EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

CYPHER LEARNING Releases New Features for LMS Products, Designed to Increase Learner Engagement

CYPHER LEARNING | October 08, 2021

CYPHER LEARNING, a leading provider of learning platforms for schools, universities and organizations around the world, today announced the release of several new features for its suite of learning management systems (LMSs). These additions are designed to make e-learning content even easier to track and consume increasing learner engagement and retention, and optimizing the learning experience.

Relied on by millions of users across more than 20,000 organizations, CYPHER LEARNING is the only company offering platforms in all major e-learning sectors: with NEO LMS for schools and universities, MATRIX LMS for businesses and INDIE LMS for entrepreneurs. The award-winning platforms — recognized for their intuitive interface and user-friendly experience — support more than 40 languages.

Newly released features include:
  • New graphical dashboards for administrators, teachers and students. The dashboards prominently display the most important information for each user type. For example, teachers can instantly see a news widget so they won't miss important class announcements. The dashboards can be customized with welcome banners to give students important information about the course, such as special announcements and instructions. Graphical widgets also make it easy to visualize site and course activity. Users can easily see relevant statistics related to students, grades, course mastery and more — helping them identify, at a glance, who's on track and who may need assistance.
  • Dark mode, which allows all users to switch between "light" and "dark" as the main design style. This addition helps users reduce eye strain, enabling them to use a low-light setting and limit the amount of blue light emitted from their devices whenever they engage with the platforms.
  • Site-wide surveys, enabling administrators to create surveys for a targeted user audience and deploy them to those groups. With this capability, organizations and academic institutions can send surveys that work outside of the scope of a course and gather useful information and feedback from learners and instructors.

In addition, other recently released features for CYPHER LEARNING products include a new learner course dashboard, hotspot question type for assessments and integration with the popular payment service YooMoney.

In order for e-learning content to be effective, it needs to be easy to consume,At CYPHER LEARNING, we're committed to ongoing product innovation — blending cutting-edge capabilities with ease of use, and making our platforms destinations that users want to engage with. As we help companies and educational institutions worldwide improve participation in their online courses, we know that a more appealing interface drives greater engagement.

Graham Glass, CEO of CYPHER LEARNING

About CYPHER LEARNING
CYPHER LEARNING provides award-winning learning platforms to organizations around the world. Blending ease of use, an engaging user experience and cutting-edge technology, CYPHER LEARNING supplies comprehensive solutions for all major e-learning sectors: with NEO LMS for schools and universities, MATRIX LMS for businesses and INDIE LMS for entrepreneurs. Relied on by millions of users at more than 20,000 organizations, CYPHER LEARNING supports 40+ languages and has offices worldwide, with global headquarters in San Francisco.

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Our South American, social media marketing executive Bruno and Portuguese student Tatiana talking about multi-lingual students at wings education. We have students from all corners of the world; China, Italy, Indonesia, Cuba, Portugal, Brazil; you name it, and we have them.

Spotlight

Our South American, social media marketing executive Bruno and Portuguese student Tatiana talking about multi-lingual students at wings education. We have students from all corners of the world; China, Italy, Indonesia, Cuba, Portugal, Brazil; you name it, and we have them.

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Orenda Education Merges With Think Together to Create Scalable School Improvement Nonprofit

Think Together | September 13, 2022

Think Together, one of California's largest nonprofits serving K-12 schools today announced it has completed the merger with Orenda Education, a top school improvement and professional development consultancy. Upon the close, the combined organization will serve more than 200,000 students across the state with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Moreover, the organization will be better positioned to rapidly scale their impact. "We're thrilled to bring our two organizations together in our combined efforts to improve student success and close the achievement gap,This merger is the natural evolution of Orenda's existing relationship with Think Together and solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring that the more than 2 million California students that are performing far below grade level have the support they need during the school day and beyond to succeed academically." Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth Over the past seven years, Think Together and Orenda have had an affiliate agreement in place while the full acquisition builds the long-term financial and operational capacities for Orenda to continue to scale. Orenda's work focuses on transformingeducation systems, either across a school district or by cohorts of schools, providing professional development to all levels of district staff, around a specific data-driven but people-centric school improvement model. Think Together partners with over 60 school districts and charter management organizations to provide more than 900 direct-to-student academic and enrichment programs at more than 450 school sites across California, serving more than 100,000 youth. Orenda Education works behind-the-scenes with school district leaders and educators to identify inequities in schools and then transform their systems to ensure all students have access to a premium education. "Think Together has always been an incredible partner, infusing the infrastructure needed to provide an efficient model for changing the odds for kids," said Orenda Education Founder and CEO Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle. "Our two models have always complemented each other but now, we can efficiently scale our vision for all students to receive the premium education they deserve." The acquisition comes as both organizations experience tremendous growth due in large part to new and renewed state investments in education to accelerate learning recovery efforts and provide educators with needed support amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, teachers, school leaders and administrators need to think outside the box to address the issues impacting students including socio-economic biases, social emotional learning, and more," added Barth. "Providing these much-needed supports to educators means districts and schools can provide the skills they need to teach, lead and counsel during and following a period of great disruption during the pandemic. Recently the U.S. Department of Education reported a dramatic decline in scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) known as the nation's scorecard. Two decades of growth for American students in reading and math were wiped away by just two years of pandemic-disrupted learning, according to national test scores released last week. And, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country's high- and low-achievers. Orenda's approach to school improvement has proven to accelerate student outcomes, such as mastery of grade-level standards (measured by math and English language SBAC scores), improved A-G class completion rates, and improved graduation rates. They also provide administrative coaching, teaching strategies, and leadership clinics. To expand these services, Orenda was recently awarded a $4 million Education Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education to digitize and distribute their school improvement approach through an online platform that is effective and highly scalable to schools and districts in any geography, and to those who require less in-person support. Think Together adds Orenda to their growing list of services that support student education in and around the school day. Think Together's flagship afterschool programs support students in underserved communities with homework help, enrichment, social-emotional learning and physical well-being, all to enable students to strive for college or a fulfilling career. To provide high-quality programs, Think Together partners with philanthropic organizations like the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Breaking down the barriers to opportunity, equity and access in education by keeping students and their success as the centered focus is one of the most meaningful investments for our future generations" said Alyssa Santino, Program Director of the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Ensuring the educators, leaders and structures around students are supported and inspired and effectively trained with research-based, proven and engaging strategies is imperative for thriving students and communities. We are pleased to partner with Think Together and Orenda Education as they excel in this space and continue to transform the trajectory of students and the schools they attend." Barth sees the combination of direct services to students through expanded and early learning, coupled with equity-based professional development, as an effective combination to supporting student achievement alongside their school district and charter partners. Dr. Paul Gothold, Superintendent of County Office of Education in San Diego agrees. His former district, Lynwood Unified School District, realized astonishing improvements when partnering with both Think Together and Orenda, including increasing graduation rates from 56% to 90.8%, and A-G college eligible rates from 18% to 53%. Orenda provides the technical expertise for true district turn-around. The systems approach and professional development modules to build staff capacity ensures all leaders have the tools and resources to provide a premium education for all students, said Gothold. "With Think Together's financial and operational support, Orenda is well positioned to continue providing much-needed education innovation to schools throughout the state and beyond. About Think Together For over 25 years Think Together has partnered with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

california Virtual Academies Wins National Award in Excellence

California Virtual Academies | September 06, 2022

The California Virtual Academies (CAVA) chapter of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) has been named as one of the 2022 recipients of the Silver Star of Excellence Award. This award is presented annually to NTHS chapters who distinguish themselves through their consistent excellence in Career & Technical Education and is a reflection of their commitment to community service, chapter advancement, and active civic involvement. CAVA is a network of online public schools serving K-12 students throughout the state.“I got to experience first-hand how hard our student members worked to maintain the goals and pillars of the NTHS,” said CAVA history teacher and NTHS advisor, Brandi Berba. “I am so proud of them for winning this award especially since it was only our second year! I look forward to seeing what they do next.” During the past school year, CAVA’s NTHS chapter has participated in all 5 of the NTHS pillars – Skill and Scholarship, Citizenship and Service, Honesty and Responsibility, Leadership, and Growth and Development. In the Skill and Scholarship category alone, CAVA invited over 80 students to lead and participate in a Professor Panel at the Fresno State University Lyles College of Engineering. The professors promoted STEM education and engineering and encouraged students to investigate skill-based career paths giving them a direct connection between the technical education that CAVA offers and someone who is interested in a STEM or engineering job. The event also promoted project-based learning as well as getting a higher education degree in college. “The NTHS is an incredible opportunity for students like me.It encouraged me to reach higher levels of achievement and gave me a chance to form relationships with like-minded and driven students who care about their future.” CAVA NTHS student president Sadee Briones About California Virtual Academies California Virtual Academies are nine independent online public charter schools that use the curriculum and tools provided by K12, a Stride Company (NYSE: LRN). The California Virtual Academies are: CAVA @ Fresno, CAVA @ Kings, CAVA @ Los Angeles, CAVA @ Maricopa, CAVA @ San Diego, CAVA @ San Joaquin, CAVA @ San Mateo, CAVA @ Sonoma and CAVA @ Sutter. Families do not pay tuition for a student to attend an online public school. Common household items and office supplies like printer ink and paper are not provided. Our enrollment consultants can help address your technological and computer questions and needs. Stride offers learners of all ages a more effective way to learn and build skills for their future. For more information about CAVA, visit https://cava.k12.com/. About the National Technical Honor Society : NTHS was established in 1984 with the purpose of honoring student achievement and leadership in Career and Technical Education (CTE). Since 1984, NTHS has served over 1 million members. In 2005, the NTHS scholarship fund was launched, awarding over $2 million in scholarships since that time to enhance and enrich the career opportunities of their members. With chapters in both secondary and postsecondary schools across the country, NTHS is the national leader in providing recognition for excellence in CTE. NTHS serves over 100,000 student members annually throughout the U.S. and U.S. territories. The national headquarters is based in Flat Rock, NC. About the Silver Star of Excellence Award : The Silver Star of Excellence Award is national award presented to school chapters across the country who apply the seven character attributes of NTHS – Skill, Honesty, Service, Responsibility, Scholarship, Citizenship, and Leadership – to their planned activities, programs, classes, and community outreach. It’s designed to nationally recognize school chapters for their educational excellence and community involvement, and encourages them to promote NTHS values in both their school and their local community.

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

Smartria® and Kitces.com Partner to Offer Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education (IAR CE) Under New NASAA Model Rule

Smartria and Kitces.com | August 09, 2022

Smartria®, a powerful, easy-to-use cloud-based software solution designed to meet the specialized compliance management needs of investment advisors, compliance teams, operations teams, consultants, and attorneys, has announced a partnership with Kitces.com to provide online education content for CE credits through the Smartria platform to address the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA) Investment Adviser Representative Continuing Education (IAR CE) Model Rule. Kitces.com is home to the Nerd’s Eye View financial planning industry blog published by Michael Kitces, and a leading provider of advanced education for financial advisors. “Smartria is proud to partner with Michael Kitces and Kitces.com, the preeminent industry thought leader in advisor education, We were very deliberate in our selection—we wanted to work with a partner who shared our vision of software as a partnership and was committed to helping us deliver a solution that meets our clients’ needs at scale. Smartria’s partnership with Kitces.com is a natural fit as we continue to innovate our compliance platform with new and distinctive offerings.” -Mac Bartine, CEO of Smartria Under the partnership, investment advisers who activate Smartria’s new IAR CE feature will gain instant access directly from the Smartria dashboard to all of the Continuing Education content provided by the Kitces.com Members Section, including not only the Nerd’s Eye View blog content, but Kitces white papers and webinars as well, which can fulfill both their new IAR CE obligation, as well as crossover CE credit for CFP certification, CPA licensees, Enrolled Agents, and advisors with advanced designations from the Investments and Wealth Institute and the American College. Future integrations under the partnership will facilitate automated firm-wide tracking and reporting in Smartria of all an investment adviser’s Kitces-earned IAR CE credits for all of their team members, to ensure annual compliance as additional states pass the NASAA Model Rule and implement their own IAR CE obligations in the coming years. As financial advisors, we’re already subject to a myriad of overlapping rules and regulations, and overlapping Continuing Education obligations, and so as soon as the NASAA Model Rule was finalized last year, we began the process to qualify our Kitces.com educational content for IAR CE in addition to all of the other financial advisor licenses and designations we already covered, With CE demands continuing to rise, we’ve been developing our own systems to be able to better integrate with existing advisor platforms to facilitate multi-designation CE, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Mac and the rapidly growing Smartria team to power their IAR CE solution, as our first CE integration partner,said Michael Kitces, Chief Financial Planning Nerd at Kitces.com. NASAA’s Model Rule was announced on November 30, 2020. Under the rule, an investment adviser representative is required to complete 12 CE credits annually to maintain their IAR registration. The rule applies to all registered IARs of both state-registered and federal covered investment advisers. Compliance begins with existing IARs and newly registered IARs in states that have adopted the model rule as of Jan. 1, 2022, which currently include Maryland, Mississippi, and Vermont. About Smartria Smartria is a leading compliance software platform for RIAs, hybrid RIAs and RIA networks. The firm’s software excels at making the complex and often frustrating world of regulatory compliance simple to manage and easy to understand. Smartria’s unique roles for compliance consultants and distributed management of large corporations make its solution able to handle any compliance problem for any sized company. For more information, please visit www.Smartria.com. About Kitces.com Kitces.com publishes the #1 financial planning industry blog, Nerd’s Eye View, and provides a wide range of advanced educational content for financial advisors through both nerdy long-from educational articles, research white papers, in-person and virtual live events, on-demand and livestream webinars, and online courses. The Kitces.com Members Section provides continuing education credits for a wide range of financial advisor licenses and advanced professional designations, including CFP certification designations from the Investments & Wealth Institute and American College, CPE for CPAs and Enrolled Agents, investment adviser representative (IAR) CE obligations, and more.

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