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UltraKey Fits the ARRA Bill


On February 17th, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law. Included in the package is some $115 billion in education aid for states across the country. As of July 27. 2009, an additional $650 million was provided to states specifically for educational technology. See EETT Guidance published by the Federal ED.

UltraKey qualifies well as a purchase using the ARRA funds as specified generally, and as identified under the EETT guidelines. The following questions and comments refer to the fact sheets published by the Federal ED.


Why should funds be used for keyboarding instruction?

 The ARRA states that funds are to be used to…
 “…prepare [each child] for further education, employment, and independent living…"
  The Federal ED guidance document states:
  "The primary goal of the Ed Tech program is to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in schools. I is also designed to esnure that every student is technologically literate by the end of eighth grade..."
  Keyboarding proficiency is a foundation for computer literacy. The student who keyboards well and accurately, is far more productive with computers than students who are not proficient.
  Computer keyboarding proficiency is required at all levels of school and college. Students who keyboard well excel academically over students who do not.
  Keyboarding skill is required for any job that involves communication or information processing. In a large number of professions today, keyboarding skill is a requirement for job interviewing and training admission. In many occupations, proficiency in keyboarding is required for job entrance.


How does UltraKey meet the requirements for Title I, IDEA and Vocational Rehabilitation funding as supplemented by the ARRA?

  The ARRA states that funds are to be used to…
  “…meet each child's unique needs”
  In addition to excellent instruction, UltraKey meets each child's unique needs because...
  It pre-tests and sets individualized goals for achievement.
  It proceeds at the learner's pace.
  It provides a wide range of individualized instruction options and custom content.
  It employs all different media including graphically animated demonstrations, live narrated video, voice-accompanied instruction in English, and non-English voice support.
  It allows selective use of program elements as and when the individual student needs them and permits more controlled approaches where appropriate.
  It accommodates each learner's age, maturity, and culture by rewarding and praising the successful learner in ways that respect the student's intelligence.


How does UltraKey support the No Child Left Behind Act and facilitate longitudinal performance tracking?

  The ARRA provides substantial funds to track longitudinal improvements in learning.
  UltraKey features an advanced performance tracking and learning management system that tracks a student's keyboarding skill development for the life of his or her school careerl.
  UltraKey supports the ARRA, the NCLBA and other accountability-focused funding sources because…
  It tracks progress at school and at home.
   It provides progress reports for the individual and group reports for the teacher.
  It enables learning management oversight so teachers can evaluate and fine-tune instruction at the group and individual level in real time.
  It grants teachers full control over the software within their classrooms enabling them to apply their professional judgment and choose the options and controls appropriate to the students they serve.
  It enables districts to implement agreed standards across the district.


 How else does UltraKey fit the bill?


Quote from ED Press Release March 7, 2009:

  [The US Secretary of Education] Duncan also said that states should work hard to avoid "funding cliffs" by investing ARRA funds in ways that minimize "the tail" -- i.e. ongoing costs after the funding expires.
  {ARRA monies] are one-time funds and state and school officials need to find the best way to stretch every dollar and spend the money in ways that protect and support children without carrying continuing costs.
  UltraKey is a wise purchase because...
  The typical school customer uses an UltraKey license for 4 to 12 years.
  Every license includes free updates and technical support as long as the major version is published. There are no annual maintenance fees.
  If your budget is limited even with ARRA funds, you can purchase a one-year license that expires June 30 next year. There is no obligation to renew. However, you can recover the whole first-year license cost by upgrading to a permanent license and getting the first year license fee back as a credit.
  The advanced data management technology in UltraKey lets districts minimize maintenance costs by installing one instance of the IP-based UltraKey Data Server to serve all the schools in the district. This technology eliminates all the permission-setting problems and security issues normally associated with maintaining network systems.
   Two additional points to note about UltraKey:
  UltraKey meets the conditions for special needs funding but it serves the whole student population.
  No matter how diverse or unusual your situation is, Bytes of Learning has a license and price to match it. Just tell us what those needs are so we can provide a quote.


Some colleagues think keyboarding is not a priority. How can I argue the case for keyboarding?

  There are many reasons why students should be empowered with fluent keyboarding skills, but there is one argument in particular that cannot be refuted. It is a simple case of productivity.
  Suppose students are given 1/8 of the year to learn to keyboard well. During this time, they modestly increase their typing speed from 15 words per minute and 90% accuracy, to 30 words per minute and 98% accuracy.
  The increase in accuracy alone multiplies productivity by at least 2. Doubling their speed multiplies productivity again by 2.
  In this modest example, students who learn to keyboard well, become 7/8 X 2 X 2 = 3.5 times more productive in their first year, than students who are denied keyboarding instruction.
  Now extend this productivity gain through ten years of school, and four years of college. By teaching students to keyboard well, we empower them to make better use of school computing resoures and we empower them to learn with technology. Keyboarding proficiency is not just a priority, it is a FIRST priority.
  Some adults argue that students use keyboards at home, so they learn to type anyway. Of course, in the absence of instruction, students do develop their own techniques. The problem is that incorrect technique, prevents people from ever going beyond a limited level of proficiency. Incorrect technique also creates discomfort and can lead to repetitive strain injuries.
  Take any set of adults and challenge them to take a test with UltraKey using Modified International Typing Contest Rules (MITCR). MITCR calculates a net speed that considers accuracy and speed together. A true MITCR test requires 5 minutes of typing but a 2-minute test will do. Subjects don't need to tell anybody their actual results. The point to be proven is that self-taught adults always score far slower net speeds than they think they actually type.
  A fluent typist keyboards about as fast as the person thinks - 80 to 100 words per minute -- spends very little time backspacing to correct typos, and keyboards through much longer periods of time without tiring. People who type well always recommend teaching keyboarding. We think this is because people who keyboard fluently, know what they have.
  Tell me more about UltraKey.
  How do I learn more about the funding available to me?