Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Head Start for All: Educational Emphasis in Earlier Stages

An interesting report was officially unveiled today by the New America Foundation entitled “A Next Social Contract for the Primary Years of Education.” It states that too much energy and focus is given to children too late. That is, once they have tuned out and become disinterested in learning, it is difficult to get the children back up to par. By 4th grade, when children begin to read to learn, progress is difficult if they haven’t properly learned to read. By setting high-quality standards in educating from age 3 through 3rd grade, the report states, students are better prepared to learn.

That’s right – the educational system they envision starts at age 3! Head Start, meanwhile, is widely recognized as a pre-school program, but it is generally available to those below the federal poverty level. “Social Contract” may be onto something in building a better foundation in children’s’ education, but it will take a lot to change what we know as K-12.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Antimicrobial Paint and Laminate on Furniture

Blogging note! Do not hit return until done with blog entries.
This article is a bit scary about situations out east where instances of "superbugs" contaminated schools and infected some students. They talk about locker rooms and such as potential hot spots for bugs. Spectrum Industries has researched anti-microbial paint and laminates and could supply a solution where needed in a classroom.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What do small business, made in USA, and bread have in common?

Spectrum Industries Inc. is proud to produce products that are made locally and distributed internationally. Finding innovative ways to grow, produce, and prosper in today's business climate is universal. Follow the link to discover an innovative American company that has found a way to prosper by looking at how they do business in a new way.

The Lesters opened their business in 2005 and quickly established themselves as a neighborhood fixture. But in early 2008, everything changed. Commodity crop prices went haywire, sending the cost of flour soaring. “It was catastrophic,” Ben said. The Lesters decided that basing their products on an ingredient produced thousands of miles away in the Midwest no longer made good business sense, and they began to ask what it would take to source grain from local growers.

To read more go to the Cornucopia Institute web site.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Billion Acts of Green

Our planet needs help, and your actions matter!

The Billion Acts of Green campaign, developed by the Earth Day Network, is the core of Earth Day's 40th Anniversary program. This effort is focused on the facilitation and cultivation of service on behalf of the planet. The goal of the campaign is to aggregate the millions of environmental service commitments that individuals and organizations around the world make each year - thereby sending a powerful message that people from all walks of life are committed to solving climate change.

The Billion Acts of Green web site serves as the repository for these commitments. Through the web site, individuals and organizations can make their own commitments to the environment. These commitments will be automatically counted toward Earth Day Network's ultimate goal of a billion acts. Currently the website has raked in 5,062,593 acts of green.

Become an environmental leader by adding your green act today, and read more about Earth Day Network's large and small-scale environmental projects around the world at Billion Acts of Green.

Today I pledged to unplug all of my electronics when they are not in use!

See how Spectrum is minimizing their environmental impact, or calculate your own environmental footprint.

Earth day is April 22, 2010...only 29 short days away!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Virtual Field Trips: The Green Way to Teach and Be Taught

Teachers naturally want to do the most for their students, but do not necessarily have the resources to accomplish items on the wish list. In the world of Distance Learning, the wish list need not be a bucket list. With a small amount of A/V equipment and some technical knowhow, a whole classroom can take a field trip to almost anywhere without needing a permission slip, much less hopping on a bus.

A number of websites have been participating in Virtual Field Trips (VFT’s) for many years. Tramline started with science-based VFT’s, but has since expanded to social studies, math, and literature. K-12 educators have used and added to this site since 1997.

Want to learn more about New Zealand? LEARNZ (Linking Education and Antarctic Research in New Zealand) has been in operation since 1995. Initially, LEARNZ wanted to bring students to the Antarctic, and has since expanded VFT’s throughout New Zealand.

The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) originally started in Indiana in 1994. Today, www.cilc.org is an established global videoconferencing content hub accessed by thousands, including all 50 states and 166 countries/territories.

Somewhat more recently, WikiFieldTrip has been established for students to visit the world and scroll through area-specific content.

Considering the vast resources for Virtual Field Trips, a class assignment to contribute video and content can be an exciting way to share local culture to the rest of the world. As seen the March 4 issue of T.H.E. Journal, Stamford High School in Stamford, TX made a videoconference session that included a wide array of activities about the local cotton-growing region in which they live.

VFT’s can range from interactive to observant, from real-time to recordings, and generally cover the K-12 age group. When weather has rendered the local zoo inhabitable and the school bus has a history of mechanical mishaps, look into a Virtual Field Trip as a possible alternative.
Information for this blog was gathered from THE Journal and Wikipedia, and contributed by Spectrum Industries, Inc. – manufacturer of fine distance learning systems furniture for over a decade.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What If Education Programs Received the Same Attention Sports Receive?

Basketball fans across the nation are returning to work with lots to talk about after the first weekend of March Madness. Although many are wishing they would have rethought their bracket choices, I am not sure what is more upsetting, the shocking loss of Kansas to Northern Iowa on Saturday, or the thousands and millions of dollars poured into sports entertainment while or educational systems make budget cut after budget cut?

Now don't get me wrong, as a recently retired college athlete I am a huge sports fan myself; currently mourning the losses of hometown favorites, the Minnesota Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers, as well as sulking with the hundreds of people falling in bracket rankings because I too had Kansas taking it all. Nonetheless, my recent interest in following the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the National Education Technology Plan (NETP)and several other blueprints that plan to increase innovative technologies in the classroom, makes me wonder what it would truly be like if education programs received the same attention and funding that professional and collegiate sports receive?

My curiosity was spurred by ESPN SportsCenter's coverage of March Madness. While tuning in to see who would be picked as the next favorite following the fall of Kansas (which is now believed to be Kentucky), the broadcasters briefly described the lengths to which technology vendors were going to ensure that all systems were working smoothly; so the millions of fans can be connected to the games in any form they choose, from regular old TV watching to mobile updates and much more.

After doing a little research, I discovered that while college players are shooting around, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has already made its game-winning shot: a $6.1 billion, 11-year deal with network CBS to air the men's basketball tournament, signed in 1999. Additionally, this year alone, the NCAA expects to rake in $638.9 million from media rights, virtually all of it from men's basketball.

Meanwhile, the media rooms where these games are being played host several very expensive computer stations equipped with video cameras for reporters to file video or audio clips, 40 plus Ethernet connections, tech-support specialists, and a supply of loaner laptops for emergencies.

In addition cell phone companies are bringing in extra equipment to increase service capacity to keep up with the volume of data, from mobile updates to increases in messages from fans who text all their friends while at the games. Apparently, beefing up capacity is a normal thing wireless providers do for sporting events and other vital cultural events. They also bring out extra cell sites on wheels, called COWs, to the parking lot.

Initially, I thought this is pretty cool. However, after further consideration I thought what if we made these kind of investments (or even half of these investments) in our school systems. Imagine you are a school district, population 100,000, including students, faculty, and parents, and you implement a 1-to-1 program. Now imagine if the telecom providers said: You school district customers are so important to us that we are going to bring in a couple of COWs to make sure you have sufficient capacity to provide unlimited streaming video to students in all your classrooms. And, because we know how important it is to link home and school, we are going to install a system that allows perfect connection between home and school and ensures students are connected no matter where they live.

Although I realize this is very far fetched, is the thought of additional funding to obtain broadband for all school districts or mini-laptops for every student really that unrealistic?

As a former student-athlete I am torn as to whether more focus and funding should be directed to our educational institutions. The sports-loving side of me says no way, yesterday was the best day of my life because Joe Mauer signed an 8-year, $184 million contract extension with the Minnesota Twins (my favorite team). Yet, the student part of me, which incidentally is always listed first in the student-athlete title, believes that the ridiculous amount of money being spent in the sports industry could be better directed, starting with the improvement of education programs for future generations.

Information for this blog was gathered from THE Journal and MinnPost.com.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spectrum Industries, Inc. Promotes Denise Parkhurst



Chippewa Falls, WISpectrum Industries Inc. has promoted Denise Parkhurst to Integration & Reseller Channel Customer Support Manager. Denise Parkhurst will assume responsibility for the strategic support of Spectrum’s reseller channel partners and the supervision of the channels sales support team. Based out of Spectrum Industries headquarters in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Parkhurst and her team will focus their efforts on delivering exceptional customer experiences by supporting the customer before, during and after each sale.

Spectrum Industries is widely viewed as an industry leader and innovator in the manufacturing of furnishings to support audio-visual, presentation and technology-rich environments. With the increase in demand and popularity of Spectrum’s products it also brings an additional level of support for the channel partners who sell the products, incorporate the audio-visual and technology equipment and install them in colleges, universities, schools, government agencies and corporations across the United States.  

Prior to the promotion, Parkhurst served as Spectrum Industries Customer Order Manager and was responsible for developing and supporting Spectrum’s on-time delivery initiatives. She also brings years of supervisory, contracting, and support experience to the position. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Loyal Spectrum Employees Accumulate 355 Years of Work

From 25 years at Spectrum to 10 years at Spectrum; employee loyalty is what keeps the innovative wheels turning.
Several employees were recognized at yesterday's company-wide meeting for their years of service at Spectrum Industries.
Employed for 25 years (from left to right), Kevin Sobotta, Greg Gadke and Leonard Woodman started their careers with Spectrum in 1985.

Employed for 20 years (from left to right), Teresa Repaal, Dave See, Martin Klomstad and Jim Lloyd began their careers with Spectrum in 1990.

Employed for 15 years, John Ketterhagen, Scott Dorn, Mary Matuszak, Brian Shufelt, Laurie Johnson, Karl Dinger and Scott Drake started their careers with Spectrum in 1995.

Finally, employed for 10 years, C.W. King, Butch Dachel, Barb Frazer, Kyle Hansen, Ben Williams, Tyler Hanson, Dave Naiberg and Lonnie Kroeplin began their careers with Spectrum in 2000.

Spectrum would like to thanks all of these employees for their hard work and dedicated years of service.

Together these employees have accumulated an overwhelming 355 years of work experience at Spectrum; and together they have largely contributed to Spectrum's success.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A Little St. Patrick's Day History

The First Parade
The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called "Irish Aid" societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.

Each year, nearly three million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants.

Wearing of the Green Goes Global
Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.

In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.

The Chicago River
Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river—enough to keep it green for a week!

Today, in order to minimize environmental damage, only 40 pounds of dye are used, making the river green for only several hours.

Did You Know?
Many of us know that each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage. Yet, did you know that in 2007, roughly 41.5 billion pounds of U.S. beef and 2.6 billion pounds of U.S. cabbage were sold?

Information for this blog was gathered from History.com .

Irish or not, what a great day to celebrate. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Furniture in Architectural Laminate Colors? Of Course We Do That!

As furniture manufacturers, we at Spectrum Industries are well known for our durable yet stylish desks, lecterns, and laptop carts. Flip through our catalog and you will see plenty of reasons why we can add value to educational and training facilities for many years to come. But what is not shown in our mainstream literature is our knack for customization. As any successful company would, we’re happy that all of our fine efforts appeal to the masses, but we love to show off every once in a while, too! Our Product Development staff certainly has all the talent and tools to do so.

For years now we’ve put together some interesting color schemes in our products. Recently we’ve had architects who have always admired our furniture, but only recently discovered that custom laminates and powder coatings are fair game as well. Our message: Be our guest. By all means, flip through the Wilsonart laminate of your choice and complement it with a powder coating from our partner Spraylat.

Even though industrial color combinations are often the name of the game, our employees honestly stand out and admire the custom-colored media consoles and laptop storage carts waiting to be packaged.

Furniture Made in the USA by Spectrum Industries, Inc.

Monday, March 15, 2010

i3 Innovation Grants Open

The United States Department of Education has released final priorities and opened the application process for the Investing in Innovation Fund, also known as "i3," a $650 million grant program that's designed to fund "the development of path-breaking new ideas, the validation of approaches that have demonstrated promise, and the scale-up of the nation's most successful and proven education innovations."

The Investing in Innovation Fund, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides competitive grants designed to encourage programs that improve student achievement, student retention, student graduation rates, and teacher/administrator effectiveness. To this end, applications are being accepted by local school districts, groups of school districts, and non-profits working with groups of schools or whole districts.

Eligibility and Priorities
There are several eligibility requirements for those applying for i3 grants. Successful proposals must be geared toward any of the following, according to ED: "supporting effective teachers and principals; improving the use of data to accelerate student achievement; complementing the implementation of standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and careers; and turning around persistently low-performing schools."

In addition, there are four other priorities that will enhance an applicant's ability to receive funding: "improving outcomes for young children; expanding students' access to college and preparing them for success in college; addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and of limited English proficient students; and serving schools in rural areas."

The closing date for the applications is still pending, but ED indicated it would be some time in mid-May. Grants are expected to be awarded in September. Additional grants may be awarded later, as there's an additional $500 million proposed in President Obama's 2011 budget plan.

Additional information about the Investing in Innovation Fund is available on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site.

Information for this blog was gathered from an article titled i3 Innovation Grant Program Opens written by David Nagel (March 8, 2010) from the Journal.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Ahead for Daylight Saving Time

Did you know Daylight Saving Time was introduced to save energy...

Get Ready! Tomorrow (Sunday, March 14) at 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time begins. In other words we "Spring Ahead" and lose an hour during the night.

The change to Daylight Saving Time allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes by taking advantage of the longer and later daylight hours.

Did You Know....A Little Daylight Saving Time History
Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966,Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer since 2007 due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to determine energy savings from Daylight Saving Time and based on a variety of factors, it is possible that little or no energy is saved by Daylight Saving Time. (Information gathered from about.com)

Nonetheless, it is always good to consider the environment and your impact on the environment on a daily basis...GO GREEN!

View Spectrum Industries efforts to GO GREEN!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Las Vegas Anyone?

It's almost 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon and as we all dream about the weekend, one can't help but thinking about getting away to Las Vegas for the weekend. Fortunately, it's not all that far fetched; InfoComm 2010 at the Las Vegas Convention Center is less than three short months away.

InfoComm is the most forward-looking pro-AV event in the world where over 900 exhibitors bring the show floor to life, showcasing the latest technologies and hottest products on the market.

Read more about InfoComm 2010, and see what attendees, like Spectrum Industries, will be showcasing at the event.


Shoppin' Around at GlobalShop

For the past two days we have been shopping around at GlobalShop, the largest store design and at-retail marketing show in the United States, and seeing as today is the final day of the Las Vegas expo we are wondering what catches your wandering eye when shopping?

The past few days we have seen it all from P.O.P. displays and store fixtures or digital signage to creating a memorable dining environment or illuminating artwork at a museum.

What have you seen that catches your attention? Is it the flashy Las Vegas sign or something more simple?

Friday Netbook Update-Netbooks dead? Yes, in the higher ed student market at least

No matter, Spectrum Industries has a laptop/netbook storage and recharging cart for any technology. While higher education seems to require the larger screens and more power from a full size laptop, K-12 seems to have grasped the mini laptop and is running with it. And all the teachers are telling the kids "no running with netbooks".

Considerations When Selecting A Laptop Storage Cart

 “We are preparing for a district-wide mobile laptop (notebook) & netbook roll-out. We have decided on a vendor to purchase laptops from but what should our school district be considering when evaluating the various Laptop Carts that are on the market?”

With schools across the country deploying mobile computers at an accelerated pace this question is becoming more and more common. Spectrum Industries has long been considered the gold-standard and leading innovator in mobile laptop cart design and manufacturing. We have worked with educational organizations publications to define the criteria to consider when selecting a laptop storage cart. Below we will touch on the key components and features you should carefully consider when selecting the cart for your institution.

A laptop cart generally will hold between 12 and 32 fully-loaded laptops and at times a wireless access point, printer and auxiliary equipment. The value of these items can approach $50,000. With that kind of investment in technology security should be a primary focus when reviewing laptop storage carts.

A high-quality, reliable locking mechanism should be a central feature included on all laptop storage carts. The ideal lock will secure the doors to both the top and bottom surfaces of the cart. A simple barrel lock or a single-position latch is not recommended as it provides limited protection. The appearance and operation of a lock can act as a very effective theft deterrent. Be certain there is solid construction of the cart and the manufacturer uses high-quality steel doors with protected and strong hinges.

Carts should be highly maneuverable within and between classrooms. A selection of casters (wheels) to handle a variety of surfaces should be available and each cart should have a set of locking casters as a standard feature. Casters (wheels) should be durable, reliable and should roll easily when the cart is pushed. Ensure that the casters are rated to handle the weight of the cart and the laptops together.   

Easily accessible power for each laptop or power for small banks of laptops is preferred. This allows for quick removal and set-up for charging. For carts designed to hold a large quantity of laptops, a timer that switches between outlets will prevent excessive electrical loads or tripping of circuit breakers. A “retractable” power cord with a long enough cord to reach the nearest available outlet provides primary power to a cart in a quick and safe manner.

Convenient Student Access
The cart should provide students with safe and easy access to the laptops and power dongle. A pull-out tray for each laptop or for small banks of laptops is ideal. Additionally, locating each power outlet for the laptops on a side not accessible to students will help eliminate tampering and provides a reliable charging system.

Cable Management
Just placing laptops and power cords on a shelf leads to unsightly and unsafe masses of cords. Cable management should include dedicated space for power, careful routing of cords, and using Velcro or cord clips, to prevent unnecessary movement. This takes more time initially but will make daily use of the laptops incredibly easy and maintenance free.

Laptops become very hot during-use, after-use, and while charging. Vented side panels and doors will help avoid overheating. The venting pattern should utilize “chimney effect” heat dissipation patterns to promote the movement of heat through the unit and escaping near the top.

Presentation & Auxiliary Equipment
Options should be available to store, secure, and power any dedicated printers, projectors, document cameras, wireless access points, instructional laptops, and other accessories required on each cart.

Integration & Troubleshooting
Laptop carts should open on two sides to allow easy access for equipment integration and troubleshooting. Clear instructions on how to properly organize wires, use power/timers, and attach options should also be available.  

Using quality materials in construction is vital to the long-term life of the cart. However materials are only part of the quality equation. Each laptop cart is used in a variety of environments with many different individuals handling it on a daily basis. As such your cart manufacturer should have a stringent testing program should be in place. All carts should meet or ideally exceed ANSI/BIFMA testing standards. This will ensure they are constructed in a fashion that will ensure long-term reliability.

Also, just as vendor viability is important in selecting a laptop manufacturer it is equally important in selection of a cart manufacturer. Look for a “partner” not just a supplier. A “partner” should work with each customer on selection of product and accessories, be there to answer questions, assist with changes, solve problems, and have a solid product warranty.

While functionality is the primary focus on laptop storage products we cannot overlook the importance of the carts appearance. The color selection should work with the many rooms and environments the cart will be used in. Choosing a manufacturer that can provide laminates and paint colors from a number of suppliers may provide you the maximum in aesthetics.

By carefully evaluating laptop storage carts based on the features listed above you will be certain that you are providing your institution the best possible cart for your application. At Spectrum Industries we are passionate about the markets we serve and the products we develop. To learn more about Spectrum Industries or the furnishings we manufacture please visit our website at http://www.spectrumfurniture.com or contact us at 1-800-235-1262. To help preserve the environment and provide a quick and convenience method of viewing  our products we have added an interactive catalog to our website. Take a minute to review our products. We are confident that you will like what you find!  


Spectrum Industries, Inc.
925 First Avenue, PO Box 400
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
(800) 235-1262 or (715) 723-6750

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spectrum Industries Is Listening

Spectrum Industries Inc. has been interacting with the educational system for over 40 years. Spectrum Industries is driven by the desire to listen to the needs of students and educators from Kindergarten to Higher Education and develop ways to enhance learning.
The article below explains a few ways the higher education landscape is changing.

Ten Demographic Trends Offer Unprecedented Challenge―and Opportunity―for Colleges and Universities in 2010
EducationDynamics’ Market Research and Advisory Services identifies key growth areas

Hoboken, New Jersey (January 28, 2010)― Market Research and Advisory Services, a division of EducationDynamics led by Carol Aslanian, has identified ten demographic trends poised to change higher education market assumptions―and the way colleges and universities do business. According to Aslanian, “Our observation, market research, and student market analysis show that tomorrow’s students will have different expectations for their college experience, will expect a much greater level of flexibility and are likely to be working on their class project with a fellow student the same age as their mother or father.”

Like most changes, however, the coming trends offer opportunity. “For those schools both smart and nimble enough to respond, we see some major areas for competitive advantage based on our student market assessment,” notes Aslanian. The 10 key trends cited by Aslanian are:

1. Higher education is a growth market at both ends of the degree spectrum. The greatest enrollment growth (25 percent) will be among the 25 to 34-year-old cohort. Graduate-level and associate degrees will see exceptional growth: 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Opportunity: Continue to invest in the growth of associate or graduate programs while aligning them with student preferences in convenience, career-relevant programming and recruitment.

2. Employers have realized the value of ongoing training to their bottom line. They currently spend close to $130 billion annually on employee development. Opportunity: Build innovative, collaborative programs with organizations that focus on supporting their emerging business opportunities.

3. Men in both traditional and adult-education programs are under-represented. Women outnumber men in traditional U.S. undergraduate programs and among adult learners, according to Aslanian’s student market assessment. Opportunity: Find ways to provide the courses, learning environment and support services that will entice men of all ages into programs that can demonstrate rapid

4. Global demand for college study is growing significantly. No surprise, the increasingly competitive global economy is driving demand for higher education throughout the world, with the need for postsecondary education strongest in developing nations. Opportunity: Find ways to capitalize on best-practice online delivery tools and technologies, and smart, targeted marketing to tailor existing programs to country- and economy-specific education needs.

5. College students increasingly approach higher education as consumers. Comparison shoppers, they increasingly make college choices based on consumer-related issues and concerns: researching cost, convenience, quality, and job placement rates. Opportunity: Identify the strongest institutional value propositions and target prospective students for whom those are key decision-drivers.

6. Age has less and less impact on how students learn. Student market analysis indicates that more and more students of all ages find convenience the key factor in where, when and how to study, and want more options and career relevance in their studies. Opportunity: Meet the changing market demand with online, hybrid and accelerated course instruction.

7. An increasing number of traditional-age minority students are entering higher education. In 2020 and shortly thereafter, minority students will outnumber Caucasian students and one-third of high school graduates will be of Hispanic heritage. Research shows that these students have different needs and expectations. Opportunity: Provide a supportive college environment (including minority faculty), career coaching and flexible course schedules.

8. Enrollment in online high school courses is growing rapidly. In fact, it is growing faster than online college enrollments. The “online-experienced” new students will expect both the convenience and flexibility of online and hybrid courses as well as a high level of instructional quality when they enroll in college. Opportunity: Focus on innovation and excellence in online learning experiences by creating an environment that rewards faculty for bringing a high level of teaching creativity to their online courses.

9. Enrollment demand in the two-year public sector will exceed supply. Given state and local budget shortfalls, costs may increase as well. Unfortunately, unemployment and the recession make vocational, occupational and technical education especially critical. Opportunity: Find innovative ways to “increase capacity” for these community-based, employment-focused programs, thereby providing access to a large and growing population.

10. More older Americans, a rapidly increasing demographic, are considering college. Sixty million Americans today are 55 or older; by 2025, more than 100 million will be over 60. For many, retirement isn’t on their to-do list, but education is. Opportunity: Tailor programs to meet the needs of older adults, who will be looking for short-term education and training options with a clear career payoff.

“While we believe that the demographic trends identified by our student market analysis pose significant challenges to the higher education industry,” notes Aslanian, “knowing what to expect allows schools to start repositioning for opportunity now.”

About EducationDynamics
EducationDynamics and Aslanian Group have joined forces to offer colleges and universities the best customized market demand research available to expand adult undergraduate, graduate, and online student enrollments for all types of institutions. EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education’s leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spectrum Industries Featured in Manufacturing Today

New specialties in evolving markets, maintaining quality management and coping with the economic dowturn are very relevant topics in the workplace today. An article in Manufacturing Today covered these topics and more, specifically featuring Spectrum Industires. The article highlighted Spectrum Industries focus on quality and safety as it expands into new markets.

To read more about Spectrum Industires new specialties, quality management and view on the economic downturn visit Manufacturing Today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spectrum Industries Supports The American Cancer Society Relay for Life

Although the Chippewa County Relay for Life official event is July 30th & 31st this year, Spectrum Industries Inc. continues its fundraising efforts during the entire year. Led by Teresa Repaal, cancer support is given throughout the company with seasonal sales of Main St. CafĂ© pies and That’s My Pan items, as well as the ongoing sales of muffins and candy bars. Enthusiastic support is also shown at company-wide cookouts, where employees donate food, time, and money – all to help those diagnosed with cancer to fight and win their battles!Spectrum placed 3rd of 33 teams in raising $110,000 for the 2009 Relay for Life’s walk for cancer, raising $5,269. Their tremendous effort carries on this year under the theme of “Celebrating More Birthdays”. The July 30th & 31st birthday party agenda includes games all night, inflatable rides, presents, cakes, silent auction, food, camping & DJ/music. “Celebrating More Birthdays” means there are more cancer survivors fighting & winning every year. Cancer survivors are the heart & soul of the Relay, and Spectrum will celebrate their achievements while raising money for cancer research to help those in the future. To remember loved ones lost, nothing is more touching than to experience the laps walked in silence during the Luminaria Ceremony, where candles are lit inside personalized bags lining the track.

We would like to thank the American Cancer Society and the Chippewa County Relay for Life for helping to make this event increasingly successful. Spectrum Industries will gladly do our part to offer continuing support to our community.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Visit Spectrum Industries at MACUL 2010

MACUL will host its 34th annual conference at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, March 10th-12th.

Attending MACUL 2010? If so be sure to drop by booth 442 to visit with Spectrum employees Brian Lambert and Kaye Strojny. Additionally, visit the Model Classroom (in the Exhibit Hall) to see a display of cutting edge technology with engaging presentations by educators and vendors.

Spectrum Industries is one of the furniture sponsors for this year's MACUL Model Classroom.

The Spectrum Industries furniture on display will be sold at 30-50% off! Come early, as the furniture special is "first come, first served." Click here to see more of the Spectrum Furniture for sale at the MACUL 2010 Conference.

Read more about MACUL 2010 and view presentation schedule.

If interested in purchasing Spectrum Furniture from MACUL Conference contact Kaye Strojny at 800-235-1262 EXT 2129 or kstrojny@spectrumfurniture.com.

Chi-Hi Team Wins JA Challenge

Spectrum Industries, Inc. sponsored the winning team in the Junior Achievement Business Challenge

Spectrum Industries, Inc. sponsored a team of three Chippewa Falls Senior High School students in the Junior Achievement Business Challenge event on Wednesday, March 3, at the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Eau Claire. Under the guidance of Dean White, Vice President of Engineering at Spectrum Industries, the Chi-Hi team created the winning computer-simulated business strategy.

The team of Chi-Hi students included Brandon DeMars, Matt Leis, and Evan Clark; each won $600 scholarships provided by the CHS Foundation and the William J. & Gertrude R. Casper Foundation.

Read article by THE CHIPPEWA HERALD: Friday, March 5, 2010, at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Computer Shipments Predicted to Increase

The PC is not dead. According to PC World, mobile computing products are only 1/2 of all PC products predicted to be shipped in 2010. This is an increase compared to 2009.

Happy National Salesperson Day!

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of National Salesperson Day! Created by Maura Schreier-Fleming, president of Best@Selling in Dallas, National Salesperson's Day recognizes selling skills and dedication to the profession.

Spectrum Industries would like to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work performed by our Furniture, Point-of-Purchase and Applied Medical Solutions sales staff.

To learn more about our sales representatives or to find a sales representative in your area visit the Rep Finder on our website.

Additionally, Spectrum would like to thank our resellers for all their hard work. To become a reseller or to learn more about our reseller program visit Reseller Tools on our website.

Thank you sales staff your hard work is greatly appreciated, and Happy National Salesperson Day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grants & Funding

At Spectrum Industries, we understand the strain education budgets are under. We also recognize how much help grants can provide.
For your assistance, Spectrum Industries keeps an updated list of available funds on our grants page.
If you would like, Spectrum can help you with the grant process. If you have the do-it-yourself spirit below is a story recently released by a grant expert in eschool news that may help.

Eight essential skills for school grant seekers
By Deborah Ward

I recently had dinner with two grants professionals in Florida. One of them was
quite upset, because someone she knew had remarked that the role of a grant writer was simply to “collate paper and submit an application.”
If only it were that easy!
The conversation brought to light the common misconceptions that exist about just what grant writers do, and I’m going to try to clear up these misconceptions.
Before I begin, I should state that not all grant professionals have the same responsibilities, and these depend largely on the organization they work for. That said, here are the key skills I think an effective grants professional must
have, in no particular order:

1. Research skills
These involve two types of research: Looking for available funders, and being able to identify pertinent research to support a needs statement in a proposal. Grant writers need to be able to search the internet and find web sites that provide current information about grant opportunities. In many cases, this will include the web sites of both public and private funders. Grant writers also need to be able to locate research studies that support the existence of a need or a problem, and the possible solutions to solving this problem. Today, grant writers also need to be able to identify “best practices” in the education field in order to support why a specific solution is going to be effective in meeting a need or solving a problem.

2. Writing skills
This seems pretty obvious; however, I think it’s important to note that grant writers need to be able to write in a clear and concise manner.
Individuals who tend to use a lot of words without a lot of substance probably won’t do well fitting within the required page limits for most proposals.

3. Coordination skills
Often there is more than one person who is working on a proposal. So, a grant writer needs to coordinate all of the people who are involved and manage which information each of them is asked to contribute in order to create a proposal narrative that flows logically. A grant writer also must be able to give people specific deadlines so they know when their required tasks need to be done, and he or she must ensure these deadlines are met.

4. Organizational skills
These go along with the coordination skills. Grant writers have to keep all of the information requested in a proposal organized so they
can ensure all of the information is included. Grant writers are often juggling multiple proposal deadlines at any given time, so it’s important to be able to keep each grant application separate from the others. And grant writers who function as grant managers have to be able to create a paperwork trail for every grant received in the event that a monitoring visit or an audit is scheduled.

5. Facilitation skills
These are especiallyneeded when multiple partners are playing a role in a grant project. Grant writers often are called upon to facilitate meetings to make sure that all pertinent information is discussed and to lead discussions of issues related to budgets and project methodology. In some cases, grant writer must facilitate initial meetings to “flesh out” a project concept in more detail.

6. Mathematical skills
Proposals must include project budgets and budget narratives, and in some cases, the grant writer is responsible for collecting budget information from all applicable partners. I recommend that you get your finance department involved in the proposal process before you submit a proposal. Finance staff can check for accuracy of budget numbers and to make sure expenses are calculated properly. If salaries and benefits are involved in the budget for a grant proposal, your finance staff might have access to human-resources information you’re not privy to.

7. Reading comprehension skills
Let’s be honest: Some requests for proposals (RFPs) are extremely hard to understand. Grant writers have to be able to dissect an RFP, understand what information the funder is looking for in the proposal, and interpret the RFP for others who are involved in the proposal process and who don’t have expertise in putting proposals together.

8. Editing skills
Grant writers always should edit what they have written at least once before submitting a proposal. In addition, they should have at least one unrelated individual review the proposal for clarity. This person might catch any errors that the grant writer missed, and he or she might point out weak sentences and/or paragraphs that need to be revised.

Deborah Ward, CFRE, is an independent grant writing consultant.
She welcomes questions at Debor21727@aol.co

Grant Deadlines
Microsoft opens its computing cloud to researchers
Researchers have until March 15 to submit proposals
to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that would
give them access to Microsoft Corp.’s massive cloudcomputing
power for three years. Researchers and academic
teams chosen by NSF officials will use Microsoft
Azure, a program that offers enormous data storage and
computing capabilities using Microsoft’s data centers.
Microsoft’s cloud-computing program will allow researchers
to compare and analyze numerous data sets,
said Jeannette M. Wing, assistant director for the NSF
Computer and Information Science directorate. “We’ve
entered a new era of science—one based on data-driven
exploration—and each new generation of computing
technology, such as cloud computing, creates unprecedented
opportunities for discovery,” Wing said.
Deadline: March 15

$80,000 for assistive technology research
The National Center for Technology Innovation’s
“Tech in the Works” competition seeks proposals for
collaborative research projects that explore innovative
and emerging assistive technologies that can provide
greater access for students with disabilities. The
program will award up to four grants of $20,000 each
in 2010. Collaborative teams must secure matching
funds. NCTI says it’s committed to fostering new
talent in the field of educational and assistive technology,
and it strongly encourages graduate student teams to apply.
Deadline: March 23 (for letters of intent)

$60,000 to inspire breakthroughs in educational media
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
is accepting applications for its inaugural Cooney Center
Prizes for Innovation in Children’s Learning, a national
competition intended to inspire and identify breakthrough
educational ideas in children’s digital media. The program
challenges innovators to develop new tools and content
in two categories. The “Breakthroughs in Mobile
Learning” category invites applicants to submit mobile
learning projects for children between the ages of 3-11
that push the boundaries of learning using handheld technologies.
The “Breakthroughs in Literacy Learning:
Innovate with The Electric Company” category invites
concepts that promote literacy skills using Sesame
Workshop’s The Electric Company, a multimedia literacy
campaign designed to reach out to today’s six- to nineyear-
olds through television, after-school programs, and
online. The winner of the Mobile Learning competition
will receive $50,000 toward prototype development, and
the winner of the Literacy Learning competition will receive
$10,000 and the chance to work with Sesame
Workshop to turn his or her literacy idea into a product.
Deadline: April 1

More than $150,000 in technology
equipment from CDW-G and Discovery
Through their “Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes,”
CDW-G and Discovery Education will give K-12
schools across the United States the chance to win one
of three 21st-century classroom labs worth an estimated
$45,000, complete with tablet or notebook computers
and a wireless cart, interactive whiteboard, student
response system, projector, printer, and document
camera. The two companies also will provide on-site
training to all three grand-prize winners. In addition
to the hardware, Discovery Education will award a
$5,000 digital media grant to the winning schools to
help them more fully use the technology and engage
students in learning. Schools can enter the sweepstakes
every day until the deadline—and entrants who
post about the program on their Twitter accounts can
receive an additional two entries per day.
Deadline: May 3

Ongoing Grants to help schools implement Netop Vision software
Netop has launched the Netop Get A Grant for
Education (NGAGE) program to help educators struggling
with shrinking budgets. Available until funds
run out, the program provides financial support for
schools to purchase an individual or site license for
the Netop Vision6 Class Kit, classroom-management
software that has been proven to improve student
achievement. Netop has $500,000 in funding for its
NGAGE grants, which are available on a first-come,
first-served basis. Grants of $200 to $450 are available
for classroom labs, and grants of $1,500 to $1,600
are available for a site or district license. The Vision6
Class Kit is priced at $999, but with an NGAGE grant
of $450, an educator would pay only $549 per classroom
or lab.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Point-of-Purchase Trends: Converting Shoppers Into Buyers

Ads can get consumers into stores, but it usually takes some point of purchase strategies to get them to buy a product.

With the growth of online shopping retailers must now compete with the Internet for impulse purchases, putting more pressure on the sales environment in their stores and increasing the need for innovative point-of-purchase (POP) media, materials and techniques.

A research and design firm, Miller Zell (MZ), reported in a recent study that:
• Two-thirds of retail shoppers take a list with them, but six out of ten make brand purchasing
decisions after they enter the store.
• Shoppers can identify a brand from five feet in less than five seconds.

As a result, POP is becoming an even more important part of the marketing mix. More specifically end-of-aisle displays can really catch the eyes of consumers. A separate MZ survey indicated that end-of-aisle displays “engaged” more shoppers than other in-store media. The percentages:
1. End-of-aisle displays – 70%
2. Merchandising displays – 62%
3. Department signage - 58 %
4. Shelf strips - 55 percent
5. Shelf blades – 50 %

Want to get in on engaging 70% of shopper via end-or-aisle displays? Spectrum Industries would like to help; for over 35 years Spectrum P.O.P. Displays, a subsidiary of Spectrum Industries, Inc., has designed and manufactured thousands of different custom POP displays and store fixtures. Spectrum provides a comprehensive list of in-house services from complete design development and engineering to prototyping and manufacturing. Our experienced product designers are able to take conceptual discussions from our customers and turn them into creative, effective displays that make your products stand out at retail, attract buyers and sell more products.

Our goal is to provide the best design, structurally and aesthetically combined with high quality graphics that meet all your expectations at very competitive prices.

Spectrum P.O.P. Displays
Effective Design Solutions, helping you sell more product!

View Spectrum P.O.P Displays Portfolio at http://www.spectrumpopdisplays.com/portfolio/

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

As Fast as Technology Changes, Spectrum’s Harbor Cart Withstands the Test of Time!

Spectrum Industries has been designing laptop carts for 15 years now. In that period of time, we have modeled ourselves as champions of continuous improvement. Our laptop carts are certainly no exception – each model we release reflects the most recent customer input combined with diligent and conscientious product design.

Laptop requirements have changed greatly in those 15 years. Some customers want larger screens. Others want smaller, more portable laptops. Most everyone wants laptops that charge quickly and last longer. As needs change and technologies advance, the Harbor Cart has consistently kept our customers satisfied for nearly a decade.

How has the Harbor Cart done this?

The Harbor Cart remains the only modular laptop cart on the market and is an extremely mobile laptop cart. Each module charges 8 laptops and smoothly slides beyond the cart for ease of use. Up to 4 modules can be stored for a capacity of 32 laptops. The Harbor Cart has a footprint of only 37 ½” by 30”, so storing and recharging those 32 laptops takes up very little space. And if the same laptops are needed in another classroom? With 5” easy-riding balloon casters – which only Spectrum offers – the Harbor Cart provides exceptionally portable laptop storage. And if you don’t quite need 32 laptops, any of the laptop modules can be replaced with a convenient pull-out shelf so that printers and other accessories can be securely stored. The option is up to you!Whatever combination of laptops and accessories Spectrum customers use, the Harbor Cart offers vault-like protection. As is common in Spectrum products, ventilated 16-gauge panels and doors are secured by a custom double-bolt lock. Further protection is provided by an exclusive timer that prevents excessive amperage draw.

The Harbor Cart provides secure laptop storage and is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of virtually any classroom. Come visit Spectrum’s website and take a closer look at the Harbor Cart!