.

SIIA Education and the National Science Foundation were co-sponsors of the Incubator Pavilion on the exhibit floor for the three days the show floor was open. We had invited past SIIA Innovation Incubator Applicants to take a stand in this special part of the exhibit area and Education members TeacherMatch and Filament Games were among the participants. NSF invited small companies they had funded with recent SBIR grants as part of their commercialization support for grantees.  All had a chance to demonstrate their products in the Learning Lab area within the show floor.

We invited companies from both groups to apply to present as part of the Gold Fish Tank session on the conference program, on Thursday, January 30.  They each had five minutes to speak about their innovative product or service to educators in the audience.  We chose five presenters and session attendees voted for the “Solution They Would Most Likely Use in the Classroom”.

The results of the first FETC Fish Tank Award were:

  • Runner-Up:  a tie between Reading Kingdom (by Reading Kingdom) and STEM Sims (by AthenaEd)
  • Winner: Showbie (by Showbie) a solution that helps teachers assign, collect, and review student work in iPad classrooms)

SIIA Education and 1105 Media hope to continue partnerships like this to bring start-up companies and potential customers together.



At FETC, SIIA also announced the launch of the seventh annual Vision K-20 Survey, which will measure classroom, school, campus, district, and state progress toward achieving the SIIA Vision for K-20 Education. The Survey, in partnership with MMS Education, gives educators, administrators, and faculty members from K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions the opportunity to evaluate their current technology and compare it to prior results in a short online survey.

We always host a member breakfast at FETC and this year was not different. There were 15 people at the breakfast including member representatives from TextHelp, Pearson, Victory Productions, A Pass Educational Group, Nervanix, Atomic Learning, Capstone Digital/MyON, and Promethean. They all agreed that the conference was growing compared to past years and that they would likely be back next year.

Meet @ the Cutting Edge

This year’s Education Industry Summit is taking shape!  The Steering Committee has developed great topics and some new formats that are truly exciting! Click HERE to find out what’s planned thus far.

As usual, the Summit will be back at The Palace in San Francisco, May 12-14.  You can still participate in the familiar and successful conference components of past 10 Summits: great programming during plenaries and break-out sessions, Innovation Incubator Program, One-to-One Business Connections, and of course, the prestigious CODiE Awards.

What’s new this year?

  • the Timing. This year, we’re starting on Monday and ending on Wednesday, giving you time with family on Mother’s Day on Sunday.
  • the Content. We’re exploring new developments in technologies (think robots and 3-D printers), research (from cognitive development to learning spaces), and innovations in product and business development practices and in K-20 classrooms.
  • the Format. Join us in Interactive Labs where you can find out how 3-D printers really work and are being used in the classroom; or in Lightning Rounds for fast-paced information sharing; or in Pitch Fests to find new companies with successful business plans.

And we’re doing more to leverage the San Francisco area by setting up executive briefings at nearby companies or bringing them in to the conference to present.

We’ve kept our popular very special Early Bird rate for registration, so don’t pay more than you need to, if you register today. Click here to register now and save!

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