CODiE Awards Judge Webinar: How to Judge a CODiE Award

On October 6, 2014 we hosted a CODiE Awards webinar specifically for the Content, Education, and Software judges. The primary purpose of the webinar was to provide important information about the judging process, including responsibilities for all categories.

During the webinar we covered:

  • How to nominate
  • A review of the new categories
  • What happens during the first-round judging process
  • The complete CODiE Awards timeline
  • Tips and Tricks

Data Analytics in Education Promotes Social and Economic Opportunity

The recent FTC workshop “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” posed important questions on whether and how analytics could be used to restrict life chances for people rather than create economic and social opportunity.  The answer lies in the hands of the user of the technology, not in the technology itself.  The critical question is how people use, implement or otherwise act on the discoveries – the indicators, insights and evidence – that data analytics can uncover or reveal.

As with all knowledge, the value of the insights made possible by research and science depend in large part on the purposes they are used to advance and the environment in which they are deployed.  Data analytics in education is a good example.

A study by Johns Hopkins University research professor Robert Balfanz shows that most students who eventually drop out can be identified as early as the sixth grade by their attendance, behavior and course performance. Using those indicators, it is possible to identify by the middle of ninth grade virtually everyone who will drop out. As Professor Balfanz put it recently, “These young men are waving their hands early and often to say they need help, but our educational and student-support systems aren’t organized to recognize and respond to their distress signals.”

What should be done with this knowledge?  While one could worry that some might take an exclusionary path to perhaps stop wasting resources on students who are predicted to fail, the popular consensus created by recent educational innovators, such as Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify and former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, is to use these potential drop-out indicator as discoveries to develop a path of inclusion to take corrective actions early for these students, thereby promoting social and economic opportunity in education:

“Using data to help identify these students and give them meaningful supports and interventions as early as possible would have a significant impact on the number of students that graduate ready for success in either college or career. This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. These are actionable steps we can take right now, thanks to the power of technology.”

Which path is chosen is a matter for educators, not a matter of data analytics.  It would be disheartening, to say the least, if policymakers, fearful of data analytics used as a possible tool of exclusion, were to, in essence, call for educators to put their heads in the sand – not to see, and worse, not to use for good, the indicators that data analytics discovers.  Would anyone really argue that schools around the country would be better off not knowing the determinants of student failure, since it is possible that such knowledge might be used to discriminate against at-risk students?

In fact, many schools throughout the country are raising their heads, and hands, to apply data analytics to help their students succeed.

  • Research shows that attendance, behavior and course performance can assess dropout risk in a way that allows schools to design early intervention systems to support students. Miami Carol City Senior High in Florida designed an intervention system based on this kind of data. In 2013, one-third of students flagged for missing school got back on track to graduation. Two-thirds of the students who were having behavioral problems made a turnaround.
  • In Hamilton County Board of Education in Tennessee, early student interventions led to increased graduation rates by more than 8 percentage points and standardized test scores in math and reading by more than 10 percent thanks to applying predictive analytics.
  • In Mobile County, Alabama the dropout rate has been nudged downward by three percent since the application of data analytics on a broad range of factors including demographic variable to identify at risk students.

As J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO and superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, the 14th largest school district in the U.S., put it, “data analytics can help us both identify the child and create a better picture of who they are, what areas they’re deficient in, and point to things we can do differently. As we perfect our use of analytics, I think we can even get to the point where it’ll suggest, this student is weak in fractions; here are some activities that can help improve that.”

These examples and countless more show that educators are putting discoveries from data analytics to use for the good of all students, using indicators not to exclude students but rather to develop personalized courses of study for each one to succeed.


Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

Nominations Now Open for the 30th Annual SIIA CODiE Awards

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SIIA today opened nominations for the 2015 SIIA CODiE Awards. The 2015 CODiE Awards feature 14 new and updated categories, reflecting the dramatic changes in technology and business models impacting the software and information industries. The CODiE Awards have been the premier award for the software and information industries for 29 years. The awards program has three tracks organized by industry focus: Content, Education and Software.

Content: The SIIA Content CODiE Awards showcase the information industry’s finest products, technology and services created by, or for, media, publishers and information services providers.

Education: The SIIA Education CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

Software: The SIIA Software CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services that are developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) for use in business, government, academic, or other organizational settings.

“For the past 29 years innovators in the software, education and content industries have showcased what excellence looks like,” said SIIA President Ken Wasch. “We are truly excited to see what they bring to the judges this year.”

Winners will be announced in May and June and celebrated during a special event for each category segment. More information on these events will be posted on the CODiE Awards website as it becomes available.

For more information about the SIIA CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies. To see how some recent CODiE Award winners describe their achievement, watch the Attributions to Success Video Series.


Angel ScottAngel Scott is Awards Program Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the SIIA CODiE Awards on twitter at @CODiEAwards.

SIIA Seeks Education Technology Innovators for Incubator Program

The Education Division of SIIA is accepting applicants for its Innovation Incubator program. Selected developers of promising technologies in the K-12 and postsecondary markets will be invited to participate in the SIIA Innovation Incubator program during the 14th annual SIIA Education Business Forum, December 9-10, at McGraw-Hill Conference Center in New York. The deadline to apply is September 26.

The SIIA Innovation Incubator program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in the development and launch of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006, and has helped dozens of companies enrich education through the use of software, digital content and related technologies. The Innovation Incubator program employs a peer-review process to identify the most promising digital education products. Successful industry leaders and peers also provide one-on-one mentorship before, during, and after the Forum to support the growth and success of identified innovators.

All education technology companies with innovations are encouraged to apply – from start-ups to established companies. A panel of SIIA member judges, consisting of prominent education technology industry professionals, will review and score each innovation, and collective scores will determine finalists and an alternate. Scores will be calculated based on:

  • True innovation
  • Market need/ Solving a problem in education
  • Ability to be successful

Finalists will be asked to give webinar presentations to educators and administrators nationwide for the Educators’ Choice and Faculty Choice Awards. Finalists will also present their products in person for Education Business Forum attendees. An additional winner and one runner-up will be chosen for the “Most Innovative” and “Most Likely to Succeed” categories based on the scores submitted by Forum attendees.

For more information about the Innovation Incubator program, or to apply, go to http://www.siia.net/ebf/2014/incubator.asp or contact Karen Billings at kbillings@siia.net.

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

What It Takes To Be A CODiE Awards Judge

It’s that time of year again, the CODiE Awards. SIIA’s annual CODiE Awards recognizes excellence in the content, education and software industries. The CODiE Awards remain the only peer-recognized program in the content, education and software industries so each award serves as incredible market validation for a product’s innovation, vision and overall industry impact. This year marks a milestone for the CODiE Awards, celebrating 30 years.

We are officially accepting applications for CODiE Award judges. If you have ever wanted to be a part of the CODiE Awards, this is the year to do it! The CODiE Awards are judged in two phases: a first round review in which each product is assigned to judges for evaluation, and SIIA Member voting on the finalists selected in the first round.

The ranks of first round CODiE Awards judges include industry executives and analysts, representatives of media outlets, bloggers, investors, and, for the education categories, educators and administrators. All it takes is a background that reflects an understanding of the broader market for a specific product type and a willingness to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer.

Take a look at FreePrint contributor, John DiGilio’s 2014 CODiE Award judging experience.

FreePrint Article


New Markey-Hatch Federal Student Privacy Legislation is Unnecessary

SIIA today issued a press release on the introduction of the “Protecting Student Privacy Act” by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Orin Hatch (R-Utah).

The current framework of robust federal regulations, industry best practices and binding contracts provides strong student privacy protections.  With these three layers of protection, we can give students access to revolutionary learning technology while ensuring that their information is used only for educational purposes. New federal student privacy legislation is not needed at this time.

The Markey-Hatch legislation is well-intended, but it contains provisions, such as a prohibition against the use of student information for targeted advertising, that already exist in current law and regulation. Other provisions, such as those related to data destruction, might not be workable in practice.

We share the privacy protection goals of Senators Markey and Hatch, but it’s critical to ensure that any new rules do not inadvertently create obstacles to the effective use of information. Innovative education technology is essential to improving education for all students and to ensuring U.S. economic strength in an increasingly competitive global environment.


Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

SIIA at ISTE 2014

Mark, Lindsay, and I were busy during the recent ISTE conference in Atlanta, Georgia! Our time was spent mPearson Exhibit halleeting with members, finding new members, promoting our reports, and learning about new and exciting trends in the Ed Tech Market.

The exhibit hall was packed with all sorts of companies, many of whom received a CODiEs sign to show that they were a finalist or a winner of the 2014 cycle. The exhibit hall was huge and took a team of myself and Lindsay Harman to get all of the signs out to our winners and finalists who represented a sizeable portion of the exhibitors present.

At our press conference on Sunday, the latest Vision K-20 report was released to a great turnout of industry professionals and reporters. The report was presented by Sue Cosuellins of CollinsConsults who help drive the development of the Vision K-20 initiative and Susan Meell of MMS Education who wrote the latest report. The crowd was highly responsive and asked lots of questions about the Vision K-20 report and the sneak peek findings from our upcoming testing and assessment report. John Richards of CS4Ed presented a sneak preview of a new qualitative report on testing and assessment. This report is a follow up to findings in last year’s K-12 Market Survey Report that showed a big increase in testing and assessment dollars in the market.

Most of the interviews we did were on video this year. We highlighted our work at ISTE with the help of C Blohm & Associates and did a summary interview with TouchCast. In between, there were more videos and phone interviews to further explain and clarify all of the results.

We co-sponsored the Ed tech start up pavilion and Pitch Fest competition, (both on the show floor) for the second year, which was very large and noisy. I spent much of Sunday judging the preliminary competition, then the finals early Monday morning. SIIA wants to congratulate the winners K and flexibleof this year’s competition. We were able to speak with all of the Pitch Fest competitors and learn about their companies and how they could leverage SIIA benefits.

Our Member Breakfast and Feedback Forum on Tuesday morning was also a rousing success – even for 7:00 am in the morning. The event was co-hosted with COSN and the Winter Group and drew 50 members who were able to learn from 10 educators who participated in the focus group. The topic at hand was apps in schools and educators from around the country discussed the challenges of using them in the classroom and beyond. We ended the forum by singing Happy Birthday to Charlene Blohm.

ISTE 2014 had both high registration numbers and energetic attendees. We hope to be at ISTE 2015 for another great conference and expect to see even more SIIA member companies there.

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

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