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


2 Publishers Share Keys for a Profitable Training Success

There have been questions lately about how a publisher can get further into the training and webinar business. And does that have to come at the expense of your publications or can the two complement each other?

Interestingly, in the session Creating and Increasing Revenues in the Training and Professional Education Line at the recent SIPA 2014 Conference, both Murray Bradford of Bradford and Company and Stephanie Williford of EB Medicine showed ways of earning new revenues through education and training—while also saying that it helped sell their publications as well. (The session can be accessed by members on the SIPA site.)

Both also said that they tried audio conferences and webinars before but, for different reasons—staffing, technology, promotion—it hadn’t worked. Williford (pictured here) presented a case study on a partnership with her largest customer, EMRRG—545 members strong. They asked EB Medicine if they could develop an interactive, online training component for the risk management portion of emergency medicine.

“So we worked with them and came up with a format of 5 modules, each covering a single topic [and containing] a 15-20 minute video component, one of our articles, test questions and then an evaluation survey at the end,” Williford said. “We built it into our website where their members can log in on their profile only, and there’s a link directly to the SafetyCore homepage where they can get access to all the content.”

Keys to Williford’s success:
- Gather evidence to show that “without your training, people don’t know what they’re doing.” Prior to this course, only 30% could answer the questions correctly.
- Pick a project team and set goals, making clear what the deliverables are. They had a project director, a person from member services and an outsourced web developer.
- Keep the budget as low as possible. Williford used Survey Monkey for a pre-test survey and then YouTube to upload the videos. It all came to less than $3000.
- She said the total prep time of 5 months was probably longer than it needs to be.
- Survey the customers afterward to make ongoing updates and improvements.
- To support EB Medicine’s relationship with EMRRG, she asked them to do a write-up. “It helped us understand things from their perspective. It also gave us a promotional tool to sell other groups on this concept. ‘We can build this for you.’”
- Their system allowed people to print out their own accreditation certificates.
- Pricing was for one year, two years with a discount or a renewable annual pass.

While she still sees plenty of room for improvement—working out more of the IT challenges up front, learning customer needs and expectations, bettering the interface—she envisions lots of potential, internationally, doing live events and selling kits.

Bradford presented a case study of his own company which serves mostly tax professionals. He joined SIPA in 2006 with just a print newsletter. By 2009, he went online with the newsletter and quickly became all digital.

He started thinking about webinars in 2007 after attending a SIPA Chapter meeting and sitting between consultant Leslie Davidson and longtime SIPA member Jim Sinkinson. He tried an audio conference in 2008, then a free webinar—in order to sell tax courses (he sold 4)—and got 25 attendees. In 2010, Davidson helped him and he got 100 people to pay about $197 for a webinar.

At this point he went through the process of getting certified to offer continuing education credit for his tax professional audience. “To get the credit, I had to jump through hoops,” Bradford said. “Conduct a private session, get audited by the IRS.” But he did it. In the long run he said it probably didn’t boost his webinar audience as much as it did his brand.

The turning point came following last winter’s SIPA Marketing Conference in Las Vegas. He promised Davidson that he would do 12 webinars in 2014 and let her and Beacon Live do most of the work. With staff involvement less, Bradford picked a topic that was affected by Obamacare and got 250 people to sign up—80% of which were tax professionals. He also sold 50 more CDs at $247 each.

February didn’t do as well—too close to tax season—although he still got 60 registrants. So he waited until June for the next one and was on course for more than 200 registrants again. He expects to earn $700,000 in gross webinar revenue this year with low overhead. He also credits past SIPA president Andy McLaughlin for pushing him forward.

“SIPA and his prodding is what made it all happen,” Bradford said. “I have come to almost all of the SIPA meetings. It has directly helped turn us into a $3 million business—still kind of blows my mind.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

SIIA Releases 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report

SIIA releases the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, its seventh annual national survey measuring U.S. educational institutions’ self-reported progress toward building a framework that embraces technology and e-learning. The findings were presented at a press event during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. The report suggests that K-20 education institutions are striving for more digital educational goals, which are increasingly reached through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

Central findings from this year’s report include:

  • Respondents expect an increase in the use of BYOD technology.
  • Both the current and ideal level of technology integration has shown a directional increase for K-12 and postsecondary institutions, compared to 2013.
  • There is a need for increased technology integration in K-20 education.
  • Educators recognize that there is a large gap between current and ideal levels of implementation, which they aspire to fill.
  • Only 40 percent of K-12 education institutions feel prepared for upcoming online assessments.

The survey, which transitioned to a seven-point benchmarking scale this year, was distributed to nearly 1,000 educators and administrators with the help of many partner organizations – edWeb.com being the most prolific recruiter. SIIA also recognizes its lead partner, MMS Education, for its work on the Vision K-20 Survey analysis and report.

To view the Executive Summary of the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, visit http://siia.net/visionk20/2014_VK20-ES.pdf.

To download the full report, visit http://siia.net/visionk20/2014_VK20.pdf.

For more information on the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey results, contact lharman@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

SIIA Releases Student Privacy Policy Guidelines & Recommendations During Testimony before the CA State Assembly

The safeguarding of student privacy and data security remains on the agenda for many state (and federal) policymakers. SIIA took the opportunity of its invited testimony before the California state legislature to release its new “Policy Guidelines for Building a Student Privacy Trust Framework.”

The SIIA guidelines outline principles and considerations to ensure policies are appropriately targeted to enhance student confidentiality while limiting unintended or unnecessary barriers to school operations or digital learning opportunities. SIIA shared many of these before the California State Assembly hearing  (see video starting at 33 minutes) on “Ensuring Student Privacy in the Digital Age,” hosted jointly by the Education and Select Privacy Committees.

Today, new technologies like cloud computing are enhancing school capacity, providing: adaptive and personalized learning, anytime, anywhere data access, enhanced data management functionality, powerful data analytics, and improved security. These tools and techniques allow educators to manage more data in more cost effective and sophisticated ways to inform instruction and enhance school productivity.

While a framework of laws and practices has been highly effective in safeguarding student confidentiality, we recognize the need to continually review policies and improve practices to enhance the trust framework between parents, schools and service providers.

We are pleased that stakeholders are doing just that in response to recent questions and concerns:

SIIA is working to inform legislators across the country as they develop and debate new regulation, but we are concerned some of the policy solutions may be ahead of and over-correct the actualized problems. It is important that new legislative requirements provide sufficient local flexibility, are not overly restrictive or impractical so as to discourage and stifle innovation, and are consistent with existing federal protections to avoid regulatory conflicts and stakeholder confusion.

We touched on several of our newly released policy guidelines at the California hearing:

First, new policies should limit the scope to student personally identifiable information as defined under federal law.

Second, new policies should focus on the need to educate, equip, and empower schools and educators to make informed decisions that safeguard student data and serve student learning. This can be accomplished through transparency by schools and service providers, by instituting local and state governance around data use policies, and by building capacity through investment in professional development, data security technology tools, and student digital literacy. These are important alternatives, or at least complements, to policy prohibitions that may not account for unique local and evolving circumstances.

Third, new policies should provide schools and agencies with the flexibility around the use of student information to meet their goals as determined locally within the existing framework of federal protections. SIIA agrees student personal information should not be used for non-educational purposes such as selling data to insurance companies or targeting insurance advertising. SIIA agrees it should be used only for the educational purposes for which it was entrusted. The challenge is translating these principles into statute in a manner future-proofed for the wave of digital learning transformation at home and at school. Use policies should distinguish between inappropriate commercial use of personal data for non-educational purposes and the appropriate actions of a for-profit (or non-profit) school service provider to use that information for educational uses authorized by its customers and federal law, for educational product evaluation, improvement, and development and to drive adaptive and customized learning at school and home.

Fourth, while SIIA agrees with the general practice to delete data when no longer needed for the purpose for which it was collected is the appropriate general practice, policies must differentiate around data type, use and control. For example, deletion decisions are most often under the direct control of the school (not the service provider), while new models provide for parent-consented and owned personal student accounts (and their data, apps and student-created resources). Further, absolute destruction is not appropriate where aggregated, de-identified and other anonymous data is often needed for ongoing educational purposes such as to power software algorithms or where personal information is needed for accountability systems or future transcript services.

Fifth, new policies governing local contract requirements must allow for flexibility between local schools and their service providers. Any state requirements should provide a template identifying what issues should be addressed rather than prescribing the specific terms for how.

SIIA agrees with the need to safeguard student data privacy and security. Further policy protections must be carefully crafted so that privacy protection floors do not inadvertently and unnecessarily lead to educational ceilings. SIIA instead encourages new policies to be focused on transparency, governance and capacity to empower parents and school officials to make sound and safe use of student information that advance student learning.


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

SIIA Announces 2014 CODiE Award Winners in Education

SIIA announced winners of the 2014 CODiE™ Awards in education categories during a special awards reception and dinner, held during SIIA’s annual Education Industry Summit. Overall, 31 winners were recognized for their products and services deployed specifically for the education market.

All of the nominated education products and services were first reviewed by a group of tech-savvy educators from across the nation, whose evaluations determined 146 finalists. SIIA members then reviewed these finalists and voted to select 31 CODiE Award winners, listed here by category, company, and product/service:

Best Classroom Management Solution ClassLink, Inc. LaunchPad Suite
Best Education Reference Solution Credo Reference Literati School
Best Student Assessment Solution Edmentum Edmentum’s Study Island
Best Learning Game ExploreLearning.com ExploreLearning Reflex
Best Corporate Learning/Workforce Development Solution Global eTraining GeT Interactive
Best Collaboration Solution for Students Houghton Mifflin Harcourt myWriteSmart
Best Solution for Special Needs Students Inclusive Technology Ltd ChooseIt! Maker 3
Best Professional Learning Solution for Education Insight Education Group myCore
Best PK-12 Personalized Learning Solution itslearning, Inc. itslearning
Best Science/Health Instructional Solution JASON Learning, National Geographic Society JASON Expedition Center
Best Education Cloud-Based Solution JASON Learning, National Geographic Society JASON Expedition Center
Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas Learning.com Inquiry
Best K-12 Enterprise Solution Learnosity The Learnosity Publisher Toolkit
Best Campus Academic Management Solutions Pearson EQUELLA
Best Collaborative Social Media Solution for Educators Promethean Inc. (USA) Promethean Planet
Best Reading/English/ELL Instructional Solution ReadWorks ReadWorks
Best Game-Based Curriculum Solution Rullingnet VINCI Curriculum
Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology
Best Cross-Curricular Solution SharpSchool SharpSchool K-12 Website Solution
Best Mathematics Instructional Solution Think Through Learning Think Through Math
Best Postsecondary Personalized Learning Solution Tutor.com Tutor.com for Higher Education
Best Postsecondary Learning Solution uCertify uCertify LABS
Best Educational App for a Mobile Device Vernier Software & Technology – Software Division Graphical Analysis for iPad
Best Project-Centered Learning Solution World Wide Workshop Globaloria
Best Postsecondary Enterprise Solution Blackboard Inc. Blackboard Analytics
Best Social Sciences Instructional Solution SAGE IntroStats Online
Best Use of Video to Support Students Learning Delmar Cengage Learning Health Care Career Exploration Learning Lab
Best Virtual Learning Solution McGraw-Hill Education Onboard for Advanced Placement

Three top winners were also announced during the awards ceremony:

Best K-12 Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology
Best Postsecondary Solution Blackboard, Inc. Blackboard Analytics
Best Education Solution Schoology, Inc. Schoology

For more information about the CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies/2014/.

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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

SIIA Announces Innovation Incubator Award Winners

SIIA showcased some of the newest and most innovative products in the education technology market, and recognized the best among them as part of the Innovation Incubator program at the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market, held May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Award Winners:

Runners-Up:

More than 50 applicants were assessed for the Innovation Incubator program on a broad range of criteria. They were judged by both industry leaders and educators in classrooms around the country.  Ten participants and one alternate were selected as finalists for the program and the winners were judged by the ed tech leaders at the Ed Industry Summit.

The Full list of Finalists:

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.

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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

SIIA Education Industry Summit 2014 to be Streamed Live

SIIA is holding its 11th annual Education Industry Summit (Twitter: #SIIAEd14), the nation’s leading education technology conference. This year’s theme is “Meet @ the Cutting Edge.” Conference sessions will review what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world, and will prepare education solution providers with the knowledge needed to build the infrastructure, products, and services that schools want or need.

JDL Horizons, using its flagship Internet streaming solution EduVision, will produce and stream three key sessions:

Monday, May 12, 4:00 – 5:30pm PDT – Live presentations by Innovation Incubator Award Finalists will be made to a panel of reviewers, to determine those that are “Most Innovative” and “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Tuesday, May 13, 12:30-1:45pm PDT – Education Technology Awards Luncheon – announcing the winners of the Innovation Incubator Program and the recipients of the Ed Tech Impact Award and Education Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tuesday, May 13, 6:30-9:00pm PDTCODiE Awards- announcing the winner of the CODiE Awards. The 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.

District Administration will deliver these events live to a national audience of hundreds of thousands of education leaders throughout North America and around the world. Streaming will be available at: universitybusiness.com/siia and districtadministration.com/siia

More information can be found on the summit’s web site at: http://www.siia.net/eis/2014/

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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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