STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Schoolwires is launching Nimbus, a safe social learning environment that is designed to foster student engagement so that districts can extend participatory learning in and beyond the traditional classroom in support of student success and 21st century learning skills.
Many districts are struggling to find a way to integrate interactive technologies into the classroom for more engaged learning. A significant barrier to providing the engaging social media technologies that students are accustomed to is doing so within a safe and secure environment. Currently, numerous districts are discussing limiting access to, and interaction on, social media sites like Facebook because of concerns with internet safety and potential improper teacher/student contact.
"Nimbus addresses the need to interact with students in a medium that students naturally use, increasing engagement and learning, but in a secure and monitored environment," said Christiane Crawford, President and Chief Executive Officer, Schoolwires. "In an open network, the risks associated with unmanaged membership and unfiltered content are too high. Providing students with a safe online learning environment is essential for districts that are striving to engage their students more deeply, and that want to equip them with the 21st century technology skills that are necessary to be successful in higher education or in the workplace."
"Nimbus will provide the middle ground we need to develop 21st century readiness skills in our students in a controlled environment," said Mike Shuman, Director of Technology, Beavercreek City Schools in Ohio. "Schools need to control their learning environments, whether it is in the classroom or online, and Facebook is too wide open. With Nimbus, we can control and see who is joining learning communities and what is being done within them. Yet the interface is similar to other social media platforms that the students are used to. This is a strong tool to engage students and support our anywhere anytime learning initiative."
"A significant barrier to districts meeting their students' vision for 21st century learning is the fears associated with internet safety," added Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow.
Project Tomorrow's most recent annual Speak Up Survey of more than 380,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators found that one-third of middle schoolers and almost half of high school students are currently using Facebook to collaborate with their peers on school projects; triple the number from 2007. In the study, students repeatedly stated their desire for schools to incorporate more collaboration and communications tools into teaching and learning. At the same time, the majority of parents and administrators stated their concerns about ineffective filters and exposing students to cyber bullying and other internet dangers.
Unlike mainstream social networking tools that are open to the public, Nimbus is designed to ensure that district networking activity is structured and secure. District administrators can manage users, access and settings; monitor network activity; and apply filters to ensure that all networking is productive and safe. Network usage data and reporting tools also help ensure safety and accountability.
Schoolwires Nimbus is a hosted technology platform designed to promote vibrant communities of learning and practice in addition to best practices in teaching. Nimbus uniquely combines three kinds of connectivity that exist in a school community: social networking, instructional networking, and community networking through easy-to-use tools that extend learning safely beyond the walls of the classroom. The solution is designed to safely and effectively increase teacher interaction, break down communication barriers, increase student participation, support curriculum and professional development, and increase community participation. It also supports emerging standards like Common Core State Standards and ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards for Students.
About Schoolwires, Inc.
Schoolwires is a leading provider of community-based solutions and safe social learning environments designed to accelerate K-12 district and student success. Centricity2 is its unifying Web content management platform designed to help K-12 districts more deeply connect and engage with their communities. Schoolwires Nimbus™ Safe Social Learning Environment provides a secure environment where teachers can inspire student engagement and interest in developing 21st century learning skills. Through its numerous, long-term district relationships, Schoolwires works with an estimated 8 million users across the nation. Schoolwires was recognized by Inc magazine as one of the Top Education Companies on the 2011 Inc 500|5000 for the fifth consecutive year. Schoolwires Inc. (www.schoolwires.com) is headquartered in State College, Pennsylvania, USA.
About Project Tomorrow
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation's leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today's students are well prepared to be tomorrow's innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.
Schoolwires, Nimbus, the Schoolwires logos, and the unique trade dress of Schoolwires are the trademarks, service marks, trade dress and logos of Schoolwires, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, trade dress and logos used in Schoolwires and the Site are the trademarks, service marks, trade dress and logos of their respective owners. Reference to third party's marks or logos (such as Facebook®) does not imply any relationship between Schoolwires and the third party or any endorsement by either party of the other.
SOURCE Schoolwires, Inc.